Chase Freedom Review – Cash Back Reward Credit Card

Brendan Harkness

Brendan Harkness | Reviews

Aug 28, 2015 | Updated Jul 28, 2016

If your questions are not answered by this post, use the ASK button in the top right to tell us what’s missing!

The Chase Freedom® is a very popular rewards credit card, offering 5% cash back in categories that rotate throughout the year.

You’ll also enjoy a 0% introductory APR for 15 months, and a $100 signup bonus for spending $500 in the first 3 months.

Keep reading for more details on the many benefits you’ll find with this card, as well as the terms and conditions.

Chase Freedom®

For People with
Good Credit

  • Annual Fee: $0
  • Interest Rate: 14.24%-23.24% *Variable
Quick Card Facts
  • Named a Best Card for Cash Back by MONEY® Magazine
  • 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%
  • Unlimited 1% Cash Back on every purchase
  • 5% Total Cash Back on up to $1,500 in combined purchases in bonus categories each quarter
  • You'll enjoy new 5% categories every 3 months like Gas stations, Restaurants and Amazon.com. It's free and easy to activate your bonus each quarter!
  • No annual fee and rewards never expire as long as your account is open

The information for Chase Freedom® has been collected independently by Credit Card Insider. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

What is the credit limit on the Chase Freedom?

Many visitors have been asking us what the starting credit limit is on the Chase Freedom. Credit limits are set based on your creditworthiness when you apply, so the answer to this question depends on your credit history. After you’ve had the card for 6 months, you could try asking for a credit limit increase.

What credit score is needed for the Chase Freedom?

Generally, this card is designed for people with good credit, which is roughly a FICO score above 700. However, keep in mind approvals for credit cards are not based on credit scores alone, and you have multiple credit scores.

The Rewards

You’ll earn:

  • 5% cash back in different spending categories throughout the year, according to the calendar below (up to $1,500 in purchases per quarter)
  • 1% cash back on all other purchases
  • $100 signup bonus for spending $500 in 3 months
  • $25 signup bonus for adding an authorized user and making a purchase in 3 months
Quarter 5% Cash Back Spending Category
January – March Gas Stations, Local Commuter Transportation
April – June Grocery Stores (not including Walmart® and Target®) and Wholesale Clubs
July – September Restaurants and Wholesale Clubs
October – December Holiday Shopping and Wholesale Clubs

Check your spending habits – do you find yourself shopping at the retailers listed above? If so, this might be the card for you. Chase will also add more retailers to the categories as they approach.

Take note that you’ll need to go online to manually activate your 5% reward category every 3 months.

Insider Tip: If you’re thinking you might rather use a card without rotating reward categories, check out our comparison of the Chase Freedom Card vs the Barclaycard CashForward™ World MasterCard®.

The Benefits

The Chase Freedom has 2 possible service levels: regular Visa, and the upgraded Visa Signature.

The service level you get will depend on your credit history and finances; the most qualified applicants will enjoy more perks with Visa Signature, but the regular Visa service is not bad at all either.

Security

  • Zero Liability Protection

    Cardholders aren’t held responsible for unauthorized transactions.

Shopping

  • Purchase Protection

    Purchases are covered for 120 days against theft or damage, up to $500 per claim and $50,000 per account.

  • Price Protection

    If a purchased item is found being advertised for a lesser price within 90 days, reimbursement may be provided up to $500; limited to $2,500 a year per account.

  • Extended Warranty Protection

    Eligible warranties of 3 years or less can be extended by up to an additional year.

  • Return Protection

    If a merchant won’t take back an item within the first 90 days, reimbursement will be provided to refund eligible items, up to $250 per item; limited to $1,000 a year per account.

Travel

  • Travel and Emergency Assistance Services

    Provides a number of emergency services, 24/7.  Services include sending emergency messages, providing medical and legal referrals, ticket and document location, and translation services.

  • Travel Accident Insurance

    Cardholders are eligible for accidental death or dismemberment coverage of up to $250,000 on transportation via air, train, bus or cruise transportation purchased with this card.

  • Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver

    Collision and theft damage is covered on most cars in the U.S. and abroad, provided that the cardholder purchases the rental with their card and declines the rental company’s collision insurance. Personal insurance takes precedence over the coverage provided through the Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver.

  • Trip Cancellation/Trip Interruption Insurance

    You will be reimbursed up to $5,000 per trip for pre-paid, non-refundable travel expenses, including passenger fares, tours, and hotels if your trip is shortened due to sickness, weather, or other eligible conditions.

  • Roadside Dispatch/Roadside Assistance

    Assistance, such as a locksmith, tire change, or towing service, is provided in a roadside emergency for $59.95 per service call. (Additional fees may apply.)

  • Lost Luggage Reimbursement

    Lost or damaged checked or carry-on bags are covered for up to $3,000 per passenger, for cardholders and their immediate family members.

