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The Chase Freedom Unlimited Card is a general-use cash back credit card designed for all kinds of spending.
It offers 1.5% cash back for every purchase you make, with no earning limit. That’s right about what you should expect for a flat-rate rewards card with no annual fee.
There’s an introductory bonus, too, offering a $150 bonus for spending $500 in the first three months.
The Freedom Unlimited has a long 0% introductory APR for 15 months, for both purchases and balance transfers. After that, the regular 16.74-25.49% Variable APR applies. There are also some benefits, though they’re pretty basic.
Should you use the Freedom Unlimited to earn a bit of cash back every time you shop, no matter what you happen to buy? Keep reading to learn more and find out.
We gave this card 4 out of 5 Stars because it provides a relatively good amount of cash back for every purchase compared to other credit cards, at no annual fee. It also gets points for the long intro APR.
The Chase Freedom Unlimited is a good card for earning general cash back, but it’s not necessarily the best option. Check out some alternatives to this card below.
|Introductory Bonus Offer|
You can earn an unlimited amount of cash back, and it will never expire.
The flat cash back rate for every purchase means you won’t have to worry about reward categories, so you can use this card for all kinds of shopping. That’s very different than a card with bonus categories which provides the best rewards only for certain purchases, like the Discover it.
The rewards you earn are actually counted as points by Chase, but this is branded as a “cash back” card, and in most cases it’s easiest to just refer to the rewards as cash back.
You’ll have a few different ways to redeem your cash back.
So as you can see, the simplest and easiest way to redeem is for cash back statement credits. These will simply reduce the balance of your account. You can redeem any amount of cash back in this way, at any time.
This is a useful feature compared to many cards, which only let you redeem after you’ve reached a certain amount. The Citi Double Cash, for example, requires you to redeem a minimum of $25, though you can select any amount above that.
The other redemption methods will provide a lesser value for your rewards, so you should avoid them. However, it might be a good strategy to transfer your cash back to a different Chase card.
If you have another Chase card in the Ultimate Rewards program, you can transfer the cash back you earn with the Freedom Unlimited over to it. Every cent of cash back will be worth 1 point in the Ultimate Rewards program. This could end up giving you a better rewards value overall.
There are three other Chase cards that you can use to get a better value for your cash back. These cards provide a bonus when redeeming through Ultimate Rewards:
These cards also allow you to transfer points to a number of traveler loyalty programs at a 1:1 rate, including both airline and hotel partners. You can often get a better value by converting to airline miles or hotel points.
So, the basic strategy here is:
If you put all the rewards you earn through this process, you’ll effectively be getting more than 1.5% cash back with the Freedom Unlimited. If you end up getting a 25% point bonus you would get a cash back equivalent of 1.875%. And if you get a 50% point bonus, your cash back equivalent would be 2.25%.
The Chase Freedom Unlimited comes at either the basic Visa Platinum level or the upgraded Visa Signature. If you’re approved with a credit limit under $5,000 you’ll get a Visa Platinum. If it’s $5,000 or above, you’ll get a Visa Signature.
Customer support actually told us twice that this was not true, and the card is only available at the basic Visa level. But on another occasion, a different customer support rep told us that it is available at the Visa Signature level.
We’ve also found information on Chase’s website, explaining how you’ll get a certain Visa level based on your creditworthiness. Add that to the fact that we actually found a link to the Visa Signature Guide to Benefits for this card.
It seems that the customer support reps were mistaken. This card is available as either a Visa Platinum or Visa Signature.
You can also check the Guide to Benefits for each version of the card online:
You can earn $100 cash back for every friend you refer who successfully applies for the Chase Freedom Unlimited. Up to $500 cash back can be earned per year in this way.
Friends must be invited using your personal referral link to be eligible.
Cardholders can get more cash back at select retailers with the Shop Through Chase marketplace. You’ll find deals that come and go over time, which let you earn a good reward rate outside the bonus categories.
You’ll earn a certain number of points per dollar at these retailers, and each point will be worth 1 cent when redeemed for cash back statement credits with the Freedom Unlimited card. If you have a different card in the Ultimate Rewards program you can get more per point, as explained above.
