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Apply online for Chase Freedom®
About Our Ratings
Credit Needed
Excellent/Good

Chase Freedom® Review

Pros & Cons

  • Chase Freedom ® was named CardRatings' winner for best cash-back credit cards of 2016 and is one of the best cards on the market for cardholders who keep track of rotating categories.
  • Along with the rotating categories, Chase is offering 5 percent cash back at wholesale clubs, like Costco and Sam's Club, throughout the rest of 2016. And there's no annual fee!
  • Reap the benefit of a 0% intro APR on purchases and balance transfers for 15 months.
  • Watch out for the cap on bonus cash back and be sure to set reminders to sign up for bonus categories each quarter.

Top Features

Cashback on Gas
1%
Cashback on groceries
1%
Cashback on other
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 wholesale clubs. Unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases.
Annual Fee
$0

Full Review

Curtis Arnold Editor-in-chief

Chase Freedom® Essentials

Chase has carefully tailored its positioning so that its various rewards credit cards are best suited to different types of consumers.

With that said, all of the cards' rewards come in the form of Chase Ultimate Rewards®, so the points are interchangeable and you could very well benefit from holding a couple of Chase cards that you use strategically to maximize your points. (We'll explain more below).

While the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card resonates with jet-setters who love luxury experiences, Chase Freedom®'s brand aligns with frugal Americans who love to uncover extra cash in their daily activities. Plus, with Chase's current Chase Freedom® deal, you have the opportunity to earn a $150 bonus after spending $500 on purchases in your first three months from account opening.

In addition, new cardholders are offered a 0 percent intro APR on purchases and balance transfers for 15 months, so Chase Freedom® stands to benefit cardholders who have a large purchase on the horizon or need to consolidate some existing credit card debt as they work to pay it off.

Chase Freedom® is a rotating categories cash-back card. Here's what that means.

  • Earn 5 percent cash back on up to $1,500 in combined purchases in bonus categories each quarter you activate.
  • Earn unlimited 1 percent cash back on all other purchases.
  • With Costco's switch to accepting Visa credit cards in its warehouses as of June 20, Chase announced that purchases at wholesale clubs, including Costco, BJ's and Sam's Club, will earn cardholders 5 percent cash back through the rest of 2016. Wholesale club purchases each quarter will be combined with the other 5 percent earning categories to count toward the $1,500 quarterly spending cap.

If you're strategic with your spending, you could stand to earn a substantial amount of cash back -- and you can do it with a $0 annual fee.

What Our Editors Like Best About Chase Freedom®

The Chase Freedom® signup deal kicks off your account with $150 bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first three months from account opening. Chase Freedom® enables cardholders to sign up for quarterly bonus offers. Those opt-in deals offer 5 percent cash back on up to $1,500 in combined purchases in bonus categories each quarter you activate. Take a look at the 2016 categories:

Chase Rotating Categories, 2016

On paper, other cash back cards offer slightly bigger rebates than Chase Freedom®; however, those cards often come with annual fees in the high double digits, and it's no fun to see your rebate evaporate at renewal time. With a $0 annual fee, Chase seems willing to bank on your long term loyalty with Chase Freedom®. If the lack of annual fee and chance to rack up rewards aren't enough, remember that new cardmembers enjoy a 0 percent intro APR on purchases and balance transfers for 15 months.

Converting cash rebates into Chase Ultimate Rewards®

Chase Freedom®, Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card and Chase Freedom UnlimitedSM credit cards appeal to different kinds of consumers, but they all run on the same engine: Chase Ultimate Rewards®. Remember how we said that you could possibly benefit from having Chase Freedom®, Chase Freedom UnlimitedSM and Chase Sapphire Preferred® in your wallet? Here's the deal:

  • When you pair Chase Freedom® with Chase Freedom UnlimitedSM, you can earn an unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase-it's automatic(as opposed to just 1 percent with Chase Freedom®).
  • Then, if you also carry Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, you can transfer your Chase Ultimate Rewards® points between the cards. Since Chase Sapphire Preferred® cardholders receive 20 percent off the redemption cost when they redeem Ultimate Rewards points for travel, the points you earn with your Chase Freedom® or Chase Freedom UnlimitedSM cards are worth more.

Potential Downsides of Chase Freedom®

There's great potential to earn points for cash back, travel and more with Chase Freedom®, but you'll only maximize those rewards if you keep up with the quarterly categories and spend accordingly. Remember, too, that you have to sign up each quarter to reap the 5 percent rewards. If you don't want to give you credit card usage that much thought, a flat-rate or tiered rewards credit card might be a better bet for you.

