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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!
- 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:
|QUARTER||5% CASH BACK CATEGORY|
|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|
- 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
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.
Here are some of the more valuable benefits offered by each card.
Purchases are covered for 120 days against theft or damage, up to $500 per claim and $50,000 per account.
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.
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.
Free FICO® Credit Score
Keep track of your credit score easily, and get alerts if it changes.
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.
Insider Tip: Want to see the full set of benefits for each card?
Here’s a side-by-side comparison of the benefits offered by each card:
|Chase Freedom||Barclaycard CashForward|
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 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.
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