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Chase Cash Back Freedom Review

Chase Cash Back Freedom review, rewards, interest rates, bank introductory APR rate, balance transfer fee, cashback, points, and annual fee.

Chase Freedom Credit Card Benefits

Every dollar spent earns one point. This applies to all purchases. Cardholders can redeem points for gift cards from a wide variety of common merchants such as Amazon, Home Depot, Best Buy, etc. Or points can go towards purchasing certain select trips. Finally, points can earn cash (equating to 1% cash back).

For certain purchases up to $1500, cardholders can earn up to 5% cash back. This applies to certain categories: movie theaters and restaurants, for example. Categories tend to be broad and inclusive. For example, “restaurants” means both fast food and fine dining establishments. The categories change every three months and cardholders must activate the 5% cash back bonus categories every time. Unfortunately, this means forgetful cardholders will often miss out on what should be free and automatic extra points. This is especially disappointing considering that unlike some other credit cards, Chase Freedom users do not have any choices to make with their 5% categories-- and who wouldn’t choose to earn 5% instead of 1% cash back on certain items? Chase’s disclaimer that they, “ask you to activate [each quarter] because we want to make sure you’re aware when categories change…” rings hollow and sounds like a sneaky way to give fewer points to forgetful customers. However, users can set text or e-mail reminders to help them avoid forgetting to activate this important benefit.

Chase Freedom Credit Card Acceptance Rate

The Chase Freedom card is through Visa, one of the most popular credit card companies. According to company documents, Visa had 44 million merchant locations worldwide and its payment network engages with 160 different currencies.

Chase Freedom Credit Card Annual Fee

There are no annual fees - typical for a basic card like this one (Discover It Cash Credit Card and U.S. Bank’s Cash+, two comparable cards, also do not charge annual fees).

Chase Freedom Credit Card APR

A 0% intro APR applies to the first 15 months of the account. After that, the APR is calculated by adding 12-20% to the prime rate, or interest rate charged to the bank’s best and most creditworthy customers. The amount added to the prime rate depends on the creditworthiness of the cardholder. Currently, the APR charged for standard purchases ranges from 15.99%-24.74%. The maximum APR is 29.99%. The APR charged by the Chase Freedom Card is roughly equal to or slightly higher than APRs charged by other comparable cards. U.S. Bank’s Cash+ Card charges 14.99%-23.99% variable interest, while the Discover it Cash Credit Card charges 11.99%-23.99% variable interest, for example. It’s worth noting that although Chase Freedom’s APR roughly equals the APR charged by similar cards, it still charges a punishing interest rate. If possible, paying off all of your balance on time is highly recommended with this card.

Chase Freedom Credit Card Cash Advances

Chase Freedom cardholders currently get charged 25.99% APR on all cash advances. This rate will vary in correspondence with the prime rate, the interest rate Chase charges its best and most creditworthy customers. All cash advances are also charged a fee of $10 or 5% or the transaction, whichever is greater.

Chase Freedom Credit Card Transaction and Late Fees

All foreign transactions are subject to a 3% fee.

Late fees apply and depend on the amount of the overdue balance, ranging from $15-37. Automatic payments are available to help forgetful users avoid these.

Other Fees

Other fees, such as a balance transfer fee, are typical. Hidden fees do not come with typical and careful use of this card. See here for a full list of fees.

Fraud Protection

Outstanding fraud protection comes with this card. Users have zero liability for fraudulent/stolen purchases, even if the purchases resulted from negligence of the card owner. Chase monitors the account for suspicious behavior and will contact the cardholder in the event of suspicious transactions. The one caveat is that zero liability does not apply to use of the card by an authorized user. For example: a cardholder allows his sister to become an authorized user of the card, who promises to use it only for emergencies. The sister goes on a $3000 shopping spree. The cardholder gets no protection in this case. This is a normal condition-- the credit card company is exposed to too much potential gaming otherwise.

Chase Freedom Credit Card Bonus

Firstime Freedom cardholders are eligible to receive a 15,000 point bonus (equating to $150 in cash) if $500 of purchases are made within the first three months of receiving the card.

Firstime Freedom cardholders can also receive a 2,500 point bonus (equaling $25 in cash) for their first purchase, provided that purchase is made within the first three months of receiving the card.

Online Portal

Chase recently invested a lot of money into designing their online portal, and it shows. Scheduling payments, viewing recent transactions or statements, and redeeming points are all super easy to do on Chase Freedom’s intuitive portal. The help function at the top of the menu provides a quick way to easily answer any questions. For cardholders who bank with Chase, the credit card account conveniently appears right next to your banking accounts.

Customer Service

The customer service is fantastic- 24/7, very friendly, and very helpful. An illustrative example: a cardholder inadvertently leaves their card at a restaurant. A several minute phone call to customer service can cancel the card and send another one in 1-2 business days, free of charge.

Chase Freedom Review Summary

The Chase Freedom card presents a reasonable option for average consumers. No annual fees and the typical prohibitive interest rate charges apply with this card. Points are standard with the main benefit of 1% cash back and limited 5% cash back on certain items. This card has other fees, but they are typical and careful users should not find themselves surprised by any outrageous hidden fees. Customer service, including the card’s zero liability fraud protection, is outstanding. Overall this is a solid card, with security and customer service pushing it over the top.

Chase Cash Back Freedom reviewed by Brokerage-Review.com. Rating: 4