The Chase Freedom® vs The BankAmericard Cash Rewards™ Credit Card

Brendan Harkness

Brendan Harkness | Versus

Jun 26, 2016 | Updated Jul 28, 2016

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Let’s take a look at two popular rewards credit cards of different types: the Chase Freedom® and the BankAmericard Cash Rewards™ Credit Card.

The Freedom card offers 5% cash back for different types of purchases, which change throughout the year. The BankAmericard, on the other hand, offers 3% cash back on gas and 2% cash back on groceries, all year round.

They both have sign-up bonuses for new cardholders, pretty long 0% introductory rates, and some other benefits too.

Read on to learn if one (or both) might be right for you.

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.

BankAmericard Cash Rewards™ Credit Card

For People with
Good Credit

  • Annual Fee: $0
  • Interest Rate: 13.24% - 23.24% *Variable
Quick Card Facts
  • $100 online cash rewards bonus after you spend at least $500 on purchases in the first 90 days of account opening
  • 1% cash back on every purchase, 2% at grocery stores and 3% on gas for the first $1,500 in combined grocery/gas purchases each quarter
  • No annual fee
  • No changing categories and no expiration on rewards
  • 0% Introductory APR for 12 billing cycles for purchases and for any balance transfers made in the first 60 days, then, 12.99% - 22.99% Variable APR. 3% fee (min $10) applies to balance transfers.
  • Get a 10% customer bonus every time you redeem your cash back into a Bank of America® checking or savings account
  • If you're a Preferred Rewards client, you can increase that bonus to 25%-75%. Click "Apply Now" to learn more about Preferred Rewards.
  • Now with chip technology for enhanced security and protection at chip-enabled terminals
 

The Rewards

Chase Freedom

You’ll get:

  • 5% cash back on purchases in the present category (see categories below)
  • 1% cash back on all other purchases
  • $150 sign-up bonus for spending $500 in the first 3 months
  • $25 sign-up bonus for adding an authorized user and making a purchase in the first 3 months

Take Note: There are two things to know about the 5% cash back offer:

  1. You’ll need to go sign on to your account online to activate your rewards every 3 months before you will earn the 5% back.
  2. The 5% cash back is limited to $1,500 in purchases every 3 months. After that, 1% cash back is provided.
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

Chase will also add more retailers to the categories as they approach.

BankAmericard Cash Rewards

This card provides:

  • 3% cash back on purchases of gas
  • 2% cash back on purchases of groceries and at wholesale clubs
  • 1% cash back on all other purchases
  • $100 sign-up bonus for spending $500 in the first 90 days (online applicants only)

Take Note: Similar to the Freedom card above, your 3% and 2% rewards for gas and grocery purchases are limited to the first $2,500 in purchases every quarter. After that, you’ll earn 1% cash back for those purchases.

The Verdict

These cards are very different: the Chase Freedom has rotating reward categories, while the BankAmericard has stable reward categories.

They each offer rewards for gas and groceries, some of the most popular spending categories. If you’re thinking about getting one of these cards, check your spending habits and ask yourself: would you rather get 5% back for those purchases for 3 months out of the year, or would you rather get a smaller amount back year-round?

You could even consider getting and using both of these cards. Then, you could use the Freedom card during the 5% cash back months for gas or groceries, and the BankAmericard the rest of the year.

Insider Tip: Worried about having too many credit cards? Rather than a problem, this can actually be a very good thing. Click here to watch our Q&A Video: Is There A Reason To Carry Multiple Credit Cards?

The Benefits

Chase Freedom

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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.)

  • 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.

BankAmericard Cash Rewards

Account Management

  • Account Alerts

    Get alerts about account information on your phone.

  • Mobile Banking

    Pay your credit card bill online, transfer funds, check available credit and more.

  • Text Banking

    Send a text and get important account information.

Security

  • Fraud Protection

    You will not be held responsible for unauthorized use of your card.

  • Overdraft Protection

    Link a Bank of America account to your card and prevent declined purchases and return checks if you take out too much money from your account.

  • ShopSafe®

    Protection when you are shopping online.

The Verdict

When it comes to the extra benefits, as you can see it’s pretty one-sided. The Freedom card has the more valuable shopping and traveling protections, which can help you out when something goes wrong with items you buy or while on a trip.

