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Updated July 6, 2016

Chase Freedom Card Review 2016

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Chase Freedom is one of the best credit cards for cash back, if used the right way. If not, there are drawbacks. Read on for the pros and cons to determine if this card is right for you.

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

  • Earn a $150 Bonus
  • 5% bonus rotating categories
  • Intro APR
  • No annual fee
  • Foreign transaction fee

Bottom Line

Excellent cash back credit card for cardholders who pay in full

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

But only if it's used the right way.

We explain how this card works and how best to use it. Read on to see if it's right for you.

How Chase Freedom Works

The top feature of the Chase Freedom card is its quarterly rotating 5% cashback rewards categories. You earn 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in combined purchases in bonus categories each quarter you activate. Enjoy new 5% categories every 3 months like gas stations, restaurants, and wholesale clubs. Unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases.

In our opinion, you get the best value on this card if you pay close attention to the spending categories each quarter and be diligent about charging any purchases under those categories to this card. The opportunity for up to 5% back is HUGE in the credit card world (most cards only offer 1% or maybe 2%), so make sure you're taking full advantage of it.

Keep in mind, if you spend over the $1,500 quarterly limit in the bonus categories, you go back to the regular 1% rate until the three-month period ends.

It's a good idea to check out the rewards categories and see if they fit with your lifestyle and normal spending patterns.

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 and Wholesale Clubs
  • 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 the banks you frequent, then activating in person at a Chase 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 ONLY, here are the past categories:

The bonus categories for 2015 were:

  • Q1 2015: Grocery stores (not including Target® and Walmart®), movie theaters and Starbucks®
  • Q2 2015: Restaurants, Bed Bath & Beyond®, H&M®, and Overstock.com®
  • Q3 2015: Gas stations and Kohl's®
  • Q4 2015: Amazon.com, Zappos.com, Audible.com, and Diapers.com

The bonus categories for 2014 were:

  • Q1 2014: Gas stations, movie theaters and Starbucks®
  • Q2 2014: Restaurants and Lowe's® home improvement stores
  • Q3 2014: Gas stations and Kohl's®
  • Q4 2014: Amazon.com, Zappos.com and select department stores

Other Things We Like About Chase Freedom

The huge 5% cash back bonus in select categories is no doubt the best thing about the Chase Freedom card. But there are plenty of other attractive benefits the card offers too.

Drawbacks of the Card

© 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 possible 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 in 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 with NEW! Unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase - it's automatic!

  • 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 you normally would, just to get the higher percentage of cash rewards.

  • You have to sign up each quarter: If that sounds like a hassle, 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.

  • There's 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 foreign transaction fee of 3% of each transaction in U.S. dollars. In comparison, credit cards from Discover and Capital One have no foreign transaction fee.

Is Chase Freedom a Good Credit Card?

© robie06 (CC BY-SA 2.0) via Flickr

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, it's hard to beat this card's bonus cash back on rotating categories. In fact, some people use the Chase Freedom as a secondary card only for charges that line up with the bonus rotating cash back categories. But because you always get at least 1% off your purchases, it could make for a great everyday card too.

This card is great for people who are looking to earn cash rewards, rather than trying to figure out points or miles. It's a solid choice from a big bank for the "everyman/everywoman," considering 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.

Rewards Redemption Tip: Want to get the most bang for the buck? You can take the rewards even further if you also have the Chase Sapphire Preferred, which is a great card for travelers in particular. With the Chase Freedom alone, you 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 those you get from Sapphire Preferred, you can transfer them to many frequent flyer partner programs or score a 20% discount when redeem points to book travel through the Chase Ultimate Rewards online portal. This tactic will help you better maximize your points.

How Chase Freedom Card Compares

© marfis75 (CC BY-SA 2.0) via Flickr

We know we said there's little downside to owning this card, but it's still smart to compare similar cards to see which one suits your needs more. Here's our assessment to help you make an informed choice.

