Chase Slate Edge℠ review: Is its reduced APR feature worth the reduced 0% APR?
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Before Chase’s recent launch of the Chase Slate Edge℠, prospective cardholders looking for a Chase balance transfer credit card had to visit a branch in person to request the original Chase Slate. The legacy Slate card’s signature benefit was that it didn’t charge a balance transfer fee—a tradition that its successor has left behind.
But the more accessible Slate Edge carries the torch with several other unique features, including opportunities to get a cash welcome bonus (which may cover your transfer fee), a credit line increase and an annual 2 percent APR reduction.
Canceling a balance transfer card like the original Slate isn’t uncommon since they usually aren’t very helpful once you pay off your balance, and it appears these new perks are meant to give the Slate Edge long-term value as a low-interest credit card once your debt is settled.
These benefits can save you money if you plan to carry a balance, but they’re likely still not valuable enough long-term to warrant holding onto the Slate edge considering its 12-month 0 percent intro APR period on purchases and balance transfers (then 14.99 percent to 23.74 percent variable APR) is surprisingly short for a zero-interest card. In fact, other Chase credit cards carry 15-month intro purchases and balance transfer offers while earning serious cash back.
What are the pros and cons?
- Its 12-month 0 percent intro APR for purchases and balance transfers is much shorter than other balance transfer cards’ periods (14.99 percent to 23.74 percent variable APR thereafter)
- You can only reduce your APR to 12.99 percent (variable), which isn’t competitive and is actually beaten by Discover cash back cards
- 3 percent foreign transaction fee
A deeper look into the current card offer
- Rewards Rate: N/A
- Welcome Offer: $100 bonus credit after spending $500 in the first six months (limited-time offer)
- Annual Fee: $0
- Purchase Intro APR: 0 percent for 12 months
- Balance Transfer Intro APR: 0 percent for 12 months
- Regular APR: 14.99 percent to 23.74 percent variable
A rare sign-up bonus
The Slate Edge gets bragging rights as one of the few (if not only) balance transfer cards to carry a cash value sign-up bonus. You can earn a $100 bonus statement credit after spending $500 in your first six months.
It’s not the best intro bonus in the world since many no annual fee rewards cards offer up to $200 with that same spending requirement, but it’s a deal most other balance transfer cards can’t beat. The bonus credit is especially valuable in the transfer card pool since it covers the intro 3 percent balance transfer fee if your balance is $3,333 or lower. Balance transfer fee: Intro fee of either $5 or 3% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater, on transfers made within 60 days of account opening.
Other cardholder perks
Like with other balance transfer cards, you shouldn’t expect glitzy perks since any additional features take a backseat to paying off your balance. The Slate Edge is special because its credit line increase and yearly APR reduction benefits are part of the main appeal, but like its other standard Chase and Visa benefits, these elements only come in handy every now and then if you need to carry a balance or get assistance.
2% yearly APR reduction
The Slate Edge brings a fresh new feature to the table that’s sure to be valuable for cardholders that want to minimize the impact of carrying a balance from time to time.
By charging $1,000 to your card by your next account anniversary without missing an on-time payment, you’ll be automatically considered for a 2 percent ongoing APR reduction each year. Your reduction is still based on a variable rate, though, and can currently drop to 12.99 percent at most (based on the Prime Rate plus 9.74 percent).
Automatic credit line increase
Charging $500 to your card in the first six months and continuing to make on-time payments makes your account automatically eligible for a credit line increase.
This can be a big help in case you need to take on a big, unexpected expense or build up your credit if revolving credit affected your credit score before your balance transfer.
Chase issuer perks
Chase Offers, a card-linked program to earn extra cash back on activated rotating offers, can squeeze extra value out of your spending toward the annual APR reduction.
My Chase Plan can help you keep your balance under control after the zero-interest ends by providing up to 18 months in predetermined installment payments toward eligible purchases of $100 or more (although there is a monthly plan fee in lieu of interest).
Meanwhile, Chase’s host of Credit Journey features provide account management tools like free credit score checks and identity theft monitoring to keep your account safe.
Rates and fees
As a balance transfer card, the intro APR periods and the ongoing APR are the most important rates and fees to pay attention to outside the annual fee (which the Slate Edge doesn’t charge). You can keep interest at bay for an entire year with its 12-month 0 percent intro APR on both purchases and balance transfers.
