Chase Freedom Unlimited Credit Card Review

Rating:
4.6/5
4.6 stars out of 5

The Smart Investor has collected card information independently. Issuers did not provide the details, nor are they responsible for their accuracy. The review is not a recommendation, the actual rates/fees may be different.

The Chase Freedom Unlimited card is a cash back credit card issued by Chase Bank. 

Chase Freedom Unlimited is a great cash back card for those with good to excellent credit. The 1.5% cash back is one of the highest in the industry without having an annual fee or the hassle of figuring out which month for which type of purchases gets cash back.

In addition, the cash back feature is straightforward, unlike some other rewards cards that require you to jump through hoops to maximize the rewards. You can also get a $200 bonus after signing up by spending $500 in the first 3 months. This bonus has a low threshold compared to other cards.

It does have a generous sign up bonus and introductory APR period, but beware of the 3% transfer fee if wanting to take advantage of 0% APR.

Chase Freedom Unlimited Card

On Chase’s Secure Website

Our Bottom Line

  • One Of The Best CashBack Card Avaliable

Credit Rating Requirements

  • Good – Excellent Credit

PROS

  • 1.5% Cash Back
  • $150 Sign Up Bonus

CONS

  • No Bonus Categories
  • Foreign Transaction Fee

Highlights

  • 0% APR on Balance Transfers and Purchases in the First 15 Months
  • No Annual Fee
  • Protection & Free Credit Score

Here’s a summary of the main pros & cons (click to see explanation or scroll down):

Pros

Cons

Chase Freedom Unlimited Credit Card – Benefits

Let’s take a look at the benefits of the Chase Freedom Unlimited card and see if it’s the right one for your wallet or not.

  • 1.5% Cash Back

This feature is the biggest benefit to the credit card in that you get 1.5% cash back on everything you buy. There is no specific purchase needed to earn the reward, it is on every purchase. You also do not have to wait to use that cash. 

Many other credit cards have thresholds you must meet in order to use the cash back, such as hitting $50 before using the money. With Chase Freedom Unlimited, the cash back also does not expire.

  • $200 Sign Up Bonus

You can get a $200 bonus after signing up by spending $500 in the first 3 months. This bonus has a low threshold compared to other cards.

 In fact, many other credit cards have sign-up bonuses that require thousands to be spent in the first few months in order to get the bonus.

  • 0% APR on Balance Transfers and Purchases in the First 15 Months

If you are looking to save money on interest, the Chase Freedom Unlimited card offers a 0.00% introductory rate for 15 months on balance transfers. 

If you have a credit card that you are trying to pay down, you can transfer the account and pay no interest on the transfer for 15 months. You can also charge up the card and pay no interest for 15 months. This is great if you have a big purchase in mind and want to pay over time.

  • No Annual Fee

Many of the rewards cards that offer higher rewards than Chase Freedom Unlimited have annual fees which end up eating into the rewards. The Chase Freedom Unlimited card does not have an annual fee.

  • Protection & Free Credit Score

The Chase Freedom Unlimited card has zero liability, purchase protection, chip- enabled security and auto rental collision damage waiver. These features help give you peace of mind. 

Also, The Chase Freedom Unlimited card will also update you monthly with what your credit score is. You can check this by signing into your online account. This is offered through Credit Journey and is based on your Transunion credit report.

  • Pool Points

If you hold other cards with Chase such as the business credit card product or Ink Business Preferred, you can pool your points to earn even bigger rewards, cash back, or travel points. This is a great feature but be aware that rewards are not always a dollar for dollar transfer. Usually cashback is the best value.

  • Other Benefits

There are a couple of other opportunities you can take advantage of in order to increase your bonuses with the Chase Freedom Unlimited card. 

You can get $100 for referring a friend. You can also increase your sign up bonus by $25 after adding an authorized user to your credit card.

Chase Freedom Unlimited Credit Card – Drawbacks

Here are the most important cons you should consider before apply to Chase Freedom Unlimited card:

  • High APR

The APR for the Chase Freedom Unlimited card is a 14.99%-23.74% variable rate, which is high for a card that requires borrowers with good credit histories. 

Also, the rate for a credit card cash advance is 24.99%

  • Balance Transfer Fee

There is a balance transfer fee required if you want to take advantage of the introductory 0% APR rate. The fee is incurred when you transfer debts from one or more credit cards to your Chase Freedom Unlimited card. 

This fee is $5 or 3% of the transfer, whichever is bigger. This fee is upfront and will be added to your debt load when transferred.

  • Foreign Transaction Fee

Chase Freedom Unlimited has a 3% fee for each transaction in another country. If you are traveling outside of the US you may want to leave this card at home.

  • Low Bonus Rewards Ratio

There are other rewards cards that offer higher bonuses on certain spending categories, such as gas. The Chase Freedom Unlimited does not include those types of bonuses. It also does not have increased bonuses during certain months which can increase the cash back. 

For example, another card might have 5% back on all travel spending for the month of May. The Chase Freedom Unlimited card does not provide these.

Alternatives to Chase Freedom Unlimited Credit Card

There are other credit cards that do offer comparable cash back rewards – we’ve summarized the most popular cards which can use as an alternative to the Chase Freedom Unlimited card:

The Chase Freedom card offers a $200 sign-up bonus after only spending $500 in purchases after 3 months. That is a low spending threshold to receive a sign-up bonus. The Chase Freedom card has 1% cashback on all purchases and 0% intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases. 

This card also has revolving cashback bonuses that offer 5% on rotating categories. These categories change once a quarter but can increase your cash back if the consumer pays attention to their spending. It does have a cap of $1,500 on the bonus spending category.

The Freedom card does not come with an annual fee.

The Wells Fargo Propel card boasts a similarly easy and generous rewards program. Customers earn 3% rewards (or 3 points) for every dollar spent across most major purchase categories, including dining, entertainment, flights, hotels, car rentals, gas station purchases, and even media streaming like Hulu and Netflix. 

The Wells Fargo Propel card doesn’t have an annual fee it and comes with an  0% intro APR on purchases and balance transfers for 12 months. After that, your APR will be 13.99% to 25.99%, based on your creditworthiness

It also offers one of the most competitive sign-up bonuses out there: 20,000 bonus points (or $200 in cash back) when you spend $3,000 in the first three months.

The VentureOne credit card from Capital one offers the users some great travel perks and a good flat rate on general purchases. Although it doesn’t have the highest earning rates, it is great for travel mile rewards.

It includes a low APR that gives its cardholders 0% on all new purchases for the first year of using the card. When you initially sign-up for this card and spend at least $1,000 during the first three months, you can earn up to 20,000 miles which is equivalent to $200 in travel purchases. The card doesn’t have an annual fee, which is a pretty generous feature.

Now, earning miles with the card is a pretty straightforward affair as you shall be earning 1.25 miles per each dollar of purchase you make. This is better than other travel card rewards that only offer 1 mile per dollar of purchases.

Is the Chase Freedom Unlimited Right for You?

If you don’t have time for calculations, you spend more than $1,500 monthly and you don’t have specific places where you spend you money, the Chase Freedom Unlimited can be a great option for you.

It sets itself apart because it has, on average, a higher percentage of cash back, 1.5% on each purchase. It also has a good sign up bonus and an introductory rate of 0% APR. 

One benefit of adding this card if you are already a Chase credit card holder is that you can pool your rewards. 

If you travel overseas this card should be left at home, with a 3% transaction fee outside of the United States that will eat up your cash back rewards.