In the table below, the Points per Dollar column shows the total points you’ll get, of one base point plus some number of bonus points.
The deals available in Shop Through Chase include these current offers at the time of publication:
|Merchant||Total Points per Dollar (1 Base + Bonus)||Cash Back Equivalent|
|Norton by Symantec||16X||16%|
|The Home Depot||3X||3%|
Chase offers the Credit Journey credit monitoring tool, providing a way to keep track of your credit from month to month. This provides your VantageScore 3.0, based on your TransUnion credit report.
This is a pretty handy tool because it charts your VantageScore over time, and tells you the key factors influencing your credit. There’s a simulator that lets you see how particular changes would affect your credit, like adding more credit cards, paying off debt, or maintaining a history of positive payments. And you can also see actual data from your TransUnion credit report, like the sum of your balances, your open and closed accounts, and the hard inquiries you’ve had in the last two years.
The Credit Journey service is free and available to anyone, whether you’re a Chase cardholder or not.
Many credit card issuers today offer some sort of credit monitoring service, although it’s not usually as comprehensive as this one. Most issuers simply provide one of your credit scores, either a FICO or VantageScore, along with some advice on how to improve it. But the Credit Journey tool presents an organized set of data from your TransUnion credit report, giving you a way to easily investigate the details on your credit report for free.
Discover provides their FICO Credit Scorecard, offering a FICO score based on your TransUnion report but not providing access to your actual credit report. Capital One has the CreditWise service, which is actually very much like Chase’s Credit Journey. It gives your VantageScore 3.0 based on your TransUnion report, and also provides information from that credit report. Both Discover and Capital One offer these services for free to anyone, cardholder or not, just like Chase.
Roadside assistance is available 24/7 if you get in trouble while driving. Just call 1-800-847-2869.
The dispatcher you speak to will arrange for a local service provider to come help you out. You won’t need to find and call them yourself. You’ll need to pay for any third-party costs, but you might save money with this service because certain fees are pre-negotiated.
You can call for help like:
This can be a useful protection to have, though hopefully you’ll never have to use it. Car trouble can be stressful, and the last thing you want to do is spend time looking for the help you need. A service like this can give you some peace of mind, especially when traveling far from home.
You will get these additional benefits if you have a Visa Signature version of the Freedom Unlimited.
This card comes with a few other features that are common to many credit cards, like:
|Intro Purchase and Balance Transfer APR||Regular Purchase APR||Regular Balance Transfer APR||Cash Advance APR|
|0% for 15 months||16.74-25.49% Variable||16.74-25.49% Variable||26.74% Variable|
|Annual Fee||Foreign Transaction Fee||Balance Transfer Fee||Cash Advance Fee|
|$0||3% of each transaction in U.S. dollars||Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.||Either $10 or 5% of the amount of each transaction, whichever is greater.|
|Penalty APR||Late Fee||Returned Payment Fee|
|None||None||Up to $38|
You get 15 months at 0% APR with this card, for both purchases and balance transfers. That gives you over a year to pay off purchases at no interest, or to pay off a balance from a different card with a high interest rate. That’s a pretty good offer for a cash back card, though you’ll need to pay a balance transfer fee as well.
Even if you have a 0% rate you’ll still need to make minimum payments every month. If you don’t you can lose your intro rate. After the 0% period runs out, we recommend paying your statement balance in full each billing period.
This will be good for your credit because it helps your credit utilization. And it will be good for your wallet because it prevents interest from accruing on purchases, helping you stay out of credit card debt.
There’s no annual fee to pay for this card. That means it can be a completely free way to to earn cash back, as long as you don’t fall into the trap of revolving a balance from month to month and accruing interest charges.
The Chase Freedom Unlimited Credit Card is pretty straightforward and easy to understand.
You earn 1.5% on every single purchase you make, and the signup bonus adds extra value without demanding a ton of spending. The 0% intro APR for 15 months is competitive with other cards, giving you quite a while to pay. After that, the regular 16.74-25.49% Variable APR starts.
The extra benefits are fairly simple for the most part, although you may be able to get a Visa Signature. This would be a slight improvement, although most people don’t end up using these credit card protections very often.
