If you are seeking a multi-purpose credit card with loads of benefits and long-term value, the Chase Freedom Unlimited Visa Card is among the best choices available on the market. With a $0 annual fee, and average APRs it is designed with cashback and rewards in mind. Read on to find everything you need to know, and make your decision.
Overview: best for cashback rewards overall, fit for good credit borrowers
Issued by Chase Bank, a well-known major national banking institution in U.S., the Freedom Unlimited Card is a desirable product for making frequent purchases and getting ample rewards from it. Your immediate financing needs can be fulfilled by a long introductory period of 0% interest, plus you’ll get a generous signup bonus that’ll be useful toward expenses in your first 3 months of live account with this card.
The cash back rates are in the high-end spectrum of the standard for credit cards: you get a 3% for dining at restaurants (takeout and some delivery services included), 3% for purchases at drugstores, 5% return on travels if booked through Chase Ultimate Rewards (points, explained later), and nicely a 1.5% cashback on all other categories. You can even obtain enhanced rewards, if you are holder of other Chase cards, such as the Sapphire and/or the Preferred Cards.
This card by Chase has some of the best promotions active since you begin to use it to the beginnings of your account. You get a $200 welcome bonus, that will be credited if you make a total of $500 worth purchases within three months from signing up. Also, you can earn 5% cash back on gas station purchases on up to $6,000 spent in the first year of card ownership. On top of it, you receive a 0% APR period on purchases lasting 15 months, then the APR shifts to the regular range offered by Chase: 14.99%-23.74%.
The 1.5% cashback is always applied to most of categories of purchases: you will be rewarded for barely everything you buy, and there is no redemption minimum limit. Rewards from using the Freedom Unlimited come in form of points, which can be converted in cashback afterward; also, the points can be redemeed for gift cards, travels booked through Chase, statement credit/direct deposit, and that’s the case of 1 cent for each point; for purchases on Amazon, it’s $0.8, a bit less but still valuable in the long run.
If you earned points from other credit cards by Chase, you have the chance to transfer them to the Freedom Unlimited for conversion; these points can be used in programs offered by several major airlines and hotels. Mind that the cashback rates increase noticeably by combining the cards.
And here is what you get from the card as a whole:
|Credit limits||$300- $20,000+|
|Sign-up bonus||$200 after spending $500 in the first 3 months|
|Purchase APR||0% intro for the first 15 months (then 14.99% to 23.74% variable)|
|Grace period||21 days (minimum)|
|Balance transfer APR||14.99% to 23.74% variable|
5% cash back on travel purchased through Chase, 3% on dining and drugstores, 1.5% on all other purchases
|Mininum amount for redeeming cash back||
3% on foreign transactions, the greater of $5 or 5% for balance transfers; the greater of $10 or 5% for cash advances; up to $40 for late and return payments
Visa perks: rental car insurance (collision, theft), travel emergency assistance; trip cancellation/interruption insurance (up to $6,000 per travel, $1,500 per person); purchase coverage for damage or theft. Weekly access to your credit score, plus professional advice
The cards stands out for the availabilty of so many rewards and perks with a low overall cost; other cards with similar benefits tend to have annual costs. The initial period of “freedom” from interest is quite long, so as you can leverage a time of financial constraints when you still need to make large or frequent purchases, or even to pay your utility bills. The welcome bonus is generous, overcoming several offers on the market, and ideal if you plan to take action since the start using the card.
Your credit limit will basically depends on credit score and the income you receive. Chase doesn’t disclose the card limits, but we found that you can borrow as little as $300.
The rewards rates are high: taken a 3% on restaurants and drugstores combined , for an overall yearly expense of $15,000 (which might be typical for the an average household) you will get a hefty $450 back. Remember: mainteinance of this card is free. On the other hand, there is also a bunch of fees: those are the norm among cards with a comparable offer, and this is true even for the fee charged when you use the card abroad.
You will need to have a credit FICO score of around 660 as minimum, which is considered “good”: the Freedom Unlimited is intended for borrowers who can deserve the benefits while affording the potential costs.
Among extras, it’s worth mentioning that you’ll also get a insurance on your purchases: the coverage is for theft or damage and lasts 120 days; it is s up to $500 per claim, with $50,000 as maximum.
And if you like the edge of technology, you’ll enjoy the fact that this Visa card is contactless.
To sum up, this card is valuable both on the short and the long term: to start, you have a long period of zero interest, and you could get the $200 bonus, which is meaty, in the first 3 months. The rewards you earn are among the highest you can find on the market.
