Chase Freedom Credit Card review | finder.com

Chase Freedom® review – January 2019

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A well-rounded card that offers $0 annual fee, a strong intro APR and cashback rewards.

finder.com’s rating: 4.4 / 5.0

★★★★★

30-second take

  • Get this card if you want a $0 annual-fee card that earns cash back in rotating categories.
  • Pick something else if you don’t want to keep track of rotating cashback categories.
  • Apply with a good to excellent credit score of 670 or higher.
Product NameChase Freedom®
Card TypeVisa
Annual Fee$0
APR (Annual Percentage Rate) for Purchases17.24% to 25.99% variable
Introductory Purchase APR0% for the first 15 months (then 17.24% to 25.99% variable)
Introductory Balance Transfer APR 0% for the first 15 months (then 17.24% to 25.99% variable)
Balance Transfer Fee$5 or 3% of the transaction, whichever is greater
Cash Advance Rate27.24% variable
Foreign Transaction Fee3% of the transaction value
Cash Advance Fee$10 or 5% of the cash advance amount, whichever is greater
Interest Free PeriodUp to 21 days
Late Payment FeeUp to $38
Returned Payment FeeUp to $38
Additional Cardholder Fee$0
Rates & FeesRates & Fees
Minimum Age18 years of age
Welcome OfferEarn $150 cash back after spending $500 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening
Reward Value per Dollar1% cash back
Apply now

The basics

The Chase Freedom® is impressively well-rounded. With a $0 annual fee, a solid signup bonus, a long intro APR and attractive cash back, it’s an uncommon card that brings seemingly everything to the table.

If you’re hunting for a great intro APR, many cards force you to sacrifice rewards. Not so with the Chase Freedom®. It offers 0% intro APR on purchases and balance transfers for a strong 15 months, after that your APR will be 17.24% to 25.99% variable . Meanwhile, you’ll earn cash back on everything you buy. Few other cards match the Chase Freedom® in these respects.

You’ll earn 5% cash back in rotating categories for each quarter you activate — up to $1,500 in combined purchases, then it drops to 1% cash back. On everything else, you’ll earn 1% cash back. That can add up to a sizable haul, especially if you like adjusting your spending to take advantage of various rewards categories.

Is Chase Freedom® a Visa or Mastercard? What's the Chase Freedom® annual fee?

Chase Freedom® is a Visa. It comes with perks like purchase protection and extended warranties.

The card also has no annual fee, which is great news for your rewards.

The perks

  • ANNUAL FEE: $0

    A $0 annual fee makes it easy to keep the Chase Freedom® long term.

  • REWARDS: Up to 5% cash back.

    When you spend on quarterly-rotating bonus categories, you’ll earn 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in combined purchases each quarter you activate, after that you’ll earn 1% cash back.

    Categories might include gas stations, grocery stores, restaurants, department stores and more. You need to activate the bonus categories for your card each quarter to earn the 5% reward rate.

    On all other purchases, you’ll earn 1% cash back.

A Chase credit card with 5% cash back

To get the most out of Chase Freedom®, you’ll want to time your purchases to match each 5% reward period. If you can do this, you’ll earn fantastic rewards.

Let’s see how much cash back you could earn based on this sample spending:

  • $350 per month in 5% categories = $210 cash back over a year
  • $200 per month in 1% categories = $24 cash back over a year

Over a year, you’d earn $234 cash back.

  • SIGNUP BONUS: $150 bonus cash.

    You can earn the bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening. It’s a solid signup bonus that’s relatively easy to obtain.

  • INTRO APR: 0% intro APR for 15 months on purchases and balance transfers.
    15 months is a strong zero-interest period. After the intro period, your APR will range from 17.24% to 25.99% variable for purchases and balance transfers, depending on your creditworthiness.

How cash back redemption works

Chase advertises its Chase Freedom® rewards as cash back. However, you’ll actually earn points when you use your card.

It takes 100 points to earn $1 in cash back. So, each point is worth 1 cent, which fits the industry standard.

You can redeem your points for various rewards using your Chase online account, including:

  • Cash back
  • Gift cards
  • Travel
  • Products and services from third-party merchants

Points may be worth less than 1 cent apiece if you redeem them for rewards other than cash back. That said, it’s a good idea to check the redemption rate before using your points.

You’ll also like …

  • Purchase protection.
    When you make eligible purchases with your card, they’re covered for 120 days against damage or theft. Protection is limited to $500 per claim and $50,000 per account.
  • Extended warranties.
    When you make an eligible purchase with your card, Chase will extended its warranty by an additional year. The original warranty must be three years or less.
Apply now

What to watch out for

  • You don’t get 5% cash back automatically.
    To earn 5% cash back, you need to activate it every quarter. You can do so online, by email, over the phone, at an ATM or at a Chase branch. Chase will let you know when to activate your cashback bonus categories when you opt in for email reminders.
  • Balance transfer fees.
    The Chase Freedom® offers a great 0% intro APR on balance transfers and purchases for 15 months (then 17.24% to 25.99% variable ), but you still need to pay balance transfer fees. For each transfer you’ll pay a fee of $5 or 3% of the transaction, whichever is greater.
  • Foreign transaction fees.
    A 3% fee per transaction is applied to all international purchases.

