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Updated April 7, 2016

Chase Freedom Card Review 2016: Cash Back and More

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If you want to earn cash back, Chase Freedom should be on your shortlist. But wait. There are some potential drawbacks. Read on for the pros and cons to this rewards credit card.

Overall Score

4.3

Rewards

4.5

Interest Rates

4.0

Fees

4.5

Benefits

4.0
5-point scale (the higher, the better)

Pros and Cons

  • $150 bonus after you make $500 in purchases in your first 3 months
  • 5% bonus rotating categories
  • Full 1% cash back on every purchases
  • Intro APR
  • No annual fee
  • Foreign transaction fee

Bottom Line

Excellent cash back credit card for cardholders who pay in full

With its $150 bonus offer, rotating 5% cash back categories, and introductory APR on purchases and balance transfers for 15 months, it's no surprise that the Chase Freedom Card is one of the most popular cashback credit cards with no annual fee.

Why Consider Freedom

  1. You spend at least $167 per month on your credit card: This card has a standout promotional offer. Spend just $500 within the first three months of opening the account, and you’ll get a $150 bonus. Other rewards credit cards have much higher spending thresholds to score the promotion.

  2. You want a 0% APR promotion: This cash rewards credit card comes with a 0% APR introductory rate for 15 months on purchases and balance transfers. And then after the intro period, a variable APR, currently between 14.24% and 23.24%, applies. The introductory rate can give you time to pay off a big purchase or consolidate your debt onto one card (balance transfers are subject to a 5% fee, with a minimum fee of $5).

  3. You want to earn cash back: The Freedom card helps you earn cash rewards on virtually everything you buy. You earn at least 1% cash back on every purchase, with the potential to earn more in the rotating bonus categories.

  4. You want even more cash back: While the card earns cash rewards every time you use the card, you can earn a higher percentage — 5% — total cash back on bonus spending categories (on up to $1,500 worth of purchases each quarter). These categories (like supermarkets, gas stations, select grocery stores, and wholesale clubs) change every 3 months.

    This is why many folks love the Chase Freedom. We'll talk more about the 5% rewards calendar below.

    Keep in mind, you’ll need to sign up to participate in the rotating categories every 3 months, but it’s easy to do. Chase gives you several ways to remind yourself to do it — but you will have to have your card handy or memorize the last four digits of the card to enroll.

  5. You want rewards that are easy to redeem: You can redeem rewards for cash back ($20 or more) for your choice of a statement credit, direct deposit, or a paper check. You can also redeem through Chase Ultimate rewards for gift cards.

  6. You want a credit card that works: The Chase Freedom is a Visa credit card. You’ll enjoy widespread merchant acceptance than you would with cards from American Express or Discover. This is an important differentiating factor if you frequently patronize smaller businesses.

    Plus, it has a smart chip. A safer, better way to make payments in stores.

  7. You don't want to pay an annual fee: Have you had to pay an expensive annual fee? The Freedom has no annual fee.

  8. You like to shop online: If you shop through Chase's online shopping portal, you have the opportunity to earn even more cash rewards at select online retailers (extra cash back ranges from 1% to 15%, depending on the merchant). The list of merchants change from time to time.

  9. You want rewards that do not expire: Have you had cash rewards expire on you? As long as your credit card account remains open, your cash back does not expire.

Remember, you need to spend at least $500 in the first three months to qualify for the $150 bonus. Is the $500 in 3 months minimum spending too much? Check out these different credit card promotions here.

Chase Freedom Visa Review

© robie06 (CC BY-SA 2.0) via Flickr

Is Chase Freedom a Good Credit Card?

Is it worth applying for?

If you have good credit, then in one word: YES.

Chase Freedom is a strong contender as either a primary card or a secondary card — there's little downside in adding it to your wallet since it has no annual fee.

And there is a lot of upside. By timing your spending right, you'll find it's hard to beat this card's 5% cash back on rotating bonus categories. In fact, some people use the Chase Freedom as a secondary card only for charges that line up with the 5% cash back bonus rotating categories.

Rewards Redemption Tip: Want to get the most bang for the buck? Here's my tip: You can take the rewards even further if you also have the Chase Sapphire Preferred, which is great card for travelers in particular. With the Chase Freedom alone, you generally cannot transfer the points you earn to frequent flyer programs or get any additional discounts on booking travel. But when you pool your Chase Freedom points with the ones you get from Sapphire Preferred, you can transfer them to many frequent flyer programs or score a 20% discount when booking travel through the Chase Ultimate Rewards online portal. This tactic will help you better maximize your points.

Rewarding indeed.

