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Chase Freedom Cash Back Card Review

Chase Freedom

The ideal card for those looking for high rewards rates.

The Chase Freedom® is ideal for those who have already used the benefits of cash back and for those who are new to them. The card implies no fee to be paid each year and promises 5% cash back for the purchases made in activated categories. One more thing that makes it your number one choice is that you qualify for it even if your credit isn’t excellent. The card also comes with a sign-up bonus of $150 that’ll be credited to your account if you manage to spend $500 within the first 3 months after you open an account. Below we provide information to take into account before applying for the card.

Description of the card


  • You’re not expected to pay any annual fee.
  • You get 5% cash back on every purchase made in activated categories.
  • You’re granted access to Chase’s Ultimate Rewards where you’ll be able to earn more rewards.


  • The card doesn’t offer much flexibility in terms of cash back. You get rewards only for the purchases in the categories you activate beforehand.
  • There is a fee for the transactions carried out abroad.

Chase Freedom

Chase Freedom®

  • APR Offer for those applying for the card first time. There is no fee on any purchases and balance transfer operations you make during the first 15 months.
  • APR that occurs after the “bonus” period. Standard APR amounts to 15.99 – 24.74%. The rate varies. Cash Advance APR amounts to 25.99% but can also vary. No annual fee is implied.
  • Special Offer. Make sure that you spend at least $500 during the first 3 months of using the card. If you meet this requirement, you’ll get a bonus – $150.

More information on the card:

  • You get a bonus of $150 for the purchases you make during the first 3 months. The total sum to be spend is $500.
  • You get 5% cash back on the sums up to $1,500 spent in bonus categories. You have to activate the categories each quarter of a year.
  • There appear new bonus categories each quarter for which 5% cash back is implied.
  • You get an automatic cash back on all the rest purchases you make.
  • There is no APR on the purchases and balance transfers carried out during the first 15 months. After that, the APR of 15.99-24.74% will apply. The minimum sum of money to transfer is $5 and the fee for carrying the operation out amounts to 5% from the total sum.
  • The sum you can redeem for cash back is not limited.
  • As long as your account is active, your rewards do not expire.
  • There is no annual fee to pay.

General information and advantages of the card

We’ve already mentioned that the card allows you to get a cash back of 5% for the purchases in activated bonus categories. Below there is a list and description of the categories that are available to you in 2017.

  1. Q1 (available starting from the 1st of January and up until the 31st of March): You can get rewards for the purchases at gas stations and local commuter transportation places. (The list excludes parking, tolls and Amtrak).
  2. Q2 (available starting from the 1st of April and up until the 30th of June): You can get rewards for the purchases at grocery stores and drugstores.
  3. Q3 (available starting from the 1st of July and up until the 30th of September): You can get rewards for the purchases at restaurants and movie theatres.
  4. Q4 (available starting from the 1st of October and up until the 31st of December): You can get rewards for the purchases at Wal-Mart and department stores.

All other purchases will bring you the cash back of 1%. Pay attention to the fact that once you exceed the limit of $1,500 that refers to the purchases you make in bonus categories, the cash back of 1% will apply. There are no limits in terms of the rewards you can earn at the rate of 1%. Since the card implies quite a long period of time during which you pay no interest, you can easily pay off the big purchases you made.

Now, let’s look at the reasons that contribute to your decision of applying for the card.

  • You can save a considerable sum of money when buying things you need everyday. The bonus categories that are available for you to activate are the categories we all spend big sums in. The list of the categories is constantly expanding. However, there is one little drawback here – you need to activate your bonus categories beforehand each quarter of a year. If you forget to do it, you’ll only get 1% cash back even for those purchases that are made in available bonus categories. As a rule, you need to activate your categories until the 14th day of the 3rd
  • You qualify for the card even if your credit score is above excellent. It’s not a secret that the majority of the cards offering the best rewards are meant for those with an excellent credit score and an impressive credit history. The Chase Freedom® doesn’t require any of the abovementioned.
  • The card gives you an opportunity to earn additional rewards. The card grants you access to the Chase Ultimate Rewards website. On this website you can get 10% cash back on the purchases you make online.
  • The card can successfully be used in combination with the Chase Sapphire credit cards. Both the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card and the Chase Sapphire Reserve℠ allow you to earn bonus points. The value of each point amounts to 1 cent. However, in case you decide to book your travel with Chase, the value increases. You’ll get 1.25 cents with the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card and 1.5 cents with the Chase Sapphire Reserve℠. Unfortunately, the Chase Freedom® doesn’t come with this benefit. Still, there is a way out of the situation. If you have one of the Sapphire cards mentioned, you can transfer the rewards you earn with the Chase Freedom® to one of them. If you do this, you can get even more rewards that are pointed out below:
  • If you transfer the rewards you have to the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, your rewards rate that applies for bonus categories will amount to 6,25%. The cash back rate for all the rest purchases will be increased up to 1,25%.
  • If you transfer the rewards you have to the Chase Sapphire Reserve℠, your rewards rate that applies for bonus categories will amount to 7,5%. The cash back rate for all the rest purchases will be increased up to 1,5%.