If you're planning on making a large purchase soon:

 

Chase Freedom

Discover It

 

Interest Rates and Fees

Introductory APR for Purchases0% introductory APR for 15 months0% introductory APR for 12 months
Introductory APR for Balance Transfers0% introductory 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: Get a $150 Bonus after spending $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening.Introductory 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.Cash 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. Enjoy new 5% categories every 3 months like gas stations, restaurants, and wholesale clubs. Unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases.
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 and Wholesale Clubs
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 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: 5% on up to $1,500 in purchases at Home Improvement Stores and Amazon.com
October - December 2016: 5% on up to $1,500 in purchases at Amazon.com, Department Stores and Sam's Club

Chase Freedom: Pricing information including interest rates, benefits and fees were obtained on July 4, 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.

Discover It: The Discover It card also has a 5% cash back for quarterly rotating categories. But it offers a great introductory cash back bonus: it will match the cash back you earned in the first 12 months after you open the account (for new customers only), so it's a good choice if you plan to make a lot of large charges in the first year.

Other pros of the Discover It over Chase Freedom include: a relatively lower regular APR after the introductory APR period lapses (and it won't raise it if you do pay late occasionally), free FICO credit score every month, highly-rated customer service, more options and rewards back (as high as 20%) when you shop through Discover Deals (Discover's online shopping portal), and no minimum for redeeming your cash rewards.

Plus, there are no foreign transaction fees, which makes the Discover It a solid card for those who travel abroad. But the Discover It card isn't accepted everywhere, so you'd be wise to have a Visa or MasterCard just in case.

Tip: Best Credit Card for International Travel

If you eat out and travel abroad frequently:

 

Chase Freedom

Chase Sapphire Preferred

 

Interest Rates and Fees

Introductory APR for Purchases0% introductory APR for 15 monthsN/A
Introductory APR for Balance Transfers0% introductory 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: Get a $150 Bonus after spending $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening. 
Points Deal Introductory Bonus Reward Points: Earn 50,000 bonus points after 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. 
Bonus Cash BackBonus Cash Back: Earn 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in combined purchases in bonus categories each quarter you activate. Enjoy new 5% categories every 3 months like gas stations, restaurants, and wholesale clubs. Unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases.
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 and Wholesale Clubs
Q4 (October 1 – December 31, 2016): Holiday shopping (details TBA)
 
Airline Airline Rewards: 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
Hotel Hotel Rewards: 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
Points Point Rewards: 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases worldwide
Travel Travel Rewards: 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases worldwide.
1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
Restaurant Dining Rewards: 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases worldwide
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 July 4, 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 Sapphire Preferred: 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, which can really add up. Plus, the Sapphire Preferred has a $0 foreign transaction fee. It also offers an extraordinarily high sign-up bonus. You earn 50,000 bonus points after 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®.

While the Sapphire Preferred has a travel-friendly rewards program and a $0 foreign transaction fee, it does have an annual fee (introductory annual fee of $0 the first year, then $95). There's no promotional APR on purchases or balance transfers, which won't win over consumers who carry a balance. You'll also need 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.

Expert Tip: If you have the Sapphire Preferred and the Chase Freedom, you can use both to maximize rewards and combine points. A good strategy is to use the Chase Freedom on select spending categories (which pay 5% cash back) and Sapphire Preferred on travel and everything else. Generally, rewards earned with the Freedom card can't be transferred to frequent flyer programs, but by combining your points, you're ultimately getting more mileage out of every dollar you spend.

If you have an existing balance to transfer:

 

Chase Freedom

Chase Slate

 

Interest Rates and Fees

Introductory APR for Purchases0% introductory APR for 15 months0% introductory APR for 15 months
Introductory APR for Balance Transfers0% introductory APR for 15 months0% introductory 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: Get a $150 Bonus after spending $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening. 
Cash BackCash Back Rewards: Unlimited 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. Enjoy new 5% categories every 3 months like gas stations, restaurants, and wholesale clubs. Unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases.
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 and Wholesale Clubs
Q4 (October 1 – December 31, 2016): Holiday shopping (details TBA)
 

Chase Freedom: Pricing information including interest rates, benefits and fees were obtained on July 4, 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 Slate: Chase Slate is the balance transfer king. Both Slate and Freedom offer a promotional interest rate for the first 15 months if you transfer a balance from another credit card (assuming you make at least the monthly minimum payment). 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, Chase Freedom charges a balance transfer fee of either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater. That's $175 you can save with Chase Slate if you need to move $3,500.

