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Chase Freedom Unlimited Credit Card Review (2019)

Chase Freedom Unlimited Credit Card Review (2019)

The Chase Freedom Unlimited credit card has been around for a while, but it really hit its stride as one of the new credit cards in 2019, and its popularity is why it is getting a review right here. This is a review of the Chase Freedom Unlimited credit card, and it highlights the positive and negative points that the card has to offer. Unlike other online reviews, our reviews do not contain affiliate links for the Chase Freedom Unlimited credit card. Instead of accepting affiliate money from Chase, our reviews are paid for by the many adverts you see strewn around this web page. Since we are not making money from sending customers to Chase via affiliate links, we have no reason to lie, nor do we have any reason to overly promote the card. Our research team tested the card again in 2019, and here is what we found.

Chase Freedom Unlimited Credit Card Vital Statistics

Opening Offer – Spend $500 in the first three months from opening your account, and they will give you $200 cash back. According to their Credit Cards Website, it went up since we applied for ours. Our research team received $150 cash back, but their website now says you get $200 cash back.

No Annual Fee – We double checked this, and even though their terms and conditions do not say that there is no annual fee, there is also nothing claiming a maintenance or annual fee exists.

0% APR For The First 15 Months – The APR for your debt doesn’t kick in until the start of your billing cycle on the 15th month of having your card. In other words, you do not pay interest on the debt you have between the the first and fifteenth month of having your card, but this may not apply to money from balance transfers and cash advances, it may only count for purchases, (you will need to check your individual terms and conditions when they send them over to you).

APR Between 16.99% and 29.99% – The advertised numbers are between 16.99% and 25.74%, but there are plenty of scenarios and various people who are paying 29.99%.

Balance Transfer Fee Of 3% – The transfer fee is taken from whatever money you have left on your card, which means you will need to leave around 10% of your available credit on your card when making a balance transfer.

25.74% APR For Balance Transfers – The baseline number for your balance transfer is 25.74%, but there are some people who are paying the maximum at 29.99%.

Unlimited Cash Back – You get 1.5% of your purchases back as cash back. It is unlimited, which means there is no cap on how much you get back, and there are very few restrictions regarding what is considered to be a purchase.

No Minimum For Redeeming Your Cash Back – Many cards, including some of Chase’s older cards, ask that you build up a certain amount of money before you get your cash back, but that is not required for the Chase Freedom Unlimited credit card.

Zero Liability Protection And Purchase Protection – All mainstream credit cards have these protections, but it is good to see Chase telling people about them because they are some of the main perks of having a credit card.

See Your Credit Score – Many credit card companies are offering this service to customers and non customers. Just make sure you are not signing up for a free trial where you have to pay after an amount of time has elapsed.

21 Days To Pay Off Purchases Without Interest – If you wish to avoid interest, then buy something and pay it off before your next bill. There is a 21-day window between one bill and the next where you may buy things and pay off the balance within the 21-day window so that you do not accrue interest for your purchase.

Balance Transfer Fees – $5 or 3% of the amount of each transfer.

Cash Advance Fees – $10 or 5% of the amount of each transaction, with the APR starting at 26.99% and going as high as 29.99%.

Foreign Transactions Fees – 3% of each transaction in US dollars, and then whatever currency conversion rate that Chase chooses, which is usually another 3% worse than the market rate.

Late Payments And Return Payments – Each will cost up to $38 per late payment or returned payment.

Over-the-Credit-Limit And Returned Checks – There are no over the credit limits, which is not really a good or bad thing. There are no fees for returned checks because paper checks are not used.

Limits Start Out Between $500 and $5000 – There are people who have raised their credit limit after having the card for a while, and the terms and conditions mention credit limits as high as $15,000.

The 3-Month $150 Cash Back Offer Terms And Conditions

If something seems too good to be true, then either it isn’t good, or there are terms and conditions that are less than ideal. The 3-month introductory doesn’t have a downside. If you spend $500 on purchases within the first three months of opening your account, then between six and eight weeks after you will receive 15,000 points or your 20,000 points, and these points may be converted into $150 or $200 as a credit on your account.

If you are already a Chase Freedom Unlimited credit card holder, then you are not allowed to apply for this introductory benefit. If you have received an introductory bonus (a new cardholder benefit) from any of Chase’s credit cards in the last 24 months, then your 15,000 bonus points will not be added to your account. The bonus took eight weeks to be credited to our account. Your account must be open throughout the first three months and the time it takes for the bonus points to be credited to your account, and your account must not be in default at the time of fulfillment.

Your purchases on your card must come to a total of $500, and that must happen two weeks before your third billing cycle, which is roughly three months from opening your account. A purchase includes services and goods that you buy or receive. If some of your money is refunded, then that doesn’t count as a purchase. There are several types of auto-pay and bill-pay functions that do not count as purchases too. In addition, anything that looks like a cash advance or balance transfer will not count as a purchase. For example, spending money on lottery tickets, gambling, currency purchases, are considered to be cash advances, which means they do not count towards your $500 worth of purchases.

