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Chase Freedom Credit Card Review

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This article was last updated Aug 09, 2018, but some terms and conditions may have changed or are no longer available. For the most accurate and up to date information please consult the terms and conditions found on the issuer website.

Who the card is best for

The Chase Freedom® is a great card for people who already have a flat-rate cash-back card and are looking to maximize their cash back. If you have a balance on an existing credit card or are looking to make a large purchase and avoid interest for a while, this card can provide you with the time you need to rid yourself of debt. The 0% intro APR periods — 0% Intro APR on Purchases for 15 months and 0% Intro APR on Balance Transfers for 15 months, 16.74% - 25.49% Variable APR, thereafter — provide you with a good amount of time to get your finances in check.

  • Earn a $150 Bonus after spending $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening.

  • 0% Intro APR on purchases and balance transfers for 15 months

  • 16.74% - 25.49% Variable

Highlights
  • 0% Intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases and balance transfers, then a variable APR of 16.74-25.49%. Balance transfer fee is 5% of the amount transferred, $5 minimum
  • Earn a $150 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening
  • Earn 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in combined purchases in bonus categories each quarter you activate
  • Enjoy new 5% categories each quarter
  • Unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases - it's automatic
  • Cash Back rewards do not expire as long as your account is open and there is no minimum to redeem for cash back.
  • Free credit score, updated weekly with Credit Journey℠
  • No annual fee

See additional details for Chase Freedom®

More Info

This card isn’t for people who want a simple cash-back card and don’t want to deal with quarterly rotating-bonus categories. Flat-rate cash-back cards like the Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer offer a hassle-free cash-back program without changing categories, caps or activation requirements. Also, if you’re a big spender in the bonus categories, you may be better with a different card that offers high cash back in nonrotating categories like gas and grocery because you may hit the quarterly maximum with the Chase Freedom®. If you’re someone who is looking for a lengthy 0% intro APR period, this card also isn’t for you. Other balance transfer cards offer longer 0% intro periods, like 18 or 21 months.

  • Earn 2% cash back on purchases: 1% when you buy plus 1% as you pay

  • 0% for 18 months on Balance Transfers*

  • 15.49% - 25.49%* (Variable)

Highlights
  • Earn 2% cash back on purchases: 1% when you buy plus 1% as you pay
  • Balance Transfers do not earn cash back
  • 0% Intro APR on Balance Transfers for 18 months. After that, the variable APR will be 15.49% - 25.49% based on your creditworthiness*
  • No categories to track, no caps on cash back, no annual fee*

See additional details for Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer

More Info

Where this card stands out in its category

The Chase Freedom® has a good cash-back program for people who want to maximize their cash back in the bonus categories: Earn 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in combined purchases in bonus categories each quarter you activate. Enjoy new 5% categories every 3 months. Unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases. Since the categories rotate each quarter, there is bound to be at least one bonus category that appeals to you. The sign-on bonus is a great way for you to earn extra cash back in the first few months of account opening, as long as you spend the required amount. Earn a $150 Bonus after spending $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening. This is a great return for the low amount of spending required.

Where this card falls short in its category

There is a high balance transfer fee associated with this card: Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater. Most balance transfer cards have a transfer fee of 3 or 5 percent, but you can find cards that have a more favorable transfer fee like the Chase Slate®. Transferring your balance to a card with a $0 intro transfer fee is a great way to save extra money — although you may miss out on rewards. Regarding the cash-back program, since there are caps on how much cash back you can earn in the bonus categories, your earning potential is limited, especially if you’re a big spender in the bonus categories.

Additional card benefits

The Chase Freedom® has limited benefits beyond the 0% intro offer and cash-back program:

  • Monthly FICO® Score for free: You can check your monthly score for free with Credit JourneySM. It’s important to monitor your score so you’re aware of any changes that may cause alarm.
  • Fraud protection: Chase will help safeguard your account using sophisticated Real-Time Fraud Monitoring for possible signs of fraudulent activity. This adds an extra layer of protection against possible fraud.

How to use it most effectively

To utilize the 0% intro APR period effectively, complete your transfer within 60 days from account opening or make your large purchase as soon as possible. Once your transfer or purchase is complete, make monthly payments with the goal of getting the debt paid off before the end of the intro period. This way you won’t be charged the 16.74% - 25.49% Variable APR that takes effect once the intro period is over. Make sure you use this card for all spending in the bonus categories so you can take advantage of the higher cash-back rate on those purchases. Also, don’t forget to activate the bonus categories each quarter or you’ll miss out on the higher rate. If you plan on earning the sign-up bonus, make sure you spend the required amount in the given time period to qualify. (Earn a $150 Bonus after spending $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening.)