Additionally, Chase Freedom® has a $0 annual fee, but you will pay 3 percent of each transaction in U.S. dollars that you make while traveling outside the United States.

And when it comes to balance transfers, the zero-percent intro APR on balance transfers for 15 months is a great feature, but you will pay either $5 or 5 percent of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater. If you're primarily looking for a card to use for a balance transfer, take a look at our "Best Balance Transfer Cards" for some options that might be a better fit.

How Chase Freedom® Compares to Other Cash-Back Rewards Cards

Chase Freedom® vs. Discover it® Cashback MatchTM.

These cards are both rotating categories cash-back cards with $0 annual fees. The rotating categories for the two cards differ, so it would make sense to check out each card's offerings before deciding which is right for you.

Furthermore, the 0-percent balance transfer intro period is shorter for Discover it® Cashback MatchTM – 12 months as compared to 15 months with Chase Freedom®, but the balance transfer fee with Discover it® Cashback Match™ is $3 or 3 percent as compared to the $5 or 5 percent of the amount of each transfer charged by Chase Freedom®. If you don't need a full 15 months to pay off your balance, you could save with that lower balance transfer fee.

Lastly, if you want to use your card abroad, Discover it® Cashback Match™ doesn't charge a foreign transaction fee.

Chase Freedom® vs. BankAmericard Cash RewardsTM Credit Card.

The BankAmericard Cash RewardsTM Credit Card is a tiered-rewards credit card meaning you won't need to keep up with rotating categories in order to earn bonus cash, so it could be a better option if you aren't willing to strategize with your credit card spending. Keep in mind, however, what those categories are: 3 percent on gas, 2 percent at grocery stores and wholesale clubs and 1 percent on your other purchases. If you don't do a lot of spending in those categories, you won't realize the maximum rewards.

Both Chase Freedom® and BankAmericard Cash RewardsTM are $0-annual-fee cards and have 0 percent intro APR offers, though you'll only have 12 billing cycles of 0-percent interest with BankAmericard Cash RewardsTM Credit Card, so you'll be better off with Chase Freedom® if you need extra time to pay off your balances. Furthermore, you stand to earn more rewards with Chase Freedom® if you are diligent about the rotating categories.

Chase Freedom® vs. Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express.

Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express (American Express is a CardRatings advertiser) offers cardholders the opportunity to earn 3 percent cash back on their purchases at U.S. supermarkets (up to $6,000 in spending annually, then 1 percent) and 2 percent back at U.S. gas stations as well as 1 percent on other purchases. This card is designed for people who don't want to keep track of rotating categories, but do spend disproportionately at supermarkets and gas stations.

Chase Freedom® cardholders could certainly stand to earn more rewards by spending in the 5 percent categories, like the Chase Freedom®'s unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase-it's automatic-and the 1.5 percent cash back of Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express.

And, again, the 0 percent intro APR on purchases and balance transfers for 15 months with Chase Freedom® is better than the 12 months offered by Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express.

Who Should Get Chase Freedom®?

Chase Freedom® is an excellent $0-annual-fee card for you if you're wanting to maximize your rewards and are organized enough with your spending and credit card use to sign up for the quarterly 5 percent categories. As always, you'll want to pay off your balance each month (after that 15-month intro period) so interest charges don't eat into your rewards.

This card compared to other cash back cards

Cashback on Gas
1%
1%
5% Earnings for $5k and 2% after
Cashback on Groceries
1%
1%
5% Earnings for $5k and 2% after
Cashback on other
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 wholesale clubs. Unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases.
5% cash back in new bonus categories each quarter like gas, restaurants, Amazon.com and more, up to the quarterly maximum each time you activate. Plus, unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases.
5% Earnings for $5k and 2% after
Purchase Intro
APR:
0% Intro APR on Purchases
Period:
15 months
APR:
0%
Period:
14 months
APR:
0% intro on purchases
Period:
12 months
Purchase APR
14.24%-23.24% Variable
11.24% - 23.24% Variable 
13.15% - 23.15% (V) (V)
CardRatings.com Editorial Staff

Chase Freedom® details

Balance Transfer Intro APR
0% Intro APR on Balance Transfers
Balance Transfer Intro Period
15 months
Purchase Intro
APR:
0% Intro APR on Purchases
Period:
15 months
Purchase APR
14.24%-23.24% Variable
Annual Fee
$0

