Chase Freedom Review

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Chase’s entry-level credit card, the Chase Freedom, comes with a long list of great benefits, and will go well with your daily spend habits. With a recent and major redesign, it looks like the card is here to stay. Here is a quick rundown of its benefits.

 Chase Freedom

Chase Freedom cash back

5% Cash Back On Rotating Categories

Each new quarter, the Chase Freedom has a rotating spending category that offers 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in combined purchases during that period.

For this current quarter (Q4 2017), the category is “Walmart and Department Stores.” You can earn 5% cash back on the first $1,500 in purchases made between October 1 to December 31, meaning you can earn a max of $75 cash back. Department stores include places like Macy’s, Sears, Kohl’s, Nordstrom, and J.C. Penney. You can check the Chase website for a full list.

The department store category is perfect for the holiday season. The $75 back is a nice return. Your $75 cash back is also worth 7,500 Chase Ultimate Rewards points, meaning each point is worth 1 cent. You can get way more than 1 cent of value per point if you transfer your points to airline or hotel rewards programs. However, you can only transfer Chase points to airlines and hotels if you have one of Chase’s premium cards. These cards include the Chase Sapphire Preferred, Chase Sapphire Reserve, or the Chase Business Ink Preferred. This makes the Chase Freedom an excellent card to combine with one of Chase’s Ultimate Rewards cards, since you can earn 5% cash back and then move those points over for maximum value.

On top of that, any travel booked through the Chase Sapphire Preferred or Business Ink Preferred travel portals get a bonus 25% value, making each point worth 1.25 cents. The Chase Sapphire Reserve gives you a 50% bonus, making each point worth 1.5 cents. I will upload a separate post that outlines how these transfers work and will link to it here.

 

For all other purchases, you receive 1% cash back. For the 1% cash back, there is no limit on how much cash back you can earn. However, for non-5% categories, you’re better off spending another card that gives you 1.5% or higher on everyday spend. Check out our article on cash back credit cards for more information and card suggestions.

*Note: You must activate/opt-in to receive the 5% cash back each quarter, either through the website or the Chase app. Chase usually sends a very useful email reminding you about it, and providing a link that activates it.

Sign-up Bonus

The Chase Freedom comes with a $150 sign-up bonus after you spend $500 or more on your card within 3 months of opening your card. Keep in mind that the 3 months starts the day you’re approved, not the day you receive the card in the mail. The $150 is worth 15,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards, which can be transferred as well if you have one of the cards previously mentioned.

0% APR on Purchases and Balance Transfers (15 months)

I am of the belief that you should always pay off your credit cards every month like you would a debit card, to make sure you don’t fall into the trap of spending on things you can’t afford. This will prevent you from building up balances that eventually lead to interest. Despite that, maybe you hit a rough patch financially. Or maybe you would prefer to pay off a purchase slowly over 15 months instead of all at once. If you use caution, then you can really take advantage of this 15-month period.

Keep in mind that once the 15 months is over, the APR will be between 15.99% to 24.74%, depending on your credit worthiness. Make sure to pay off the full balance before then. Also, the Balance Transfer fee is 5% of the amount transferred, with a $5 minimum.

Consumer Protections

Zero Liability Protection against fraud is a major benefit to using your Chase Freedom, and credit cards in general. If your debit card is stolen, that’s a direct line of access to your bank account. Even if you’re not liable, it may take time for you to have access to those funds again while the bank sorts out the fraudulent charges. If a credit card is stolen or hacked, all you need to do is cancel the charge, cancel the card, and get a new number while the bank deals with everything else.

Purchase Protection covers your new purchases for 120 days against damage and/or theft up to $500 per incident, and $50,000 total per account.

Extended Warranty Protection extends the time period of the U.S. manufacturer’s warranty by one additional year, on eligible warranties up to three years.

No Annual Fee

This card has no annual fee, so it’s one you should keep for the long haul. The Average Age of Credit accounts for 15% of your FICO score, meaning the longer you keep cards open, the better your score will be. It doesn’t hurt you to keep this card open because you won’t be charged for holding onto it.

Opinion

The Chase Freedom was my first ever credit card, and it’s one that I’m still using to this day. The $150 bonus for only $500 spend was a great incentive, and combined with the 5% cash back, I got a good amount of cash back my first year of using it. You can maximize the value of this card by combining it with one of Chase’s premium cards. Because there is no fee and the 5% rotating categories resets every quarter, this card is definitely a keeper. Because there is no fee and the 5% rotating categories resets every quarter, this card is definitely a keeper.

I’ve included direct links to the application page for the Chase Freedom, as well as a referral link. If you feel like using my referral, it can go a long way to help maintain this website. However, if you get targeted for a $200 or higher sign-up bonus, then apply using that direct invite instead of my referral link, because at the end of the day you should always pick the option that brings you the most return. 

 

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