Also, the costs of this card are affordable: APRs offered are considered competitive, but the most convenience will come if you have a more than good credit score. Add the fact that there is no mainteinance fee, while other fees are common among credit cards of this rank( but sustainable), and you have a greatly versatile card.
The Freedom Unlimited Card is tailored to families who spend a lot at dining out and at drugstores, and like to travel. If you are serious about spending in many categories, you’ll get rewards on barely everything you purchase.
Consider the following list to understand if the card is right for you.
All of these advantages taken together make the Chase product a complete and highly valuable credit card, provided by a reliable big bank that knows what customers may seek. We found this card to be a well-balanced solution that can meet the needs of many consumers.
While there are several products with quite similar features, the Chase Freedom Unlimited is especially good if you are interested in rewards coming from shopping with certain categories, where the cashback is at the highest.
If you are more about balance transfers than purchases, in this case the Freedom Unlimited doesn’t offer an edge. You will find a better deal in other cards that apply the 0%introductory period also to balance transfer, which you may benefit from when you need a temporary solution for debt relief.
Also, mind the cash advance APR and late payment penalty APR are charged and they are steep, respectively 24.99% and up to 29.99%, though you’ll find close rates in most of credit cards with the same features of the Freedom Unilimited. If you concern about spending abroad, the use of this card might turn to be expensive, because of the 3% fee.
There are several cards tailored for credit scores in the range of fair and poor ratings, but the Freedom Unlimited is not among those: there is very little chance to be approved if you haven’t a good credit score.
Chase is also known for its Freedom Flex Card, which is very close to the features of the Unlimited version. So you may want to know where is the difference. The Flex Card is a Mastercard, thus you will get all the benefits reserved to holders of a Mastercard, instead of the perks you get from Visa: mind, however, that those are just extras to the basic usage of the respective cards. Remarkable the fact that both the cards have $0 annual costs.
What matters the most for you is that with the Flex Card you have a trickier system of rewards, which requires more attention: there is a 5% cashback which applies to rotating categories, but it doesn’t automatically activate, so that it’s not a kind of “set it and forget it” card.
Unless you spend most in certain categories and willing to manage the card proactively (with the potential headaches), we don’t recommend the Flex Card over the Unlimited version, but we can still say that the Flex Card is also a great choice if you are an habitual shopper.
The Visa Card in question is available on the Chase website. Applying is straightforward: besides the usual personal information, you’ll be asked your gross annual income and its source, type of residence as well. It’s just a single page, where you compile the fields and agree to the terms and conditions. Once you hit the “Submit” button, you will undergo a credit check in order to be approved, and which serves to determine your APR and credit limit.
The factors involved in the report are essentially two: the score, and your credit utilization ratio, that means how much of your income is spent to repay the debts from existing credit cards, or alternatively, how much use you make of the cards. Mind to have the lowest ratio possible, if you want to qualify and get the best rates.
We found over 10k reviews on the portal creditcards.com, where the Chase Freedom Unlimited receives a rating close to 5/5 stars. There is a general sense of satisfaction about using the card for everyday purchases, as people appreciate the extent of rewards, especially the 1.5% cashback on most categories. Also the zero-interest period is perceived as useful; the card is considered easy to use and complete overall. This is what a customer says: “Card with cashback no matter the store, dates, or state. Rewards by referring friends. Full protection on purchases, road assistance. Low APR, credit score. This card gives everything at no year fee”.
Multiple cardholders who have a comparison meter, mention that the Chase Unlimited Card is better than most of the others they currently have.
On the downsides, there are complaints of the customer service, however it’s about special circumstances where perspectives are at the highest. Many people, on the contrary, are perfectly ok with it. The service is provided by Chase, which is a top-notch institution, well-known in the banks scenario.
So, you may want to consider how real people rate the Visa Freedom Unlimited, which will be of great help to your ultimate decision.
If you are a frequent shopper seeking for rewards, and you have at least a good credit score, the Chase Freedom Unlimited is the way to go. It’s a valuable solution to finance your immediate needs, and it’s relatively easy to get and maintain. If you already had a Chase credit card, you will get even more benefits. There are so many options with this card, that you can’t be left disappointed. Rates are just in the average of credit cards, so mind you can actually afford the payments if going beyond the grace period.
The card is not for you if you have bad credit: you won’t qualify at all, or you will find the highest rates. If you qualify, you have to take into account a responsible use, to avoid incurring in those rates and potential fees.
Check also our alternative choices if you have totally different needs.