Comparing credit card offers is a pretty challenging task. More challenging when you start narrowing down your choices, and are left with the likes of Chase Slate and Chase Freedom, both of which come from the same issuer! However, the single biggest differentiating factor between these two is that while one is targeted specifically towards people wanting to transfer their high-interest credit card debt, the other is for people who although may want to transfer any existing balance/s, they may not want to do it at the cost of cash back rewards.
Let’s look into their respective features and benefits in some detail.
Chase Slate Card
- You’re not required to pay any balance transfer fee if you transfer a balance from another card (not from Chase) within the first 60 days of account opening. Thereafter, a fee of $ 5 or 5% (whichever is higher) is applicable on the future transfers.
- There’s a 0% introductory APR offer on the balance transfers and purchases, for the first 15 months. A variable APR of 23.24%, 18.24% or 13.24% becomes applicable post this 15 months’ time period, depending on your credit worthiness.
- You can see your monthly FICO scores (based on data from Experian) online, completely free of cost. You’re also provided reasons behind your credit score, your credit report summary and helpful information on how you can better manage your credit.
- There is no annual fee associated with this card.
- Your APR won’t be raised if you’re late in making your bill payment.
- You receive ample security and protection in the form of fraud alerts (via email, phone call or text), fraud protection and the embedded chip technology.
At one point of time this card used to be marketed to people with average credit (in the range of 630 to 689), however, now it’s positioned towards people with good (690 to 719) to excellent (720 and upwards) credit. It’s possible that you may be approved for this card even if you have some minor credit blemishes, but major blemishes are most likely to rule you out. In general, people having FICO scores of high 600s and upwards are easily approved for the Chase Slate. People normally find it easier to qualify for Chase Slate compared to Freedom as there’s no reward component involved here.
Some more pros of the Chase Slate card
- Good for people who are looking to pay off some high interest debt from another card in a well-planned manner. You get access to the Chase’s blueprint program that enables you to customize your debt-payoff plan as per your needs.
- Good for people that require a longer duration of over 12 months to pay off their credit card debt.
- No penalty APR comes as a handy feature for the balance carriers who are prone to missing the payment due dates.
- Ideal for people who have accumulated unexpected card debt over a period of time and are looking for the ideal balance transfer card to overcome their card debt woes.
Some cons of the Chase Slate card
- Not the best card for people who are after credit card rewards or cash back.
- Not ideal for people with poor or average credit (below 690).
- There is a limit of $ 15,000 that can be transferred from another card to this one. Hence, it may not be the best card for someone who has excessive card debt, over and above $ 15,000.
- No balance transfers allowed from the existing Chase cards to this one.
- The intro 0% APR period is not the longest one if compared to other prominent balance transfer cards like the Citi Diamond Preferred that comes with a 21-month 0% intro offer.
- A 3% foreign transaction fee is a major drawback for frequent international travelers.
Chase Freedom Card
- You can get 5% cash back on your combined purchases of up to $ 1,500, in rotating bonus categories. It’s equal to a total of $ 75 in cash back rewards! Please note, you’ll need to activate these categories manually every quarter. New 5% cash back categories such as wholesale clubs, gas stations, grocery stores, restaurants and more are introduced every quarter.
- An unlimited 1% cash back offer is available on purchases of all types. This is the default cashback offer which also becomes applicable after the exhaustion of the 5% cash back limit (of $ 1,500.
- You can bag an introductory $ 150 bonus by spending at least $ 500 on any purchases during your first three months with the card. An additional $ 25 bonus can be had by adding the first authorized user to the card and making your first purchase inside the initial three months’ time.
- There’s a 0% introductory APR applicable on the balance transfers and purchases made during the first 15 months. A variable APR of 23.24%, 19.24% or 14.24% becomes applicable after the expiry of the introductory time period.
- Unlike the Chase Slate card, a balance transfer fee of 5% or $5 (whichever is higher) is applicable on any amount transferred from a different card. There’s no introductory 60 days offer here.
- You’re protected with security features like fraud monitoring/alerts, built-in security and zero liability protection.
It’s a slight bit tougher to get this card when compared to the Chase Slate as this one requires excellent credit (720 and upwards). Although a FICO score of 720 or higher would be ideal to qualify for the Chase Freedom, some people even in that range have been denied this card. On the other hand, some with even lower scores of around mid-600s have been approved, although with a lower credit limit, which is at least better than being denied.
Some more pros of the Chase Freedom card
- An ideal option for people with good to excellent credit, who are looking to make the most of the cashback rewards quickly.
- Excellent card for people who want to get their first credit card and are looking to use it extensively for their day-to-day purchases. Please note, purchases made on Amazon.com always have a 5% cash back offer during the holiday seasons.
- Once you’ve accumulated $ 20 in the cashback rewards, you’re allowed to redeem that amount in the form of a statement credit, gift card, bank account deposit or purchases made at the Chase’s ultimate rewards shopping website.
- Although there is a late fees involved in the Chase Freedom card, you don’t need to pay any penalty APR just like the Chase Slate card.
Some cons of the Chase Freedom card
- Not the ideal card for people who like to earn their rewards in a well-planned manner. The rotating 5% cash back categories can be a big put-off for such people.
- Not the ideal card for frequent international travelers as there’s a 3% foreign transaction fee applicable on international purchases.
- The baseline 1% cash back offer is lower compared to the other competing cards.
- The manual activation for the 5% cash back offer every quarter can be put-off for many people. Not activating these categories by the middle of the last month of the quarter can make this offer invalid.
- You’re not provided the constant FICO score monitoring facility like the Chase Slate card.
To conclude, if it’s a plain and nice balance transfer card you’re after, the Chase Slate should be your pick. It beats the Chase Freedom any given day in this department! On the other hand, if you rarely carry any credit card balance and have an excellent credit score, you’d be much better off with the Chase Freedom instead.