Chase Freedom

Chase Freedom Credit Card – Review


Rating: 3.9

Chase FreedomLearn More

  • Sign-up Bonus: $150 bonus after spending $500 in the first 3 months
  • Rewards: 5% cash back in quarterly bonus categories such as gas stations, restaurants, grocery stores, and Amazon (up to $1,500 in combined purchases); Unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases
  • Intro APR: 0% for 15 months on purchases and balance transfers
  • Regular APR: 14.24 to 23.24%
  • Fees: Balance transfer fee 5% of the amount transferred ($5 minimum)
  • Annual Fee: $0
  • Credit Needed: Excellent/Good
Advertiser Disclosure: This post includes references to offers from our partners. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. However, the opinions expressed here are ours alone and at no time has the editorial content been provided, reviewed, or approved by any issuer.

Learn more about this card and find out how you can apply here.

Chase Freedom was among the first true cash back credit cards. Imitators have come and gone, but its promise of unlimited 1% cash back and up to 5% cash back (up to $1,500 per quarter) in select quarterly spending categories remains – though you do have to manually activate your 5% cash back categories, which is often an annoying extra step to take. Chase Freedom has long had an attractive sign-up bonus – currently $150 cash for $500 in qualifying purchases within 3 months of account opening – and it has never charged an annual fee.

Chase Freedom has plenty of other perks too, including a 15-month purchase and balance transfer promotion and no penalty APR. Though Chase doesn’t specify the precise credit score you need to qualify, Freedom is openly marketed to more inexperienced credit card users with less-than-perfect credit scores and moderate incomes. Comparable cash back credit cards include Discover it (which comes in several versions), Capital One Quicksilver, Barclaycard CashForward, American Express Blue Cash Everyday, and BankAmericard Cash Rewards.

Key Features

  • Sign-up Bonus: Spend $500 within 3 months of account opening and get a $150 bonus cash back credit. You can get an additional $25 bonus by making your first purchase and adding an authorized user to the account, both also within the first 3 months of account opening.
  • Cash Back Rewards: Chase Freedom pays 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in total purchases ($75 in total cash back rewards) in certain quarterly rotating spending categories, such as gas stations, restaurants, department stores, and specific online retailers, including Amazon. After you hit the quarterly spending cap, additional purchases in the 5% cash back categories earn an unlimited 1% cash back. All other purchases earn an unlimited 1% cash back, as well. Keep in mind that you have to manually activate your 5% cash back spending categories before the middle of the last month of the applicable quarter. Once you activate, your cash back earnings are retroactive throughout the quarter.
  • Cash Back Redemption: Once you accumulate $20 in cash back rewards, you can redeem for a statement credit, bank account deposit, gift card, or purchases made through Chase’s Ultimate Rewards shopping portal. Your cash back earnings never expire.
  • Cash Back Boost: The Cash Back Boost feature promises bonus cash back on purchases made directly through Chase’s Ultimate Rewards portal (also known as “Shop Through Chase”). Extra cash back earnings usually range from 1% to 5% on top of the unlimited 1% baseline cash back, but can occasionally reach or exceed 10% – for instance, ProFlowers periodically offers 10% cash back. Cash Back Boost offers do change frequently, so sign up for email alerts to catch current deals.
  • Introductory APR: Enjoy 0% APR on purchases and balance transfers for 15 months from account opening. Balance transfers can be made at any time during the 15-month window to qualify for the promo rate.
  • Regular APR: After the introductory APR periods end, your purchase and balance transfer APR rises to 14.24% to 23.24%, depending on your creditworthiness and prevailing interest rates. The cash advance APR is 25.24%, but there is no penalty APR.
  • Important Fees: Freedom doesn’t have an annual fee. Foreign transactions cost a flat 3% of the transaction amount, balance transfers cost the greater of $5 or 5%, and cash advances cost the greater of $10 or 5%.
  • Purchase Protection: Chase’s Purchase Protection plan provides up to 4 months of complimentary protection for all purchases made in full with your Chase Freedom card. The benefit is good up to $500 per covered item and $50,000 total per account. Coverage includes potential perils such as theft, damage, and loss.
  • Rental Car Insurance: When you decline the rental company’s insurance option and charge the entire rental to your Chase Freedom card, you’re automatically covered for theft and collision expenses in the U.S. and most international markets (secondary to your own personal auto insurance).
  • Credit Required: This card requires very good credit. Some minor blemishes may be acceptable, but major dings are likely to disqualify your application.


