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Chase Freedom Review – 5% Cash Back

  • APR: 13.99% to 22.99% depending on your credit worthiness
  • Introductory APR: 0% intro APR for the first 15 billing cycles
  • Cash advance APR: 23.99%
  • Penalty APRs: 29.99%
    • Applies if you make a late payment
    • Exceed your credit limit
    • Make a payment that is returned
  • Grace period: 21 days
  • Minimum interest charge: None

Note all APRs may vary based on the prime market rate.

  • Annual fee: None
  • Balance transfer fee: $5 or 3% whichever is greater
  • Cash advance fee: $10 or 3% whichever is greater
  • Foreign transaction fee: 3% in U.S dollars
  • Late payment fee: Up to $15 if the balance is less than $100, up to $25 if the balance is $100 and less than $250 and up to $35 if it is above $250
  • Over the credit line: None
  • 5% rotating categories
  • Card earns Chase UR points which can be transferred to Hotel or Airline partners at a 1:1 rate if you have a Chase Sapphire Preferred, Ink Bold or Ink Plus.
  • 15 billing cycle 0% APR

We looked at X different data points from the credit boards credit pull application. We only looked at records from 2012 onwards.

Common Reasons For Denial:

Here are some of the most common reasons people have been denied for. Just because you fall under one of these categories doesn’t mean you’ll be denied though.

  • Derogatory items on credit report (e.g Bankruptcy or tax lien). Chase will usually deny you if you have any major derogatory items on your credit report, that said if they have some age on them you still might be approved if you call their reconsideration number.
  • Insufficient credit history. Chase Freedom is a starter card but they like you to have a banking relationship with them or one year of credit card history with another card issuer. Find out how you can earn a cash sign up bonus by signing up for a checking/savings account with Chase.
  • Credit utilization too high. If you’re current credit utilization is sky high (e.g 50%+) you may have trouble being approved for this card even with a high FICO score.
  • Too many recent accounts. A few people have been denied for too many recent account openings, or the period between these openings being too small.

As always, if you’re denied make sure you call the reconsideration line to plead your case. Chase is usually very good about approving people for this card as it’s their most basic card. If you’ve never called reconsideration before, read these tips so you know what to expect from the call. If you have existing cards with Chase it often helps to offer to move some of your existing credit lines onto the new card.

What Credit Bureau Does Chase Pull For The Freedom?

Chase pulls different credit bureaus based on where you’re located. We’ve compiled this information to make it easy for you to see which credit bureau they are likely to pull. Click here to view this information.

What Credit Limit Will I Receive?

This card earns Chase UR points, it’s important to note that you must have a card that has the ability to transfer to hotel or airline partners to be able to make use of this feature. The following cards allow you to do this: Chase Sapphire Preferred, Chase Ink Plus or Chase Ink Bold. Otherwise you can redeem these points for statement credit/cash.

This card earns at a rate of 1 point per $1 spend. It earns at an additional rate of 5 points per $1 spent on rotating categories. You must enroll your card quarterly to receive this increased rate on those categories, click here to enroll. There is a limit of $1,500 in spend ($75/7,500 points) that can be earned per quarter. We post creative tips on how to increase your spend in these bonus categories on the main blog, so make sure you’re subscribed to our mailing list or receive updates by e-mail or rss.

It’s also important to remember that you get an additional 10% of points earned every year that you have a Chase checking account opening. This turns the card into a 5.5%/1.1% card. You can read more about how it works here.

Current Sign Up Bonus Sign Up Bonus

  • November 15th – Current: $200 (20,000 points) when you spend $500 within 3 months of account opening. Additional $25 bonus (2,500 points) for adding an authorized user when they make their first purchase
  • July 16th, 2014 – November 15th: $150 (15,000 points) when you spend $500 within 3 months of account opening. Additional $25 bonus (2,500 points) for adding an authorized user when they make their first purchase
  • July 1st, 2014 Current: $100 (10,000 points) when you spend $500 within 3 months of account opening. Additional $25 bonus (2,500 points) for adding an authorized user when they make their first purchase
  • May 29th, 2014 – July 1st: $200 (20,000 points) when you spend $500 within 3 months of account opening. Additional $25 bonus (2,500 points) for adding an authorized user when they make their first purchase

This card has had a highest sign up bonus of $350. This hasn’t been offered offered since 2012 and it looks like that was a mistake on the Chase website. It now looks like Chase switches between a $200 offer & $100 offer – both now come with an authorized user bonus of $25.