What Chase says about this card

  • Earn a $150 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening
  • Earn 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in combined purchases in bonus categories each quarter you activate
  • Unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases - it's automatic
  • 0% Intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases and balance transfers, then a variable APR of 14.24-23.24%. Balance transfer fee is 5% of the amount transferred, $5 minimum
  • Enjoy new 5% categories every 3 months like gas stations, restaurants, and wholesale clubs
  • Cash Back rewards do not expire as long as your account is open
  • No annual fee

Credit Card Consumer Average Ratings:

Overall Ratings
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Credit Card Consumer Reviews:

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    Me ( Aug 5, 2016 at 5:29 am)

    Dont apply for this card if you already have a chase card. They will find an excuse to reject your application. Strange thing is the rejection has the current card account number on it. Stop offerring deals if your not willing to share them Chase


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    Christy ( Dec 12, 2015 at 9:28 am)

    I love the cash back rewards. I think they are very useful. I love that it is so easy to redeem them. A couple of times, I have used them to pay my monthly payment.


  3. Overall Ratings:
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    Rick ( Jul 21, 2015 at 5:09 am)

    Beware. Really. Chase cancels charges at its whim. I found a good ticket for my son, who is studying abroad. Two days later, we get an email from the airlines that the ticket is canceled as the credit card charge was canceled. Chase decided that since we had never before ordered from that vendor that it was suspicious and canceled. This is the third time, twice before being at Walmart, but this time really hurt. We bought a ticket for $250 more due to that. Chase refused to help reimburse anything. I spent over 4 hours on the phone the next few weeks with plenty of reps who in turn always either transferred me to another rep or put me on hold. To top it off, several were actually quite rude. They said that Chase had the right to do this so that Chase doesn't take a chance on losing money and would do it anytime in the future without having to notify me. Amex, MasterCard, Capital One, I have them all and have always been notified both by phone and by email if there is suspicious activity. Chase simply does not want to do what the right thing is to do... eat costs as part of their commitment. Very, very frustrating. My convenient credit card had nothing to do with convenience. I canceled, and they basically said, "sure". TAKE THIS AS A WARNING. You may say that this is trivial, but when it happens to you, it can be very frustrating and there can be consequences.


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    Mark ( Apr 19, 2014 at 11:38 pm)

    I have been a member since 1998, always paid in full and on time and yesterday they decided to close my account and no one in India or anyone in America will tell me why. They just tell me to read the letter, which sounds good except that I am not home because I came to my parents house for Easter, which Chase does not even care about.


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    Bill ( May 9, 2013 at 7:59 am)

    Love the cash back rewards. I picked this card up about a year ago. It is very easy to transfer your cash back rewards to pay down your bill. You need to be sure to sign up quarterly for the bonus categories. It only takes a few minutes and you can get quarterly text message remainders.


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Featured offers
Currently available on the Chase Freedom®
Earn a $150 Bonus
After spending $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening.

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Apply online for Discover it® - Cashback Match™

Discover it® - Cashback Match™

  • You could turn $200 into $400 with Cashback Match(TM). We'll automatically match all the cash back you earn at the end of your first year. New cardmembers only.
  • Earn 5% cash back in new bonus categories each quarter like gas, restaurants, Amazon.com and more, up to the quarterly maximum each time you activate. Plus, unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases.
  • Redeem your cash back for any amount, any time. Cash rewards never expire.
  • 100% U.S. based customer service.
  • Get your FICO(R) Credit Score for free on monthly statements and online.
  • No annual fee.
  • Click "APPLY NOW" to see rates, rewards, FICO(R) Credit Score terms, Cashback Match(TM) details & other information.
Credit Needed:
Excellent/Good
Apply online for BuyPower Card from Capital One®

BuyPower Card from Capital One®

  • 5% Earnings on your first $5,000 in purchases every year. Unlimited 2% Earnings on every purchase after that. Redeem Earnings toward the purchase or lease of a new Chevrolet, Buick, GMC or Cadillac vehicle.
  • No annual fee, no redemption limits, no Earnings expiration, no foreign transaction fees. Save even more when you combine your available Earnings with most current GM offers and incentives.
  • 0% intro APR on purchases for 12 months, then a 13.15% - 23.15% variable APR on purchases will apply
Credit Needed:
Excellent/Good