Utilizing a rewards credit card for everyday spending offers a smart way to manage cash-flow month to month while providing a method to secure extra cash. But not all rewards cards are created equal. Some come with hefty annual fees and redemption restrictions, while others limit the amount of rewards you can earn in a given time frame. Sometimes, keeping things simple with a rewards card is the best solution.
The Chase Freedom Unlimited credit card is the perfect example of simplicity in credit card rewards programs. As one of Chase Bank’s newest offerings, the Freedom Unlimited rewards card has easy to understand features that make it attractive as a standalone card or as a supplement to other Chase credit cards. Let’s take a look at how the rewards program with the Chase Freedom Unlimited credit card works.
Chase Freedom Unlimited
Chase Freedom Unlimited SM
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- High rewards rate
- No annual fee
- 0% Intro APR on purchases and balance transfers for 15 months
Earn a $150 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening
Intro APR Promotions
0% Intro APR on purchases and balance transfers for 15 months
- APR: 14.24%-23.24% Variable
- Cash Advance APR: 25.24%, Variable
- NEW! Unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase – it’s automatic
- Earn a $150 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening
- 0% Intro APR for 15 months on purchases and balance transfers. After the intro period, a variable APR of 14.24-23.24%. Balance transfer fee is 5% of the amount transferred, $5 minimum
- Redeem for cash – any amount, anytime
- Cash Back rewards do not expire as long as your account is open
- No annual fee
|Balance Transfer Interest Over 2 Years|
|Balance transfer fee, One time||5.00%|
|Intro balance transfer, first 15 months||0.00%|
|Ongoing Rate, after 15 months||23.24%|
|True Interest Cost||11.22%|
|Interest Over 2 Years|
|Intro purchase APR, first 15 months||0.00%|
|Ongoing APR after 15 months||23.24%|
|True Interest Cost||8.72%|
For cardholders who have neither the time or the patience to track rewards categories every month or quarter, the Chase Freedom Unlimited credit card is a dream come true. The credit card works under a flat-rate rewards program, meaning every purchase, regardless of category or amount, earns the accountholder 1.5 rewards points. Each rewards point equates to a percentage of the purchase, so making a purchase of $1,000 earns the account holder the equivalent of $15. Unlike other rewards credit cards that boost earnings up to 5% for certain purchases throughout various times of the year, the 1.5% offers simplicity and equal earnings for all spending with the card.
One of the features that makes the Chase Freedom Unlimited credit card stand out among flat-rate cards is the multitude of options for redeeming rewards points that accumulate over time. While cardholders have the traditional options of statement credits and checks in the mail, redemption can also come by way of booking travel through Chase. Additionally, account holders have the option to transfer accumulated rewards points to other Chase Bank credit cards, such as the Chase Freedom or the Chase Sapphire Preferred cards, dollar for dollar. Cardholders are also able to redeem rewards points at point of sale terminals with certain retailers through the Chase Freedom mobile app. There is no minimum rewards points balance needed for redemption and accumulated rewards never expire –added perks not found with some comparable rewards cards these days.
Currently, Chase is offering new applicants the ability to boost rewards points through a bonus offer. After an account holder spends $500 on purchases within the first three months of account opening, a $150 cash bonus is credited to the account. If that wasn’t enough of an incentive to get on the Freedom Unlimited Bandwagon, Chase is also offering an introductory interest rate of 0% for both purchases and balance transfers for the first 15 months after account opening.
In addition to the simple flat-rate rewards program, the potential rewards bonus and the promotional introductory APR, Chase Freedom Unlimited credit card holders reap additional benefits as low as the card remains open. An additional $25 bonus is added when the first authorized user is added to the credit account, along as a purchase is made and the user is added within the first three months. Cardholders also have the following build-in protections through Chase Bank:
- Zero liability protection
- Purchase protection
- Price protection
- Auto rental collision damage waiver
- Chip-enabled security
There are some restrictions inherent to the additional security perks available through the Chase Freedom Unlimited credit card which can be found in the cardholder agreement.
Costs to Card Members
The Chase Freedom Unlimited credit card is made available without an annual fee, and no charges for redemption of rewards points. However, other charges and fees apply as the card is used and payments are made. First, the introductory APR is only applicable for the first 15 billing cycles, after which the standard APR will apply. Well-qualified cardholders can secure a 14.24% interest rate, but lesser qualified borrowers may see an APR as high as 23.24%. Purchase APRs are variable and are based on the Prime Rate which fluctuates over time.
In addition to the APR assessed on purchases, balance transfers made after the promotional period incur interest charges based on the standard rate. Balance transfer fees are either $5 or 5% of the total amount transferred, whichever is greater – a relatively high charge when compared to other balance transfer offers. Should cardholders take a cash advance against the Chase Freedom Unlimited credit card, the standard APR increases to 25.24% for these transactions. A $10 or 5% fee applies to all cash advance transactions, whichever is greater.
Cardholders who use the Chase Freedom Unlimited credit card for foreign purchases may be less than thrilled when the bill arrives. A foreign transaction fee of 3% is assessed on all purchases made in denominations other than U.S. dollars. Cardholders should also be aware of late payment fees, which range from $15 up to $37, depending on the total balance outstanding. A return payment fee of $37 is applicable, although these is no return check fee.
The Chase Freedom Unlimited credit card is a great choice for individuals interested in a simple, flat-rate rewards credit card. The 1.5% earned on all purchases makes tracking rewards relatively easy, and the fact that there are no caps on earnings and no minimum redemption amount makes this card attractive for the right account holder. Chase has done an outstanding job with the rewards redemption options as well, giving cardholders the ability to get conventional cash back, statement credits or travel booked directly through Chase’s portal. The ability to pay directly through some point-of-sale terminals is also an added perk. Tack on the bonus rewards offer, the introductory 0% APR and ability to transfer points to other Chase cards, and the Freedom Unlimited card is a strong contender in the rewards card category.
While the Chase Freedom Unlimited credit card comes with a well-rounded rewards program, it is not the best fit for everyone. Cardholders who travel or make frequent purchases overseas are hit with a relatively high transaction fee, making this less than ideal for those with a constant wanderlust. Additionally, cash advance and balance transfer fees are higher than comparable reward cards currently available. The rewards program also does not offer any bonus categories for higher earnings, making the card less attractive to individuals who frequently make purchase in certain categories. All in, the Chase Freedom Unlimited credit card is a great choice for simplicity’s sake, but may be best used in tandem with other, higher-earning Chase credit card offerings.