  1. Cash Back Boost Increases Earning Power. Freedom’s Cash Back Boost feature is great for, well, boosting your cash back – specifically, beyond the constraints of the $75 earnings cap on your 5% quarterly spending categories. It’s common to find unlimited 2% to 6% cash back (in addition to the 1% baseline cash back) through Cash Back Boost, and is occasionally possible to find even better deals. The catch is that Cash Back Boost may tempt you to buy things you don’t really need. Still, Capital One Quicksilver, Capital One QuicksilverOne, and Citi Double Cash all lack analogous features.
  2. No Annual Fee. Chase Freedom has no annual fee, a big perk relative to similar cards such as the Capital One QuicksilverOne ($39 annual fee) and the American Express Blue Cash Preferred ($75 annual fee).
  3. 0% Intro and Balance Transfer APR for 15 Months. Chase Freedom comes with a 15-month 0% purchase and balance transfer APR promotion. Even better, transfers made at any time during the promotional window qualify. The Discover it card only offers a 12-month balance transfer and purchase APR promotion, while the promotions of Capital One’s cash back cards last for a limited time.
  4. Large, Easily Attainable Sign-up Bonus. Freedom’s $150 sign-up bonus is bigger than average and is pretty easy to snag: Just spend $500 within 3 months of opening your account, or roughly $166 per month. The $150 sign-up bonus on the Blue Cash Everyday Card from American Express requires you to spend at least $1,000 within 3 months, while Barclaycard CashForward and BankAmericard Cash Rewards both offer only $100 for $500 spent within 3 months.
  5. No Penalty APR. Though Freedom has late fees, it never charges a penalty APR. That’s welcome news for cardholders of Citi Double Cash (29.99% penalty APR) and American Express cash back cards (up to 29.49% penalty APR, depending on the card) who are in search of a reprieve.
  6. Flexible Cash Back Redemption. Chase lets you redeem your Freedom card’s accumulated cash back pretty much any way you want: statement credits, bank account deposits, good-as-cash gift cards, and a vast array of merchandise through the Ultimate Rewards portal. Some competing cards, such as Barclaycard CashForward (no merchandise purchases) and Capital One’s cash back cards (statement credits or bank account deposits only), aren’t so flexible.


  1. Baseline 1% Cash Back Is Lower Than Some Competitors. Chase Freedom’s 1% baseline cash back rate is lower than the rate of some competing cards. If you’re a moderate to heavy spender, you’re likely to exceed the $1,500 quarterly spending threshold for Freedom’s 5% categories. By contrast, Capital One Quicksilver, Capital One QuicksilverOne, Barclaycard CashForward, and BankAmericard Cash Rewards all earn unlimited 1.5% cash back, while Citi Double Cash effectively has a 2% baseline cash back rate. These cards are better for people who spend more and are thus more likely to exceed the quarterly 5% spending cap.
  2. Manual Activation Required for 5% Cash Back. Chase requires you to manually activate your 5% cash back categories each quarter. If you don’t do so by the middle of the last month of the quarter, you miss out on any potential earnings for that quarter. While it takes just a few minutes at most to activate, it’s still annoying to have to take time out of your routine and remember to do so. Most other cash back cards, even those with special categories, such as Discover it Chrome and American Express Blue Cash Preferred, don’t require manual category activation.
  3. No Credit Monitoring or Scores. Chase Freedom does not offer credit monitoring or credit score updates as a perk of membership. Many competing cash back cards, including the Discover it and Capital One cash back card families, offer monthly or unlimited credit scores for no extra charge.
  4. Expensive Cash Advances. It’s expensive to use your Chase Freedom card for cash advances: $10 or 5%, whichever is greater, plus a 24.99% APR. That’s more than both BankAmericard Cash Rewards (APR as low as 16.24% and fees of $10 or 3%) and Capital One Quicksilver (23.24% APR and fees of $10 or 3%).

Final Word

When you apply for and use Chase Freedom, you know what you’re getting. It’s a classic cash back card that’s been around for years – longer than many online banks, in fact.

While its baseline 1% unlimited cash back is no longer the gold standard for cash back credit cards, the lack of an annual fee and the promise of additional earnings for purchases made through the Ultimate Rewards portal certainly sweeten the deal. That said, you want to avoid this card if you prefer the simplicity of a flat-rate cash back rewards card or if you travel frequently, since the foreign transaction fee and limited travel rewards are problematic.

Learn more about this card and find out how you can apply here.

Comments Disclosure: The below responses are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

  • Karmella

    That’s interesting, the split transaction option. It solves some of the problems I’ve heard people mention about credit cards and everyday vs big ticket purchases.

    I had always had the impression that there was an annual fee, it’s good to hear there’s not. I would get one, but I have heard too many negative comments about Chase cards and I don’t see any need to dip into those waters.