Why You Might Look Elsewhere

© noddymini (CC BY 2.0) via Flickr

But there are a few reasons why you might want to consider a different rewards credit card.

  • You’ll need to pay attention to rotating categories: When you add this card to your credit card mix, you may want to do some thinking when you shop to make sure you’re getting the most rewards you can each time. For some people, such a prospect adds a fun dimension to shopping; for others, that may be a pain.

    Plus, the most you can get back at the 5% level is $75 a quarter as the card stops giving you that higher amount after you've spent $1,500 on purchases that fall under the bonus categories. We don’t think that’s chump change, but some people may be turned off by a threshold.

    Don't want to pay attention to rotating categories? You might want to consider the Chase Freedom Unlimited which offers 1.5% cash back on every purchase instead.

  • It can tempt you into buying things you do not need: By calling your attention to the bonus spending categories every quarter when you sign up, the card may prompt you to buy more at certain stores than your normally would, just to get the higher percentage of cash rewards.

  • You have to sign up each quarter: If that sounds like something you may not want to do, you may want a credit card that has a more consistent rewards program, with cash back or points on purchases that don’t change every 3 months.

  • You want to steer clear of a foreign transaction fee. If you do a lot of international travel, you may want to opt for a card with no foreign transaction fee: the Freedom charges a 3% fee of each transaction in U.S. dollars you make while traveling outside the United States. In comparison, credit cards from Discover and Capital One have no foreign transaction fee.

Chase Freedom Rewards

Who It's Best For

Is this rewards credit card right for you?

Chase Freedom caters to people who love to get a deal and enjoy using credit cards to get cash rewards, rather than trying to figure out points or miles. It also offers percentages off certain popular stores when you make a purchase through its website (Ultimate Rewards), and because you always get at least 1% off your purchases, it makes for a great everyday card.

2016 CATEGORIES: REWARD CALENDAR

You earn bonus cash rewards on rotating categories throughout the year. You earn 5% total cash back in select categories on up to $1,500 worth of quarterly purchases. If you spend over this limit, you go back to regular 1% rate until the three-month period ends. You earn an unlimited 1% cash back rate on other purchases.

The bonus categories for 2016 are:

  • Q1 (January 1 – March 31, 2016): Gas stations and local commuter transportation (includes taxis, subways, local commuter buses and trains; does not include parking, tolls, and Amtrak®)
  • Q2 (April 1 - June 30, 2016): Grocery stores (does not include Walmart®, Target®) and Wholesale Clubs (such as BJ's® and Sam's Club®)
  • Q3 (July 1 – September 30, 2016): Restaurants
  • Q4 (October 1 – December 31, 2016): Holiday shopping (details TBA)

(Additional categories or merchants will be announced before the start of each quarter.)

Remember, you always need to activate the 5% cash back categories each quarter. You can activate the 5% cash back categories online, by text message, via email, by mobile app, by calling customer service, or in-person at a Chase bank. My preference is to activate online when I check my online account statement. If Chase is already one of your banks you frequent, then activating in-person at a Chase bank ATM machine might be more convenient for you.

In addition, you can earn extra cash rewards by shopping online through Ultimate Rewards Mall, Chase's online shopping portal.

For historical reference, here are the past categories:

The bonus categories for 2015 were:

  • Q1 (from January 1 to March 31, 2015): Grocery stores (not including Target® and Walmart®), movie theaters and Starbucks® stores
  • Q2 (from April 1 to June 30, 2015): Restaurants, Bed Bath & Beyond®, H&M®, and Overstock.com®
  • Q3 (from July 1 to September 30, 2015): Gas stations and Kohl's®
  • Q4 (from October 1 to December 31, 2015): Amazon.com, Zappos.com, Audible.com, and Diapers.com

The bonus categories for 2014 were:

  • Q1 (January 1 – March 31, 2014): Gas stations, movie theaters and Starbucks® stores
  • Q2 (April 1 – June 30, 2014): Restaurants and Lowe’s® home improvement stores
  • Q3 (July 1 – September 30, 2014): Gas stations and Kohl’s®
  • Q4 (October 1 – December 31, 2014): Amazon.com, Zappos.com and select department stores

The bonus categories for 2013 were:

  • gas stations, drugstores and Starbucks® stores for January 2013 to March 2013
  • restaurants, movie theaters, and Lowe's® for April 2013 to June 2013
  • gas stations, theme parks, and Kohl's® for July 2013 to September 2013
  • Amazon.com and select department stores for October 2013 to December 2013

Pros

  • Earn a $150 bonus after your first $500 of purchases within the first three months from opening your account
  • Earns up to 5% bonus cash back (on up to $1,500 in combined purchases) in new rotating bonus categories throughout the year
  • Earns 1% cash back on all other purchases
  • No annual fee

Cons

How Chase Freedom Card Compares

© marfis75 (CC BY-SA 2.0) via Flickr

With so many credit cards offering cash back and low promotional interest rates to draw you in, how do you narrow down which works best for you? Well, it all depends.