The Chase Slate has a Blueprint "Full Pay" plan, where 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 a 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, you can at least isolate certain purchases this way.

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 best suited for those carrying cards with a high APR who need a break on their interest rates, not as an all-around card for everybody.

If you want cashback without rotating bonus categories:

 

Chase Freedom

Citi Double Cash Card

 

Interest Rates and Fees

Introductory APR for Purchases0% introductory APR for 15 monthsN/A
Introductory APR for Balance Transfers0% introductory 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: Get a $150 Bonus after spending $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening. 
Cash BackCash Back Rewards: Unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases.Cash 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. Enjoy new 5% categories every 3 months like gas stations, restaurants, and wholesale clubs. Unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases.
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 and Wholesale Clubs
Q4 (October 1 – December 31, 2016): Holiday shopping (details TBA)
 

Chase Freedom: Pricing information including interest rates, benefits and fees were obtained on July 4, 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.

Citi Double Cash: This card attracts frequent credit card users who like the incentive of earning cash back on their payments. You get cash back twice: 1% on eligible purchases and 1% when you pay. This New York Times article notes that it's a rare card that actually encourages consumers to be smart with their credit card and pay it off every month.

But there's no signup bonus and no 5% cash back on rotating bonus categories (although you may prefer it if don't want to bother with signing up for rotating categories each month). However, one thing to beware of with the Citi Double Cash is that you'll lose the cash you earned if you don't make an eligible purchase or a payment within a year's time.

If you spend mostly on groceries and gas:

 

Chase Freedom

Blue Cash Everyday

 

Interest Rates and Fees

Introductory APR for Purchases0% introductory APR for 15 months0% introductory APR for 12 months
Introductory APR for Balance Transfers0% introductory APR for 15 months0% introductory APR 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: Get a $150 Bonus after spending $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening.Introductory Bonus Cash Back: Special Offer - Earn 5% cash back on eligible travel purchases in the first 6 months, up to $200.
Plus, earn $100 back after you spend $1,000 in purchases on your new Card within the first 3 months.
You will receive cash back in the form of statement credits.
Cash BackCash Back Rewards: Unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases.Cash Back Rewards: 3% at U.S. supermarkets on up to $6,000 per year in purchases (then 1%); 2% at U.S. gas stations; 1% on 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. Enjoy new 5% categories every 3 months like gas stations, restaurants, and wholesale clubs. Unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases.
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 and Wholesale Clubs
Q4 (October 1 – December 31, 2016): Holiday shopping (details TBA)
 
Gas Gas Rewards: 2% at U.S. gas stations. Terms and limitations apply
Grocery Grocery Rewards: 3% at U.S. supermarkets on 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 July 4, 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.

Blue Cash Everyday: If you want hassle-free cash back with no rotating rewards categories and no enrollment required, this card from American Express, a CreditDonkey advertiser, has the same rewards categories year-round. You earn 3% cash back at U.S. supermarkets on up to $6,000 per year in purchases, 2% cash back at gas stations, and 1% on everything else. It has no annual fee. In our opinion, it's a great cash back card if you spend the most on groceries and gas.

If you want the same rewards rate for every purchase:

 

Chase Freedom

Chase Freedom Unlimited

Annual Fee$0 annual fee$0 annual fee
Cash Back DealIntroductory Bonus Cash Back: Get a $150 Bonus after spending $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening.Introductory 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.Cash 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. Enjoy new 5% categories every 3 months like gas stations, restaurants, and wholesale clubs. Unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases.
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 and Wholesale Clubs
Q4 (October 1 – December 31, 2016): Holiday shopping (details TBA)
 

Chase Freedom: Pricing information including interest rates, benefits and fees were obtained on July 4, 2016 from published websites and are believed to be accurate, but not guaranteed.