  • April 2nd – May 29th, 2014: $100 when you spend $500 within 3 months of account opening. Additional $25 bonus for adding an authorized user when they make their first purchase.
  • January 1st, 2014 – April 2nd: $100 when you spend $500 within 3 months of account opening
  • November 25th, 2013 – January 1st, 2014: $200 bonus (20,000 points) when you spend $500 within three months
  • April 5th – November 25th, 2013: $100 after you spend $500 or more within three months
  • April 4th – 5th, 2012: $350 bonus after $500 in spend three months
  • January 24th – March 26th, 2012: $350 bonus after $500 in spend within three months
  • January 5th – 12th, 2012 : $200 when you spend $500 in three months
  • December 19th – : $200 bonus (20,000 points) with $500 in spend in 3 months
  • October 24th – December 19th, 2011: $300 bonus (30,000 points) when you spend $500 within three months
  • September 1st – October 10th, 2011: $250 bonus when you spend $500 within three months
  • May 19th – May 28th, 2011: $150 bonus with $500+ in spend within three months
  • April 12 – 20th, 2011: $100 bonus when you spend $500 or more during the first three months, an additional $100 bonus when you spend an additional $1,000 or more within the first six months
  • November 10th – 19th, 2010: $200 bonus when you spend $800 or more within three months
  • July 7th, 2010: $100 bonus when you spend $799 or more within the first three months

  • 2011: $300 after first purchase
  • 2011: For some existing customers receive $20 after you make 10 purchases

Your redemption options are going to vary based on whether you have a Chase Sapphire Preferred, Ink Bold or Ink Plus. If you do then you can transfer your points to airline & hotel partners, otherwise your options are pretty limited.

The most popular option is statement credit which gives you a flat cash value of 1 point = 1 cent.

The Chase Freedom has one of the highest cash sign up bonuses on the market and it’s rotating 5% categories make it attractive for use for those categories. That said, I’d never recommend somebody use this for their everyday spend due to it’s low earning rate.

This card is best used for the sign up bonus and then for purchases that are currently earning 5%. It’s also best paired with a card that allows transfers to a hotel or airline partner so you can get the most value out of the points. Another way to maximize the rewards is by linking a Chase checking account so that you get a 10% bonus on points earned. Because the requirements for getting this card are quite low, it’s perfect for those who have only a limited credit history.

We Recommend This Card For:

  • Those with limited credit history
  • Those looking for cash back
  • People who value cash sign up bonuses
  • People with a Chase checking account (that way you get an additional 10% on points earned)

  • People who are planning on using it as their only credit card


3 Key Differences — Chase “Slate” vs. “Freedom” vs. “Freedom Unlimited”

Cahse freedom

By: Mike Randall • June 29, 2017

Opinions expressed here are ours alone, and are not provided, endorsed, or approved by any issuer. Site may be compensated through the issuer affiliate programs.

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As one of the largest credit card issuers in the world, Chase Bank has plenty of experience in meeting the needs of consumers. Chase knows there are different cards for different spending needs, which is why they offer a range of credit cards with a variety of features and rewards. From frequent flyer programs to cash back bonuses to attractive balance transfer offers, Chase has a credit card to meet just about any consumer or business need.

Let’s take a close look at their most popular card offerings; Chase Freedom, Freedom Unlimited, and Chase Slate to see which credit card might be right for you.

1. Chase Freedom: Cash Back Rewards with Bonus Categories

For consumers who love racking up the bonuses and rewards associated with some credit cards, the Chase Freedom card may be the right choice. With this generous credit card, users can earn 5% cash back on purchases in rotating bonus categories each quarter. You’ll also earn 1% unlimited cash back on all other purchases you make.