Let’s compare the Chase Freedom against top cards from Chase and other banks: the Discover It, Chase Sapphire Preferred, Chase Slate, and Citi Double Cash.

Many of these credit cards appear similar on the surface, but a difference here and there could be what sways you, depending on your most immediate needs (what’s most important to you right now: do they have a big signup offer or a balance transfer promotion?).

Here's our assessment to help you make an informed choice based on which one serves your lifestyle and finances best.

We looked at five factors to help determine the advantages of each card:

  1. Rewards
  2. Introductory APR
  3. Interest rates after introductory period
  4. Fees
  5. Bonuses

CHASE FREEDOM RECAP:

  • Cash Back Rewards: 5% on quarterly rotating categories with $1,500 combined purchase cap; unlimited 1% on other purchases
  • Introductory APR: 0% introductory APR for first 15 months on purchases and balance transfers
  • Interest rates after Intro Period: 14.24% to 23.24% Variable, based on creditworthiness
  • Fees: No annual fee; 3% foreign transaction fee of each transaction in U.S. dollars
  • Bonuses: $150 back if you spend $500 within first three months of opening account

The Chase Freedom Card is a solid choice from a big bank for the "everyman/everywoman" with its cash back program for everyday items, no annual fee, and introductory APR. Because of the foreign transaction fee, it might not be the best card for international travelers, but if you stay in the U.S. and use your card frequently, you'll be rewarded nicely.

The rotating bonus spending categories are often geared towards popular categories like gas stations or specific retailers such as Kohl’s and Bed Bath and Beyond. Plus, cash rewards only require a $20 minimum for redemption (some rewards credit cards have a minimum of $25), and can be issued as a paper check, statement credit, direct deposit, or for Chase Ultimate gift rewards. And, as long as you do not close your account, your rewards never expire.

COMPARING CHASE FREEDOM TO DISCOVER IT

 

Chase Freedom

Discover It

 

Interest Rates and Fees

Introductory APR for Purchases0% Intro APR for 15 Months0% introductory APR for 12 months
Introductory APR for Balance Transfers0% Intro APR for 15 Months0% introductory APR for 12 months
Purchase APR14.24% to 23.24% Variable based on your creditworthiness and other factors11.24% to 23.24% Variable* based on your creditworthiness and other factors
Balance Transfers APR14.24% to 23.24% Variable based on your creditworthiness and other factors11.24% to 23.24% Variable* based on your creditworthiness and other factors
Annual Fee$0 annual fee$0 annual fee
 

Benefits and Features

Cash Back DealIntroductory Bonus Cash Back: Earn a $150 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account openingIntroductory Bonus Cash Back: Discover will match all the cash back you've earned at the end of your first year (only for new cardmembers).
Cash BackCash Back Rewards: Unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases - it's automaticCash Back Rewards: 1% cash back on all other purchases.
Bonus Cash BackBonus Cash Back: Earn 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in combined purchases in bonus categories each quarter you activate. It's free and easy to activate your bonus each quarter.
Bonus Categories for 2016:
Q1 (January 1 – March 31, 2016): Gas stations and local commuter transportation (not including parking, tolls, and Amtrak® purchases)
Q2 (April 1 - June 30, 2016): Grocery stores (not including Walmart®, Target®, discount or warehouse club store purchases)
Q3 (July 1 – September 30, 2016): Restaurants (details TBA)
Q4 (October 1 – December 31, 2016): Holiday shopping (details TBA)
Bonus Cash Back: 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in purchases in categories that change each quarter (requires free and easy sign-up for 5% Cashback Bonus)*
Limitations apply*. See issuer's website for additional program details.
Bonus Categories for 2015:
January - March 2015: 5% on up to $1,500 in purchases at Gas Stations and Ground Transportation
April - June 2015: 5% on up to $1,500 in Restaurant and Movie purchases
July - September 2015: 5% on up to $1,500 in purchases in Home Improvement Stores, Department Stores, and Amazon.com
October - December 2015: 5% on up to $1,500 in purchases at Amazon.com, Department Stores, and Clothing Stores
Bonus Categories for 2016:
January - March 2016: 5% on up to $1,500 in purchases at Gas Stations and for Ground Transportation
April - June 2016: 5% on up to $1,500 in purchases at Restaurants and Movies
July - September 2016: TBA May 2016
October - December 2016: TBA August 2016

Chase Freedom: Pricing information including interest rates, benefits and fees were obtained on March 15, 2016 from published websites and are believed to be accurate, but not guaranteed.