  • David/yourfinances101

    I heard that Fidelity offers a card that pays a straight 2% cash back.

    I guess you just have to figure which one would net you more.

    Either one is a good deal as long as you pay your balances in full every month

  • Jamar

    I have just signed up to use this card. I hope their are some real benefits.

  • Miss Lissy

    This is not a comment about the specific credit card, but a comment about Chase in general. I bank with them right now and even without having a credit card their customer service is very poor. Good luck if you ever have trouble with your credit card – they most likely won’t be able to help you.

  • RoTimi Waddy

    As much as I want to try to like this card, I hate Chase bank! They are dirty. I closed a credit card account I had with them after Washington Mutual was sold to Chase! I LOVED WAMU but as soon as my account was transferred over to them, they raised my interest rate by almost 10% APR more per month & cut my available line of credit in 1/2! Mind you, I had never ever had a late payment, and usually paid my balance off in full every month. Unbelievable! Also, like others have mentioned, the customer service at Chase is horrid. I think I’ll probably stick with AMEX & possibly add Discover instead, cuz this 1 is almost too good to be true!

    • RoTimi Waddy

      I must say that this review I wrote about this card was written a while ago and since then I have actually applied for the card (the Chase Freedom of course) and was approved. I am actually quite happy with the card up to this point but want to warn others that I will NEVER EVER FORGET the prior ruthlessness that was unnecesarily afflicted on me and many other loyal WAMU account holders who loved WAMU. The key piece of advice in general that I would like others to take away from my experience is that, if you work hard and build a decent to great credit score, IMO 700’s-800+, then you have viable negotiating your terms & conditions with these banks and you have a WAYYYYY higher chance of being approved for the best deals available from them or you have the marketability to be able to simply walk away and find a bank that will give you the respect & admonition needed.

  • Ru

    I can only WARN you against Chase. Simply google for Chase horror stories and site after site, blog after blog, will stream across your screen with horrible stories about Chase. They raised my interest rate out of fear of the new government laws. When I inquired about the reason they simply said if I didnt like it I should pay off the entire amount and leave! So I did. I will never use Chase or any of their affiliates – ever!

    • Erik Folgate

      Ru, I am not a fan of Chase either. It seems like all of the big banks have sold their soul to you know who. Their credit card practices are the worst, and even their banking practices aren’t great. We do these types of reviews because there are some people who use credit cards without carrying over a balance at the end of the month and they are looking for building up rewards. This still does not make them prone to having problems with credit cards, but we review them for purely informational purposes, and less for recommending them.

      • Andrew (Admin)

        I hear ya guys. As Erik said (and as we included at the end of this post), we only support you getting a credit card if you are using it only as means of simplifying your finances and will always pay off the full amount and will not rack up any debt. Don’t use it as a way to get around the fact that you don’t have enough money. This way, if any bank ever tries to change the interest rates, you won’t be affected anyways because you don’t have any debt for that interest rate to collect on!

        Credit cards are great for their cash back rewards and other incentives (frequent flyer miles, free shipping, discounts, etc.), but don’t let this fool you into thinking debt is OK. Be smart when it comes to credit cards. Chase (outside of customer service and other stories) has some of the best rewards for their credit cards. If you’re smart and stay disciplined, all the other stuff won’t affect you anyways.

        • Joey

          I just signed up for the Chase Freedom card. The customer service was extremely friendly and helpful. This will be my first Credit Card, so I made sure to pick the one with the best options available. Chase has been working on its customer service over the past couple of months, maybe you should try and give it a try again.

  • michael

    I just signed up for the Chase card- and will use it carefully – only to maximize use of their incentives- and I pay off credit cards in full every month. My primary card currently is the Fidelity card which provides a 2% rebate on everything- but it is American Express and is not accepted everywhere.

  • Mel

    I’ve have a Chase Freedom card since the WaMu buyout. I’m getting hit with about $20 of mystery ‘fees’ per month – both an identity protection that I was automatically signed up for, and ‘finance charges’. I pay my card off, in full, every month. They apparently are charging interest on whatever my highest balance was for the month.

    I had an older card with them that I closed. I called their services, confirmed that the balance was $0.00, and they told me it was shut down. Next month, ding, $5.00 worth of finance charges and it’s back open again! Guess they didn’t want to let go of a customer that easily.

    I find it all unethical in the extreme. It’s becoming rather like a cell phone bill – they sell you a $60 a month plan, and then you actually get billed $80 a month by the time they finish with all the extras. (And no, we’re not going over the plan or using features we haven’t paid for. Don’t even get me started on this one.) I’m very unhappy with the whole credit game (and Chase Bank) and am on my way out.