Is it a good card for you? If you want to make a wide variety of purchases, a general-use cash back card like this is a good option. Other cards offer higher rewards for certain types of spending, like groceries or gas. But they’re not as good for other purchases, only offering 1% back when you spend outside the categories.
If you’re looking for a simple card that provides a decent reward for your spending, the Freedom Unlimited is not a bad fit at all. But there are other general-use cash back cards as well, and one of them could be a better fit for you. Check out some of those alternative cards below.
Apply for the Chase Freedom Unlimited securely on Chase’s website.
Most applicants will get an instant decision, but it could take longer in some cases. Chase may contact you for more information.
We consider the Citi® Double Cash Card - 18 month BT offer (Review) to be one of the best general cash back credit cards, thanks to a rewards program that lets you earn a good rate no matter where you shop.
So your cash back is split, which is unlike most credit cards. You’ll get the second half when you pay your bill, either in part or in full like we recommend. But this 2% rate is higher than any other cash back card without an annual fee. Most offer 1.5% as the base rate, like the Freedom Unlimited.
It’s pretty clear to see that the Double Cash has a better normal cash back rate than the Freedom Unlimited, but there’s no signup bonus, which makes the Freedom Unlimited a strong contender.
These cards used to offer the same extra benefits, like Purchase Protection and Travel and Emergency Assistance Services, and the Freedom card still does, but the Double Cash no longer offers these protections.
Next, the Citi card offers a concierge service, which is a rare find on a no-annual-fee card (the Freedom Unlimited may offer it, but only if you’re approved for a Visa Signature card). It’s not the most useful benefit, and you may not use it very often, but it can come in handy if you’re traveling and need some advice on where to eat or stay for the night. The concierge can also make dining reservations or help you locate difficult-to-find gifts.
Lastly, when calling customer support for the Double Cash, you can say “representative” to speak with a human rep more quickly. It won’t be quite as quick and easy as that, but it’s better than the phone systems for many other cards.
There’s no annual fee for the Double Cash, just like the Freedom Unlimited.
The Double Cash is good for transferring a balance, offering a 0% APR for 18 months on Balance Transfers. But there’s a fee of 3% for balance transfers. This intro rate only applies to balance transfers, not purchases. The Freedom Unlimited provides 15 months at 0% for both purchases and balance transfers before the regular 16.74-25.49% Variable APR kicks in, making it more useful. It’s just a few months shorter but it covers purchases too, which seems like a better offer in our opinion.
Overall, the Double Cash is a bit more rewarding than the Freedom Unlimited, and the extra benefits are a bit better too. But you won’t get a signup bonus, or a 0% intro rate on purchases with the Double Cash. The right card for you will probably depend on your personal preferences.
Read more in our Review of the Citi Double Cash Card
The Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Card is pretty similar to the Freedom Unlimited in most ways.
Just like the Freedom Unlimited, you’ll get a base rate 1.5% cash back on every purchase. It has a $150 introductory bonus for spending $500 in the first 3 months, also mirroring the Freedom Unlimited.
Your benefits with the Quicksilver Cash Rewards will depend on your credit limit with the card. If your credit line is below $5,000, you’ll get a regular Visa Platinum. If your credit line is $5,000 or above, you’ll get a Visa Signature with slightly better benefits, including a concierge and certain shopping and travel discounts.
The Freedom Unlimited is available at these two benefit levels too. So you can potentially get the same extra protections and perks with each of these cards.
Capital One also provides the CreditWise service, which is pretty similar to the Credit Journey from Chase. Both tools provide your VantageScore 3.0 based on your TransUnion credit report, and allow you to see data from your actual TransUnion report.
The Quicksilver Cash Rewards has no annual fee, like the Freedom Unlimited. It also has no foreign transaction fees, while the Freedom Unlimited will charge 3%. So the Capital One card is obviously the better choice for any spending outside the U.S.
Other than that, the Quicksilver Cash Rewards has a 0% intro rate for purchases and balance transfers for 9 months. That’s 6 months shorter than the Freedom Unlimited, which offers 15 months at 0% before the regular 16.74-25.49% Variable APR starts on purchases and balance transfers.
These cards are more alike than they are different, but there are still a few important differences — namely involving the introductory rates and foreign transaction fees. Both cards are strong, and once again, the right choice depends on what you’re looking for.