Chase Freedom Unlimited Credit Card cash back terms and conditions

Chase Freedom Unlimited Credit Card – Pros

The Rewards You Earn Do Not Expire – You do not have to spend your points before a certain time, and your cash-back rewards will be credited to your account without them expiring in any way.

There Is No Limit On Your Cash Back – Some cards say things like how you are able to earn $300 per year in cash back and then the rate goes down or goes away. The Chase Freedom Unlimited credit card is not like that, you can earn as much cash-back as you wish.

Transfer Your Rewards – People who have a Chase Freedom Unlimited credit card are able to transfer their points to other Chase cards from the Ultimate Rewards system.

No Minimum Redemption Amounts – If you would like to redeem your points as cash back, then you do not need to accrue a certain amount of cash-back credit. For example, some credit cards ask that you have $100 of cash-back bonus saved before you can withdraw, but that is not the case with Chase Freedom Unlimited credit card.

There Is No Annual Fee – Their ugly APR is not great, but the fact you do not pay a monthly fee or any sort of annual fee is great, especially since more credit cards should follow suit and stop charging people an annual fee for having a credit card.

Chase Freedom Unlimited Credit Card – Cons

An Ugly APR – The APR may rise as high as 29.99%, and most people with a credit rating of under 760 are looking at having a 25.74% APR. The APR rate is a little high when you consider that the card is not aimed at people with a low credit score.

No Balance Transfers – Your account may not be eligible for balance transfers. Some people are allowed the credit card, but they do not have the option to create a balance transfer. It stipulates in the terms and conditions that you are not guaranteed the ability to create a balance transfer if you get this credit card.

Expect Marketing And Spam – If you get a Chase Freedom Unlimited credit card, you are automatically giving permission to have Chase share information from your application with other parties. You are allowing them to share your application info with credit bureaus and “third parties” (their words), and you have to call the number 1-888-868-8618 if you do not want them to continue sharing your information with third parties.

Current Customers May Be Refused – Chase customers may be refused the credit card, or may be refused the right to use the points system if the customer is already part of the same rewards plan. This means it is possible that some Chase customers may use other services and Chase cards that mean they are not eligible for a Chase Freedom Unlimited credit card.

Chase Customer Service – If you know anything about Chase, you know that they do not value customer loyalty, and there is no area where this feeling shines more brightly than their customer service department. The people there are poorly trained, poorly coached, and poorly paid, which is why their customer support is so darn terrible.

Asking For Limit Increases Will Cause A Credit Inquiry – Where we at do not see a problem with credit card companies running credit checks when customers want limit increases, it is not a standard practice and few other credit card companies do it, which is why it angers people so much.

Reddit Posed A Few Questions

A post on Reddit about Chase Freedom Unlimited raised a few interesting points that I thought I should cover. Here is the link to the Reddit page.

Good Advice On How To Use Credit Cards

The person asking the question on Reddit starts by making a good point about how he uses his credit cards. BlinkerBeforeBrake says that he uses one card for regular purchases instead of a debit card, which is a good way to utilize fraud protection on your everyday purchases, and he uses his other card for emergencies and for direct debit/auto pay bills. This is a clever way of using credit cards firstly because he enjoys buyer protection and fraud protection on all of his purchases and expenditures, and secondly he uses his cards very frequently in a way that is great for building up bonus points and such. It also gives him control over his budget by simply using his monthly wage to pay off his credit card bills, and anything left over from his wages is then spare cash that he can save or invest.

Should I Switch From Chase Freedom To Chase Freedom Unlimited

The Chase Freedom credit card has been popular for many years, as you can see from our review of the Chase Freedom credit card that we wrote in 2016 and have been subsequently updating. The Chase Freedom Unlimited credit card is a newer card with 1.5% cash back over Chase Freedom’s 1%. The Chase Freedom (older card) does offer up to 5% cash back, but that is only in special categories that typical users do not frequently buy from. If you are looking to switch from Chase Freedom to Chase Freedom Unlimited, then there is little reason why you shouldn’t, but check with the company to make sure you will get all your starting benefits because some of Chase’s customers are not eligible for them.

Should I Keep My Chase Freedom Card Open

When you close a credit card, your credit rating takes a short and temporary hit, and this is because your credit utilization score goes down. For example, if your credit cards allow you to borrow $10,000 in total, but you are only using $1000, then your debt utilization is 10%. However, if you close a credit card and your remaining cards only allow you to use a total of $5000 of credit, then suddenly your balance of $1000 means you are using 20% of your potential credit, which is why your credit rating goes down a little. It is almost always better to close down your unwanted credit cards after getting your replacements delivered and activated. In short, even if you are applying for the Chase Freedom Unlimited credit card, keep your Chase or your other credit cards open until you have the Chase Freedom Unlimited credit card in your hand and activated.