  • David Chase

    I would caution anyone considering doing online work with a Chase card account to be aware that through some very amateur and sloppy design work, you will be required to remember up to 6 (six) of your last passwords attempts you might have used to access your account – should you forget or confuse any of the 4 (4) required “userid”, “identification”,”password” , identification CODE” and “password” ‘s !!

    ” I am just saying……..”

  • Geoff

    If you are applying for the card going to your local branch may be a better idea. I applied online a few months ago and was denied. I went to the local branch to close an old Wamu account and the customer representative informed me that I was eligible for the Chase Freedom card and I was approved on the spot.

  • Marty Woldt

    Re; Chase Freedom Card

    Don’t count on Chase being a reliable credit card company, if you really wanted to take advantage of their 1 year 0% APR to transfer existing debt to them and pay it off faster.

    I was out of the country for 3 years, teaching English as a Foreign Language. My credit was fine untl I decided to come back. Wow! What a shock — the economy now stinks. I got into credit card trouble only after I arrived back in this country. Couldn’t find a job quickly and couldn’t rent an apartment without a job. I absolutely HATE being in debt, and have never been before, but Chases’s Freedom Card offer sent to me was turned down because of my debt at the moment. After over 20 years of work in this country and no problems with debt, all of a sudden I am a credit risk!

    I am living on a shoe string and tryng to pay off my debt, but the Case Freedom card would have made it a whole lot easier and quicker, if they had looked beyond my present circumstances as of April, 2010. It doesn’t matter that I once made over $100,000/yr. and owned a house and had a spoirts car, and lived a life of ease. Because of the last 8 months of credit problems, they turned me down!

    I’m beginning, for the first time in my life, to stop believing in this country and its current value system and morals. Look at the problems Chase has had recently with poor, if not illegal dealings, and the fact that they fired the wistle-blower who came forward to testify to the Congress about Chase’s underhanded dealings.

    Oh, but though that wrangle is still going on, it is not the current news, so no one pays any attention to it. Chase is just trying to get its customers back, but they don’t care about honest dealings or their customers.

    I will NEVER apply for a Chase card again. All this is just swept under the rug. So now I’m thinking I should keep my money under my mattress like people used to do around the depression era. Who can be trusted in this spend now, pay later era? I guess I’ve got an old-fashioned value system. I’m old enough not to have “Mom or Dad” help me out anymore, which seems to be the norm these days. “Hey, Mom, can I move back into your house and stay there indefinitely even though I’m 25 years old? I can’t live without my ipad.”.

    M. E. Woldt

  • Brian

    This is the worst card I have ever had & will NEVER use a chase card again for as long as I may live…

    As soon as this card is paid off I am closing it & removing both of my Chase bank accounts.

    I was in college & did not recieve the warning they were raising my rate to 29.99% for “reasons undefined” basically because they could… I have been paying an extra $130 a month because I did not disagree with the ONE letter they sent to me telling me they were going to do this.

    I have never been late & have never missed a payment… I have gone over my limit 1 time & this is what happens, they keep telling me there is nothing they can do & that they are not currently lowering any interest rates… AND that in February 2011 they will review my account & evaluate if I am elegible for a rate reduction (THEY NOW LEGALLY HAVE TO DO THIS) but then they dont have to lower the rate but if they do they will send me out a 45 day notification at least 3 weeks after they are finished reviewing the account.

    This is not fair & very upsetting… they have basically stolen $1500 right out of my already empty pockets!!!!!!!


    I agree, worst credit card I ever had. I inherited this cc from my divorce 20 months ago. At the time it had a $14,000 balance on it. I have never been late on a payment and have been paying more then the minimum. After paying over $7,000. my balance is still $10,100. They now have sent me a letter reducing my credit from $20,000. to $10,400. If this is how they reward there customers….Please don’t ever become one.

  • Tom S.

    I want to warn everybody who has or is considering a Continental/ Chase Presidential Mastercard. After making a large payment so that I would have enough available limit to make a large purchase and get the frequent flyer miles, Chase without any warning lowered my credit limit by the same amount! Now I don’t have the money to make the purchase nor the space on the credit card to charge it! Customer service would not reinstate the original credit limit. I have never been late on a payment to this or any other credit card. I have had this card since it was first offered but I will be canceling it as soon as practicable. I don’t need a $400 a year card that pulls the rug out from under me. I can pay my Presidents club dues on a free credit card. AVOID Chase like the plague!