Discover It: Pricing information including interest rates, rewards, benefits and fees were obtained on January 4, 2016 from published websites and are believed to be accurate, but not guaranteed.

Disclaimer: The information for the Chase Freedom® and Discover it® have been collected independently by CreditDonkey. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

With the Discover It, there is no minimum for redeeming your cash rewards — a huge plus for card users who need the card for small-ticket items but who take a long time before they can reach $20-$25, which is what many cards require before redemption.

Why We Like Discover It Card More Than Chase Freedom:
Chase Freedom vs Discover It: Is customer service important to you? Discover has managed to gain favor with consumers in recent years. As the Wall Street Journal has noted, the company got the top spot in an annual customer-satisfaction survey of credit card companies by J.D. Power in 2014.

And it’s winning over cardholders with friendly conditions: The regular APR after the introductory APR period lapses is relatively low compared to other cards. Of course, you'll have to have excellent credit to obtain the lowest interest rate. But whatever APR you do get, know that Discover It won’t raise it if you do pay late occasionally. Another advantage of this card over the Chase Freedom: you'll get your FICO credit score online every month, free of charge.

You may also find that you can get even more rewards back when you shop through Discover Deals, Discover's online shopping portal. In terms of retailers, they have more options than Chase’s Ultimate Rewards portal and in my opinion, some online retailers offer higher percentages cash back using Discover's online shopping portal (as high as 20%).

Plus, there are no foreign transaction fees.

The Downsides: Why We Still Like Chase Freedom:
Though merchants that welcome Discover in their stores have increased by leaps and bounds in the past decade, the Discover It card isn't accepted everywhere, so you'd be wise to have a Visa or MasterCard just in case.

Who Discover It Works Best For
Thanks to no foreign transaction fee, the Discover It is a solid card for those who travel abroad. It's also a good choice if you plan to make a lot of large charges in the first year, as Discover will match the cash back you earned in the first 12 months after you open the account (for new customers only).

Tip: Best Credit Card for International Travel

COMPARING CHASE FREEDOM TO CHASE SAPPHIRE PREFERRED

 

Chase Freedom

Chase Sapphire Preferred

 

Interest Rates and Fees

Introductory APR for Purchases0% Intro APR for 15 MonthsN/A
Introductory APR for Balance Transfers0% Intro APR for 15 MonthsN/A
Purchase APR14.24% to 23.24% Variable based on your creditworthiness and other factors16.24% to 23.24% Variable based on your creditworthiness and other factors
Balance Transfers APR14.24% to 23.24% Variable based on your creditworthiness and other factors16.24% to 23.24% Variable based on your creditworthiness and other factors
Annual Fee$0 annual feeIntroductory Annual Fee of $0 the first year, then $95
 

Benefits and Features

Cash Back DealIntroductory Bonus Cash Back: Earn a $150 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening 
Points Deal Introductory Bonus Reward Points: Earn 50,000 bonus points when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $625 in travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
Cash BackCash Back Rewards: Unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases - it's automatic 
Bonus Cash BackBonus Cash Back: Earn 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in combined purchases in bonus categories each quarter you activate. It's free and easy to activate your bonus each quarter.
Bonus Categories for 2016:
Q1 (January 1 – March 31, 2016): Gas stations and local commuter transportation (not including parking, tolls, and Amtrak® purchases)
Q2 (April 1 - June 30, 2016): Grocery stores (not including Walmart®, Target®, discount or warehouse club store purchases)
Q3 (July 1 – September 30, 2016): Restaurants (details TBA)
Q4 (October 1 – December 31, 2016): Holiday shopping (details TBA)
 
Airline Airline Rewards: 1:1 point transfer to leading frequent travel programs at full value – that means 1,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points equal 1,000 partner miles/points
Hotel 
Points Point Rewards: Earn 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases
Travel Travel Rewards: 2X points per dollar spent on travel. 1:1 point transfer to leading frequent travel programs at full value - that means 1,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points equal 1,000 partner miles/points
Restaurant Dining Rewards: 2X points per dollar spent dining at restaurants
Airline Transfer Partners Airline Transfer Partners: Airline transfer partners include United Airlines, Southwest Airlines and more.

Chase Freedom: Pricing information including interest rates, benefits and fees were obtained on March 15, 2016 from published websites and are believed to be accurate, but not guaranteed.

