Chase Freedom Credit Card review | finder.com

Chase Freedom® credit card review – November 2018

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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 690 or higher.
Product NameChase Freedom® credit card
Card TypeVisa
Annual Fee$0
APR (Annual Percentage Rate) for Purchases16.99% to 25.74% variable
Introductory Purchase APR0% for the first 15 months (then 16.99% to 25.74% variable)
Introductory Balance Transfer APR 0% for the first 15 months (then 16.99% to 25.74% variable)
Balance Transfer Fee$5 or 5% of the transaction, whichever is greater
Cash Advance Rate26.99% 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 Fee$38
Additional Cardholder Fee$0
Minimum Age18 years of age
Reward Value per Dollar1 points
Rewards Points ExpiryNever

The basics

The Chase Freedom® credit card 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® credit card. It offers 0% intro APR on purchases and balance transfers for a strong 15 months, after that your APR will be 16.99% to 25.74% 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 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 the Chase Freedom® a Visa or Mastercard? What's the Chase Freedom® annual fee?

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

The card has no annual fee, which is great news as you earn rewards.

The perks

  • ANNUAL FEE: $0

    A $0 annual fee makes it easy to keep the Chase Freedom® credit card 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 percent cash back

To get the most out of the Chase Freedom® credit card, you’ll want to time your purchases to match the card’s 5% reward periods. 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/month in 5% categories = $210 cash back over a year
  • $200/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 16.99% to 25.74% variable for purchases and balance transfers, depending on your creditworthiness.

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 in 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.

What to watch out for

  • You don’t get 5% cash back automatically.
    To earn 1% 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 for 15 months (then 16.99% to 25.74% variable ), but you still need to pay balance transfer fees. For each transfer you’ll pay a fee of $5 or 5% 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, the Chase Freedom® credit card offers a market-leading cashback rate. It and the Discover it® Cash Back are arguably the top two players in the rotating-reward space.

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 12 months on purchases and balance transfers. Afterward, you’ll receive an ongoing APR between 15.99% to 25.99% variable .
  • You want a market-leading intro APR.
    Look into the U.S. Bank Visa® Platinum Card, which offers 0% intro APR for 20 billing cycles on balance transfers and 0% intro APR for 20 billing cycles on purchases. After the promotional period ends for each, you’ll have an ongoing APR between 11.99% to 23.99% 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, an excellent product that allows balance transfers.

Compare Chase Freedom® credit card vs Bank of America® Cash Rewards credit card

Updated November 17th, 2018
Name Product Welcome Offer Reward Value per Dollar APR (Annual Percentage Rate) for Purchases Annual Fee
$150 statement credit after you spend $1,000 in purchases on your new card within the first 3 months.
1% cash back
14.99% to 25.99% variable
$0
Earn a $150 bonus statement credit after you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months. Rates & Fees
$200 statement credit after you spend $1,000 in purchases on your new card within the first 3 months
1% cash back
14.99% to 25.99% variable
$95
Earn $200 bonus cash back after you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months. Rates & Fees
250 Back. Here’s how: 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. Plus, earn an additional $100 statement credit after you spend an additional $6,500 in purchases within your first 12 months.
1.5% cash back
14.99% to 25.99% variable
$0
Earn up to $250 back. Earn $150 back after you spend $1,000 or more in purchases with your new card within the first 3 months of Card Membership. Plus, earn an additional $100 back after you spend an additional $6,500 in purchases within your first 12 months. You will receive the cash back in the form of a statement credit. Rates & Fees
Enjoy 60,000 bonus miles after spending $5,000 on purchases in the first 90 days.
2 miles
17.99%, 21.99% or 24.99% variable
$0 annual fee for the first year ($89 thereafter)
Enjoy 60,000 bonus miles after spending $5,000 on purchases in the first 90 days.
75,000 Bonus Points after you use your new Card to make $3,000 in purchases within the first 3 months.
2 points
17.74% to 26.74% variable
$0 annual fee for the first year ($95 thereafter)
Enjoy a $0 annual fee on the first year and earn up to 2 Starpoints® for every dollar of eligible purchases. Rates & Fees
125,000 Hilton Honors Bonus Points with the Hilton Honors American Express Ascend Card after you use your new Card to make $2,000 in eligible purchases within the first 3 months of Card Membership.
3 points
17.74% to 26.74% variable
$95
Earn 125,000 Hilton Honors™ Bonus Points after you spend $2,000 or more in purchases with your new card within the first 3 months of Card Membership. Rates & Fees
75,000 Hilton Honors Bonus Points with the Hilton Honors American Express Card after you use your new Card to make $1,000 in eligible purchases within the first 3 months of Card Membership.
3 points
17.74% to 26.74% variable
$0
Earn 75,000 Hilton Honors™ Bonus Points after you spend $1,000 in purchases on the card within your first 3 months of Card Membership. Rates & Fees
Earn a $150 cash rewards intro bonus after spending $2,500 in the first 3 months. 10% Anniversary Bonus on all Cash Rewards earned once a year.
1.5% cash back
14.99%, 18.99% or 24.99% variable
$0
Earn unlimited 1.5% cash rewards on purchases. See Rates and Fees.
10,000 bonus miles after spending $500 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months.
1 miles
17.74% to 26.74% variable
$0
Earn 10,000 Bonus Miles after spending $500 in purchases on your new card in your first 3 months of Card Membership. Rates & Fees
30,000 Bonus Miles after spending $1,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months and a $50 statement credit after you make a Delta purchase with your new Card within your first 3 months.
1 miles
17.74% to 26.74% variable
$0 annual fee for the first year ($95 thereafter)
30,000 bonus miles after you use your new card to make $1,000 on purchases within the first 3 months. Rates & Fees
1 points
16.99% variable
$495
Mastercard Black Card members receive an annual $100 air travel credit toward flight-related purchases including airline tickets, baggage fees, upgrades and more.
1 points
16.99% variable
$195
Enjoy unique excursions, privileged access to exclusive events and insider opportunities.
2 points
16.99% variable
$995
Earn points every time you spend. Luxury Card enhances your purchasing power by providing you with one (1) point for every one dollar ($1) you spend. Every purchase gets you closer to the rewards you want.

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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 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 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® 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 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® credit card 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.

Common questions about the Chase Freedom® credit card

Image: chase.com

Cashback card ratings

★★★★★ — Excellent

★★★★★ — Good

★★★★★ — Average

★★★★★ — Subpar

★★★★★ — Poor

Our team evaluates credit cards to determine their value against similar cards on the market.

We rank card types — travel, cash back, business — on a set of factors that are most relevant to that type of card. We create these rankings to help you narrow down a credit card that best suits your spending and budget.

Learn the details of our methodology and scoring.

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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