So you’ll earn 1.5% cash back normally, but every year you’ll get a 10% bonus on everything you earned. That means you get an effective rate of 1.65% cash back.
For the first year, you’ll earn even more thanks to the 3% introductory reward rate. The anniversary bonus applies to those rewards, too, which means you’ll get 3.3% back on up to $10,000 in purchases during your first year as a cardholder.
The extra benefits for the HSBC card match the Freedom Unlimited, for the most part. It has Purchase Protection, an Extended Warranty, and quite a few others. In this case the benefits are serviced by Mastercard, rather than Visa.
If you get the Freedom Unlimited at the Visa Signature level it could come with some benefits that the HSBC Cash Rewards won’t have. These might include a personal concierge and discounts at select merchants while traveling and shopping. However, these usually aren’t major decision points when choosing a credit card.
The HSBC card has no annual fee, like the Freedom Unlimited. There are just a couple differences between the cards here.
You’ll get a 0% intro rate for 12 months for both purchases and balance transfers with the HSBC card. This is a bit shorter than the Chase card.
There are no foreign transaction fees when spending outside the country with the HSBC card, so it’s a better option for anyone traveling abroad. The Freedom Unlimited will charge 3% for those purchases.
Read more in our review of the HSBC Cash Rewards Credit Card
The Discover it® Cash Back Credit Card (Review) is a different type of card than the others mentioned above. Instead of a single cash back rate for all purchases, the Discover it has bonus categories that provide better rewards for certain purchases.
The 5% cash back calendar for the Discover it for 2019 is:
|Quarter||5% Cash Back Category|
|January – March||Grocery Stores|
|April – June||Gas Stations, Uber, Lyft|
|July – September||Restaurants, PayPal|
|October – December||Amazon.com, Target, Walmart.com|
So you’ll normally be earning 5% back on purchases in these categories, but the Cashback Match means you’ll actually get 10% back in the first year. Other purchases will earn 2% back that first year, which is better than the Freedom Unlimited’s base rate. This is a fantastic deal for a credit card, especially for one without an annual fee.
You’ll need to manually activate the cash back categories every quarter before you can start earning at the 5% rate. Discover can remind you to do so, with emails and text messages. This card takes a bit more work to understand and use than the Freedom Unlimited, but it also provides better rewards.
A card with cash back categories like this can work well in combination with the Freedom Unlimited. When considering their base cash back rates, you can use the Discover it whenever you’re spending in the active 5% category. And then use the Freedom Unlimited for all your other spending to get 1.5% back.
But if you consider the Cashback Bonus on the Discover it, things are a bit different. During your first year with the Discover card your cash back is doubled, so it would be wiser to use it for all your purchases (getting 10% back in the categories, 2% back everywhere else).
You’ll get better benefits with the Freedom Unlimited, because the Discover it doesn’t have much in the way of perks.
Discover cardholders will get the FICO Credit Scorecard, which will monitor your FICO Score 8 based on your TransUnion credit report. It’s very much like the credit monitoring service offered by Chase, Credit Journey. But Chase provides your VantageScore 3.0, instead of a FICO score, and also shows you helpful data from your TransUnion report.
There’s no annual fee for the Discover it. And there are no foreign transaction fees, although Discover doesn’t have great acceptance outside the U.S. so it might be tough to find places to use your card.
Cardholders of the Discover it get a 0% introductory APR of 14 months for purchases and balance transfers. That’s just one month shy of the Freedom Unlimited’s offer, so there’s not much difference there. After the introductory periods end, the regular APR of 13.74%–24.74% Variable will apply to purchases and balance transfers.
The main difference between the Discover it and the Freedom Unlimited is the way they offer cash back. But that also makes them a good pair of cards to use together, because their rewards programs complement each other well.
Read more in our Review of the Discover it Credit Card
Do you use this card? How do you like it? Leave your own review of the Chase Freedom Unlimited, we’d love to hear from you!
The Chase Freedom Unlimited is a great flat-rate rewards card that provides 1.5% cash back on every purchase. There’s no annual fee, and cardholders can transfer cash back to other Chase cards to maximize its value.
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