Chase Slate Edge℠ review: Is its reduced APR feature worth the reduced 0% APR?
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Chase Slate Edge℠ Overview
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.
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.
But the more accessible Slate Edge carries the torch with several other unique features, including opportunities to get a credit line increase and an annual 2 percent APR reduction. However, the card was recently updated on Jan. 13, 2022, to greatly improve its previously low 12-month intro APR period to a standard 18-month 0 percent intro purchase and balance transfer APR. This improvement, unfortunately, came at the cost of cutting its previous $100 cash welcome bonus, which may have covered the 3 percent intro balance transfer fee ($5 minimum; increases to 5 percent after 60 days) for some cardholders.
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 17.99 percent to 26.74 percent (variable) APR isn’t as low as the APR on a few other zero-interest cards. In fact, other Chase credit cards carry 15-month intro purchases and balance transfer offers at the same variable interest rate while earning serious cash back that will provide far more long-term value. This latest renovation to the Slate Edge makes it a more viable balance transfer card, but once again removes another of its previous incarnation’s unique selling points without providing enough incentive to choose it over another transfer card.
What are the advantages and disadvantages?
- Its 18-month 0 percent intro APR for purchases and balance transfers is par for the course, but can be shorter than some other balance transfer cards’ periods
- 3 percent foreign transaction fee
- Standard 3 percent intro balance transfer fee ($5 minimum), which increases to 5 percent after sixty days
A deeper look into the current card offer
- Rewards Rate: N/A
- Welcome Offer: N/A
- Annual Fee: $0
- Purchase Intro APR: 0 percent for 18 months
- Balance Transfer Intro APR: 0 percent for 18 months
- Regular APR: 17.99 percent to 26.74 percent variable
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.
Annual 2% 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 15.99 percent at most.
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
Like the issuer’s other credit cards, you receive Chase-specific 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 and a half with its 18-month 0 percent intro APR on both purchases and balance transfers.
Afterward, you’ll face a 17.99 percent to 26.74 percent variable APR, but the Slate Edge’s 2 percent annual APR reduction feature can cut your rate down to 15.99 percent.
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
The Chase Slate Edge is among the most competitive balance transfer cards available. However, it’s important to consider multiple factors when determining which card is best for your financial situation.
Chase Slate Edge vs. U.S. Bank Visa® Platinum Card
Previously, 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 now that the Slate Edge has matched that intro APR length, its only distinguishing features are its higher credit limit account review and APR reduction perks. These give it slightly more staying power than many of its rivals, but the reality is that no annual fee rewards cards typically offer around a 15-month intro APR for both purchases and balance transfers around the same ongoing interest rate as well. If you need the Slate Edge card’s extra three months to pay off your balance, you may be more comfortable with a balance transfer card with a longer intro APR.
The U.S. Bank Visa® Platinum Card carries a long upfront zero-interest offer on the market with 0 percent intro APR on both purchases and balance transfers for 18 billing cycles (then 18.24 percent to 28.24 percent variable) for no annual fee. Other stellar no-annual-fee options can provide even longer intro APR periods if you don’t mind a few trade-offs. For example, the Citi Simplicity® Card delivers 12 months of 0 percent intro purchase APR and 21 months for balance transfers (then 17.74 percent to 28.49 percent variable; transfers must be completed within four months) and also encourages continued usage with waived fees, such as no penalty APR or late payment fees. The Wells Fargo Reflect® Card grants perhaps the best intro APR deal on the market, 0% intro APR for 18 months from account opening on purchases and qualifying balance transfers. Intro APR extension of 3 months with on-time minimum payments during the intro period. 16.74% –28.74% variable APR thereafter; balance transfers made within 120 days qualify for the intro rate and fee of 3% then a BT fee of up to 5%, min $5.
Chase Slate Edge vs. Citi® Double Cash Card
Chase tries to create more incentive to hold onto the Slate Edge by throwing in its unique automatic credit line increase and ongoing interest rate reduction, but these features don’t offer much of a leg up over other cards that deliver ongoing rewards and similar balance transfer periods.
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, it has a minimum 17.74 percent variable APR (up to 27.74 percent, depending on creditworthiness). If you’ll be paying off your card on time each month, the rewards will be much more valuable than the interest rate in the long run anyway.
However, if you may need the intro purchase APR and want one of the lowest interest rates afterward without ditching the 18-month balance transfer zero-interest offer, you should check into the Discover it® Balance Transfer. It poses far more cash back potential than the Citi Double Cash since its rotating quarterly bonus categories earn 5 percent cash back when activated (on up to $1,500 per quarter, then 1 percent). This is pushed to the next level with perhaps the best welcome offer of any transfer card: all cash back earned in your first year will be matched. Impressively, it keeps interest at bay with a full 18-month 0 percent intro APR on balance transfers (3 percent intro balance transfer fee, 5 percent after the listed date in your terms) and six-month intro purchase APR. Afterward, you can expect Discover’s staple 15.74 percent to 26.74 percent (variable) APR, in addition to no annual fee, no foreign transaction fees and no late payment fee the first time you pay late (up to $41 after that).
For our money, the Discover it Balance Transfer is one of the best all-around balance transfer cards if you don’t need the longest intro APR period possible. The Citi Double Cash is also worth your consideration since its flat-rate rewards may be better for some budgets — especially if you don’t want to encourage rewards spending while paying off your balance.
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. However, the most recent update to the Slate Edge gave up one of its more competitive, identity-centric perks. The Slate Edge was one of the rare balance transfer cards that previously offered a cash value credit welcome offer, but luckily it still offers automatic eligibility for a credit line increase if you meet the criteria. This change traded the welcome offer for a much better 18-month intro purchase and balance transfer APR period (17.99 percent to 26.74 percent variable afterward).
The current version of the Slate Edge is a much better balance transfer card, but now it blends into the crowd of other transfer cards with the exact same, standard intro APR period length. By the time you can finally lower your interest rate, your intro APR will expire in the near future, and since its best ongoing APR after the maximum APR reduction can be matched or beaten by other cards, pursuing a low-interest rewards card is a reasonable choice at that point.
Still, the maximum reduced 15.99 percent APR is one of the lowest rates you can expect with a balance transfer card. 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, and it provides slightly more long-term value compared to rival cards. However, an APR point or two doesn’t make an incredible difference if you plan to continue paying your card off on time, so the Slate Edge doesn’t make a terribly convincing case to hold onto it compared to a rewards card.