Home » Credit Card Reviews » Chase Freedom Unlimited Review

Chase Freedom Unlimited Review

*Editorial Note: This content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuer. Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and may not have been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuer. This site may be compensated through a credit card issuer partnership.

This article was last updated Aug 13, 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 Unlimited® is a decent option for people who want to use their card for more than a balance transfer or large purchase. You can benefit from a 0% intro APR period that provides you with a good amount of time to pay off your debt, in addition to a cash-back program that will earn you money on new purchases. People who want to maximize rewards early on can also take advantage of a sign-up bonus to earn more cash back.

  • 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 16.99-25.74%. Balance transfer fee is 3% 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

This card isn’t designed for people who want to earn high flat-rate cash back, since the cash-back rate is below average. You can earn a higher cash-back rate from a variety of competing cash-back cards. Also, if you’re someone who needs a long period of time to complete a balance transfer or pay off a large purchase, you’re better off with a different card. Other balance transfer cards have intro periods as long as 18 or 21 months that can provide you with the time you need to rid yourself of debt.

Where this card stands out in its category

The Chase Freedom Unlimited® offers a cash-back program: Unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase. This is an added perk on top of the balance transfer offer that can earn you rewards on new purchases. There is a sign-up bonus that can increase your rewards in the months after account opening. Earn a $150 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening. Most balance transfer cards don’t offer such bonuses, therefore this is a great feature of this card and a good way to earn more cash back. Plus, you only need to spend a small amount to attain the bonus.

Where this card falls short in its category

This card charges a balance transfer fee: Either $5 or 3% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater. Although most balance transfer cards charge a transfer fee, you can find cards with more favorable fees like the Chase Slate®, potentially allowing you to save hundreds of dollars. Regarding its rewards program, the Chase Freedom Unlimited® card offers a low rate for purchases — Unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase. You can easily find other cash-back cards that offer a higher rewards rate, even paired with a longer 0% intro APR period, like the Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer.

Additional card benefits

The Chase Freedom Unlimited® has few additional card benefits:

  • Monthly FICO® Score for free: You can check your monthly FICO for free with Credit JourneySM. This is a good feature that can keep you on top of any changes in your credit.
  • Fraud protection: Chase will watch over your account with real-time fraud monitoring and check for possible signs of unauthorized activity.
  • Zero-liability protection: You won’t be liable for any unauthorized charges.

How to use it most effectively

To benefit most from the Chase Freedom Unlimited®, make sure to transfer your balance within 60 days from account opening. Once your transfer is complete, make regular on-time payments with the goal of paying off your balance before the intro period ends. Do the same for any large purchases you may make. This way you successfully use the 0% intro APR period to avoid interest. If you plan to use this card to earn rewards, don’t let the prospect of those rewards lure you into overspending. Be aware that the purchase APR is 16.99% - 25.74% variable once the 0% intro period ends. To take advantage of the sign-up bonus, make sure to spend the required amount in the given time period. Earn a $150 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening.

How to do a balance transfer

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 the Chase balance transfer card listed. Click on the “Things you can do” drop-down menu in 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 may take one to three weeks, depending on how quickly the payee processes the transferred amount.

Rewards breakdown

This card has a decent rewards program that will earn you a consistent rate: Unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase. Cash back earned can be redeemed for a statement credit, direct deposit, travel and gift cards, and to shop with points at Amazon. The rewards program doesn’t have rotating categories, so you don’t have to worry about activating rewards — you’ll earn the same rate on every purchase, every time you use your Chase Freedom Unlimited® card. There is also a great sign-up bonus: Earn a $150 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening..

Compare with the Chase Freedom®

  • 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

  • 16.99% - 25.74% Variable

Highlights
  • 0% Intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases and balance transfers, then a variable APR of 16.99-25.74%. Balance transfer fee is 3% 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

The Chase Freedom® is a good alternative if you want a card with rotating cashback categories.

The Chase Freedom® and the Chase Freedom Unlimited® are similar cards offered by Chase, but they differ in cashback programs. With 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.

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

Overall, the card that’s best for you depends on what type of cashback program you want. If you want a flat-rate card, stick with the Chase Freedom Unlimited®. But, if you want a card with rotating cashback categories, check out the Chase Freedom®.

How to book travel with Chase Ultimate Rewards®.

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

Chase Freedom Unlimited® Chase Freedom®
Annual Fee $0 $0
Purchase Intro Rate 0% Intro APR for 15 months 0% Intro APR on Purchases for 15 months
Balance Transfer Intro Rate 0% Intro APR for 15 months 0% Intro APR on Balance Transfers for 15 months
Regular Purchase APR 16.99% - 25.74% Variable 16.99% - 25.74% Variable
Balance Transfer Fee Either $5 or 3% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater Either $5 or 3% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater
Rewards Unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase 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.
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 you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening. Earn a $150 Bonus after spending $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening.

Bottom Line

The Chase Freedom Unlimited® is an OK option for people looking to complete a balance transfer with the added perk of earning cash back. However, you can do better with competing cards that offer longer balance transfer periods, waive the transfer fee and have more robust cash-back programs.


Recommended Posts:

HSBC Cash Rewards Mastercard Credit Card

Who the card is best for The HSBC Cash Rewards Mastercard® credit card is a decent option for people looking to earn rewards from a card with a $0 annual fee. The rewards program isn’t the highest in the market, but has the potential to earn you a good amount of cash back, especially considering the annual 10% Anniversary Bonus. […]

Read More