Disclaimer: The information for the Chase Freedom® has been collected independently by CreditDonkey. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

Chase Freedom vs Sapphire Preferred: If you love to travel and eat out, the Chase Sapphire Preferred may be right for you. While the Sapphire Preferred has a travel-friendly rewards program and no foreign transaction fees, it does have a $95 annual fee.

There are rewards for all cardholders, but frequent vacationers and business travelers will probably receive much more perks with the Chase Sapphire Preferred card. It's also a solid choice for those who do a wide variety of dining and travel spending and prefer using a single card, as you'll get points for everyday purchases as well.

Why We Like Sapphire Preferred Card More Than Freedom:
People who travel a lot, whether foreign or domestic, stand to get more in return for their purchases than regular users of Chase Freedom. Points are geared towards travel, and there's a 1:1 point transfer to participating travel partners. This means that 1,000 Chase points/miles equal the same for partner miles/points, including British Airways Executive Club and Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards.

And you'll get a fair amount of travel benefits, including trip cancellation/interruption insurance and auto rental collision damage. These perks can really add up, as a cardholder quoted in a Los Angeles Times article found out. He was reimbursed for travel expenses related to a baggage snafu and rental car insurance that totaled over $2,000.

Plus, there are no foreign transaction fees.

Expert Tip: With the Sapphire Preferred Card, you can combine the reward points you earn with points associated with another Chase account, like the Chase Freedom. As long as both cards belong to you, your spouse or domestic partner and all of your accounts are in good standing, you can group them together for redemption purposes. This is a smart way for happy couples to accumulate points.

That gives you even more purchasing power if you've got the Chase Freedom card, for example, which pays 5% cash back on select spending categories each quarter. Generally, rewards earned with the Freedom card can't be transferred to frequent flyer programs and they're not eligible for the 20% discount when booking Ultimate Rewards travel. By combining your points, you're ultimately getting more mileage out of every dollar you spend.

Related: How Car Rental Car Insurance Works

The Downsides: Why We Like Chase Freedom More
There's no promotional APR on purchases or balance transfers, which won’t win over consumers who carry a balance. You'll also have to have excellent credit to be approved for the Chase Sapphire Preferred card, so if your FICO credit score is low, you're already out of the picture.

And there’s pressure to make a lot of purchases — at least $4,000 worth — in the first 3 months of card ownership to earn the 50,000 bonus points, which translates into $625 of travel when redeemed through Chase Ultimate Rewards.

Who Chase Sapphire Preferred Works Best For
International and domestic travelers looking for a travel credit card; consumers who dine out often.

COMPARING CHASE FREEDOM TO CHASE SLATE

 

Chase Freedom

Chase Slate

 

Interest Rates and Fees

Introductory APR for Purchases0% Intro APR for 15 Months0% Intro APR for 15 Months
Introductory APR for Balance Transfers0% Intro APR for 15 Months0% Intro APR for 15 Months
Purchase APR14.24% to 23.24% Variable based on your creditworthiness and other factors13.24% to 23.24% Variable based on your creditworthiness and other factors
Balance Transfers APR14.24% to 23.24% Variable based on your creditworthiness and other factors13.24% to 23.24% Variable based on your creditworthiness and other factors
Annual Fee$0 annual fee$0 annual fee
 

Benefits and Features

Cash Back DealIntroductory Bonus Cash Back: Earn a $150 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening 
Cash BackCash Back Rewards: Unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases - it's automatic 
Bonus Cash BackBonus Cash Back: Earn 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in combined purchases in bonus categories each quarter you activate. It's free and easy to activate your bonus each quarter.
Bonus Categories for 2016:
Q1 (January 1 – March 31, 2016): Gas stations and local commuter transportation (not including parking, tolls, and Amtrak® purchases)
Q2 (April 1 - June 30, 2016): Grocery stores (not including Walmart®, Target®, discount or warehouse club store purchases)
Q3 (July 1 – September 30, 2016): Restaurants (details TBA)
Q4 (October 1 – December 31, 2016): Holiday shopping (details TBA)
 

Chase Freedom: Pricing information including interest rates, benefits and fees were obtained on March 15, 2016 from published websites and are believed to be accurate, but not guaranteed.

Chase Slate: Pricing information including interest rates, benefits and fees were obtained on January 14, 2016 from published websites and are believed to be accurate, but not guaranteed.

Disclaimer: The information for the Chase Freedom® and Chase Slate® have been collected independently by CreditDonkey. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

Chase Freedom vs Slate: If you have an existing balance to transfer, consider the Chase Slate. While the Chase Slate does not have rewards like the Freedom, the Chase Slate has a $0 introductory balance transfer fee for balance transfers made during the first 60 days.

