Chase Freedom Review: $100 Bonus Cash Back
With its sign-up bonus, rotating 5% cash back categories, and 0% introductory APR for 15 months on purchases and balance transfers, the card is one of the most popular no-annual-fee rewards cards. Read this Chase Freedom review to see if this cashback credit card fits your lifestyle.
Pros and Cons
Excellent cash back credit card for cardholders who pay in full
What You Need to Know
You earn cash back every time you use the Chase Freedom — either 5% on up to $1,500 in purchases if the purchases fall under one of the card’s bonus categories, which change every 3 months, or 1%.
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.
It’s a fairly simple rewards setup, but it can take awhile to get the hang of this credit card if you've never had a cash back credit card before. You’ll need to sign up to participate in the rotating categories (previous quarters have included purchases at supermarkets, gas stations, Starbucks, and Amazon) every 3 months. It’s easy to sign up — 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 do it.
The cash you earn can be redeemed for cash in your bank account, statement credit, or you can make it go further by turning it into a gift card.
2015 Categories: Reward Calendar
You earn bonus cash back on rotating categories throughout the year (free activation required each quarter). You earn 5% cash back in select bonus categories on up to $1,500 worth of quarterly purchases. If you spend over this limit, you go back to regular 1% rate. You earn an unlimited 1% cash back rate on all other purchases.
The bonus categories for 2015 are:
(Additional categories or merchants will be announced before the start of each quarter.)
Remember, you need to activate the 5% cash back categories. You can activate the 5% cash back categories online, by text messages, via email, by calling customer service, or in-person at a Chase bank.
In addition, you can earn extra cash back by shopping online through Ultimate Rewards Mall, Chase's online shopping portal.
Who It's Best For
Chase Freedom caters to people who love to get a deal and enjoy using credit cards to get cash back, 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.
For new cardholders, check out this deal. If you make $500 worth of purchases on your card within the first 3 months of your account, you earn a $100 bonus. This bonus is in addition to your regular cash back rewards.
Since this card has no annual fee, the introductory deal gives you an easy and cost-effective way to earn some extra cash back.
0% Introductory APR: Balance Transfer
This card also has a 0% intro APR for 15 months on purchases and balance transfers. After that, the APR will be a variable rate, currently 13.99% - 22.99% depending on your creditworthiness. Keep in mind, you will be charged 3% of the amount transferred, with a minimum fee of $5.00. Most likely, the amount you will save on interest in those 15 months will more than make up for this fee. Make sure to read our guide on balance transfers.
Foreign Transaction Fee
If you plan to frequently travel internationally, you might want to consider a credit card with no foreign transaction fee instead. The Freedom has a 3% foreign transaction fee which can quickly add up.
If you think bonus categories that change every quarter is a hassle, this card may not be for you. Also, consider your travel schedule. 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% foreign transaction fee.
For everyone else, especially those who prefer getting cash back rather than airline miles, the Freedom card is a first-rate way to earn cash back for those with excellent/good credit. And since the Chase Freedom has no annual fee, it's a very cost effective to earn those rewards (assuming you pay off the balance every month).
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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. This site may be compensated through the Advertiser's affiliate programs.
Disclaimer: This content was first published on March 14, 2012. This content may have been updated on April 10, 2015. 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.
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