Chase Freedom Unlimited
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Chase Freedom Unlimited is a solid, straightforward cash-back rewards card that’s ideal for cardholders who just don’t have the time or energy to track spending categories. It ranks among the very best cash-back credit cards we track.
There are other cards that offer better rewards, but the Freedom Unlimited’s 1.5% cash back on everything is an excellent reward coming from a no-annual-fee credit card.
There are just two things preventing us from declaring this credit card the very best in its reward category: It charges a foreign transaction fee for spending abroad, and its extras — in this case a perfectly OK sign-up bonus — aren’t quite as good as, for example, what you’ll get from Discover it® Cash Back, a dollar-for-dollar match of all the cash back you’ve earned at the end of your first year.
But if you have other credit cards that come with no foreign transaction fees, the Chase Freedom Unlimited would make a fine addition to your wallet.
Freedom Unlimited also comes with a pretty nice introductory offer. You’ll pay 0% APR on purchases and balance transfers for 15 months; 16.74% – 25.49% variable after that. But watch that balance transfer fee. It’s pretty high!
Who should get this card
This card is best for people who don’t want to chase their rewards. It’s also ideal for consumers who hold other Chase credit cards, as you can transfer your rewards directly as Chase Ultimate Rewards points into the account of one of your other Chase rewards credit cards. For those who are willing to do the work, when this card is paired with other eligible Chase cards, the redemption value may increase when used in conjunction with Chase’s Ultimate Rewards portal.
What if you don’t own — or plan to own — another credit card from Chase? Here’s the bottom line: Two other cards are slightly better — the Discover it® Cash Back and Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit Card.
Fees and APR
- This card charges no annual fee.
- The balance transfer fee is $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
- You’ll pay a 3% foreign transaction fee on all purchases made outside the United States.
- Enjoy a 0% introductory APR for the first 15 billing cycles on purchases and balance transfers. After that, 16.74% to 25.49% variable, based on your creditworthiness.
Extras, perks and using rewards
For those who enjoy the sport of maximizing their credit card rewards to redeem for travel, Chase Freedom Unlimited, when paired with an eligible Chase card, can squeeze even more value out of your everyday spending.
On its own, this card gives a flat 1.5% cash-back rate for every dollar spent. This means that if you spend $10,000 with this card, you earn 150 Chase Ultimate Rewards points (10,000 x .015% rewards rate = 150), which can be redeemed as a $150 statement credit or used for purchases at a value of $150 through Chase’s shopping portal.
But when you pair the Chase Freedom Unlimited with another card, you can really starts to pile on the value. Let’s say you spend $10,000 on your Chase Freedom Unlimited card and earned back 150 Ultimate Rewards points. You can then transfer the points to a card like the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card where your 150 points increase 25% in value to become worth $187.50 at Chase’s travel portal.
Alternatively, if you transfer the same 150 points to the Chase Sapphire Reserve card, they increase 50% in value, so that 150 in points is now worth $225 in travel benefit through the Chase portal.
Yes, the math can be confusing, but for some the payoff of increased value is worth the legwork.
There’s no fee for redeeming points.
How this card compares
Citi Double Cash Card pays 1% cash back when you make a purchase and another 1% back as you pay for that purchase. There’s no cap on how much you can earn back, making this card a leader in the cash-back category.
Discover it® Cash Back cardholders can earn 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in purchases made in accordance with Discover’s 2018 Cashback Calendar after enrollment. Enroll every quarter to earn 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in purchases made in various categories throughout the year.
You won’t earn one of those huge sign-up bonuses other cards offer, but if you’re looking for a no-frills cash-back card, the Discover it® Cash Back credit card does come with one intriguing feature: Discover will pay a dollar-for-dollar match of all the cash back you’ve earned at the end of your first year.
The Alliant Cashback Visa Signature Credit Card pays 3% back during the first year of card ownership, then 2.5% thereafter. You have to be a credit union member to be eligible for the card.
The Chase Freedom card is fee-free and offers rotating bonus categories that pay 5% back, with a cap of $1,500 in each category and an unlimited 1% back on everything else. You also have to sign-up each quarter to get the bonus. An advantage of this card over Discover’s rotating bonus category cash-back cards it’s a Visa, which is more widely accepted than the Discover card.