About Chase Freedom Card

By Derek Lakin
HighYa Staff Updated on: Aug 8, 2017

Looking to get more benefits out of your credit card?

If so, the Chase Freedom Card helps you automatically earn cash back when shopping for essentials at many of your favorite merchants, including unlimited 1% cash back on every purchase you make, and an additional 5% for bonus categories.

Sounds great, right? Hold on, because the truth is that there are hundreds of rewards credit cards out there, and finding one that meets all your needs can be a challenge.

Compared to all these other options, is there anything that sets the Chase Freedom Card apart? Is it worth your time, or should you look elsewhere?

You’ve got a lot of questions about the Freedom Card, and we’ve got the information that can help you figure things out. To start, let’s take a look at Chase Freedom’s details.

How Does the Chase Freedom Card Work?

Regardless of the time of year or the retailer you’re shopping with, the Chase Freedom Card always provides 1% cash back.

However, every three months, Chase designates specific categories and retailers that can help you earn an additional 5%. At the time of publishing, the bonus categories for the year were:

  • January – March: Gas stations and local transportation
  • April – June: Grocery stores and drugstores
  • July – September: Restaurants and movie theaters
  • October – December: Holiday shopping

As these categories change every three months, you’ll be required to activate your enrollment in order for your purchases to qualify, which can be processed online, via text message, phone, or email, by visiting a Chase personal banker, or at an ATM location.

You can also activate your savings using the Chase Freedom mobile app (iOS only), which will send you activation reminders and updates on the latest cash back categories and merchants, as well as allowing you to view your cash back balance.

The Freedom app also lets you redeem your cash back on the go, and use this redemption to pay at 30 of your favorite merchants.

Inside the app, all you have to do is choose your merchant and it will instantly create a custom e-gift card, which can be presented during checkout.

Chase Freedom Rates & Fees

Applying for the Chase Freedom Card is completely free, as is activating your cash back rewards every three months. There’s also no annual fee, and you’ll continue earning rewards for as long as your account is open and not in default.

Chase appears to run various promotional offers for new Freedom Card members, which included a $150 bonus (after spending $500 within three months of activation) at the time of our research.

Based on Chase Freedom’s FAQ, here’s an example of how it works:

“Cash Back rewards are tracked as points and each $1 in Cash Back rewards earned is equal to 100 points. A minimum of 2,000 points is needed to redeem for cash back … You can use your points to redeem for any available reward options.”

However, for 1% purchases, there’s a limit of up to $75 cash back per quarter.

Bonus categories also come with limits, although these can change as new categories are rolled out (for example, you could earn 5% cash back up to $1,500 in combined purchases at Amazon.com at the time of our research).

According to Chase Freedom’s Pricing & Terms page, you’ll receive a 0% APR for the first 15 billing cycles that your account is open.

Thereafter, your interest rate will increase to between 15.99% and 24.74% for purchases and balance transfers, which is based on your creditworthiness. Cash advances have an APR of 25.99%.

If your payment is late, Chase will charge you between $15 and $37, depending on your current balance.

Chase Freedom Protection Benefits

Outside of cash back, the Chase Freedom Card also comes with a variety of protection benefits, including chip-enabled security, zero liability protection, price protection, and auto rental collision damage waiver.

The card’s purchase protection also covers new purchases for 120 days against damage or theft up to $500 per claim, or $50,000 per account.

How do these rewards and protection benefits compare to other rewards credit cards?

How the Chase Freedom Card Stacks Up

If the Chase Freedom Card is the first cash back card you’ve explored, keep in mind that there are literally hundreds of nearly identical cards out there from a variety of different banks—some of which will be better suited to your spending habits than others.

To see for yourself, just type the phrase “1% cash back card” or “cash back credit card” into your favorite search engine and watch how many results pull up.

But is there anything meaningfully different about Chase Freedom? Are customers pleased with the program?

Several major review websites aside from HighYa gave the Chase Freedom good reviews, noting the 5% rewards categories as well as the 0%-interest offer. The sites pointed out, though, that having to manually activate the 5% rewards was a drawback.

Consumers also enjoyed the card. However, there were several customers who didn’t appreciate the mandatory activation every three months though, and also claimed to have experience poor customer service and failure to properly communicate with cardholders.

See Also: The Best Cash Back Rewards Credit Card of 2017

Is Chase Freedom the Best Cash Back Card for You?

Whether we’re talking about Chase Freedom or a card from another bank, cash back credit cards are extraordinarily popular. In fact, 55% of all credit cardholders own a rewards credit card.

So, the good news is that you have hundreds of options to choose from. But it’s important to remember that not every one of these cards will meet your needs.

To help you figure out what your needs are, here are some important questions to ask yourself:

  • Am I most interested in points, cash back, airline miles, or other types of rewards? Chase Freedom doesn’t offer airline miles or points redeemable at hotels, so if you’re a travel junkie, it might not be your best option.

  • If you are interested in cash back, at 1%, the Chase Freedom Card seems to be on the lower end of the spectrum compared to Citi Double Cash and Discover it cards.

  • Will you be transferring balances from other cards? Are you looking for the lowest possible interest rate? In either of these instances, Chase Freedom probably isn’t your best option, since interest rates begin at about 16% and can go into the mid-twenties for transfers.

  • On the other hand, if you’re looking to boost your credit score and earn cash back in the process, many online customers with low-600 credit ratings claimed to have received quick approvals. So, if this sounds like you, Chase Freedom might be a good option.

Bottom line? At 1%, the Chase Freedom Card seems to offer middle-of-the-road cash back opportunities, although certain purchases during different times of the year will qualify for up to 5% back.

Yes, there are certainly options that offer higher percentages, but they might come with unforeseen drawbacks, such as annual fees, more stringent eligibility requirements, and more.

Ultimately, only you can decide which cash back card is right for you, which will require some research (you’re already off to a great start!), although Chase Freedom seems to be a solid offering with mostly positive online feedback.

More on Credit Cards:

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1 Consumer Review for Chase Freedom Card

Average Consumer Rating: 1.0
Rating Snapshot:
5 star: 0 4 star: 0 3 star: 0 2 star: 0 1 star:  1
Bottom Line: 0% would recommend it to a friend
  • 1 out 3 people found this review helpful

    Bad credit card

    • Manassas, VA,
    • Apr 7, 2017
    • Verified Reviewer

    Stay away from this credit card. I disputed a charge on my credit card, and they reversed the charges without giving me the opportunity to explain. I think they reversed the charges because they get a commission from the vendor. I will cancel this credit card and get a better card. I do not recommend this one to anybody.

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

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