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Updated July 1, 2014

Chase Freedom $100 Bonus Cash Back Review

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With its sign-up bonus, rotating 5% cash back categories, and 0% introductory APR for 15 months on purchases and balance transfers, the Chase Freedom card is one of the most popular no-annual-fee rewards cards on the market. Because this card lets cardholders earn cash back in so many different ways, it fits a wide range of lifestyles.

Chase Freedom
Apply for Chase Freedom
  • Earn a $100 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening
  • Earn a $25 Bonus after you add your first authorized user and make a purchase within this same 3-month period
  • 0% Intro APR for 15 months on purchases and balance transfers. After the intro period, a variable APR of 13.99%-22.99%
  • 5% Cash Back on up to $1,500 in combined purchases between July 1 and September 30, 2014 at gas stations and Kohl's®
  • You'll enjoy new 5% categories every 3 months like gas stations, restaurants and Amazon.com. It's free and easy to activate your bonus each quarter!
  • Unlimited 1% Cash Back on all other purchases
  • No annual fee and rewards never expire
  • Go to issuer's official application, terms, and details
Intro APR for PurchasesIntro APR for Balance TransferRegular APRAnnual Fee
0% for 15 months
0% for 15 months
13.99% - 22.99% (Variable)
$0

Overall Score

4.3

Rewards

4.5

Interest Rates

3.5

Fees

5.0

Benefits

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

Pros and Cons

  • $100 bonus after you make $500 in purchases in your first 3 months
  • 5% bonus categories
  • No annual fee
  • 3% foreign transaction fee

Bottom Line

Excellent cash back credit card for cardholders who pay in full

Rewards: Cash Back Program

The Chase Freedom card helps you earn cash back on virtually everything you buy.

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.

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

You can redeem rewards for cash back ($20 or more) in your choice as a statement credit, direct deposit or a paper check. You can also redeem through Chase Ultimate rewards for gift cards.

2013 Categories: Rewards Calendar

The bonus categories for 2013 are:

  • 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

2014 Categories: Rewards Calendar

The bonus categories for 2014 are:

  • 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

Chase Freedom is offering 5 percent cash back on up to $1,500 in combined purchases at gas stations, movie theaters and Starbucks® stores throughout the first quarter 2014.

Then for the second quarter 2014, just in time for the unofficial home improvement season, spring cleaning and warmer weather, Chase Freedom will offer 5 percent cash back on up to $1,500 in combined purchases at Lowe’s® home improvement stores and restaurants.

To kick off summer in the third quarter 2014, Chase Freedom will offer a second opportunity to earn 5 percent cash back on up to $1,500 in combined purchases at gas stations for those planning a road trip with family or friends. Kohl’s® also returns in the third quarter 2014 so cardholders can earn cash back while stocking up on summer travel supplies or preparing for the school year with back-to-school shopping.

In the fourth quarter 2014, Chase Freedom has cardholders covered when it comes to holiday shopping, with 5% cash back on combined purchases made at Amazon.com, Zappos.com and select department stores.

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.

Promotion Deal

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. 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 Chase Freedom has a 3% foreign transaction fee which can quickly add up.

Pros

  • Earn a $100 bonus after your first $500 of purchases within the first 3 months from account opening
  • Earns up to 5% bonus cash back (on up to $1,500 in purchases) in new rotating bonus categories throughout the year
  • Earns 1% cash back on all other purchases
  • No annual fee

Cons

  • 3% foreign transaction fee

Bottom Line:

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 Chase Freedom charges a 3% foreign transaction fee.

For everyone else, especially those who prefer getting cash back rather than airline miles, the Chase Freedom 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).

Next Step: View the issuer's official application, terms, and details

Follow @CreditDonkey or write to David R at davidr@creditdonkey.com

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 July 1, 2014. 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.

More Articles in Reviews

Chase Freedom
Apply for Chase Freedom
  • Earn a $100 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening
  • Earn a $25 Bonus after you add your first authorized user and make a purchase within this same 3-month period
  • 0% Intro APR for 15 months on purchases and balance transfers. After the intro period, a variable APR of 13.99%-22.99%
  • 5% Cash Back on up to $1,500 in combined purchases between July 1 and September 30, 2014 at gas stations and Kohl's®
  • You'll enjoy new 5% categories every 3 months like gas stations, restaurants and Amazon.com. It's free and easy to activate your bonus each quarter!
  • Unlimited 1% Cash Back on all other purchases
  • No annual fee and rewards never expire
  • Go to issuer's official application, terms, and details
Intro APR for PurchasesIntro APR for Balance TransferRegular APRAnnual Fee
0% for 15 months
0% for 15 months
13.99% - 22.99% (Variable)
$0

Compare Chase Freedom to:

Chase Sapphire Card
Apply for Chase Sapphire Card
  • 10,000 bonus points when you spend $500 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening - that's $100 in travel rewards when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards(SM)!
  • 2,500 bonus points after you add the first authorized user and make a purchase in the first 3 months from account opening
  • 2X points on dining at restaurants and 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases
  • Points never expire and there are no limits on how many points you can earn
  • Redeem points for travel, gift cards, merchandise, cash back and more
  • Earn an additional point per dollar spent when you book airfare and hotel accommodations online through Chase Ultimate Rewards(SM)
  • 24/7 direct access to dedicated customer service specialists
  • No Annual Fee!
Intro APR for PurchasesIntro APR for Balance TransferRegular APRAnnual Fee
N/AN/A
15.99% (Variable)
$0

Chase Slate
Apply for Chase Slate
  • Pay less interest. Save on balances and new purchases
  • $0 introductory balance transfer fee for transfers made during the first 60 days. After that, the fee for future balance transfers is 3% of the amount transferred with a minimum of $5.
  • 0% Introductory APR for 15 months on purchases and balance transfers. After the introductory period ends, a variable APR of 12.99%, 17.99%, or 22.99%.
  • $0 Annual Fee
  • Best 0% Offer in "Crowning 2013's Best Credit Card Offers" (January 14, 2013) -Forbes Online
Intro APR for PurchasesIntro APR for Balance TransferRegular APRAnnual Fee
0% for 15 months
0% for 15 months
12.99%, 17.99%, or 22.99% (V)
$0

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Chase Sapphire Preferred

The Chase Sapphire Preferred card offers a very generous point bonus and extra travel rewards to those with excellent credit. Keep in mind, the card does have an annual fee. It is the premium version of the Chase Sapphire Card.
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