  • 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 like gas stations, restaurants and drugstores
  • Unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases - it's automatic
  • 0% Intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases and balance transfers, then a variable APR of 15.99-24.74%. Balance transfer fee is 5% of the amount transferred, $5 minimum
  • No minimum to redeem for cash back
  • See application, terms and details.

The 5% bonus categories rotate each quarter and can vary from gas and transportation to grocery purchases to restaurants and entertainment categories. Any purchases made in these categories during the quarter earn an automatic 5% cash back. In addition, new cardholders can earn a sign-up bonus after spending a specified amount on purchases within the first three months of opening an account.

2. Chase Freedom Unlimited: Fixed Cash Back on Everything

The Chase Freedom Unlimited card takes a simpler approach to earning cash back rewards. The 1.5% cash back bonus reward on all purchases made with the Freedom Unlimited card is one of the highest around. This is an excellent choice for people who use their credit card frequently throughout the month for a variety of purchases, and who may not have the time to take full advantage of the bonus categories that the Freedom card offers.

  • 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
  • 0% Intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases and balance transfers, then a variable APR of 15.99-24.74%. Balance transfer fee is 5% of the amount transferred, $5 minimum
  • Redeem for cash — any amount, anytime
  • Cash Back rewards do not expire as long as your account is open
  • No annual fee
  • See application, terms and details.

And like the Freedom card, the Freedom Unlimited comes with no annual fee, a sign-up bonus after spending the specified amount within the first three months, and a 0% APR for the duration of the promotional period on purchases and balance transfers. Both Freedom cards offer multiple redemption options for using your reward points, including participation in the Chase Ultimate Rewards program.

3. Chase Slate: Industry-Leading Balance Transfer Card

The Chase Slate card is specifically designed for those consumers with high credit card balances. It offers no cash back bonuses, reward points or miles, but that’s actually a good thing. Chase understands that incentives can entice people to use their card more, rather than paying down their balance.

Instead, the Chase Slate card offers something more valuable to cardholders — an introductory no-fee balance transfer option and an extended 0% balance transfer period. This industry-leading balance transfer combination is a powerful tool for people with a lot of credit card debt, and who want to pay it down in the most effective way. You can apply for the Chase Slate card directly through the Chase website.

Which Popular Chase Card Belongs in Your Wallet?

Since different spending habits require different types of credit cards, Chase has designed their credit card family to be as flexible as possible. Consumers who want to pay down debt as quickly as possible can do so using the Chase Slate — the industry’s top balance transfer card. For those who like to maximize their bonus points and rewards, the Chase Freedom card offers 5% cash back on bonus categories. And for folks who want to keep things simple, yet still get the most cash back on all of their purchases, the Chase Freedom Unlimited simply can’t be beat.

No matter your credit card purchase habits and needs, Chase has proven once again that they have the right card for you.

Editorial Note: Opinions expressed here are the author's alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.


Chase Freedom vs Chase Freedom Unlimited

The Chase Freedom and Chase Freedom Unlimited are two of the most popular cash back credit cards available today. These cards have plenty in common. Both are part of the JPMorgan Chase family. Both offer cash back rewards, a 15-month 0% introductory APR, and a $150 sign-up bonus if you spend $500 in the first three months. Neither charge an annual fee. Chase Freedom vs Chase Freedom Unlimited, which is better?

In fact, virtually the only difference between Chase Freedom and Chase Freedom Unlimited is the cash back rewards structure. The Chase Freedom card offers 5% cash back on bonus rewards categories that rotate each quarter, with a quarterly $75 limit. All other purchases earn unlimited 1% cash back. On the other hand, the Chase Freedom Unlimited cardholders will earn 1.5% cash back on all their purchases.

You can’t go wrong with a cash back credit card with no annual fee. As long as you pay off your bill each month, so you aren’t charged interest, the “free money” you earn will be free. However, depending on your spending habits, one card or the other may offer a greater value for you.

