Like many credit cards, Chase Freedom gives you the opportunity to earn cash back on your purchases. While the standard rate for many cash back credit cards is 1% on all purchases, these cards are distinguished by their ability to earn even greater reward on some purchases.
The Chase Freedom, like some other cards, allows customers to earn 5% cash back on purchase from bonus categories that change each month. What makes the card really special is its eligibility for the Chase Blueprint program, which allows customers to reduce interest payments and manage their debt.
- Sign Up Bonus. Chase currently offers a $100 sign up bonus when you spend $500 on the card in the first three months. The card also comes with a 0% introductory APR on purchases and on balance transfers for 15 months.
- Cash Back from Spending. The biggest selling points include the chance to earn 5% cash back in popular categories that rotate every few months and 1% cash back on all purchases made using the card. You must remember to register for these bonuses, and only the first $1,500 in spending is eligible to receive the 5% cash back, for a possible total of $75 each quarter.
- Standard Interest Rates. Cardholders will receive a variable APR between 12.99% and 22.99%, depending on credit worthiness.
- Chase Blueprint. The Chase Blueprint feature is free to sign up for and allows you to reduce interest payments and manage your account more easily. If you want to pay certain categories (such as gas or groceries) in full to avoid paying interest on those transactions, you can specify that here. If there are bigger purchases that you’d prefer to pay back over time, you can choose to “split” the transactions instead. If you choose the “split” option, you can pay over a set number of months, and Blueprint will keep you updated on your progress until you’ve paid it all off.
- Fees. There is no annual fee for this card, but there is a foreign transaction fee of 3% on all charges processed outside of the United States. There is also a balance transfer fee of 3% even during the 0% promotional financing period.
- Guaranteed 1% Cashback. Because there’s no tiered cash back system, you’ll earn 1% cash back on every dollar spent with this card. On top of this, there’s no limit to how much cash back you can receive. An extra 1% cash back is available on each dollar of eligible airfare purchases made using the online program booking tool.
- 5% Cash Back Bonuses in Popular Spending Categories. These categories change every three months as follows: January-March: Gas stations, Drugstores, Starbucks. April-June: Restaurants, Movie theaters. July-September: Gas stations, Theme parks, Kohl’s. October-December: Department stores, Amazon.com.
- Introductory Purchase APR Rate of 0%. You receive an introductory financing period that covers 15 billing cycles. After this expires, expect the purchase and balance transfer APRs to jump to anything between 12.99% and 22.99%, depending on your credit history. In general, you’ll need an excellent credit score to qualify for the APR at the lower end of that scale.
- Chase Blueprint. By paying some charges off in full and carrying a balance on others, cardholders can save a lot of money on interest. This compares favorably to other cards as they always incur interest on all charges when the card holder’s entire balance is not paid off in full and on time. Blueprint also contains powerful planning and budgeting tools.
- No Annual Fee. There is no annual fee, which is one of the best features of this card.
- Multiple Redemption Options. You can redeem your cash back rewards for cash, travel rewards, and gift cards. Generally speaking, most of these options only return one cent in value per point, so you are probably better off with the cash back option.
- Rewards Don’t Expire. Because you don’t have to spend your rewards in a certain time frame, you can save them and splurge on something big if you’ve got the will power not to touch them until then.
- Rotating Bonus Categories. This may not be the best option for you if you tend to consistently spend in the same categories because they won’t always be included in the bonus. Be sure to sign up every quarter to ensure your eligibility for each new 5% bonus program.
- Good Credit Score Needed for Approval. According to Credit Karma, 685 is the lowest credit score that will still see you approved for the Chase Freedom credit card. They also suggest that 738 is the average credit score for being approved. If your credit score is lower than this, you’re likely to be rejected.
- Balance Transfer Fees. If you’re looking to transfer a balance over to the Chase Freedom credit card, the transaction fee is 3% or $5 (whichever is higher).
- High Penalty APR. You’ll be hit with the default APR rate of 29.99% if you’re consistently making late payments or just not making payments at all.
- High Foreign Transaction Fees. You’re charged 3% on each transaction, which is at the high end of the scale for foreign transaction fees. Several other Chase cards aimed at travelers do not have these fees.
- Mixed Messages. Like ordering a Big Mac and a Diet Coke, it makes little sense to have a card that offers introductory financing and features to save money on interest, while at the same time earning rewards. Reward cards should only be used by those who always pay their balances on time and in full, while others should be seeking non-reward cards with the lowest possible interest rates. That said, the Blueprint feature is the wildcard in this equation, allowing customers to save interest in ways that aren’t possible with other cards, even those with lower interest rates.
The Chase Freedom credit card is a fantastic option for those who want to earn cash back on everyday purchases. You’ll earn a minimum of 1% cash back on purchases, with the possibility of earning 5% cash back on the rotating spending categories. All in all, the Chase Freedom card, with its cash rewards, Blueprint features, and no annual fee is one of the best cash back credit cards out there.
Do you use the Chase Freedom Card to earn cash back on your daily purchases? What has your experience with the credit card been like?