The Chase Freedom Card vs The Barclaycard CashForward™ World MasterCard®

Brendan Harkness

Brendan Harkness | Versus

May 03, 2016 | Updated Jan 02, 2019

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This is a review and comparison of two very different cash back credit cards: the Chase Freedom card and the Barclaycard CashForward World MasterCard.

The Freedom card is an old favorite, while the CashForward is a more recent option. They each have their own take on rewards: the Freedom card provides more cash back for certain types of purchases, which change throughout the year, while the CashForward provides a set amount of cash back for every purchase you make.

Neither card has an annual fee, and they each offer a nice signup bonus. Keep reading to learn if one (or both) of these cards might be right for you!

We're currently unable to link directly to an application for the Chase Freedom, but you can learn more here, on our advertising partner's website.

The Rewards

Chase Freedom

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
  • $150 signup bonus for spending $500 in 3 months

Here are the 5% cash back bonus categories from 2018, plus the 2019 categories for the first quarter:

2018: January – March Gas Stations, Internet/Cable/Phone Services, Various Digital Wallets
2018: April – June Grocery Stores, PayPal, Chase Pay
2018: July – September Gas Stations, Lyft, Walgreens
2018: October – December Department Stores, Wholesale Clubs, Chase Pay
2019: January – March  Gas Stations, Tolls, Drugstores
Take note that you’ll need to go online to manually activate your 5% rewards category every 3 months before you can start earning rewards.

Barclaycard CashForward

  • 1.5% cash back for every purchase
  • 5% cash rewards redemption bonus every time you redeem your cash back
  • $100 signup bonus for spending $500 in the first 90 days

The Verdict

As you can see, these cards provide their cash back in very different ways.

Do you spend a lot of money at the types of stores in the Freedom reward categories? If so, that 5% discount could add up to a lot over time. Just be sure to keep an eye on the category you’re currently in, and remember to activate it every 3 months.

Or, if you’d rather have a card that provides the same reward for every purchase, without having to worry about which category you’re in, the CashForward makes that easy. As an example of how the 5% redemption bonus works: if you spend $1,000 with this card, you’ll end up with $15.75 cash back after the bonus is included.

Instead of choosing just one of these cards, you could actually use both. Just pull out the Freedom card wherever you’ll get the 5% cash back, and use the CashForward for any other purchases. Don’t worry, having multiple credit cards isn’t bad for your credit score and can actually be very useful.

The Benefits

Here are some of the more valuable benefits offered by each card.

Chase Freedom


  • 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 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.

Barclaycard CashForward


  • Free FICO® Credit Score

    Keep track of your credit score easily, and get alerts if it changes.

The Verdict

The Chase Freedom obviously has much more to offer here, providing a number of shopping and travel benefits that could come in very useful in a pinch. Just remember that you have them available!

On the other hand, the CashForward lets you view your FICO score for free, anytime you want. This is a great feature if you’re building up your credit, or even if you just like to check up on your score now and then.

Here’s a side-by-side comparison of the benefits offered by each card:

Chase Freedom Barclaycard CashForward


  • Zero Liability Protection


  • Free FICO Credit Score


  • Zero Liability Protection
  • Zero Liability Protection


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


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

The Costs & Fees

Card Annual Fee Intro Purchase APR Intro Balance Transfer APR Regular Purchase APR Regular Balance Transfer APR
Chase Freedom $0 0% for 15 months 0% for 15 months 16.99%–25.74% Variable 16.99%–25.74% Variable
CashForward $0 0% for 15 months  0% for 15 months (on balance transfers made within 45 days of account opening) 15.99%, 20.99% or 23.99% Variable 15.99%, 20.99% or 23.99% Variable
Card Balance Transfer Fee Cash Advance Fee Foreign Transaction Fee
Chase Freedom 5%, $5 minimum 5%, $10 minimum 3%
CashForward  3%, Minimum $5 5%, Minimum $10 3%
Card Penalty APR Late Fee Returned Payment Fee
Chase Freedom None Up to $38 Up to $38
CashForward See Terms Up to $37 Up to $37

The Verdict

The costs and fees for these cards are pretty similar, so there isn’t much to decide on here. Neither one has an annual fee, and their APR ranges are about the same.

The only significant difference is that the Freedom card has a longer intro APR by 3 months.

The Bottom Line

The Chase Freedom card and the Barclaycard CashForward World MasterCard are both good cash back credit cards, offering their rewards in very different ways. Since their interest rates and fees are about the same, take a look at the other features offered by each card.

The Freedom card is great for shopping at a variety of stores and retailers, but they rotate throughout the year so you’ll have to keep an eye on which category is active. The CashForward is better for easy all-around spending, providing the same reward no matter where you’ll shop.

You’ll also get more protections with the Freedom card – for shopping and traveling – and these can save you some money if something you buy is damaged or lost, or if you have a problem traveling. The CashForward doesn’t have these benefits, but you’ll be able to see your FICO score whenever you want, a great benefit to have if you’re interested in improving your credit.

Remember that having both cards is a good option as well, using the Freedom wherever you’ll get the 5% discount and the CashForward for other purchases. This strategy would let you get the most out of each card, and give you access to both sets of benefits.

If you use one of these credit cards, how do you like it? Leave your own review of the Chase Freedom card or the Barclaycard CashForward World MasterCard, we’d love to hear from you!

We're currently unable to link directly to an application for the Chase Freedom, but you can learn more here, on our advertising partner's website.
Or learn more about Reward Credit Cards and see our picks for the best cards!
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