Touted as the "Best Credit Card for Balance Transfers" by Money Magazine for three straight years, it can be argued that the Chase Slate is the balance transfer king. That said, while it's well suited for those carrying cards with a high APR who need a break on their interest rates, it doesn't serve as the best all-around card for everybody.

Why We Like Chase Slate Card More Than Chase Freedom:
With both cards, if you transfer a balance from another credit card issuer to the Chase Slate or Chase Freedom, you'll pay no interest for the first 15 months on the balance transferred (assuming you make at least the monthly minimum payment and keep the account in good standing). However, there’s a huge difference between the two: Chase Slate will not charge you a balance transfer fee if you make the balance within 60 days of opening your account. In comparison, most credit cards charge a 3% to 5% balance transfer fee.

Need to move $3,500? If you go with Slate over Freedom, you'll save $175 by not having to pay a balance transfer fee since the Chase Freedom charges a 5% balance transfer fee ($5 minimum).

You'll also get your FICO score monthly, and through their Blueprint "Full Pay" plan, you can check off categories you know you'll pay in full each month (groceries, gas, etc.) and no interest will be accrued. Or use the "Finish It" plan, which allows you to give the date you expect to pay off your balance and you'll be billed each month for the amount you need to pay to make that happen. If you can’t pay off your total balance in full every month (which is the ideal way to go), you can at least isolate certain purchases this way.

The Downsides: Why We Like Chase Freedom Instead
There aren't any cash rewards associated with the Chase Slate, so it's really not an ideal card for new purchases when there are so many rewards cards out there. My opinion: It's more of a no-frills card for those who are already paying a high interest rate card and need to reduce their rate.

Who Chase Slate Works Best For
Cardholders who usually carry a balance or want to make a huge dent in their debt with a balance transfer.

COMPARING CHASE FREEDOM TO CITI DOUBLE CASH

 

Chase Freedom

Citi Double Cash Card

 

Interest Rates and Fees

Introductory APR for Purchases0% Intro APR for 15 MonthsN/A
Introductory APR for Balance Transfers0% Intro APR for 15 Months0%* introductory APR for 18 months*
Purchase APR14.24% to 23.24% Variable based on your creditworthiness and other factors13.24% to 23.24%* (Variable) based on your creditworthiness and other factors
Balance Transfers APR14.24% to 23.24% Variable based on your creditworthiness and other factors13.24% to 23.24%* (Variable) based on your creditworthiness and other factors
Annual Fee$0 annual fee$0 annual fee
 

Benefits and Features

Cash Back DealIntroductory Bonus Cash Back: Earn a $150 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening 
Cash BackCash Back Rewards: Unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases - it's automaticCash Back Rewards: Earn cash back twice on every purchase: 1% cash back when you buy; plus an additional 1% cash back as you pay for those purchases
Bonus Cash BackBonus Cash Back: Earn 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in combined purchases in bonus categories each quarter you activate. It's free and easy to activate your bonus each quarter.
Bonus Categories for 2016:
Q1 (January 1 – March 31, 2016): Gas stations and local commuter transportation (not including parking, tolls, and Amtrak® purchases)
Q2 (April 1 - June 30, 2016): Grocery stores (not including Walmart®, Target®, discount or warehouse club store purchases)
Q3 (July 1 – September 30, 2016): Restaurants (details TBA)
Q4 (October 1 – December 31, 2016): Holiday shopping (details TBA)
 

Chase Freedom: Pricing information including interest rates, benefits and fees were obtained on March 15, 2016 from published websites and are believed to be accurate, but not guaranteed.

Citi® Double Cash Card: Pricing information including interest rates, rewards, benefits and fees were obtained on April 21, 2016 from published websites and are believed to be accurate, but not guaranteed.

Disclaimer: The information for the Chase Freedom® and Citi® Double Cash Card have been collected independently by CreditDonkey. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

Why We Like Citi Double Cash Card More Than Chase Freedom:
With the Citi Double Cash you get cash back twice: 1% on eligible purchases and 1% when you pay.

The Downsides: Why We Like Chase Freedom More:
You'll lose the cash you earned if you don't make an eligible purchase or a payment within a year's time.

Plus, there's no signup bonus and no 5% cash back rotating bonus categories.

Who Citi Double Cash Card Works Best For:
Chase Freedom vs Citi Double Cash: This card attracts frequent credit card users who like the incentive of earning cash back on their payments. There’s a virtue involved with such an offer, this New York Times article notes, as it’s a rare card that actually encourages consumers to be smart with their credit card and pay it off every month. Citi Double Cash is also better for cardholders who don't want to bother with signing up for rotating categories each month.