Will They Allow Me To Upgrade My Chase Freedom To Chase Freedom Unlimited

People in our research team have been able to convert their Chase Freedom credit cards into Unlimited credit cards, and they were able to do it without a further credit check. You are swapping one credit card for another within the same company, and in this case the swap will not prompt a credit check.

On the downside, if you upgrade your card, then you are not eligible for the starter bonus. Plus, if you have received a starting/introductory bonus of any shape/form/type from Chase within the last 24 months, then you are automatically unable to claim the Chase Freedom Unlimited credit card starter bonus. In short, upgrading your card means no credit inquiry, but it also means you miss out on any sign up bonuses.

Is The Chase Freedom Unlimited Card The Best Card For Cash Back Bonuses

Since the Chase Freedom Unlimited credit card came into existence, we have seen offers that have far exceeded it, and yet there have been times when the Chase Freedom Unlimited card regained its position as the card with the best cash-back bonus. However, most of the time, and at the time of writing, the Chase Freedom Unlimited card is not the best card for cash back bonuses, but that doesn’t mean you should dismiss this card. After all, this isn’t a bad card, and there are plenty of credit cards out there with better cash-back bonuses that are not as reliable as this card.

Is Having Three Credit Cards A Bad Thing?

If you have too much debt, then your credit rating will go down, and the primary reason why other companies will refuse you credit is because you have too much debt. However, if you have three credit cards and there is no balance on them, then they will show up on your credit inquiry, but they shouldn’t harm your chances of getting more credit. If you have lots of credit cards and lots of debt, then your credit rating will go down, and if you have many credit cards with no balance on them, then other lenders may be unwilling to lend to you for fear that you are about to pull a con. Having three credit cards will not harm your credit rating unless you are in debt on all three of them. If you do not use your credit cards very often, and they do not have an annual fee, then there is little harm in keeping them open. Having three credit cards without a balance on them may help to lower your credit utilization score, which is good for your credit rating.

Why Have Three (Or More) Credit Cards?

I am not advocating the use of credit cards since I know that for most people they are debt traps that take years to get out of and cause lots of suffering. However, for the minority of people who are able to manage their credit cards easily and who are able to successfully pay off their credit cards each month while still having some money left over in their bank account, here are a few reasons why having three or more credit cards isn’t a bad thing.

Chase Freedom Credit Card

Let’s say that you have a Chase Freedom credit card. They offer 5% cash back on rotating categories. One month it may be gas, the other it may be restaurants, etc. It may be worth keeping this card on hand and only using it on those occasions when the rotating categories suit your needs, such as if the category this month is Target and WalMart and you were planning to go to those stores anyway.

Chase Freedom Unlimited Credit Card

Instead of using your bank card, you use your credit card to make purchases in stores. Each purchase earns you 1.5% of your spent money back, and it is a credit card so it has strong buyer protection and fraud protection.

PayPal, PayPal Credit Card or PayPal Access

You are wary of online fees for credit cards, so you use PayPal or PayPal Access to buy online safely, and to buy online without paying extra credit card fees. If you are buying from a website that doesn’t charge extra for the use of credit cards, then the PayPal credit card will also offer a lot of online protection.

Capital One Credit Card

Capital One are heroes because they give people a chance at having a high quality and non-predatory credit card even if those people have a bad credit rating. This card could be used for any direct debit/ auto-pay bills. If the credit card balance is paid off every month, then a user need not worry about not having enough money in his or her bank account for the coming auto-pay payments because he or she she is using the credit on a credit card. Unless you fail to repay the credit card debt, there is no chance you will ever miss your auto-pay payments and/or overdraw.

Chase Sapphire Preferred Card

Maybe you wish to go on vacation twice per year to a different country, and where you would prefer to use something such as Transferwise because you want the cheapest possible conversion rates, the truth is that you cannot be bothered with the minutia details, so you just take your credit card. The Chase Sapphire Preferred card will screw you over on your conversion rates in the same way that all credit cards do, but it doesn’t have a foreign transaction fee, so you do not get that second monetary sting from using your credit card overseas. Ergo, you save your Chase Sapphire Preferred Card for times when you go on vacation and you use it for nothing else.

Those Are Just Some Ways You Can Use Several Credit Cards In An Intelligent Ways

As you can see from those examples, there are ways that you may use your credit cards for different tasks and fully exploit them and their perks through cleverly using them. The only downside is that credit cards are debt traps that only require a little bit of bad luck on your part to sink you into a debt spiral. The second problem is that you need to find credit cards with perks that do not expire, and credit cards that do not have a monthly or yearly fee.

About The Author

Ash The Great

After a varied career in different industries from the hospitality industry to the financial consultancy industry, Ash now spends his days working as a professional writer.

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