Chase Freedom®: Best credit card?

For rotating reward categories, Chase Freedom® offers a market-leading cashback rate. It and Discover it® Cash Back are arguably the top two players in the rotating-reward space.

Compare similar cashback cards

Name Product Filter values Annual Fee APR for Purchases (Purchase Rate) Intro APR for Balance Transfer
$0
17.24% to 25.99% variable
0% for the first 15 months (then 17.24% to 25.99% variable)
0% intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases and balance transfers.
$0
17.24% to 25.99% variable
0% for the first 15 months (then 17.24% to 25.99% variable)
0% intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases and balance transfers.
$95
15.24% to 26.24% variable
0% for the first 12 months (then 15.24% to 26.24% variable)
Earn $200 bonus cash back after you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months. Rates & Fees
$0
15.24% to 26.24% variable
0% for the first 15 months (then 15.24% to 26.24% variable)
Earn a $150 bonus statement credit after you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months. Rates & Fees
$0
15.24% to 26.24% variable
0% for the first 15 months (then 15.24% to 26.24% variable)
Earn a $150 statement credit after you spend $1,000 or more in purchases with your new card within the first 3 months of card membership. Rates & Fees
$0
15.24%, 19.24% or 25.24% variable
0% for the first 15 months (then 15.24%, 19.24% or 25.24% variable)
Earn unlimited 1.5% cash rewards on purchases. See Rates and Fees.
$0 to $99
19.99% to 25.99% variable

N/A

Get 1% cash back rewards on eligible purchases.

Compare up to 4 providers

Chase Freedom® cashback rewards calendar 2019

What should I know before I apply?

Eligibility criteria

  • You’re at least 18 years old
  • You’re at least 19 years old if you live in Alabama or Nebraska
  • You’re at least 21 years old if you live in Puerto Rico

Required documents and information

  • Your name, residential status and residential address
  • Your Social Security number
  • Your email address, phone number and date of birth
  • Financial information like your annual income, source of income and employment information

What credit score do I need?

You’ll have a better chance of being approved for the card if you apply with a good to excellent credit score of 670 or higher.

What do customers say about the Chase Freedom®?

Cardholders are generally thrilled with the Chase Freedom®‘s bonus categories and 1% cash back. However, some customers say they’ve had trouble with Chase autopay.

Chase earns a Trustpilot score of 5 out of 10 at the time of this writing. Most negative reviews cite slow responses to fraud complaints and less-than-helpful customer service. Positive reviews cite the bank’s great mobile app and quick resolutions to their issues. Overall, your mileage may vary with Chase customer support.

The JPMorgan Chase Credit Card division earns an overall A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau, yet it has almost 2,000 customer complaints lodged against it. Billing issues and problems with the product and service were among the chief reasons for complaints.

How to apply for the Chase Freedom®

  1. Go to the Chase website and click Apply Now.
  2. Complete the application with details like your name, address, annual income and Social Security number.
  3. Review and submit your application.

How long will it take for me to be approved?

Because approval is automated on the Chase website, you’ll likely get a decision within minutes. If there are issues with your application, it could take up to a few weeks to hear back.

Apply now

I got the card. Now what?

  • Manage your account online. Register with the Chase website to keep an eye on your spending and payments.
  • Activate your 1% cash back. To get the 1% cashback premium, activate your bonus every quarter. If you don’t take this step, you’ll earn only 1% cash back.
  • Steer clear of penalties. Late payments and returned checks can attract fees of up to $38.
  • Consider using the card less often overseas. You pay foreign transaction fees each time you use this card outside the US. Learn more about cards that have no foreign transaction fees.
  • Contact customer service. Contact Chase Credit Cards support with any questions you have at 1-800-432-3117.

Chase Freedom® vs. Chase Freedom Unlimited®

Bottom line

The Chase Freedom® is a well-rounded product with a strong set of perks. For starters, there’s a solid signup bonus and $0 annual fee. And you’ll enjoy the attractive combination of a great intro APR and lucrative cash back. Quite simply, the card is a stellar pick to attract cash back on everyday spending.
Top 5% cashback credit cards

Common questions about the Chase Freedom®

Image: chase.com

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★★★★★ — Good

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★★★★★ — Subpar

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Adrienne Fuller

Adrienne Fuller leads the publishing team at finder.com. She has one goal: to deliver the accurate and transparent information she wishes she had when she made some of life's important financial decisions. When she's not helping folks save money, she's hiking with her two Catahoulas around her home in San Diego.

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