For about four years now, my wife and I have used the Chase Freedom credit card for nearly everything we buy. (I have another credit card for business expenses, but everything else goes on the Freedom card.)
Long story short, we’ve been pretty happy with this card and its rewards, although it’s slowly being outpaced by some newer competitors in terms of the value of its rewards. That said, it’s still a good card if you know you’ll pay off the balance each month, as we do.
Chase Freedom is a solid cash back rewards card that should appeal to most people who pay off their balance in full each month.
Chase Freedom rewards
For starters, every purchase earns 1 percent cash back. There are no restrictions or caps on this. (If you look at some other cash rewards credit cards, you actually earn less than 1 percent cash back until you reach a certain spending level).
Chase Freedom also pays 5 percent cash back on up to $1,500 in purchases in certain categories that change every quarter like gas stations, restaurants, and select grocery stores. One quarter it might be groceries and gas, the next it might be home improvement stores and dining. The point is, there’s always a category that will earn more than 1 percent cash back.
To be honest, I find the whole rotating category thing kind of gimmicky, and I’m not going to use different cards for different purchases just to earn different rewards rates. Still, I’m going to gamble I’ll spend some money in those categories whether I pay attention to them or not, and that will bump my rewards earnings up a bit.
Chase Freedom interest rates and fees
Which brings us to the regular APR. The Chase Freedom credit card’s interest rates aren’t the lowest. Right now the variable APRs are between 13.99 and 22.99 percent, depending on credit. A higher APR isn’t uncommon for a rewards card, which is why you should look elsewhere if you think you’ll ever carry a balance on your card. But if you’re going to pay your card off every month in full—which goes without saying for me—then who cares about the APR?
Chase Freedom does offer a competitive 0 percent APR on purchases and balance transfers for 15 months, however, a balance transfer fee applies. If you’re looking to save on interest with a balance transfer, consider the Chase Slate card instead, which has an introductory $0 balance transfer fee for transfers made in the first 60 days.
Chase Freedom bonus
Chase Freedom offers two bonus opportunities for new cardmembers:
- Earn a $150 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first three months from account opening.
- Earn a $25 Bonus after you add your first authorized user and make a purchase within your first three months from account opening.
Why I switched
Prior to using this card, my primary credit card has been an American Express® charge card. It had so-so rewards and a big annual fee, but it always provided me with the peace of mind that I couldn’t charge more than I could pay off in the month. With a charge card, the balance is due in full every month.
One thing that’s nice about the Chase Freedom card is that — unlike American Express and Discover — it’s accepted everywhere.
So I decided I wanted to go back to carrying a primary credit card that is Visa/MasterCard with no annual fee and good cash rewards.
Learn more or apply for the Chase Freedom card.
Credit Needed: Excellent/Good
- Earn a $150 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening
- Earn a $25 Bonus after you add your first authorized user and make a purchase within this same 3-month period
- 0% Intro APR for 15 months on purchases and balance transfers. After the intro period, a variable APR of 13.99-22.99%
- Earn 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in combined purchases in bonus categories each quarter you activate
- Enjoy new 5% categories every 3 months like Gas Stations, Restaurants, and Select Grocery Stores
- Unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases — it's automatic
- Cash Back rewards never expire as long as your account is open
- No annual fee
- See additional Chase Freedom® details
|Regular APR||Annual Fee|
|0%||15 months||0%||15 months||13.99% - 22.99% Variable||$0|