Cahse freedom

The Chase Freedom card may be a better choice for you if:

  • You want to use bonus categories to earn extra cash back. Chase announces the rotating rewards category just before the quarter begins. For some consumers, this brings extra excitement to the cashback program. Bonus categories often have a theme related to common spending areas during the quarter. For example, Chase recently ran a summer savings bonus reward for summer that includes restaurants and movie theaters. Using your Chase Freedom card for these purchases will earn you 5% cash back. This is a much greater value than the 1.5% offered by Chase Freedom Unlimited.
  • You have time to keep up with the rotating rewards category and will remember to opt-in every month. To receive their 5% bonus cash back, cardholders have to activate their rotating rewards each quarter. You can activate using the Chase website or mobile app, by sending a text or email, by calling the customer service line, or in person at a local Chase bank branch. The process is straightforward, but you have to remember to activate. You’ll also have to remember what the rewards category is for each quarter.

Cahse freedom

The Chase Freedom Unlimited card may be a better choice for you if:

  • You want the easiest possible way to earn the most cash back. Unlike the Chase Freedom card, the Chase Freedom Unlimited doesn’t require opting into savings. You’ll automatically earn 1.5% cash back on each purchase.
  • You’re looking to upgrade from another cash back credit card. The Chase Freedom Unlimited’s 1.5% rewards is one of the best unlimited flat cash back rewards rates available. The industry standard is 1% cash back.
  • You are prone to overspending or making impulse purchases. Since you don’t have to modify your spending to take advantage of its rewards, the Chase Freedom Unlimited is the better choice. For example, if Chase runs a 5% bonus on Amazon.com purchases, and you don’t usually shop there, you may be tempted to start to take advantage of extra rewards. Your overspending will quickly counteract the cash back that you earn.

Chase Freedom vs Chase Freedom Unlimited – Either card is a good choice if:

  • You don’t want to pay an annual fee. And who does? Your total cash back reward is cash in your pocket with either the Chase Freedom or Chase Freedom Unlimited.
  • You have average credit and are looking for a cash back card. Chase regularly approves people with fair or average credit for both the Chase Freedom and the Chase Freedom Unlimited.
  • You are planning to make a large purchase that you can pay off in the next 15 months. Since both cards offer an introductory interest rate of 0%, you may want to apply before you plan to make a large purchase. You’ll earn cash back and have interest-free financing for over a year.
  • You already have a Chase Sapphire Preferred or Chase Sapphire Reserve card. Both the Chase Freedom and Chase Freedom Unlimited credit cards are part of Chase’s Ultimate Rewards program. When you pair Freedom or Freedom Unlimited with a Chase Sapphire card, you can transfer the points you would redeem for cash back to a common account for travel discounts. When you do so, you can then transfer them at a 1:1 ratio to use for popular free travel rewards. Alternatively, you can use them to book travel at a 20% discount through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal. Pairing your cards will help you earn travel points much more quickly.

Chase Freedom vs Chase Freedom Unlimited – Neither card may be right for you if:

  • You plan to carry a balance on the card after the promotional period. While standard interest rates on both the Chase Freedom and Chase Freedom Unlimited are competitive, if you have good or excellent credit and plan to carry a balance, you may want to consider a card with a lower interest rate.
  • You frequently travel internationally. Both the Chase Freedom and Chase Freedom Unlimited charge a 3% foreign transaction fee. If you plan to use a credit card outside the country regularly, you may want to consider a credit card that waives those fees. You may also want to consider a co-branded airline rewards card so you can combine your credit card rewards with your frequent flyer miles.
  • You want to transfer a large balance to consolidate your credit card debt. Both cards charge a 5% balance transfer fee. If you’re looking to transfer a large balance, you may want to consider the Chase Slate® card. Slate offers a 0% promotional fee for balance transfers.

Chase Freedom vs Chase Freedom Unlimited – Which is better?

Still having trouble deciding between the Chase Freedom® and the Chase Freedom Unlimited℠? You might want to consider getting both. Since both cards provide solid cash back rewards with no annual fees, you could maximize your earnings by using them together. Using the Chase Freedom card only for purchases in the quarterly rotating bonus category would allow you to earn 5% cash back. You could then use the Chase Freedom Unlimited card for all your other purchases to earn 1.5% cash back, rather than the flat 1% offered by Chase Freedom.

