Chase Freedom Credit Card Review (Updated 2019)
The Chase Freedom Card is a high quality cash-back credit card. It is one of two credit cards named Chase Freedom. There is this Chase Freedom credit card that gives you up to 5% cash back on some purchases and then 1% cash back on other purchases, and there is the Chase Freedom Unlimited credit card that gives you 1.5% cash back on almost all your purchases. Here is our review of the Chase Freedom Unlimited credit card for those of you who are interested.
Cash back credit cards allow you to earn cash back rewards every time you make a purchase with your card. The cash back earned ranges from 1% to 5%. The Chase Freedom card offers a high rate of cash back as well as many other benefits and features. This review will tell you everything you need to know about the Chase Freedom card.
Our Favorite Things About The Chase Freedom Card
Up To 5% Cash Back – You can receive 5 % cash back on rotating categories like gas, groceries, and restaurants, up to $1500 each quarter. At the time of writing, 5% is the highest you can get from any card on the market. You are notified in advanced what the next category will be, allowing you to plan ahead of time. You will earn 1% cash back on all other purchases automatically.
Earn 1% Cash Back – You get 1% cash back on all other purchases. These include purchases that fall outside of the rotating categories for 5% cash back, and include any purchases you make within the categories that are beyond your $1500 per quarter limit.
$150 Sign Up Bonus – This card has a great sign up bonus that will award you with $150 after you spend just $500 with the card in the first 3 months of card opening. Get your card, spend $500 on purchases, and after the three months is up, you wait eight weeks and you receive 15,000 points that may be converted to $150 credit on your credit card.
Long 0% Introductory Offer – This card offers long 0% introductory APR on all purchases and balance transfers for the first 15 months of card opening. After the introductory offer, a variable APR ranging from 14% to 23% applies. A maximum of 29.99% APR may apply to some people.
Don’t Need Excellent Credit – You can qualify for this card if you have good credit. Many cards that offer this much value, require you to have excellent credit to qualify, but not the Chase Freedom card.
No Annual Fee – This card offers a whole lot of value for a no fee credit card. When you read their marketing literature, it always refers you to the pricing or terms and conditions, yet we have read them all and there is no mention of having to pay a maintenance or annual fee.
No Limits To How Much Cash Back You Can Earn – There is no limits to how much cash back you can earn, which can’t be said about all credit cards. There is a limit to how much 5% cash back you can get; you may only earn 5% cash back on purchases up to $1500 per quarter, but there is no limit on how much cash back you earn at the 1% rate.
No Cash Back Or Points Expiry – The cash back feature and/or cash back points do not expire, so you do not have to worry about using your cash/points by a particular time or date. This may allow you to accumulate points or cash back over time.
Includes Chase Blueprint program – This card gives you free access to the Chase Blueprint program. This program allows you to pay your charges without incurring interest. For example, if you incur $1500 on credit card charges for the month of February, and your bill comes in February with a February 28th deadline, if you only paid $1000 off the $1500 owed by the deadline, you can choose exactly which purchases the $1000 would apply to. This allows you to maintain the grace period, allowing you to only pay interest on the remaining $500 owed. (Blueprint was scrapped by Chase in November 2018)
Things We Do Not Like About The Chase Freedom Card
You Have To Activate The 5% Cash Back Categories – Every quarter, you have to activate the 5% cash back categories. Fortunately, you can sign up for alerts from Chase to your email or phone, reminding you to sign up up before the deadline. It is free to activate the revolving categories.
Cash Advance Fee – If you use this card to withdraw cash from ATM’s you will be charged a 5% cash advance fee, with a minimum of $10. Also the variable APR on cash advance fees is 25.24% and can rise to 29.99% for some people. While many cards have the same cash advance fee, there are many other cards with a lower cash advance fee. This is definitely not the card to use to withdraw money from an ATM, so make sure you avoid that.
Foreign Transaction Fee – This card also has charges a 3% foreign transaction fee each time you use the card to pay in a different currency such as when you are traveling outside the US. There are better cards to use if you will be traveling outside the US.
