Chase Freedom® is one of the best cash rewards credit cards in the market today and is a godsend for those of you who want to earn cold hard cash in return for your everyday spending. It offers a $150 Bonus to new sign-ups after you spend $500 on purchases during your first 3 months after account opening. You also earn a $25 Bonus when you add your first authorized user to your card and make a purchase within this same 3-month period. We especially love that you can get 5% cash back on quarterly rotating categories (this quarter, you can earn this 5% cash back on purchases at Amazon.com, audible.com, zappos.com and diapers.com) on up to $1,500 spent in combined purchases each quarter, and a flat 1% cash back on all others. Chase Freedom® even made it to GET.com's Best Credit Cards of the year in the cash back category.
In this Chase Freedom® review, we'll share with you the pros and cons of Chase Freedom® so that you can decide for yourself if this is the best cash back card for your lifestyle needs. You need good to excellent credit in order to qualify for this card.
- Earn 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in combined purchases in bonus categories each quarter you activate.
- No annual fee.
- Rewards never expire.
- 5% Cash Back capped at $1,500 in combined purchases made per quarter.
- Has foreign transaction fees.
0% APR for 15 months on purchases and balance transfers
13.99% - 22.99% Variable
- Earn a $150 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%
- 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 Select Grocery Stores
- Unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases - it's automatic
- Cash Back rewards never expire as long as your account is open
- No annual fee
In This Review:Things We Like About Chase Freedom®
Our Least Favorite Things About Chase Freedom®
How Chase Freedom® Compares With Similar Cards
Our Verdict On Chase Freedom®
Things We Like About Chase Freedom®
- No annual fee. You don't have to pay any annual fee to enjoy the cash back rewards and other great cardholder benefits.
- Earn a $150 Bonus. This is one of the best deals this card has to offer. You will receive this $150 Bonus after you sign up for your new card and spend just $500 on purchases in your first three months of having this card. This $500 spend cannot be in the form of balance transfers, cash advances or checks.
- Earn a $25 Bonus after adding your first authorized user and making a purchase within this same 3-month period.
- Receive 5% cash back in quarterly rotating bonus categories like restaurants, gas stations and select grocery stores, for up to $1,500 in combined purchases each quarter. 5% cash back is a lot, and this is one of the most attractive benefits this card has to offer. You'll be notified in advance which categories you will be able to benefit from each quarter and can then plan your spending for the year. It can help you save a lot of money if you use it to your advantage. The catch: you must activate each quarterly 5% program - it's free, and you can do so via phone, email, text message or online. The good thing is you can sign up for Chase Freedom® 5% text reminders so that you will be informed promptly when the time comes for you to activate the next quarter.
Jan 1 to March 31 - grocery stores (not including Walmart® and Target® purchases), movie theaters, and Starbucks® stores.
April 1 to June 30 - Restaurants, Bed Bath & Beyond®, H&M® and Overstock.com®.
July 1 to Sept 30 - Gas stations and Kohl's®.
Oct 1 to Dec 31 - Amazon.com, Zappos.com, Audible.com and Diapers.com.
- Receive 1% cash back on all other purchases. This is a fantastic offer as 1% applies to all your spending, without any spending tiers or minimum/maximum cash back limit! Again, do note that it does not apply to balance transfers, cash advances, checks, travelers checks or money orders.
- No earning limit and cash rewards never expire as long as your account is open. Accumulate as much cash back as you want, without worrying if and when it expires. So you can stash away the cash back you earn in the 5% categories, plus the unlimited 1% cash back you earn on your other purchases, without stressing about redeeming it before an expiry deadline. There are also no spending tiers.
- 0% intro APR for 15 months on purchases and balance transfers. This introductory period is great if you want to make a big-ticket purchase and pay it over 15 months or if you want to transfer a balance from an existing card. After the introductory period, your annual percentage rate will be a 13.99% - 22.99% variable APR, depending on your credit score. Do note that you'll still have to pay a balance transfer fee of 3% of the amount you transfer, or $5 minimum.
- Chase Blueprint feature included for free. The Blueprint program has certain features which help you repay your balances faster and save on interest. For example, you can choose to pay in full for certain types of purchases each month like gas or groceries so you don't pay any interest on them, even though you already owe a balance.
Our Least Favorite Things About Chase Freedom®
- You need to activate 5% cash back each quarter. You need to activate 5% categories every three months (it's free, in case you are wondering), and you must do it before the deadline for each quarter! To make things easy, you can sign up to get activation reminders from Chase via email or text messaging. The good thing is even if you don't activate till late in the quarter, but as long as you do it before the deadline, you can still earn 5% cash back on any eligible purchases you've made during that quarter in those categories, up to the $1,500 cap on purchases.
