2020 Chase Freedom Unlimited Review – WalletHub Editors
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Bottom-line Review: Chase Freedom Unlimited® is a great credit card for people with good credit or better who want solid rewards and the opportunity to save on interest, without paying an annual fee. The Freedom Unlimited Card offers above-average rewards, giving 5% cash back on travel booked through Chase, 3% back on dining at restaurants and on drugstore purchases and 1.5% cash back on all purchases. The first $12,000 spent on groceries the first year yields 5% cash back. And the card also gives an initial bonus of $200 for spending $500 within 3 months of opening an account. On top of all that, the annual fee is $0 and new cardholders get 0% for 15 months as an introductory APR on new purchases.
Below, we’ll explore the best and worst parts of this offer in greater detail to help you decide whether or not to apply for the Chase Freedom Unlimited Card.
- $200 Initial Bonus: A lot of people would have no difficulty charging $500 to their credit card in one month. So reaching that threshold within three months should be a piece of cake. And the $200 you get for doing so can be considered money in the bank. Plus, cardholders have more bonus rewards waiting for them the first year, as Freedom Unlimited now gives 5% cash back on the first $12,000 you spend on groceries in the first 12 months your account is open.
- 1.5 - 5% Cash Back: The stable 1.5% cash back earning rate offered on most purchases is valuable not just for its simplicity, but also because it represents a 50% markup from the average cash-back credit card. It’s not the highest cash-back rate on the market, though. Other cards offer up to 2% back on all purchases, according to WalletHub’s latest Credit Card Landscape Report. However, the rewards continue with 5% cash back on travel booked through Chase, 3% back on dining at restaurants, including eligible delivery services and takeout, and on drugstore purchases.
- 0% Financing: As long as you continue to make monthly minimum payments by the due date, you won’t be charged interest on new purchases for the first 15 months your account is open. This has the potential to save you hundreds of dollars if used strategically, and you can get a sense of the specifics by using our credit-card calculator.
- No Annual Fee: This card needn’t add to your financial burden, as it has no annual fee. This saves you $19.76 relative to the average credit card, and it might enable you to keep your account open longer than you would otherwise, thus benefiting your credit score.
Chase Synergies: Chase Freedom Unlimited® has the potential to represent a very important piece of a larger money-saving puzzle for committed Chase customers. Its strengths — steady, cash-based rewards, extended 0% purchase financing — fill in gaps left by some of Chase’s other elite offers, most notably Slate and Sapphire Preferred. Slate is the best balance-transfer card out there, but it lacks rewards. Sapphire Preferred has one of the market’s most valuable initial bonuses, but it’s travel-oriented and doesn’t have the best ongoing rewards.
Furthermore, you can transfer earnings between Chase cards, which could enable you to boost the value of your Unlimited Card’s earnings when redeeming for travel through Chase or one of its partners.
For those comfortable managing multiple credit-card accounts at one time, Freedom Unlimited could therefore be the perfect complement, particularly since its lack of an annual fee makes opening a new card easier to justify.
- Balance-Transfer Fee: Do the math before transfer an existing balance to Chase Freedom Unlimited® because it doesn't offer an intro rate for transfers and its transfer fee (Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater) makes it even less appealing. You can get a 0% rate with a different card.
- Potential For A High Regular APR: Your overall creditworthiness will dictate the result, but you could be assigned an interest rate that is anywhere from 14.99% to 23.74% (V). Either way, you’ll be paying more than the 12.99% average for “excellent credit” credit cards or the 22.84% average for “fair credit” cards.
- Foreign-Transaction Fee: For an “Unlimited” card, this offer is rather restrictive geographically. If you use it while traveling abroad or even just buy something from an internationally based merchant, you’ll pay more than you should, thanks to its foreign fee: 3% of each transaction in U.S. dollars. If you’re wondering, the market average is 1.44%, and there’s a wide variety of cards with no foreign fees from which to choose.
Other Things To Consider
Rewards Don’t Expire & You Can Redeem Anytime: The cash back that you earn with Chase Freedom Unlimited® will not disappear after a certain period of time or extended account inactivity. Earnings only expire when your account is closed, which means you’ll usually be able to avoid that unfortunate fate. The exception would be if Chase proactively closes your account due to missed payments and other poor performance.
One thing that should also help you avoid rewards loss is the fact that you can redeem any time you wish, with no minimum-denomination requirements. So you won’t ever be forced to wait when the mood to cash in strikes you.
- Spending Power Is Not ‘Unlimited’: This aspect of the card’s name does not refer to your credit line. Your account will have a spending limit; the only question is whether it will be disclosed to you or the major credit bureaus.
Compared To The Competition
To see if Chase Freedom Unlimited® is ultimately unparalleled, we compared it to some of the strongest competitors on the market, including offers known for rewards, financing or both. We evaluated the cards based on seven important factors and selected winners in both the rewards and financing categories. You can check out our findings below.
Chase Freedom Unlimited®
Chase Freedom Flex℠
Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express
Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer
|Rewards Rate||1.5 - 5% Cash Back||1 - 5% Cash Back||1 - 6% Cash Back||2% Cash Back|
|Purchase Intro APR||0% for 15 months||0% for 15 months||0% for 12 months||N/A|
|Transfer Intro APR||N/A||N/A||N/A||0% for 18 months
Transfer Fee: 3% (min $5)
|Regular APR||14.99% - 23.74% (V)||14.99% - 23.74% (V)||13.99% - 23.99% (V)||13.99% - 23.99% (V)|
|Editors' Rating||4.7 / 5||5.0 / 5||4.7 / 5||5.0 / 5|
|Details, Rates & Fees||Learn More||Learn More||
Rates & Fees
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