Put simply, the Chase Slate only makes sense if you’re looking to pay off debt and save on interest via a balance transfer, while the Freedom Flex stands out as a solid no annual fee cash back rewards card.
Here we take a look at what each card offers, how they stack up and how to decide which works best for you.
Chase Slate versus Freedom Flex: At a glance
|Chase Slate||Chase Freedom Flex|
|Sign-up bonus||None||$200 if you spend $500 in the first 3 months; 5% back on grocery store purchases (excluding Target and Walmart) in your first year on up to $12,000 in spending.|
|Rewards rate||None||5% back in rotating quarterly categories (upon enrollment, on up to $1,500 in combined spending each quarter, then 1%); 5% back on Ultimate Rewards travel; 3% back on dining and drugstore purchases; 1% back on all other purchases|
|Introductory APR offer||0% intro APR for the first 15 months on purchases and balance transfers (after that, a 16.49% to 25.24% variable APR applies)||0% intro APR for the first 15 months on purchases (after that, a 14.99% to 23.74% variable APR applies)|
|Balance transfer fee||No fee for transfers made within the first 60 days. After 60 days, you’re charged 5% of the amount transferred or $5, whichever is greater||N/A|
Chase Slate versus Freedom Flex: Key differences
While the Chase Slate and Freedom Flex are both solid offerings, each is geared toward a specific type of cardholder. Where the Chase Slate makes sense for anyone looking to transfer a credit card balance or finance new purchases, the Freedom Flex is better suited to experienced rewards cardholders who don’t mind putting some effort into maximizing their cash back.
Unfortunately, like a number of balance transfer credit cards, the Chase Slate is not currently accepting new applications online. However, you may be able to apply for the card at a Chase branch. The card comes with an introductory APR for 15 months on both purchases and balance transfers (16.49 percent–25.24 percent variable APR after that) and waives all balance transfer fees for transfers made in the first 60 days. It also charges no annual fee.
The Freedom Flex, meanwhile, is a brand new cash back rewards card that offers cash back in a combination of quarterly rotating bonus categories and year-round bonus categories. You can enroll in a quarterly bonus category according to Chase’s cash back calendar and get 5 percent back on up to $1,500 in combined purchases each quarter. After you reach that cap, you’ll earn 1 percent back. You’ll also earn 5 percent back on Chase Ultimate Rewards travel, 3 percent back on dining and drugstore purchases and 1 percent back on general purchases year-round. Like the Chase Slate, the Freedom Flex charges no annual fee.
Best for balance transfers: Chase Slate
If you need to hit pause on mounting interest charges and pay down your credit card debt, the Chase Slate is a solid option: You’ll get 15 months to chip away at your transferred balance without paying any interest (16.49 percent to 25.24 percent variable APR after that).
And unlike most balance transfer cards, the Chase Slate charges no balance transfer fee for transfers made in the first 60 days, allowing you to save a ton upfront. Indeed, it may be wise to treat the money you’ll save on balance transfers within the first 60 days as a sort of sign-up bonus since this card doesn’t offer a traditional bonus.
Just be sure you have a plan to pay off the balance you transfer to the Chase Slate within the 15-month introductory period, as you’ll be charged interest on any balance that remains at the end of this period. To start, use a balance transfer calculator to see how long it will take you to pay off your debt based on your monthly payment. Keep in mind, too, that the maximum transfer amount for the Chase Slate is $15,000.
You’ll also need excellent credit to qualify for a balance transfer. If you have damaged credit or aren’t sure whether you’ll be able to make much of a dent in your transferred balance in 15 months, you might be better off with a low-interest card or another debt-consolidation tool.
The Freedom Flex, meanwhile, does not offer an intro APR on balance transfers, so if that’s a priority for you, the card is a definite no-go.
Best for rewards: Chase Freedom Flex
If you’re looking for a no-fee rewards card and don’t mind keeping tabs on your spending and enrolling in rotating cash back categories, the Chase Freedom Flex can be a great fit, allowing you to maximize your rewards earnings across a variety of purchase categories.
Chase’s cash back calendar typically includes popular categories like grocery stores and online shopping, with Walmart and PayPal slated as bonus categories for October through December of 2020. That said, it can be tough to reach a $1,500 spend in certain quarterly categories, like streaming services or gas, which appeared earlier this year.
Even so, the Freedom Flex also makes for a great all-purpose rewards card thanks to its practical year-round bonus categories, especially its 5 percent cash back rate on Ultimate Rewards travel and 3 percent cash back rate on dining. The card could be especially lucrative if you plan to redeem your rewards for travel.
Not only does the 5 percent cash back rate on Ultimate Rewards travel rival the travel rewards rate offered on some of the best travel credit cards, but the Freedom Flex also makes a perfect pair with premium Chase cards like the Chase Sapphire Reserve® card: Your rewards are worth 50 percent more when transfer them from the Freedom Flex to the Sapphire Reserve and redeem for travel through the Ultimate Rewards portal.
The card also comes with a $200 cash sign-up bonus if you spend $500 within your first three months of card ownership, as well as 5 percent cash back on eligible grocery store purchases on up to $12,000 in spending in your first year. This is a very valuable introductory offer and could score you $800 or more in cash back if you’re able to maximize the grocery store bonus.
As you can see, when it comes to rewards, the Freedom Flex blows the Chase Slate out of the water. Once your debt is paid off, the Chase Slate has very few ongoing benefits, as it comes with no rewards program and offers limited cardholder perks.
Best for financing new purchases: It depends
Both the Chase Slate and Freedom Flex allow you to strategically carry a balance on new purchases with a 0 percent introductory APR for 15 months, after which an APR of 14.99 percent to 23.74 percent variable applies to the Freedom Flex and an APR of 16.49 percent to 25.24 percent variable applies to the Chase Slate.
This can be a big help if you’d rather chip away at a large expense like a home repair over time than plop down a lot of cash upfront. Since both cards a very similar introductory offer on new purchases, which you go with will depend on your other priorities.
If you don’t have any high-interest debt, the Freedom Flex not only allows you to finance your purchases over your first 15 months as a cardmember but also allows you to earn rewards on them. If you’re strategic with when you buy, you may even be able to line up your purchases with one of the card’s rotating categories to earn 5 percent back on the first $1,500 you spend (and 1 percent on anything above that).
The card also offers a slightly lower ongoing APR and comes with consumer-friendly perks like purchase protection and extended warranty coverage, which should give you some extra peace of mind.
On the other hand, if you need to both pay off debt and free up cash by financing new purchases, the Chase Slate card will be a better choice. You won’t earn any rewards on your spending, but you can at least keep interest charges at bay on both new and existing debt for your first 15 months as a cardmember.
Which card is right for you?
When choosing between the Chase Slate and Chase Freedom Flex, it all depends on your lifestyle and reasons for getting a new card.
If you have debt and are looking to transfer it to a new card to save money on interest, the Chase Slate is the obvious choice. You’ll get a chance to pay down your debt and save on interest charges, without paying a balance transfer fee. If you don’t normally carry a balance on your cards and are more interested in earning rewards, the Chase Freedom Flex should be your pick.
Either card could work for financing new purchases, so which you choose will depend on that key question of whether your focus is on paying off debt or earning rewards (though paying off debt should always be your top priority).
The information about the Chase Slate card has been collected independently by Bankrate.com. The card details have not been reviewed or approved by the card issuer.