The shopping benefits provide refunds if your eligible purchases are stolen or damaged, extends their manufacturer’s warranties, and will even reimburse you if your purchases are found being sold at a lesser price.

The travel protections can help save you time and money while traveling if serious accidents happen, as well as for minor problems like lost bags or canceled trips.

Each card also features benefits provided by Visa. You’ll need to check your Guide to Benefits, which arrives with your card, to learn what benefits are available to you.

Here’s an overview of the benefits offered by each card:

Chase Freedom BankAmericard Cash Rewards

Account

  • Account alerts
  • Mobile banking
  • Text banking

Security

  • Zero-liability Protection
  • Fraud Protection
  • Overdraft Protection
  • ShopSafe® online shopping protection

Shopping

  • Purchase Protection
  • Price Protection
  • Extended Warranty Protection
  • Return Protection

Travel

  • Travel and Emergency Assistance Services
  • Travel Accident Insurance
  • Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver
  • Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance
  • Roadside Dispatch/Roadside Assistance
  • Lost Luggage Reimbursement

The Costs & Fees

Card Annual Fee Intro APR for Purchases and Balance Transfers Regular APR for Purchases and Balance Transfers Cash Advance APR Foreign Transaction Fee
Chase Freedom $0 0% for 15 months  14.24%-23.24% *Variable 25.24% *Variable 3%
BankAmericard Cash Rewards $0 0% for 12 months  13.24% - 23.24% *Variable  16.24% - 25.24% *Variable 3%
Card Penalty APR Late Fee Returned Payment Fee
Chase Freedom See Terms Up to $35 Up to $35
BankAmericard Cash Rewards Up to 29.99% *Variable Up to $37 Up to $27

The Verdict

The costs and fees of these cards are quite comparable. Neither has an annual fee, the 0% intro periods are almost the same length, and the APR’s are very close. They will both charge a fee for foreign transactions.

The biggest difference here is the Penalty APR: the Chase Freedom does not have one, while the BankAmericard does. This penalty interest rate can be applied if you make a late payment with the BankAmericard, but you won’t have to worry about that with the Freedom card.

You shouldn’t be planning on making late payments, of course, but this is a nice feature of the Freedom card if you do make a mistake.

Insider Tip: 0% intro APRs are great, but take note that if you make a late or returned payment you could lose it before it officially ends, leaving you with the high penalty APR!

The Bottom Line

The Chase Freedom and BankAmericard Cash Rewards Card are both valuable rewards credit cards, providing their cash back for some of the same types of purchases.

The Freedom card will give you 5% back on different types of purchases throughout the year. Check out the categories, and if you spend a lot at those kinds of stores this could be a great card for you. Keep in mind that Chase will be adding some more retailers throughout the year.

Or, consider the BankAmericard to get 3% cash back on gas and 2% back on groceries year-round. Does this suit your lifestyle and spending habits better? Don’t be afraid to do a bit of math to really grind out the details.

Finally, consider using both of these cards if you see a real need for them. You can use the Freedom card whenever you’ll get the 5% cash back category, and just use the BankAmericard when the Freedom won’t give you that 5%.

Want to apply for or learn more about one of these cards? Just click the card’s name below.

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.

BankAmericard Cash Rewards™ Credit Card

For People with
Good Credit

  • Annual Fee: $0
  • Interest Rate: 13.24% - 23.24% *Variable
Quick Card Facts
  • $100 online cash rewards bonus after you spend at least $500 on purchases in the first 90 days of account opening
  • 1% cash back on every purchase, 2% at grocery stores and 3% on gas for the first $1,500 in combined grocery/gas purchases each quarter
  • No annual fee
  • No changing categories and no expiration on rewards
  • 0% Introductory APR for 12 billing cycles for purchases and for any balance transfers made in the first 60 days, then, 12.99% - 22.99% Variable APR. 3% fee (min $10) applies to balance transfers.
  • Get a 10% customer bonus every time you redeem your cash back into a Bank of America® checking or savings account
  • If you're a Preferred Rewards client, you can increase that bonus to 25%-75%. Click "Apply Now" to learn more about Preferred Rewards.
  • Now with chip technology for enhanced security and protection at chip-enabled terminals
 
Not the cards for you? Click here to learn more about Reward Credit Cards and see our picks for the best cards!

Do you use one of these cards? How do you like it? Click here to leave your own review of the Chase Freedom card, or click here to leave a review for the BankAmericard Cash Rewards Card.

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