Other options you have and the reasons for you to consider applying for a different card

No credit card is perfect. Before you make your final decision, we recommend you consider the following disadvantages of the Chase Freedom and look through the cards that may fit you better.

Citi Double Cash Card

Bonus categories have to be activated each quarter of a year if you wish to get the reward of 5%. You can simply forget to activate the bonus categories. As a result, the card will be almost useless up until the next quarter. There is also a possibility that the categories available won’t meet your needs. If you want to get a credit card with an easier rewards structure, we recommend you studying the information on the Citi® Double Cash Card. It also has no annual fee and a “bonus” period that lasts for 18 months. During this period, you won’t have to pay any interest.

Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit Card

The card isn’t for those who like travelling. The thing is that you’ll charged extra fees for the purchases you make abroad. If you want to be able to use your card abroad ang get rewards for your purchases, think over the possibility of applying for the Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit Card. The bonus period during which you don’t need to pay any interest or fees for balance transfer operations is shorter here. At the same time, the card offers you a flat-rate reward of 1,5% on every purchase and a very appealing sign-up bonus.

There is a lack of flexibility in terms of the available bonus categories. For the majority of people, the bonus categories that come with the card maybe just what they need. Still, there are some other options that are worth looking at if your main priority is bonus categories.

U.S. Bank Cash+ Visa Signature Card

You can apply for the U.S. Bank Cash+™ Visa Signature® Card may be more beneficial for you in terms of its higher spending cap. Each quarter of a year you’re to activate 2 bonus categories for which the cash back of 5% will apply. The maximal sum that’s the subject to the cash back is $2,000. With this card you’ll also get 2% cash back on the purchases in your selected everyday category and 1% for any other purchase. In September 2017 there appeared a sign-up offer for the card. Your rewards rates will be slightly increased during the first year of you using the card.

Discover it - Cashback Match

Alternatively, you can apply for the Discover it® – Cashback Match™. The spending cap per quarter amounts to $1,500. However, in the end of the first year of you using the card, you’ll get cash back on the total sum spend during this period. There is also a “bonus” period that amounts to 14 months. The rewards rate is the same as the Chase Freedom has.

Summary: Is the Chase Freedom® the best card for you?

If you manage to spend enough during each quarter of a year to get the maximal reward possible and you’re fine with the need to activate bonus categories, this card is just for you. However, if you prefer having a card with simple rewards structure, you’d better consider other options available.

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Comments: 5
  1. Stella

    My decision to get the card was a very big mistake. I used it for only one year during which I managed to paid the balance of $15,000 in full. I called the customer service beforehand and asked whether the sum was accurate. I wanted to make sure that there were no other debts left. They stated that the sum was accurate. I sent the amount. Guess what happened next month? I was charged the interest of $127.00. I was furious. I called them and asked for an explanation. I was told that the interest charges come one month behind and that there is nothing else they could do to change it. Well, of course I had nothing less to do, but to pay the sum. This was a very good lesson I learned. I’ll never ever apply for any of the Chase cards.

  2. Sunny

    The card isn’t as advantageous as it was before. The list of bonus categories got a lot shorter in 2016. Actually, it’s easy to find a different card with better and longer bonus categories’ list.

  3. Katty

    The worst system in comparison with those that are at the market now. The customer support service is far from being good. My choice is the Discover it Card.

  4. Travis1990

    This is the worst card one can have. They cancel rewards or my bookings any time they want, without even notifying me. I called the customer service and asked several questions about it after one very nasty situation. My son was going to study abroad and he needed to book a ticket. We booked him a ticket using the card. I was happy we managed to find one at the price of $600. However, Chase simply canceled it a few hours later. I had to book a different ticket for a higher price – $850. There were some other bad things that happened. In the end, I simply canceled the card because it doesn’t provide the service the way it should be provided.

  5. IanJacobs

    Hello. Could anyone tell me how easy it actually is to get the card? My credit score is 650 which is considered to be fair. I haven’t applied for any credit card for the last 10 years. Before that, I had some college credits that I successfully paid off. I want to get this card because it seems just great for those with an average credit. Thanks in advance for any help.

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