Foreign Currency Conversion Costs – We all know it is expensive to use your credit card when you are abroad, and that is true of all credit cards, but few people understand why. Not only do most credit cards charge a foreign transaction fee, they all charge a poor quality currency conversion rate. When they convert your dollars, they do not convert at the market rate. All of them skim 1% or more from the conversion rate, which means you get less foreign currency for your money. This Chase card skims 2.99% off the conversion rate, which means you get 2.99% less than if you received the market rate. For example, this means you receive 2.99% less foreign currency for your money than if you used a market rate company such as Transferwise
Their Customer Service It Terrible – Their customer service department is staffed with people who are either poorly trained or poorly paid. Not every instance with their customer support team will anger you, but there is such a high incidence of customer support staff being rude or unhelpful that you have to imagine it is a systemic problem and not just a few bad apples.
They Display Very Little Customer Loyalty – Chase has the general attitude that it is too big to fail. They figure that it doesn’t matter if they rile up customers or mess them around because there are always more customers out there for them to get. That is why they have such a sketchy online reputation. They do things such as let people sign up and go three months trying to earn a bonus, only to then tell them that they were never eligible for the bonus in the first place for whatever reason.
Is The Chase Freedom Credit Card Right For You?
It suits those who are willing to use this card for their everyday purchases. To really take advantage of the 5% cash back features you will need to use the card on routine purchases, such as gas and groceries, and the same is true when you buy to earn your 1% cash back.
It suits people with good credit, as you do not need excellent credit to qualify. If you are someone who only uses your card occasionally, you will not get good value out of this card.
How Chase Freedom Card Compares With Similar Cards
There are a few cash back credit cards out there, and many online commenters claim that there are numerous other cards that are better than the Chase Freedom credit card. However, our research and our reviews show that Chase’s biggest competitor cards are pretty darn similar to the Chase Freedom card.
The Discover IT Cash Back Card is this card’s biggest competition. It also offers 5% cash back categories that change each quarter, and then 1 % on all other purchases. It also has no annual fee. So far this card sounds just like the Chase card, however the Discover IT differs in a few areas. First the bonus differs, as with the Discover IT card you will get double the cash back you’ve earned at the end of your first year with the card. For example, if you have earned $250 cash back, you will be awarded another $250, for a total of $500 cash back at the end of the year, which is pretty impressive. Next, the Discover IT credit card does not charge a foreign transaction fee, while the Chase Freedom card charges a 3% fee. So if you are someone who travels frequently and want a cash back card, the Discover IT card might be a better choice. Both cards have a 0% intro APR on purchases and balance transfers, however with the Chase Freedom card the 0% is for 15 months, and the Discover Card’s 0% offer is only for 12 months. Another difference between these two cards is Chase is a Visa card which is more widely accepted then a Discover credit card.
Another card that is similar to the Chase Freedom Credit Card is the Bank Americard Cash Rewards Credit Card. This is also a cash back credit card that, while it doesn’t have 5% rotating categories, it allows you to earn 1% cash back on every purchase, along with 2% on purchases at grocery stores, and 3% on gas for a maximum of $1500 for grocery and gas purchases each quarter. The sign up bonus is similar to the Chase Freedom card as you will be rewarded with $200 after you spend your first $500 within the first 3 months of having your credit card. There is no annual fee with this card, it has a cash advance fee, has a foreign transaction fee, and your cash-back reward points do not expire.
The Citi Double Cash card is also a quality cash-back card although it has a different cash back system then the Chase Freedom Card. You earn 1% cash back when you make a purchase, then you earn another 1% cash back when you pay for your purchases, whether you pay for them in full or pay installments over time. Essentially, you will be consistently earning 2% cash back on all purchases. There are no revolving categories because this is a flat rate card. There are no limits on the amount of cash back that you can earn, which is the same for the non bonus categories on the Chase Freedom Card. The Citi Double Cash Card has an introductory offer of 0% intro APR on all purchases and balance transfers for the first 18 months of card opening. All balance transfers must be completed within the first 4 months of opening the card.
Should You Or Shouldn’t You?
Overall this is a high quality credit card that offers a lot of value. If you value cash back over reward credit cards, then you should consider this credit card. The $150 sign up bonus should come easily as you would only have to spend $167 per month to get that $150 bonus, its like free money in your pocket. If you are someone who will use your card often to taken advantage of the 5% cutback categories then you should get this card.
Due to the fact that the rewards do not expire, you can accumulate your cash back over time, allowing you to really benefit from the cash back. If you have excellent credit, and are looking for a cash back card, then you cannot go wrong with the Chase Freedom credit card. However, if you are someone who will travel often the foreign transaction fee can be a deal breaker, as there are better credit cards available and there are currency converters such as Transferwise and CurrencyFair