- Cash advance fee and APR. Chase Freedom® is a great card to shop with, but avoid using it to get cash at ATMs. You will pay a 5% cash advance fee (minimum $10) each time you use this card to get cash, and you get a high APR for cash advances. Although this is almost the norm (the similar Discover it® - New! Double Cash Back your first year has a similar cash advance fee and APR), Barclaycard® Ring MasterCard® has a flat fee of $3 per cash advance and a much lower cash advance APR. So Chase Freedom® definitely isn't the right card to use to get cash at ATMs, but is a solid card to use to pay for purchases directly.
- You pay a foreign transaction fee when you use this card to pay in a foreign currency, for example when traveling outside of the U.S., and that 3% foreign transaction fee can add up to a big extra expense for international travelers.
How Chase Freedom® Compares With Similar Cards
Discover it® - New! Double Cash Back your first year is this card's closest competitor, and also lets you earn 5% cash back in certain categories. You earn 5% cash back in categories that change each quarter like department stores, Amazon.com and more (up to the quarterly maximum) when you sign up. And you earn 1% cash back on all other purchases. It has no annual fee. Sounds pretty similar to Chase Freedom®, doesn't it? Depending on your spending, the bonus that you get with Discover it® - New! Double Cash Back your first year might give you more cash back though, because Discover will double the cash back you've earned at the end of your first year as a new cardmember (offer for new cardmembers only). So if you earned $100 cash back, Discover will automatically double that to $200. This card does not charge a foreign transaction fee, unlike the Chase Freedom® which charges a fee equal to 3% of each purchase outside of the U.S. ($5 minimum). However, Discover is not yet as widely accepted as Visa and MasterCard. This rewarding card has 0% intro APR on purchases and balance transfers for the first 12 months (then 10.99% - 22.99%) and no annual fee. The cash back categories offered by this card and Chase Freedom® are usually similar. The main difference is that Chase Freedom® is a Visa card, which makes it more widely accepted outside of the U.S., and if you can get the Visa Signature version of Chase Freedom® you will enjoy more benefits than what you get with Discover it® - New! Double Cash Back your first year.
Citi® Double Cash Card is another good cash back card, but it works very differently to the Chase Freedom®. You earn 1% cash back when you make a purchase, and then an additional 1% cash back as you pay for your purchases (either in full or over time). You earn this cash back on all your purchases, without set categories. There is no cap on the amount of cash back you can earn. You get a 0% intro APR on purchases and balance transfers for 15 months (then 12.99% - 22.99% variable APR) and no annual fee. So this is a good card to use for all your general purchases, especially if you make your payments in full each month. However, Chase Freedom® gives you 5% cash back on up to $1,500 of combined purchases in bonus categories each quarter, when you activate the 5% cash back each quarter. So it's a more rewarding card to use to make purchases in the 5% categories each quarter, but you only earn 1% cash back on your other purchases. Having both a category cash back card like Chase Freedom® and a general cash back card like Citi® Double Cash Card is the best option really, if you can get two credit cards. That way you can use the general cash back card for all your everyday spending, and the category cash back card to earn higher cash back on your spending in those categories.
If you like to earn cash back on different categories of purchases throughout the year, Chase Freedom® is one of the most rewarding credit cards you can get.
Chase Freedom® is a great cash back card to get if you like cash back. We at GET.com prefer getting cash back to rewards because with cash, you can buy whatever you like or use it however you want. A nice incentive offered to new cardmembers is that you can get a $150 Bonus after you sign up and spend $500 on purchases within the first 3 months of account opening - a big plus since you only need to spend less than $167 per month in order to get the $150 Bonus! You will also receive a $25 Bonus when you add your first authorized user and make a purchase within this same 3-month period.
What we like best is that you get 5% cash back on quarterly rotating categories (up to $1,500 per quarter), which can save you a lot of money if you plan your spending ahead of time. As a Visa card, you will be able to use this card almost everywhere in the world. Chase Freedom® is an excellent choice if you have good to excellent credit and are looking for a rewarding cash back card!
Ivan Daniel is a writer at GET.com, a personal finance website. Email: email@example.comEditorial Disclosure: The editorial content on this page is not provided by any of the companies mentioned, and has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities. Opinions expressed here are author's alone, not those of the companies mentioned, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.