|Highlights||Credit Card Feature|
|Things We Like||Signing bonus of $150|
|Our Least Favorite||3% foreign transaction fee|
|Our Verdict||Great card for 5% cash back in quarterly rotating bonus categories|
Chase Freedom® is one of the best cash rewards credit cards in the market today and is a godsend for those of you who want to earn cold hard cash in return for your everyday spending. You can get a $150 Bonus after spending $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening. You also earn a $25 Bonus when you add your first authorized user to your card and make a purchase within this same 3-month period.
We especially love that you can 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 like gas stations, restaurants, and wholesale clubs. Unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases. Chase Freedom® even made it to GET.com's Best Credit Cards of the year in the cash back category.
In this Chase Freedom® review, we'll share with you the pros and cons of Chase Freedom® so that you can decide for yourself if this is the best cash back card for your lifestyle needs. You need good to excellent credit in order to qualify for this card.
Things We Like About Chase Freedom®
No annual fee. You don't have to pay any annual fee to enjoy the cash back rewards and other great cardholder benefits.
Earn a $150 Bonus. This is one of the best deals this card has to offer. You will receive this $150 Bonus after you sign up for your new card and spend just $500 on purchases in your first three months of having this card. This $500 spend cannot be in the form of balance transfers, cash advances or checks.
Earn a $25 Bonus after adding your first authorized user and making a purchase within this same 3-month period.
Receive 5% cash back in quarterly rotating bonus categories like restaurants, gas stations and wholesale clubs, for up to $1,500 in combined purchases each quarter. 5% cash back is a lot, and this is one of the most attractive benefits this card has to offer. You'll be notified in advance which categories you will be able to benefit from each quarter and can then plan your spending for the year. It can help you save a lot of money if you use it to your advantage. The catch: you must activate each quarterly 5% program - it's free, and you can do so via phone, email, text message or online. The good thing is you can sign up for Chase Freedom® 5% text reminders so that you will be informed promptly when the time comes for you to activate the next quarter.
Jan 1 to March 31 - Gas stations and local commuter transportation, including subways, taxis and local commuter buses and trains (not including parking, tolls and Amtrak® purchases).
April 1 to June 30 - Grocery stores (not including purchases at Walmart®, Target®) and WholeSale Clubs (Such as BJ's® and Sam's Club®).
July 1 to Sept 30 - Restaurants and WholeSale Clubs (Such as BJ's® Costco® and Sam's Club®).
Oct 1 to Dec 31 - Holiday shopping.
Receive 1% cash back on all other purchases. This is a fantastic offer as 1% applies to all your spending, without any spending tiers or minimum/maximum cash back limit! Again, do note that it does not apply to balance transfers, cash advances, checks, travelers checks or money orders.
No earning limit and cash rewards do not expire as long as your account is open. Accumulate as much cash back as you want, without worrying if and when it expires. So you can stash away the cash back you earn in the 5% categories, plus the unlimited 1% cash back you earn on your other purchases, without stressing about redeeming it before an expiry deadline. There are also no spending tiers.
0% intro APR for 15 months for purchases and balance transfers. This introductory period is great if you want to make a big-ticket purchase and pay it over 15 months or if you want to transfer a balance from an existing card. After the introductory period, your annual percentage rate will be a 14.24%-23.24% variable APR, depending on your credit score. Do note that you'll still have to pay a balance transfer fee of 5% of the amount you transfer, or $5 minimum.
Chase Blueprint feature included for free. The Blueprint program has certain features which help you repay your balances faster and save on interest. For example, you can choose to pay in full for certain types of purchases each month like gas or groceries so you don't pay any interest on them, even though you already owe a balance.
Our Least Favorite Things About Chase Freedom®
You need to activate 5% cash back each quarter. You need to activate 5% categories every three months (it's free, in case you are wondering), and you must do it before the deadline for each quarter! To make things easy, you can sign up to get activation reminders from Chase via email or text messaging. The good thing is even if you don't activate till late in the quarter, but as long as you do it before the deadline, you can still earn 5% cash back on any eligible purchases you've made during that quarter in those categories, up to the $1,500 cap on purchases.
Cash advance fee and APR. Chase Freedom® is a great card to shop with, but avoid using it to get cash at ATMs. The cash advance fee is either $10 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater. Although this is almost the norm (the similar Discover it® Cashback Match™ has a similar cash advance fee and APR), Barclaycard Ring™ MasterCard® has a flat fee of $3 per cash advance and a much lower cash advance APR. So Chase Freedom® definitely isn't the right card to use to get cash at ATMs, but is a solid card to use to pay for purchases directly.
You pay a foreign transaction fee for each transaction in U.S. dollars when you use this card to pay in a foreign currency, for example when traveling outside of the U.S., and that 3% foreign transaction fee for each transaction in U.S. dollars can add up to a big extra expense for international travelers.
How Other Cards Compare With Chase Freedom®
Discover it® Cashback Match™ is this card's closest competitor, and also lets you earn 5% cash back in certain categories. You earn 5% cash back in bonus categories that change each quarter (up to $1,500 each quarter) when you sign up. And you earn unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases. It has no annual fee. Sounds pretty similar to Chase Freedom®, doesn't it? Depending on your spending, the bonus that you get with Discover it® Cashback Match™ might give you more cash back though, because Discover will match the cash back you've earned at the end of your first year as a new cardmember (offer for new cardmembers only). This card does not charge a foreign transaction fee, unlike the Chase Freedom® which charges a fee equal to 3% of each purchase outside of the U.S. ($5 minimum). However, Discover is not yet as widely accepted as Visa and MasterCard. This rewarding card has 0% intro APR on purchases and balance transfers for the first 14 months (then 11.24% - 23.24% variable APR) and no annual fee. A 3% fee applies to balance transfers. The cash back categories offered by this card and Chase Freedom® are usually similar. The main difference is that Chase Freedom® is a Visa card, which makes it more widely accepted outside of the U.S., and if you can get the Visa Signature version of Chase Freedom® you will enjoy more benefits than what you get with Discover it® Cashback Match™.
