Chase Slate vs. Chase Freedom Flex
Put simply, the Chase Slate Edge 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 look at what each card offers, how they stack up and how to decide which works best for you.
Chase Slate Edge vs. Freedom Flex: At a glance
|Feature||Chase Slate Edge||Chase Freedom Flex|
|Sign-up bonus||None||$200 if you spend $500 in the first 3 months|
|Rewards rate||None||Earn 5% cash back in rotating quarterly categories (upon enrollment, on up to $1,500 in combined spending each quarter, then 1%); 5% cash back on Ultimate Rewards travel; 5% cash back on Lyft rides (through March 2022)
3% cash back on dining and drugstore purchases; 1% cash back on all other purchases
|Introductory APR offer||0% intro APR for the first 18 months on purchases and balance transfers (after that, a 14.99% to 23.74% 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||$5 or 3% of balance transfer, whichever is greater, for the first 60 days
After, $5 or 5% of each balance transfer, whichever is greater
|$5 or 3% of balance transfer, whichever is greater, for the first 60 days
After, $5 or 5% of each balance transfer, whichever is greater
Chase Slate Edge vs. Freedom Flex: Key differences
While the Chase Slate Edge and Freedom Flex are both solid offerings, each is geared toward a specific type of cardholder. The Chase Slate Edge 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.
Unlike many balance transfer credit cards, the Chase Slate Edge is accepting new applications online and you can also apply at a Chase branch. The card comes with an introductory APR for 18 months on both purchases and balance transfers (14.99 percent–23.74 percent variable APR after that) and a 3 percent or $5 minimum (whichever is greater) balance transfer fee applies. It also charges no annual fee.
Meanwhile, the Freedom Flex is a 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 at least 1 percent back.
You’ll also earn 5 percent back on Chase Ultimate Rewards travel, 5 percent back on Lyft rides through March 2022, 3 percent back on dining and drugstore purchases and 1 percent back on general purchases year-round. Like the Chase Slate Edge, the Freedom Flex charges no annual fee.
Best for balance transfers: Chase Slate Edge
If you need to hit pause on mounting interest charges and pay down your credit card debt, the Chase Slate Edge is a solid option: You’ll get 18 months to chip away at your transferred balance without paying any interest (14.99 percent to 23.74 percent variable APR after that).
Like most balance transfer cards, the Chase Slate Edge charges a 3 percent balance transfer fee or $5, whichever is greater, for the first 60 days. After that, for any ongoing balance transfers, there is a $5 or 5 percent fee on each transfer, whichever is greater. Just be sure you have a plan to pay off the balance you transfer within the 18-month introductory period, as you’ll be charged interest on any balance that remains at the end of this period plus an additional balance transfer fee per transfer. 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.
You’ll also need good or 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 18 months, you might be better off with a low-interest card or another debt consolidation tool.
Both cards offer the same variable APR after their introductory periods, but the Freedom Flex 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; for the third quarter of 2021, they include grocery stores and select streaming services. While a category like groceries should make it easy to max out the $1,500 spend cap, other categories like streaming services can be tough to get full value out of. 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.
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 you 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 you can see, when it comes to rewards, the Freedom Flex blows the Chase Slate Edge out of the water. Once your debt is paid off, the Chase Slate Edge has very few ongoing benefits, as it comes with no rewards program and offers limited cardholder perks.
Best for financing new purchases: It depends
The Chase Slate Edge allows you to strategically carry a balance on new balance transfers and purchases with a 0 percent introductory APR for 18 months, after which an APR of 14.99 to 23.74 percent variable applies. As for the Freedom Flex, a 0 percent introductory APR is offered on purchases made with the card for the first 15 months. An APR of 14.99 to 23.74 percent variable applies after that.
Both of these 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 have a similar introductory offer on new purchases, the one you choose 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 card member 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 pay off debt and free up cash by financing new purchases, the Chase Slate Edge 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 18 months as a card member.
With the Chase Slate Edge, you are automatically considered for a 2 percent APR reduction if you spend $1,000 by your next account anniversary and make timely payments on your balance. You’re also eligible for a credit line increase if you spend $500 in the first six months.
The potential to decrease your APR is unique on a credit card, and even with a minimum limit (9.74 percent plus the prime rate), it can save you a lot of money if you ever have to carry a balance.
Which card is right for you?
When choosing between the Chase Slate Edge 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 Edge is the obvious choice. You’ll get a chance to pay down your debt and save on interest charges. 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. Because credit card interest rates are so high, paying debt should be your priority. Otherwise, you’re negating any rewards you earn with those payments.