Is the Chase Freedom Credit Card worth it? |June 2018

The Chase Freedom® credit card review – June 2018

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

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 690 or higher.
Product NameChase Freedom® credit card
Intro APR for Balance Transfer0% Intro APR for 15 months (with whichever is greater, $5 or 5% balance transfer fee)
Balance Transfer Rate (not intro)16.49% to 25.24% variable
APR for Purchases ( Purchase Rate )16.49% to 25.24% variable
Annual fee$0
Cash Advance Rate26.49% variable
Card TypeVisa
Interest Free Period
The interest-free period on purchases is the period or number of days you do not have to pay interest on your card purchases. You will be charged interest either from the day you make a purchase or from the statement date, unless you pay the closing balance in full by the due date (or within the interest-free period) on your statement.
Up to 21 days
Returned Payment Fee$37
Foreign Currency Conversion Fee (VISA)
Foreign currency conversion fees are charged when you make a transaction that is converted by a credit card network, such as MasterCard, Visa or American Express, from Australian dollars to a foreign currency. You’ll also incur a currency conversion fee if you make a purchase or obtain a cash advance in Australian dollars while overseas or shopping online with a foreign merchant or financial institution.
3% of transaction value
Minimum Interest$0
Minimum Credit ScoreFair (660-699)
Minimum Age18 years of age
Annual fee$0
Returned Payment Fee$37
Over The Credit Line Fee$0
Late Payment Fee$37
Cash Advance Fee$10 or 5% of the amount of each transaction, whichever is greater

The basics

The Chase Freedom® credit card is impressively well-rounded. With $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® credit card. It offers 0% intro APR on purchases and balance transfers for a strong 15 months, after that your APR will be 16.49% to 25.24% variable. Meanwhile, you’ll earn cash back on everything you buy. Few other cards match the Chase Freedom® credit card in these respects.

You’ll earn 5% cash back in quarterly rotating categories — up to $1,500 in combined purchases each quarter, 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.

The perks

  • ANNUAL FEE: $0

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

  • SIGNUP BONUS: $150 bonus cash.

    Spend $500 on purchases in the first 3 months from your account opening to earn a $150 bonus. It’s a solid signup bonus that’s relatively easy to obtain.

    Add an authorized user and make your first purchase within the same 3-month period and you’ll earn an additional $25 bonus.

  • 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 16.49% to 25.24% variable for purchases and balance transfers, depending on your creditworthiness.
  • 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, 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.

How cash back redemption works

Chase advertises its Chase Freedom® credit card 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, 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.

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® credit card offers a great 0% intro APR on balance transfers and purchases, but you still need to pay balance transfer fees. For each transfer you’ll pay whichever is greater, $5 or 5% of the transfer.
  • Foreign transaction fees.
    A 3% fee per transaction is applied to all international purchases.

Consider other cards if …

  • You don’t want to pay balance transfer fees.
    Consider the Chase Slate® Credit Card and BankAmericard® Credit Card, which waive balance transfer fees for a period of time after you open your card.
  • You don’t want to deal with rotating cashback categories.
    For simpler cashback structures, look into cards like the Citi® Double Cash Card and Bank of America® Cash Rewards Credit Card.
  • You want a longer intro APR on purchases and balance transfers.
    Consider the Citi Simplicity® Card, which offers 0% intro APR for 18 months on purchases and balance transfers. Afterward, you’ll receive an ongoing APR between 15.74% to 25.74% variable.
  • You want a market-leading intro APR.
    Look into the Citi® Diamond Preferred® Card, which offers 0% intro APR for 21 months on balance transfers and 0% intro APR for 12 months on purchases. After the promotional period ends for each, you’ll have an ongoing APR between 14.49% to 24.49% variable.
  • Your credit history is so-so.
    If you have less-than-stellar credit, consider improving your score with a secured credit card. Look into the Discover it® Secured Credit Card, an excellent product that allows balance transfers.

Compare no annual fee credit cards

Rates last updated June 21st, 2018
Name Product Product Description Annual fee APR for Purchases ( Purchase Rate )
HSBC Cash Rewards Mastercard® credit card
Earn unlimited 1.5% cash rewards on all purchases. See Rates and Fees
14.49%, 18.49%, or 24.49% variable
Amex EveryDay® Credit Card
Earn 15000 Membership Rewards® Points after you use your new Card to make $1,000 in purchases in your first 3 months.
14.74% to 25.74% variable
Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express
Earn $150 back after you spend $1,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. You will receive the $150 back in the form of a statement credit.
14.74% to 25.74% variable
Chase Freedom® credit card
Earn 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in combined purchases in bonus categories each quarter you activate and unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases.
16.49% to 25.24% variable
Chase Freedom Unlimited® credit card
Earn unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase – it's automatic. No minimum to redeem for cash back.
16.49% to 25.24% variable
Bank of America® Cash Rewards Credit Card
Earn more cash back for the things you buy most.
14.74% to 24.74% variable
Bank of America® Travel Rewards Credit Card
20,000 online bonus points offer. Ditch the restrictions of typical airline rewards cards. Any airline, any hotel, anytime. No blackout dates.
16.49% to 24.49% variable
Chase Slate® Credit Card
Jumpstart your financial fitness! 60 day introductory balance transfer offer, save on interest, and get your free monthly credit score.
16.49% to 25.24% variable
Quicksilver® from Capital One®
Earn unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase, every day
14.49%, 20.49% or 24.49% variable
Uber Visa Card
Get 4% points back on dining, 3% on travel, 2% on Uber rides and online shopping and 1% on other purchases, and redeem points for Uber credits, gift cards or cash back.
16.49%, 22.24% or 25.24% variable
Discover it® Card
Earn 5% Cash Back in rotating categories each quarter like gas stations, restaurants,, wholesale clubs and more, up to the quarterly maximum each time you activate. Plus unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases.
13.49% to 24.49% variable
Discover it® Miles Travel Credit Card
Earn unlimited 1.5x Miles for every dollar spent on all purchases – from airfare and hotels to groceries and online shopping.
13.49% to 24.49% variable
Citi® Double Cash Card
Earn 1% cash back for payments on purchases, on top of the 1% cash back on purchases. No annual fee.
15.24% to 25.24% variable

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What should I know before I apply?

Always consider your options and your financial situation before you apply for a credit card.

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 690 or higher.

What do customers say about the Chase Freedom® credit card?

Cardholders are generally thrilled with the Chase Freedom® credit card‘s bonus categories and 5% 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® credit card

  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.

step 2 Chase Freedom Credit Card review

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.

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 5% cash back. To get the 5% 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 $37.
  • 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.

Bottom line

The Chase Freedom® credit cardis 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.

Common questions about the Chase Freedom® credit card


Adrienne Fuller

Adrienne Fuller leads the publishing team at 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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