HOW CHASE FREEDOM STACKS UP

All five credit cards are solid choices, with a fair amount of perks and specific rewards that are geared towards your particular needs. They will all reward you for your purchases. We still stand by Chase Freedom as one of the best all-around cash back card, but what’s our favorite may not fit your needs. Consider your spending habits and the benefits associated with each card before making your choice.

If you want hassle-free cash back with no rotating rewards categories and no enrollment required, American Express, a CreditDonkey advertiser, has a card with the same rewards categories year-round. In particular, the rewards categories are geared toward those who spend more on groceries and gas.

 

Chase Freedom

Blue Cash Everyday

 

Interest Rates and Fees

Introductory APR for Purchases0% Intro APR for 15 Months0% introductory APR on Purchases for 12 months
Introductory APR for Balance Transfers0% Intro APR for 15 Months0% introductory APR on Balance Transfers for 12 months
Purchase APR14.24% to 23.24% Variable based on your creditworthiness and other factors13.24% to 23.24% Variable based on your creditworthiness and other factors
Balance Transfers APR14.24% to 23.24% Variable based on your creditworthiness and other factors13.24% to 23.24% Variable based on your creditworthiness and other factors
Annual Fee$0 annual fee$0 annual fee
 See Rates & Fees
 

Benefits and Features

Cash Back DealIntroductory Bonus Cash Back: Earn a $150 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account openingIntroductory Bonus Cash Back: Special Offer - Get up to $300 back. Offer Ends 6/15/2016.
Get $100 back after you spend $1,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. You will receive $100 back in the form of a statement credit.
Cash BackCash Back Rewards: Unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases - it's automaticCash Back Rewards: Get Cash Back: 3% U.S. supermarkets up to $6,000 per year in purchases (then 1%); 2% U.S. gas stations & select U.S. dept. stores; 1% other purchases. Terms and limitations apply.
Bonus Cash BackBonus Cash Back: Earn 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in combined purchases in bonus categories each quarter you activate. It's free and easy to activate your bonus each quarter.
Bonus Categories for 2016:
Q1 (January 1 – March 31, 2016): Gas stations and local commuter transportation (not including parking, tolls, and Amtrak® purchases)
Q2 (April 1 - June 30, 2016): Grocery stores (not including Walmart®, Target®, discount or warehouse club store purchases)
Q3 (July 1 – September 30, 2016): Restaurants (details TBA)
Q4 (October 1 – December 31, 2016): Holiday shopping (details TBA)
 
Gas Gas Rewards: 2% at US gas stations. Terms and limitations apply
Grocery Grocery Rewards: 3% at US supermarkets, up to $6,000 per year in purchases (1% thereafter). Terms and limitations apply

Chase Freedom: Pricing information including interest rates, benefits and fees were obtained on March 15, 2016 from published websites and are believed to be accurate, but not guaranteed.

Disclaimer: The information for the Chase Freedom® has been collected independently by CreditDonkey. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

If you just want the same rewards rate for every purchase, you might want to consider the Chase Freedom Unlimited instead. The Freedom Unlimited offers 1.5% cash back on every purchase with no annual fee.

 

Chase Freedom

Chase Freedom Unlimited

Annual Fee$0 annual fee$0 annual fee
Cash BackCash Back Rewards: Unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases - it's automaticCash Back Rewards: New! Unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase - it's automatic
Bonus Cash BackBonus Cash Back: Earn 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in combined purchases in bonus categories each quarter you activate. It's free and easy to activate your bonus each quarter.
Bonus Categories for 2016:
Q1 (January 1 – March 31, 2016): Gas stations and local commuter transportation (not including parking, tolls, and Amtrak® purchases)
Q2 (April 1 - June 30, 2016): Grocery stores (not including Walmart®, Target®, discount or warehouse club store purchases)
Q3 (July 1 – September 30, 2016): Restaurants (details TBA)
Q4 (October 1 – December 31, 2016): Holiday shopping (details TBA)
 

Chase Freedom: Pricing information including interest rates, benefits and fees were obtained on March 15, 2016 from published websites and are believed to be accurate, but not guaranteed.

Disclaimer: The information for the Chase Freedom® has been collected independently by CreditDonkey. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

If you prefer to earn miles for travel, but don't want to pay an annual fee, you may want to consider the Barclaycard Arrival. This is a good alternative to expensive travel credit cards. Plus, unlike airline credit cards or hotel credit cards that tend to limit you to one brand, the miles you earn with Barclaycard Arrival can be redeemed for travel statement credits toward any flight and any hotel stay.

