Is the Chase Freedom Card Right for You?
Do you ever wish you could get paid for shopping? In a sense, when you apply for a cash back credit card, you can do just that. Cash back cards allow you to earn rewards based on the purchases you make with the card. These rewards may come in the form of points, gift cards, cash, discounts, or some combination of those bonuses. You might want to consider the Chase Freedom Card.
One of the most popular cash back cards currently on the market is the Chase Freedom Card. The defining feature of the Chase Freedom card is the 5% cash back offer on one spending category each quarter, with a $75 limit per quarter. Cardholders also receive unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases.
The Chase Freedom rewards program awards cardholders points for qualifying purchases. Each point equals one cent. So, for example, $100 of purchases in the quarterly bonus category would result in your account being credited with 500 points, which is the equivalent of $5. Redeemed rewards after earning 2000 points. Redemption options include a statement credit, direct deposit, or paper check. Chase Freedom also offers the option of redeeming cash back rewards as a gift card.
While bonus cash back is the major difference between Chase Freedom and its competitors, there are several other important features. Today, Credit Fast will review the Chase Freedom card to help you determine if this cash back credit card is a good fit for you.
Pros of the Chase Freedom Card:
- The Chase Freedom card offers 5% cash back in bonus rewards categories that change every quarter. Previous categories have included gas stations, grocery stores, and restaurants. Any purchases made that fall under these categories will be qualified to receive the bonus rewards for up to the first $1,500 in spending. The opportunity to earn 5% cash back in the quarterly bonus category is unique to Chase Freedom. Cardholders also earn unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases.
- New Chase Freedom cardholders may receive a $150 signing bonus. To be eligible, you must charge $500 in the first three months. An additional $25 is available if you add an authorized user who makes a purchase within the first three months. Customers who have received a new cardmember bonus with Chase within the last two years are not eligible for these promotions.
- The Chase Freedom credit card offers a 0% introductory APR for the first 15 months. This low introductory rate can give you time to pay off a major purchase. Interest rates after the introductory period are competitive, varying between 15% and 25%.
- There is no annual fee, and rewards never expire. This means that you don’t have to weigh the financial value of the rewards against a yearly fee. The total amount of your cash back really is a savings with the Chase Freedom card. In addition, you don’t have to worry about losing your Chase Freedom points because you forget to redeem them. As long as your account remains open, you can cash out your points.
Cons of the Chase Freedom Card:
- There is a quarterly limit of $75 cash back in rotating rewards categories. However, after you have reached this limit, you continue earning 1% cash back on all purchases.
- To receive 5% cash back, cardholders have to activate their rotating rewards each quarter. You can activate online, by text or email, through the mobile app, by calling customer service, or in person at a Chase bank. The process is straightforward, but you have to remember to activate. Chase Freedom recommends doing this on the first day of every quarter. However, you should receive retroactive awards if you opt in by the second week of the third month of the quarter. If remembering to activate rotating rewards is undesirable then the Chase Visa Freedom Unlimited℠ at a fixed cash back rate of 1.5% might be a better choice. Compare both Freedom credit offers to see which Chase Freedom credit card is right for you.
- The Chase Freedom card has a 5% balance transfer fee and a 3% foreign transaction fee. If you travel internationally frequently, consider a card without foreign transaction fees. Similarly, if you’re looking for a card to use to consolidate credit card debt, you’ll want to look for a card with a lower balance transfer free.
The Chase Freedom Visa 2017 Review Verdict:
The 5% cash back bonus in rotating rewards categories is easily the best thing about the Chase Freedom card. The $150 bonus for $500 of spending in the first three months is another attractive feature. These benefits, coupled with the 0% introductory APR, make the Chase Freedom card one of the best cash back credit cards without an annual fee.
You’ll get the maximum value from the Chase Freedom card if you pay attention to the quarterly bonus category. By charging bonus purchases on this card, you’ll earn 3% or 4% more cash back than you would with most other cash back credit cards. However, purchases outside the bonus category earn only 1% cash back. Other cash back cards offer 1% to 2% rewards on all purchases, but no bonus categories. If you aren’t going to be intentional about tracking the rotating rewards category, you’d be better off with a card that offers a higher standard cash back percentage.
Chase Freedom® Cash Back Visa Credit Card – Good Fit?
The Chase Freedom card is not a good fit for those who struggle to control spending or who need to transfer a balance. By calling your attention to a bonus category each quarter, some cardholders will be tempted to overspend to earn cash back. Consumers looking to consolidate debt should also look for a card with lower balance transfer fees such as Chase Slate®. Finally, people planning to carry a balance on the card after the introductory APR period should also consider other options. Those with good or excellent credit are likely to find a card with lower interest rates over the long term.
This card is an excellent fit for those who don’t mind keeping track of the rotating rewards category to earn extra cash back. Chase Freedom is also a good choice for those with average or below-average credit who want a cash back rewards card. Those consumers should be sure not to carry a balance after the introductory APR period is over. Otherwise, it’s likely that they will spend more in interest than they will earn in cash back.