The Costs and Fees

Annual Fee Intro Purchase APR Regular Purchase APR Intro Balance Transfer APR Regular Balance Transfer APR Cash Advance APR Foreign Transaction Fee
$0 0% for 15 months 14.24%-23.24% *Variable 0% for 15 months 14.24%-23.24% *Variable 25.24% *Variable 3%
Penalty APR Late Fee Returned Payment Fee
See Terms Up to $35 Up to $35

Similar Cards

Not all reward cards have rotating categories like the Chase Freedom. Some have spending categories that don’t change, while others offer a standard reward for every purchase you make.

Here are a few other reward cards of different types to consider:

Rotating 5% Cash Back Categories

Discover it®: The Discover it also has the following rotating 5% cash back categories which you can compare to the Freedom’s.

Quarter 5% Cash Back Category
January – March Gas Stations & Ground Transportation
April – June Restaurants & Movies
July – September Home Improvement Stores, Department
Stores, and Amazon.com
October – December Holiday Shopping & More

Discover is also offering to double the cash back you earn in your first year, making this a very rewarding card at the moment. Take note that this is a promotional offer that could be discontinued, so be sure to check before applying.

Stable Cash Back Categories

Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express®: The Blue Cash card has cash back categories that will help you save a bit of money on these very common expenses:

  • 3% cash back at U.S. supermarkets (up to $6,000 in purchases per year)
  • 2%$ cash back at U.S. gas stations and select department stores
  • 1% cash back on all purchases
  • $100 signup bonus for spending $1,000 in the first 3 months

General-Purpose Rewards

Citi® Double Cash Card: The Double Cash card is easy to use (you don’t have to remember spending categories) and provides a great cash back rate:

  • 2% cash back on every purchase you make

The Bottom Line

The Chase Freedom is a great card for people who spend a significant amount of money in the 5% reward categories. If you’re spending money regularly, why not get rewarded for it?

If you don’t shop very often at the retailers listed, this won’t be the card for you and you’ll do better with a different rewards card. Consider the Discover it if you like the idea of rotating 5% reward categories.

If you get this card you can take advantage of the long 0% APR period to pay off some big purchases, or to transfer a balance from a card with a higher interest rate.

Be sure to activate your rewards categories (you can set up alerts to notify you) and keep your extra shopping and travel benefits in mind when making important purchases.

Did you find this review useful? Go ahead and share it with a friend! And if you use the Chase Freedom card, click here to leave your own review for other visitors, we’d love to hear from you!

Was this helpful?
  • TheBrokeProfessional

    The Freedom is a great card for anyone to have. No annual fee, good 5% opportunities and you don’t need a super high credit score to get it.

    • Kimberly Rotter

      I agree! The only potential downside is that the initial credit limit tends to be on the low side.

      • Sean

        Very true. I’ve had my Freedom card for 6 years (11.99%) and they JUST bumped my limit to $4100… with a credit score on the doorstep of 800. It’s my lowest credit line card.

        • Kimberly Rotter

          $4100? I guess I have a long way to go. They started me at $500 last year and it hasn’t budged!! I pretty much only use it for gas, so no biggie. But it does threaten my utilization ratio if I only pay it off once a month. Keeps me on my toes! :)

          • Sean

            It’s been so long since I opened it, I don’t recall my initial limit. But I do know, before I paid off 50k in CC debt (never buy a house and go crazy with cc’s, get an unsecured loan via lendingclub.com ;)) in 8 months, they bumped it 2k (was previously $2100 for years)… they have some pretty high standards over there.

          • Randy

            shoot i have a 620 credit score they gave me a $1500 limit and after 1 year of paying on time i called them and asked for extended line and they gave me a $2500 line no problem at 1 a.m. in the morning. i love this card!! p.s. they lowered my interest rate to 18% as well

          • Brendan Harkness

            @disqus_7uvDnEBhXA:disqus Cool! Congratulations!

  • joe_shiki

    Don’t use it overseas. They’ll charge a 3% fee. Ridiculous!

    Gosh, it’s like they don’t think the rest of the world even exists. (but their call centers are overseas)

    • Kimberly Rotter

      Right! I like my United MileagePlus Explorer card for foreign transactions (free), and I keep it because the free luggage more than negates the annual fee.

  • cwe

    If anyone is planning to apply for the Chase Freedom credit
    card and would like to earn 20,000 points ($200) through getting a referral
    email, please email me at cwecwe123@gmail.com
    and I will forward you a link.

The Insider

John Ganotis
Two free rides from 11 US airports from Uber and American Express
John Ganotis | Nov 16, 2016

Read More
Brendan Harkness
Review of the Best Western® Rewards MasterCard®
Brendan Harkness | Oct 21, 2016

The Best Western Rewards MasterCard provides 13 points for every dollar you spend with Best Western, along with a variety of extra perks and benefits.

Read More
Brendan Harkness
Review of the Upromise® World MasterCard®
Brendan Harkness | Sep 28, 2016

The Upromise World MasterCard offers up to 10% cash back at select retailers, and you can redeem your rewards directly to your college fund or student loan.

Read More

Trusted Credit Information

Putting People First, Always.

We are advocates of the responsible use of credit, building and managing your credit history, and making informed decisions when selecting a credit card.