Chase Freedom Unlimited: Pricing information including interest rates, benefits and fees were obtained on May 20, 2016 from published websites and are believed to be accurate, but not guaranteed.

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

Chase Freedom Unlimited: This card is very similar to the Chase Freedom, but instead of the rotating categories, it offers NEW! Unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase - it's automatic! It's ideal if you just want the same rewards rate for every purchase.

If you prefer to earn miles for travel instead:

 

Chase Freedom

Barclaycard Arrival

 

Interest Rates and Fees

Introductory APR for Purchases0% introductory APR for 15 monthsN/A
Introductory APR for Balance Transfers0% introductory 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: Get a $150 Bonus after spending $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. 
Bonus Cash BackBonus Cash Back: Earn 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in combined purchases in bonus categories each quarter you activate. Enjoy new 5% categories every 3 months like gas stations, restaurants, and wholesale clubs. Unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases.
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 and Wholesale Clubs
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 July 4, 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.

Barclaycard Arrival: This is a good alternative to expensive travel credit cards as it has no annual fee. You get a sign-up bonus worth $200, 2x miles on travel-related expenses, and 1x miles on everything else. 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, with no blackout dates.

Bottom Line

To review, here are the pros and cons when considering Chase Freedom:

Pros:

  • Get a $150 Bonus after spending $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 every 3 months like gas stations, restaurants, and wholesale clubs. Unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases.
  • 0% Intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases and balance transfers, then a variable APR of 14.24-23.24%. Balance transfer fee is 5% of the amount transferred, $5 minimum.
  • No annual fee.

Cons:

  • 3% foreign transaction fee of each transaction in U.S. dollars.

In our opinion, there are very few cons with this card. But if you think bonus categories that change every quarter are 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. But keep in mind that you get the best value out of this card only if you remember to activate the quarterly categories, and if you are careful with your spending.

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 July 6, 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®, Citi® Double Cash Card, and Chase Freedom Unlimited℠ 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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Compare Chase Freedom to:

Chase Sapphire Preferred Card
Apply for Chase Sapphire Preferred Card
At Chase's Secure Site
  • Earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $625 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • Named a 'Best Credit Card' for Travel Rewards by MONEY Magazine
  • 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
  • Earn 5,000 bonus points after you add the first authorized user and make a purchase in the first 3 months from account opening
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 50,000 points are worth $625 toward travel
  • No blackout dates or travel restrictions - as long as there's a seat on the flight, you can book it through Chase Ultimate Rewards
Intro APR for PurchasesIntro APR for Balance TransferRegular APRAnnual Fee
N/AN/A
16.24% - 23.24% Variable
Introductory Annual Fee of $0 the first year, then $95

Blue Cash Everyday Card from American Express
Apply for Blue Cash Everyday Card from American Express
At American Express' Secure Site
  • Special Offer - Earn 5% cash back on eligible travel purchases in the first 6 months, up to $200.
  • Plus, earn $100 back after you spend $1,000 in purchases on your new Card within the first 3 months.
  • You will receive cash back in the form of statement credits.
  • Everyday Cash Back: 3% at U.S. supermarkets on up to $6,000 per year in purchases (then 1%); 2% at U.S. gas stations; 1% on other purchases. Terms and limitations apply.
  • No rotating reward categories. No enrollment required.
  • Cash back is received in the form of Reward Dollars that can be redeemed as a statement credit. You can only earn cash back on eligible purchases.
  • No annual fee. Plus, 0% intro APR on purchases and balance transfers for 12 months, then a variable rate, currently 13.24% to 23.24%, based on your creditworthiness and other factors.
  • Terms and Conditions apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
Introductory Bonus Cash BackCash Back RewardsGas RewardsGrocery RewardsCar Rental InsuranceExtended WarrantyPurchase ProtectionReturn ProtectionTravel Accident Insurance $0 Fraud Liability
Intro APR for PurchasesIntro APR for Balance TransferRegular APRAnnual Fee
0% for 12 months
0% for 12 months
13.24% - 23.24% Variable
$0

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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.