A word of caution: this probably isn’t the best idea for those who are building or rebuilding credit. Each time you apply for a card, an inquiry is added to your credit report. Too many inquiries over a short period will have a negative impact on your score. In addition, JPMorgan Chase has its own 5/24 rule. New applications will automatically be denied for anyone who has opened five or more credit card accounts over the past two years. Spacing out your applications may also allow you to take advantage of the $150 signing bonus for both cards.

Which Cash Back Credit Card is the Best Chase Freedom® or Chase Freedom Unlimited℠?

Chase Freedom vs Chase Freedom Unlimited, which card is the winner? Whether you choose the Chase Freedom, the Chase Freedom Unlimited, or a combination of the two, you can’t go wrong if you use your credit responsibly. Be sure to charge only what you can afford. Make minimum payments on time, and pay off the entire balance on each card as quickly as you can. Doing so will help you avoid interest charges, meaning that your rewards really will be yours to keep.


cahse freedom

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Cahse freedom

Cahse freedom

Update: per Zach, the new Chase Freedom Unlimited is in ADDITION to the current Chase Freedom and will not replace it, and both cards will continue to be able to transfer points to Ultimate Rewards partners, if you have a Chase Sapphire or Ink Plus.

A new Chase Freedom Unlimited card is rumored to be launching sometime in March 2016, per Angelina. It will have a similar signup bonus, but not have the rotating 5X bonus categories:

  • $150 bonus after spending $500 on the card within the first 3 months of account opening
  • $25 bonus after adding an authorized user and making a purchase within the first 3 months of account opening
  • Unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase


New Chase Freedom Unlimited Details: Earns Ultimate Rewards & Old Freedom Stays

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Cahse freedom

Chase Freedom Unlimited Information

Over the weekend I covered the rumor of a new Chase Freedom card called the Freedom Unlimited. At the time, the rumor also suggested that the normal Freedom along with its 5X rotating categories was going away. Thankfully that doesn’t seem to be the case. The Points Guy has confirmed with Chase that the original Freedom is staying and both cards will coexist alongside each other.

We now know more information about the new Freedom Unlimited card and it seems to be very good. Here are some of the features of the card as described by Chase to The Points Guy.

  • The new Chase Freedom Unlimited card will offer 1.5% unlimited cash back on every purchase.
  • There’s no minimum to redeem for cash back—cardholders can redeem any amount, anytime.
  • Chase Freedom Unlimited customers will earn points through the Ultimate Rewards program in the same way our Freedom customers do today
  • Customers can redeem points for cash back or other redemptions options including gift cards and travel.

Based on the quote from Chase, both the old Chase Freedom and new Freedom Unlimited will coexist. That is nice, but the really great news is that the new card will earn Ultimate Rewards! This means that you can earn 1.5X Ultimate Rewards on every purchase as long as you also have a Sapphire Preferred or Ink Plus card to transfer the points to.

Depending on your valuation of Ultimate Rewards, this card could be much better than a standard 2% cashback card. I personally value Ultimate Rewards at about 1.7 cents each based on my past redemptions, so using this card would earn me about 2.55% back based on that. If you are looking to cash in the points earned directly for cash at $.01 each, then cards like the Double Cash from Citi would be better.

Frequent Miler has a good analysis based on mostly correct assumptions about how this card stacks up against the competition. It is definitely worth a read.

Converting Freedom to Freedom Unlimited

While a lot is not known at this point, The Points Guy does say, “Chase has confirmed that you will be able to switch from Freedom to Freedom Unlimited, if that’s something you’d like to do.” This is good news for people like me with multiple Freedoms. While it might sting a bit to lose the 5X categories, it may make sense to switchover a Freedom to have this earning ability.

I am very glad the rumor from this past weekend of the regular Freedom’s demise was wrong. Additionally I am excited that this new card will earn Ultimate Rewards points. While there are still some things we don’t know, it seems the Freedom Unlimited will be a strong addition to the Chase lineup for people who are invested in the Ultimate Rewards program.