  • Martin

    I also has a strange experience with Chase. After my WAMU Visa because Chase card, my rate was doubled. When I asked them to lower my rate I received an e-mail response that they simply would not because “the lower APR was not available.” Their handling of my request to lower the APR was short, patronizing and unpleasant.
    I e-mailed back asking to close my account and in minutes I received a reply that the account has been closed.
    It was a good decision since Chase has raised my APR without a reason to the levels that would make mafia’s loan sharks proud. Stay away from Chase: ruthless and they don’t want your business. I will do my best never to do any business with Chase or business affiliated with Chase.

  • Victoria Vargas

    I turned 18 and got this card as my first credit card I have had a account with them since I was 16 and go to the same banker everytime I always find it helpful if you see the same person instead of calling He is always nice and ive never had a problem he even waived my activation fee for my checking account which is usually 50 dollars also if you dont have enough money to account for future apr increases DO NOT GET A CREDIT CARD every bank does increases every once in a while if you cant afford it maybe prepaid is best for you…..

  • Tinan

    I don’t have a super perfect credit score, but it is decent and I am working hard to improve it 5 years after a difficult period when I was unemployed. I was happy to get a chase card with a $1500 limit. Yes I ran it up to the limit due to some moving expenses, but I always made my payments on time and had it paid off within 5 months. As soon as it was paid off they reduced my credit limit to $200 without even giving me any warning this was going to happen. I felt so screwed over by chase that I immediately canceled my account. I know that’s not what you’re supposed to do, but what is a person supposed to do with a useless $200 credit limit? It was a big FU from chase, they might as well have just canceled my account because they clearly don’t care about the hard working customers who pay their bills on time. Avoid these feckers at all cost.

  • Brendau

    mi nombre es brenda y no tengo tarjeta de credito abese me es dificil. pork tengo k esperar asta k me pagan .y me retraso en mis pagos no tengo credito y me gustaria tener una tarjeta k puedo hacer m podrian dar ideas

  • Anonymous

    Listen to this…Brother’s neighbor makes 68 hourly on the Laptop. She has been fired from work for 11 months but last month her paycheck was 7958 USD just working on the PC for a few hours. Read about it on this web site…. C a s h M a n y . c 0 m

  • Anonymous

    Listen to this…Brother’s neighbor makes 68 hourly on the Laptop. She has been fired from work for 11 months but last month her paycheck was 7958 USD just working on the PC for a few hours. Read about it on this web site…. C a s h M a n y . c 0 m

  • Ben

    Hello, i have a slate and Freedom card, am thinking of linking my external account to it so i can transfer my balance into it, do you guys think its possible to work that way.

  • Ben

    Hello, i have a slate and Freedom card, am thinking of linking my external account to it so i can transfer my balance into it, do you guys think its possible to work that way.

  • Grrrrr

    I have this card. I’ve had fraudulent charges on this account twice in the last sixth months. In the most recent instance I called a week ago when I received a notification that there had been questionable activity. I was told there was no issue with my account. Someone proceeded to charge my account from all over the country all week long. The last time this happened Chase sent me three different letters telling me they were reversing fraudulent charges that were not fraudulent. Terrible customer service. Terrible security. The good cash awards don’t make it worth it.

  • LowFlo

    I’ve had a much different experience than most commenter’s. I’ve had a Chase account for years and couldn’t be happier. Great customer service, great cash back, great website. Sends me an email whenever card is used online or when a charge exceeds a limit I’ve preset. Overall, one of the best banking experiences I’ve had. Highly recommended if you’ve got good credit history and good credit management habits.

  • Tom M

    I hate my Chase Card. I got this thing because we like to ski in Europe and Chase didn’t charge transaction fees. Shortly after I got it, they started charging fees. Then, they came out with the 5% discount in some months. Since I had only a $2000 limit, I called to raise my limit to $4000. Was I amazed when they said I could only have a $1000 raise. This was in a letter that showed my Trans Union Credit score at 786. Of course, I pay the balance each month by auto withdrawal and have never paid credit card interest in my 70 years, but remember that they tag the merchant 1 to 3% for use of the card. Maybe, we should reconsider cash? I do realize that my discounts are paid by the poorest of the poor who can’t get credit card discounts.

  • Julia

    Does anyone know exact date when Chase Freedom began to offer $100 bonus for $500 spent in the first 3 months and $25 bonus offer for adding an authorized user in the first 3 months??? I don’t remember seeing these offers when I applied for the card at the end of July, 2014. And it is nowhere mentioned in papers that came with the card. Thank you.

  • cwe
  • sudarto

    I love to read a lot of comments here. From much experience it, I can find out the problems that may arise and how to avoid the problem or how to solve the problem if it happened to us. Thank you.