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November 16, 2015

Rewards Credit Cards

Chase Freedom® Visa Review

The Chase Freedom® Card is hands down one of the best cash back rewards programs in its class of credit cards. Though its well-known 5% cash back program has limitations to the amount you can earn, its vast selection of rewards offerings and redeemable options erases any worry about those limitations.

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The Good

Rewards galore

In addition to the unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases, within each calendar year, there are select categories every three months to receive 5% cash back on up to $1,500 spent. With a simple and free activation process, you'll enjoy 5% categories every three months, like gas stations, restaurants, and Chase Freedom® also allows you to set reminders to make sure you don't miss out each quarter.

Signup bonus

Unlike some other cash back credit cards, the Chase Freedom® Card offers a nice signup bonus. You can earn $100 Bonus Cash Back after you make $500 in purchases in your first three months from account opening. Traditional cards allow high reward benefits and no signup bonus, but the Chase Freedom® Card offers both and makes its place above the others.

Extra cash back shopping online

If you enjoy shopping online, CHASE Ultimate Rewards has an online mall offering additional cash back bonuses if you shop online from one of their featured wholesalers. So no matter how you shop — in-person or online — Chase Freedom® offers you an abundant amount of cash back opportunities.

Large selection of redeemable options

You can access all your rewards on CHASE Ultimate Rewards, where you are able to redeem your rewards as direct deposit, statement credit, hotels, airline travel, car rental, gift cards, and more. The Chase Freedom® Card offer more redeemable options than any other card reviewed in comparison.

0% introductory APR and no annual fee

As if the rewards aren't good enough, there is also no annual fee and 0% APR for 15 months on purchases and balance transfers. Not only does the Chase Freedom® Card make earning points easy, it requires very little additional cost from you as long as you are good with making your payments on time.

The Bad

Manual quarterly activation for the 5% cash back

As significant as the 5% cash back program sounds, it's not automatically given to each cardholder. You have to activate your card to the program to be counted towards the 5% cash back rewards. However, the activation process is simple, takes seconds to complete, and can be done via various methods (online, SMS alerts, email, phone, Facebook, and Chase bank locations). Additionally, as long as you activate your card into the program before the end of the quarter's deadline date, you will receive the full 5% cash back on all category purchases made during that quarter.

Default penalty APR

A default penalty rate is standard with credit cards, but the Chase Freedom® Card charges the highest penalty APR (currently at 29.99%) among the rewards credit cards. This means the high penalty APR will apply indefinitely if any of your APRs increase due to the slightest infractions of the terms agreement.

The Details

Rates and Fees

  • Annual Fee: $0
  • Cash Advance Fee: $10 or 5% of the amount of each transaction
  • Cash Advance Rate (APR): 23.99%
  • Foreign Currency Transaction Fee: 3% per transaction
  • Introductory Rate (APR): 0% for the first 15 billing cycles that your account is open
  • Standard Rate (APR): 13.99% - 22.99%* Variable

Penalty Fees

  • Default Penalty Rate (APR): 29.99%
  • Late Payment Fee: Up to $15 - $35 (depending on balance)
  • Minimum Interest Charge: None
  • Over-Limit Fee: None
  • Returned Payment Fee: Up to $35

Balance Transfers

  • Introductory Balance Transfer Rate (APR): 0% for the first 15 billing cycles that your account is open
  • Standard Balance Transfer Fee: $5 or 3% per transfer
  • Standard Balance Transfer Rate (APR): 13.99% - 22.99%* Variable


  • Additional Rewards for Dining: 5% cash back on up to $1,500 spent (rotates quarterly)
  • Additional Rewards for Gas: 5% cash back on up to $1,500 spent (rotates quarterly)
  • Additional Rewards for Groceries: None
  • Additional Rewards for Shopping: 5% cash back on up to $1,500 spent (rotates quarterly)
  • Additional Rewards for Travel: None
  • Bonus Points Offered: None
  • Rewards Earnings for All Purchases: 1% cash back
  • Sign-Up Bonus: $100 bonus after spending $500 within first 3 months
  • Type of Reward: Cash Back

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