Chase Freedom Unlimited℠ is another solid cash back credit card from Chase. This card does not have rotating cash back categories, but instead lets you earn unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase automatically. If you prefer not to have to activate quarterly bonus cash back categories or think twice about what you are using your card to pay for, then this flat rate of cash back may work better for you. You earn a $150 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening, which is a nice welcome offer. The introductory low APR period (0% intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases and balance transfers, with 14.24% - 23.24% variable APR after), is similar to the one you get with Chase Freedom®, as are most of the card benefits.
Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer, a partner card, is another good cash back card, but it works very differently to Chase Freedom®. You earn cash back twice on every purchase with unlimited 1% cash back when you buy, plus an additional 1% as you pay for those purchases. There is no cap on the amount of cash back you can earn. You get a 0% intro APR on balance transfers for 18 months, then 13.24% - 23.24% variable APR (click 'Apply Now' to see the applicable balance transfer fee and how making a balance transfer impacts interest on purchases). This card has no annual fee, so it's a good card to use for all your general purchases, especially if you make your payments in full each month. However, Chase Freedom® gives you 5% cash back on up to $1,500 of combined purchases in bonus categories each quarter, when you activate the 5% cash back each quarter. So it's a more rewarding card to use to make purchases in the 5% categories each quarter, but you only earn 1% cash back on your other purchases. Having both a category cash back card like Chase Freedom® and a general cash back card like Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer is the best option really, if you can get 2 credit cards. That way you can use the general cash back card for all your everyday spending, and the category cash back card to earn higher cash back on your spending in those categories.
If you like to earn 5% cash back on different categories of purchases throughout the year, Chase Freedom® is one of the most rewarding credit cards you can get.
Chase Freedom® currently has a nice offer for new cardmembers in which you can get a $150 Bonus after you sign up and spend $500 on purchases within the first 3 months of account opening - a big plus since you only need to spend less than $167 per month in order to get the $150 Bonus!
What we like best is that you get 5% cash back on quarterly rotating categories (up to $1,500 per quarter), which can save you a lot of money if you plan your spending ahead of time. As a Visa card, you will be able to use this card almost everywhere in the world.
Chase Freedom® is more than just a cash back card. The Chase Ultimate Rewards Points which you earn with this card can be transferred to another Chase credit card such as Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, where you can then transfer your points at a 1:1 rate to frequent flyer or hotel loyalty programs, and where you can get a 25% boost when redeeming through the Ultimate Rewards travel portal.
Chase Freedom® is an excellent choice if you have good to excellent credit and are looking for a rewarding cash back card.
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Tariq Hussain Qureshi
I AM NEW IN AMERICA AND LAWFULL PERMANENT RESIDENT ALSO HAVING CHECKING ACCOUNT WITH CHASE BANK BUT I HAVE NO CREDIT SCORE (BELOW 650) , CAN I GET THIS CARD?
August 02 2015 at 06:48
Laura Frances Wise
What is the situation when you make an airline ticket purchase? Does it fall under the 5% or 1% of your purchase?
July 08 2015 at 15:27
If I am not a Chase member, is it still easy to have this card and make payments?
April 30 2015 at 18:51
I have had the Chase Freedom card for years. I love it. I have lost my card several times and have had zero problems getting it replaced quickly. I love the 5% gas quarters. I save a bit there. BUT since they have removed Walmart as a grocery, I have a different card for those purchases now. I use the cards for everything I purchase, even a drink. At the end of the year I have enough cash back money to buy my Christmas gifts without getting in my own money. This has been the case since year one. Won't be as much on that card now since I use another for groceries, but between the two, I will still be able. And, I usually have enough left to put some back on card as payment on my bill. I must say, I do not ever let balance run over to the next month, because between late fees of $25 & $35 plus interest charges, that can deplete that cash back quick. And, by being two days late on payment, you will have interest on the following month also on that full amount because it has already rolled over into the next month of charges. I did it once by accident and I was so mad at myself. But barring hospital or death, won't happen again. It is a great card if you can keep your balance paid off each month.
February 26 2015 at 18:44
I have lost my card and need a number to call. I don't have the card so I can't call
February 14 2015 at 17:47
Henry Matt Dillon in North Myrtle Beach, sc. I love my Chase Freedom Card. I spend from 500 - 3000 per month, pay it off by the 28th, and always let my cash rewards accumulate. It's great.
January 27 2015 at 03:10
I have been contacted by every credit card company. I am totally pleased with Chase Freedom and can find NO reason to consider changing. I had one problem occur and within minutes Chase was on my phone advising me of the problem and making the corrections IMMEDIATELY!
January 24 2015 at 15:34
Chase Freedom card is no big deal at 13% plus interest rate ,the bank is getting the rewards, sucker card.
January 13 2015 at 10:44
What does this card charge for Foreign transaction fees?
December 04 2014 at 18:40
Linda Rathway Ciez
Love this card!!! I have had it for years...saves me tons of money!!!
November 24 2014 at 06:03
how long does it take for you to get the 100 bonus once you do spend the $500 minimum?
October 27 2014 at 06:51
Margaret Bolfing Crowson
I LOVE this card! I kept waiting for the downside, but happy to say that after 6 months I've experienced nothing negative about it--especially since I have a Chase checking account which makes making payments extremely convenient and timely!
October 07 2014 at 02:09
I have this card and very happy with it. They have always been great with me, I Love my Freedom Card.
September 24 2014 at 16:39