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Chase Freedom Credit Card Review: The Card I Use Most

Chase Freedom is one of two credit cards my wife and I use most. Learn why in our Chase Freedom credit card review.

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 are average — not the lowest, not the highest — see terms for existing APRs. 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 introductory APR on purchases and balance transfers. 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 14.24-23.24%
  • 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
Intro APR
Intro Term
Intro APR
Balance Transfers
Intro Term
Balance Transfers
Regular APR Annual Fee
0%15 Months 0%15 Months 14.24%-23.24% Variable $0

Published or updated on November 15, 2015

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About David Weliver

David Weliver is the founding editor of Money Under 30. He's a cited authority on personal finance and the unique money issues we face during our first two decades as adults. He lives in Maine with his wife and two children.


User Generated Content Disclosure: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

  1. Mary Belanger says:

    I applied and received a Chase freedom card. I was supposedly given 0%. I had planned to use that no interest to pay off the one and only balance on a Mastecard I have with USAA bank. I applied for a transfer balance. It was placed into my
    checking account with USAA. I saw it in my checking account. I had planned to take the money I owed to put on a MasterCard to go to zero interest. Chase then stopped payment on the balance transfer. I have gotten at least three different reasons why this was done. I was not contacted. I watch my accounts closely. Yesterday I saw where my account was overdrawn 3,500. I have never overdrawn an account, NEVER! I called Chase and asked what happened and then realized that they were not even sure why the payment was stopped. In the meantime, I found out today that it will be 5 business day before the money is returned to USAA so I can fix this mess that was made by Chase. I talked to a supervisor and was told that they could not expedite the money to my account. They are a bank! They refused to wire immediately and so my checking account is in the red. If I had it to do over, I would never ever do business with Chase bank, it has been devastating to my finances. DONT DO IT!!! USAA has bent over backwards to help me. That must be the difference between a bank in NY vs TX….that big city bank could careless…… Once this is paid off, the card will be destroyed and
    I will never do business with them again. Its like being in Vegas. If anything goes wrong, they will turn the issue onto you. I was a sitting duck.

  2. Another point: If you have a Chase checking account, you get a 10% bonus when you cash in those points.
    This is a great card. Not my hands-down favorite, but definitely top 5.

  3. Herman says:

    I believe everything said was very logical. But, what about this?
    what if you were to write a killer headline? I ain’t saying your content is not solid, but what if you added something that makes people desire more? I mean Chase Freedom Credit Card Review: The Card I Use Most is a little plain. You could look at Yahoo’s home page and watch how
    they create article headlines to grab people to open the links.
    You might try adding a video or a related pic or two to grab people excited about
    everything’ve got to say. Just my opinion, it might bring your posts a little livelier.

  4. Erin says:

    I am currently debating whether to get a Chase Freedom card or a Discover card based solely on rewards and benefits. Any additional arguments as to why you think Chase Freedom is better? Also, I’m having trouble finding info about if/what benefits Chase Freedom offers, such as rental car and baggage insurance, etc. Do you know if they have any and where I can find that? Thanks!

    • Tim says:


      I have both cards and have used both for a couple of years, and here’s what I’ve found:

      1. Discover offers better cashback for online purchases at their “Select” retailers- for me Best Buy is a huge one, I get 5% cashback as long as I purchase online, and choose “Pickup in store” whereas Chase pays and extra 1% for it. It’s basically like getting 5% off, which can be huge when making a large purchase like a computer, or TV.

      2. Discover requires $3,000 spent each year before you begin to qualify for their 1% cash back on everything (boo!)

      3. Chase is accepted in more places. It amazes me that there are still retailers that do not accept Discover, so maybe 10% of the time I do have to use a Visa/MC. (Darn interchange fees!)

      4. I prefer Discover’s customer service (and many others do too!) You’ll find with a search that their customer service is very highly rated, and they have a high retention rate for card holders. You’ll be happy to know that their call centers are located in the US! I’ve called them a number of times and been very pleased with the ease of their problem solving and frendliness.

      5. Chase offered a better interest rate initially for me. It could have just been a fluke, but they are a couple points lower than Discover. I was able to renegotiate each after a year to lower rates, though.

      So that’s what I’ve found. I almost exclusively use my Discover card for the reasons listed above, but honestly I still carry my credit union Visa card just in case I have a random retailer that doesn’t take Discover. This way I know I’m covered.

      Good luck and choose wisely!

    • Tim says:

      Also, one last thing…I find Discover’s website and app’s (android, iphone/ipad) to offer a richer experience. I would consider their tools to add more value than what the more basic Chase website offers.

  5. G says:

    I have had this card for a while. I let the cash accumulate over the year and then cash in at Christmas time to help pay for gifts. It’s almost like a savings account. Of course, I pay off the balance every month.

    Also, if you shop online, they offer extra cash back for many merchants if you go to their website from the chase Ultimate rewards portal.

  6. Buck says:

    This is also my primary card and I have used it for 4-5 years. They used to offer 3% cash back in the categories you used most (e.g. gas, restaurants, and grocery stores). The change to rotating categories was a letdown, but I haven’t found a better cash-back program.

  7. Scott Goldman says:

    I switched from Amex to Chase Freedom two years ago. The cashback is great, particularly if you choose to have them credit your current balance. The trick for me is striking the right balance between charging it and paying it off weeks later vs using cash/debit.


  8. David Weliver says:

    As I understand it, the Chase Freedom card being offered today is strictly cash rewards. They’ve gone through several iterations of this card since the original which let you choose “cash or points”, I believe. Obviously anybody who has the card is grandfathered into the old terms for better or worse…although that’s pretty sweet, Honey, that you have it with such a low regular APR.

  9. Honey says:

    I have this card as well. I use it for points (I usually get an Amazon gift card, or something) and it is my daily spender – I pay off in full every month. My APR is 8.99% fixed, though…

  10. Michael says:

    So are you going to choose cash back or points? Why?

  11. Aria says:

    I love the Chase freedom card. I have it and earn lots of points on my purchases. Like you I enjoy the fact that it is not a charge card (like Amex, which anyone collecting points knows is great for doing so) but still provides a fair amount of points.

    • kikki says:

      Hi. What do you mean it’s not a credit card?

      • kikki says:

        Sorry….. I meant charge card :).

        • David Weliver says:

          Kikki, I switched to the Chase Freedom Card from an American Express Gold Card. The Amex card was a charge card. Chase freedom is a credit card.

          They work more of less the same, except with a charge card you cannot pay off over time–you must pay the balance in full every month or the account will be closed. With a credit card, if you pay over time, you pay finance charges, but you can continue to make new charges up to your credit limit.

          I’m still going to pay the balance in full every month, but there are some advantages to a credit card. (For example, it’s better for building credit and you always know the maximum you can charge because you have a defined credit limit.)

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