 

Chase Freedom

Barclaycard Arrival

 

Interest Rates and Fees

Introductory APR for Purchases0% Intro APR for 15 MonthsN/A
Introductory APR for Balance Transfers0% Intro APR for 15 Months0% introductory APR for 12 months for each Balance Transfer made within 45 days of account opening.
Purchase APR14.24% to 23.24% Variable based on your creditworthiness and other factors16.24%, 20.24%, 24.24%* Variable based on your creditworthiness and other factors
Balance Transfers APR14.24% to 23.24% Variable based on your creditworthiness and other factors16.24%, 20.24%, 24.24%* Variable based on your creditworthiness and other factors
Annual Fee$0 annual fee$0 annual fee
 

Benefits and Features

Cash Back DealIntroductory Bonus Cash Back: Earn a $150 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening 
Airline Deal Introductory Bonus Airline Rewards: Earn 20,000 bonus miles after you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first 90 days — that's enough to redeem for a $200 travel statement credit
Cash BackCash Back Rewards: Unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases - it's automatic 
Bonus Cash BackBonus Cash Back: Earn 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in combined purchases in bonus categories each quarter you activate. It's free and easy to activate your bonus each quarter.
Bonus Categories for 2016:
Q1 (January 1 – March 31, 2016): Gas stations and local commuter transportation (not including parking, tolls, and Amtrak® purchases)
Q2 (April 1 - June 30, 2016): Grocery stores (not including Walmart®, Target®, discount or warehouse club store purchases)
Q3 (July 1 – September 30, 2016): Restaurants (details TBA)
Q4 (October 1 – December 31, 2016): Holiday shopping (details TBA)
 
Airline Airline Rewards: Earn 1X miles on all other purchases.
Hotel Hotel Rewards: Redeem your miles toward hotel stays.
Travel Travel Rewards: Earn 2X miles on travel purchases.

Use miles for a statement credit toward any airline purchase to any destination with no seat restrictions and no blackout dates. Easily redeem your miles for statement credits toward flights, cruises, car rentals, hotels and more. (Redemptions start at 2,500 miles for $25 toward qualifying travel purchases made in the last 120 days).

Get 5% miles back to use toward your next redemption, every time you redeem
Restaurant Dining Rewards: Earn 2X miles on dining purchases.

Chase Freedom: Pricing information including interest rates, benefits and fees were obtained on March 15, 2016 from published websites and are believed to be accurate, but not guaranteed.

Disclaimer: The information for the Chase Freedom® has been collected independently by CreditDonkey. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

Tip: Are you a small business owner? Check out the Chase Ink Cash Business Credit Card.

Bottom Line:

Here's my take: if you think bonus categories that change every quarter is a hassle, this rewards credit card may not be for you.

However, for everyone else, especially those who prefer getting cash rewards rather than airline miles, the Freedom card is a first-rate way to earn cash back as long as you have excellent/good credit. And since the Chase Freedom has no annual fee, it's a cost-effective way to earn those rewards (assuming you always pay off the balance every month).

Follow @CreditDonkey or write to David R at davidr@creditdonkey.com
David R is a contributing writer at CreditDonkey, a credit card comparison and financial education website. Our data-driven analysis has been recognized by major news outlets across the country and has helped consumers make savvy financial and lifestyle decisions. (read more)

Editorial Note: This content is not provided by Chase. Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author's alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by Chase.

Disclaimer: This content was first published on August 3, 2015. This content may have been updated on April 7, 2016. Information including APR, terms and benefits may vary, be out of date, or not applicable to you. Information is provided without warranty. Please check Chase website for updated information.

Editorial Note: Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author's alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any card issuer. This site may be compensated through the Advertiser's affiliate programs.

Disclaimer: The information for the Chase Freedom®, Discover it®, Chase Slate®, and Citi® Double Cash Card have been collected independently by CreditDonkey. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

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About CreditDonkey®
CreditDonkey is a credit card comparison website. We publish data-driven analysis to help you save money & make savvy financial decisions.

Editorial Note: Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed on this page are those of the author's alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any card issuer.

†Advertiser Disclosure: The card offers that appear on this site are from companies from which CreditDonkey receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). CreditDonkey does not include all companies or all offers that may be available in the marketplace.

*See the card issuer's online application for details about terms and conditions. Reasonable efforts are made to maintain accurate information. However, all information is presented without warranty. When you click on the "Apply Now" button you can review the terms and conditions on the card issuer's website.

CreditDonkey does not know your individual circumstances and provides information for general educational purposes only. CreditDonkey is not a substitute for, and should not be used as, professional legal, credit or financial advice. You should consult your own professional advisors for such advice.