Tip: This card is great to use when paired with a high flat-rate cash-back card like the Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer to maximize cash-back rewards. With both cards, you can benefit by using the Chase Freedom® for purchases in the high cash-back categories and then use the Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer for all nonbonus categories to earn a flat-rate on those purchases.

How to do a balance transfer with Chase

The total amount of your balance transfer request including fees and interest charges cannot exceed your available credit or $15,000, whichever is lower. Your balance transfer must be completed within 60 days from account opening in order to take advantage of the $0 intro balance transfer fee and 0% intro APR period.

To complete your balance transfer online, after logging in, click on “Accounts,” then on the Chase balance transfer card listed. Click on the “Things you can do” drop-down menu in the top right corner, choose “Transfer a balance” and select the Chase balance transfer offer you have been approved for. From there, enter your transfer information and review and submit your transfer. Your transfer may take one to three weeks depending on how quickly the payee processes the transferred amount.

Rewards breakdown

The Chase Freedom® offers a cash-back program that allows you to maximize your earning in bonus categories. Earn 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in combined purchases in bonus categories each quarter you activate. Enjoy new 5% categories every 3 months. Unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases. Past bonus categories have included restaurants, gas stations and department stores. The wide range of bonus categories provides something for everyone to maximize their rewards. You can redeem cash back for a statement credit, direct deposit, travel and gift cards, and shop with points at Amazon. There is also a great sign-up bonus for you to earn extra cash back: Earn a $150 Bonus after spending $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening.

Compare with the Chase Freedom Unlimited®

  • Unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase - it's automatic!

  • Earn a $150 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening.

  • No minimum to redeem for cash back

Highlights
  • 0% Intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases and balance transfers, then a variable APR of 16.74-25.49%. Balance transfer fee is 5% of the amount transferred, $5 minimum
  • Unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase - it's automatic
  • Earn a $150 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening
  • No minimum to redeem for cash back
  • Cash Back rewards do not expire as long as your account is open
  • Free credit score, updated weekly with Credit Journey℠
  • No annual fee

See additional details for Chase Freedom Unlimited®

More Info

The Chase Freedom Unlimited® is a decent alternative if you want a flat-rate cashback card.

The Chase Freedom® and the Chase Freedom Unlimited® are similar cards offered by Chase, however they differ in cashback programs. The card that’s best for you depends on what type of cashback card you want — flat-rate or one with rotating cashback categories.

If you want a rotating cashback card, check out the Chase Freedom® — Earn 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in combined purchases in bonus categories each quarter you activate. Enjoy new 5% categories every 3 months. Unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases. That means each quarter, you can earn up to $75 cash back in the bonus categories, and any purchases in the bonus categories exceeding $1,500 in a quarter will earn unlimited 1% cash back.

If you want a flat-rate card, the Chase Freedom Unlimited® is a decent option offering an unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase. This card is beneficial if you don’t want to deal with activating bonus cashback categories.

Here’s a breakdown of the key features of each card:

Chase Freedom® Chase Freedom Unlimited®
Annual Fee $0 $0
Purchase Intro Rate 0% Intro APR on Purchases for 15 months 0% Intro APR for 15 months
Balance Transfer Intro Rate 0% Intro APR on Balance Transfers for 15 months 0% Intro APR for 15 months
Regular Purchase APR 16.74% - 25.49% Variable 16.74% - 25.49% Variable
Balance Transfer Fee Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater
Rewards Earn 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in combined purchases in bonus categories each quarter you activate. Enjoy new 5% categories every 3 months. Unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases. Unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase
Foreign Transaction Fee 3% of each transaction in U.S. dollars 3% of each transaction in U.S. dollars
Sign-up Bonus Earn a $150 Bonus after spending $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening. Earn a $150 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening.

Bottom Line

The Chase Freedom® is a good choice for people who want to maximize cash back and enjoy a decent 0% intro APR period. If you don’t mind rotating bonus categories and can pay off your debt during the intro period, this card can save you money as you earn rewards.


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