Afterward, you’ll face a 14.99 percent to 23.74 percent variable APR, but the Slate Edge’s 2 percent annual APR reduction feature can cut your rate down to 12.99 percent—one of the lowest interest rates on the market and well below the current average interest rate.
Just be aware of the 3 percent intro balance transfer fee ($5 or 3 percent of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater, on transfers made within 60 days of account opening) when you’re calculating your payments, and the 3 percent foreign transaction fee if you use your card abroad. Balance transfer cards typically don’t waive foreign transaction fees. There are a few cards with no balance transfer fee similar to the original Chase Slate, although they’re usually only available through credit unions.
How the Chase Slate Edge compares to other balance transfer cards
At first glance, perhaps the Slate Edge’s most striking difference from other balance transfer cards is its much shorter intro APR length. Most cards designed for consolidating debt bestow 18-month zero-interest periods, but the Slate Edge only grants you a 12-month intro APR. Meanwhile, the U.S. Bank Visa® Platinum Card carries perhaps the longest zero-interest offer on the market with 0 percent intro APR on purchases and balance transfers for 20 billing cycles (then 14.49 percent to 24.49 percent variable).
Granted, Chase tries to offset this by offering extra upfront value with its unique automatic credit line increase and cash credit welcome offers, but these features don’t offer much of a leg up over other cards that deliver ongoing rewards and better balance transfer periods. Even the Slate Edge’s ongoing APR isn’t the best available at its 12.99 percent (variable) maximum reduced rate (the regular APR is 14.99 percent to 23.74 percent variable).
The Citi® Double Cash Card earns up to 2 percent unlimited cash back on all purchases (1 percent at purchase, plus 1 percent upon payment) on top of an 18-month 0 percent intro APR for balance transfers made in the first four months. Afterward, its minimum 13.99 percent variable APR (up to 23.99 percent, depending on creditworthiness) is only 1 percent higher than the Slate Edge’s lowest rate. The BankAmericard® credit card actually offers an equivalent 12.99 percent minimum APR (up to 22.99 percent variable) after its 18-billing cycle 0 percent intro APR for balance transfers (made within the first 60 days, a 3 percent fee applies with a minimum of $10) as well as purchases.
The Slate Edge provides decent long-term value incentives, but they can’t compete when some rewards cards offer better intro and ongoing APR terms, and other top-tier balance transfer cards like the Citi Simplicity® Card also encourage continued usage with waived fees, such as no penalty APR, or late payment fees in the Simplicity’s case. You can get the best of both worlds with the low-cost Discover it® Cash Back and its 5 percent cash back in activated rotating categories (up to $1,500 each quarter in purchases, then 1 percent), 14-month 0 percent intro purchase and balance transfer APR plus 11.99 percent to 22.99 percent variable APR afterward that all beat the Slate Edge’s rates and features.
Here are a few other low-interest balance transfer cards with a bit more long-term value worth considering:
Best cards to pair with this card
Any rewards credit card that fits your day-to-day spending will pair effortlessly with the Slate Edge since it doesn’t earn ongoing cash back, bonus points or travel miles. If you plan to hang onto the Slate Edge for its low interest rate in case you need to carry a balance occasionally, your rewards card can act as your primary credit card for all other purchases.
Bankrate’s Take: Is the Chase Slate Edge worth it?
The Chase Slate Edge offers more long-term value than the legacy Chase Slate as a low-interest credit card thanks to its annual 2 percent APR reduction feature for eligible cardholders and other unique features. It’s also one of the rare balance transfer cards that delivers a cash value credit welcome offer, plus automatic eligibility for a credit line increase if you meet the bonus credit criteria.
However, its year-long intro APR is much lower than that of rival balance transfer cards, and its best ongoing APR after the maximum APR reduction can be matched or beaten by other cards. The Slate Edge is a decent option if you’d like to upgrade your Chase card down the road and need a low-interest card in the meantime, but you should aim for one of two options depending on your goal: a balance transfer card with an 18-month intro APR if you need to pay off your balance, or a rewards card with a low interest rate if you want long-term value.
The information about the Chase Slate Edge℠, Chase Slate has been collected independently by Bankrate.com. The card details have not been reviewed or approved by the card issuer.