Chase Slate® isn’t the most exciting credit card out there. One might even call it boring. Unlike travel rewards credit cards and cash back credit cards, Slate doesn’t offer any points, miles, or cash back. If you’re intent on racking up points or miles to fund your next vacation or big-ticket purchase, this definitely isn’t the card for you.
However, what Chase Slate does offer – and what makes it such a popular choice for thrifty credit card users – is a relatively low APR (13.24%-23.24%, depending on your creditworthiness and prevailing rates) and a long 0% APR introductory period of 15 months for purchases and balance transfers.
These features make Slate a great choice for people who occasionally carry balances, struggle with high-interest debt on existing credit card accounts, and simply dislike annual fees and high interest rates. As long as you use your card responsibly and make your payments on time, Slate is also great for building and improving your credit history.
- Introductory APR Promotion. Chase Slate comes with a long introductory APR promotion for balance transfers and purchases: 0% APR on both for 15 months following account opening. The 0% balance transfer rate applies to transfers made at any time during the 15-month window.
- No Balance Transfer Fees for 60 Days. Slate’s balance transfer promotion gets better. In addition to the 0% APR for 15 months, Slate waives balance transfer fees (normally the greater of $5 or 3%) on transfers made within 60 days of account opening.
- FICO Score and Credit Dashboard. As a slate cardholder, you’re entitled to a free monthly FICO credit score through your Slate online account. You also get access to Chase’s credit dashboard, which has useful information on the factors that contribute to your score, a summary of your credit report, and general information about credit-building and management.
- Real-Time Fraud Monitoring. Chase has a real-time fraud monitoring system designed to detect unusual transactions or activity patterns in your account. If it finds anything suspicious, it sends automatic text and/or email alerts to prompt further action on your end.
- Regular APR. After the introductory purchase and balance transfer APR periods end, both come with variable APRs between 13.24% and 23.24%. The exact APR depends on your creditworthiness and prevailing interest rates. The cash advance APR is 24.99%, also variable, and there’s no penalty APR.
- Important Fees. Slate does not have an annual fee. Balance transfers cost the greater of $5 or 3% of the transferred amount, once the 60-day fee-free period ends. Cash advances always cost the greater of $10 or 3%. Depending on the size of the payment in question, late payment fees range from $15 to $37. Returned payments always cost $37.
- Credit Required. Chase Slate requires good to excellent credit. If you have a few minor credit blemishes, it’s possible that you’ll be approved. However, major blemishes are likely disqualifying.
- No Annual Fee. Slate doesn’t charge an annual fee – a big perk for thrifty card users.
- No Penalty APR. Slate doesn’t come with a penalty APR, which is great for balance-carriers who accidentally miss payment due dates. BankAmericard Better Balance Rewards and Citi Diamond Preferred both carry penalty APRs up to 29.99%, imposed indefinitely.
- Generous Balance Transfer Promo Window. Slate’s 0% introductory APR balance transfer promo applies to transfers made at any time during the 15-month intro period. Most other balance transfer promos require you to make transfers within the first few months to capture the 0% APR deal for the entire promotion window. For instance, Citi Simplicity‘s 21-month 0% APR applies only to transfers made within 4 months of account opening.
- Fee-Free Balance Transfers for 60 Days. For the first 60 days your Chase Slate account is open, you’re free to make balance transfers without incurring the usual fee (the greater of $5 or 3% of the transferred amount). Citi Simplicity and Capital One Quicksilver, both of which have long introductory 0% APR balance transfer promotions, charge balance transfer fees (both the greater of $5 or 3%) from day one.
- Free Monthly FICO Score. Slate’s free monthly FICO score and credit reporting dashboard are useful for anyone looking to build credit or learn more about credit management. Citi Simplicity doesn’t have any comparable features.
- No Rewards or Cash Back. Slate offers no travel or cash back rewards, nor any other types of rewards. That’s a significant disadvantage relative to some other cards with reasonable APRs and fees, such as Discover it (up to 5% cash back in select categories), Discover it chrome (up to 2% cash back in select categories), and BBVA Compass Rewards (unlimited 1% cash back).
- Not the Longest Intro Purchase APR Period. Some Slate competitors, such as the Citi Diamond Preferred (21 months), have longer 0% purchase APR promotions.
- No Sign-up Bonus. Slate doesn’t offer a sign-up bonus. Sign-up bonuses aren’t super common among Slate’s competitors, but some do have nice offers – for instance, BBVA Compass Rewards gives you a $150 statement credit for spending at least $1,500 within 90 days of opening your account.
- 3% Foreign Transaction Fee. Chase Slate adds 3% to all foreign transactions – a bummer for out-of-country travelers. Citi Simplicity and Capital One Quicksilver both lack foreign transaction fees.
- Few Value-Added Perks. As a no-frills credit card, it’s not shocking that Slate has few value-added perks. Aside from the monthly FICO score and dashboard, there’s really nothing to write home about on this front. By contrast, Citi Simplicity – a direct competitor no-frills card – offers Citi Price Rewind, which refunds the difference (up to $300, within 60 days) if it finds a lower price on an item purchased with the card.
It’s easy to knock Chase Slate® for being boring because, well, it is. Like competing cards such as Citi Simplicity, Slate is a useful, no-frills product with reasonable interest rates, nice introductory promotions, a no-nonsense fee structure, and a great balance transfer promotion (including a 60-day fee-free balance transfer period – a huge, and not very common, benefit). It doesn’t bother with cash back rewards, travel rewards, or excessive value-added perks. What you see is what you get.
“What you see is what you get” is fine – preferable, actually – for cardholders who occasionally carry monthly balances or credit card novices looking to build and improve credit. For those who like their card issuers to reward them for their business, there are always travel rewards cards such as Chase Sapphire Preferred or Capital One Venture Rewards, and cash back cards such as Discover it or Chase Freedom.