Chase Freedom Credit Card Review

This review will be third in series of reviews for products we use. The previous ones were Credit Sesame Review and Yodlee money center review.

I have used Chase Freedom credit card for last 5 years. First applied when the solicitation mail came in my mail box. That time card was offering 2% (sometimes more than 2%) return on all spending.

2% cash back was welcome break from my otherwise no-reward secured card from Bank of America. I readily accepted the offer.

Till date the card carries 19.23% interest. I am not worried. I never paid a single penny on interest on this card. Rather, the high interest rate is my motivation to payoff full balance every month, to avoid interest payment.

Although not any more as attractive as the earlier days my Chase freedom card is still being used. I now learned to take advantage of occasional promotion offers from card issuers to maximize credit card return.

It is particularly designed for the people who are interested in earning reward points in return for charging the card against expenditure.

It is preferred by many since it enables one to earn 5 % cash back on select items as well as 1% cash back on the others.

You need an excellent credit to get this card. Although the definition of excellent credit score varies between financial institutions, generally a score above 740 is considered excellent.

The card offers general benefit a typical credit card should offer. Purchase protection, rental insurance, fraud protection and 24/7 customer support.

Chase has one of the best fraud protection systems installed. Once I was charged $750 for a bedding solution I never asked for. Chase promptly called me to verify and blocked the card subsequently. They issued a replacement card pretty soon for me.

In 5 years my identity has not been compromised.

Recently, I was exposed to their wonderful customer service as well. Read how I waived late fee on my Chase freedom card recently.

The card has the below ongoing features/benefits, though they are subject to change any time. I witnessed drastic changes in the policies in past few years.

  • Earn $100 Cash back By spending $500 in first three months
  • Up to 5% Cash back on purchases On select categories, categories change every three months
  • Additional 1% cash back On all other purchases.
  • 0% introductory APR
  • No annual fee

Behind the pitch, Is Chase Freedom really good?

I will be honest here. As I said before, I own this card, less for the reward more for building credit history and credit score. Chase freedom is my second oldest revolving credit account. Closing out this account would dampen my credit history and score.

Behind that introductory 0% APR lies a range of 12% to 22% (ignoring the fractional rates) interest, which can bring you to your knees ones you decide not to pay full balance every month.

Plainly speaking this card is not for the faint at heart, this is not for the people who have difficulty in controlling buying urge.

If you like to spend more than you earn, or you don’t care if you do, this card is not for you. Stop reading further and don’t apply for Chase freedom.

Chase Freedom Card fees

Let’s look at the fee structure for the card.

Fees

Annual Membership Fee None
Balance Transfers Either $5 or 3% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
Cash Advances Either $10 or 3% of the amount of each transaction, whichever is greater.
Foreign Transactions 3% of each transaction in U.S. dollars.
Penalty Fees
Late Payment Up to $15 if the balance is less than $100; up to $25 if the balance is $100 to less than $250; up to $35 if the balance is $250 or more.
Over-the-Credit-Limit Up to $35.
Return Payment Up to $35.
Return Check Up to $35.

In its prime the card returned to me 100s of cash back. As far as I can remember, I earned more than $1000 in reward cash backs.

The good old days are gone. To remain competitive in the marketplace they had to change their policies.

Chase sliced reward points and introduced upfront cash back. Although this review declares $100 cash back referring tot he official card application site. There are a few places where up to $200 cash back can be obtained.

Reward Program

Don’t just go by the quick cash. Go beyond it and let’s look at the reward features more intensely.

As a card owner you will earn 5% cash back on up to $1,500 spent in rotating categories throughout the year and 1% cash back on all other purchases. That means the 5% cash back is only limited to $75 for a quarter.

Here is the 2012 cash back schedule for the 5% cash back program:

  • January through March – gas stations and Amazon.com
  • April through June – grocery stores and movie theaters
  • July through September – gas stations and restaurants
  • October through December – hotels, airlines, Best Buy® and Kohl’s

To explain the program further, Let’s assume you charged $3,000 in a quarter on your Chase freedom card on the qualifying categories. You will only earn $75 (5% of $1,500) plus 1% on rest $1,500 you spent. you reward cash back would be only $90.

For us, gas station and amazon.com purchase can’t be anywhere near $1,500 for first quarter. So as the restaurant and gas station purchases in quarter three.

For second quarter, Our grocery bill per month is around $500, so we can take advantage of 5% cash back up to its fullest in second quarter 2012.

Unless we travel, we can’t use full 5% reward any of the other quarters. Rendering the card earning only 1% cash back on most of our purchases throughout the year.

Yup, you got it right, the card has no extra benefit compared to other reward cards. The only good thing is there is no annual fees.

If you consider the card worth applying for, pay off your entire credit balance every month order to continue enjoying their cash backs. If not, then the chase card would take one no where.

Conclusion

This card is for those who knows how to use credit cards for earning rewards. Otherwise, the high fee structure for the card would push you more towards debt. If you had debt problem in the past, I would suggest giving the card a pass.

We use four credit cards in tandem to maximize cash back. Our Bank of America – American Express Platinum Card gives 5% cash back on grocery shopping in the first quarter 2012. So, our plan is to use that more in first quarter and use Chase Freedom more in the second quarter. So on and so forth to maximize cash back.

The card s good for rewards but, not an exceptional card it once was. Make your decision wisely and read the terms and conditions before applying for the card. Card is certainly worth looking at, at the same time it’s not the best reward card either.

Readers, what is your strategy of using credit cards? Any other card you want to recommend to us?

Disclaimer: This content is not provided or commissioned by Chase. Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of Chase, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by Chase.
is a husband and working as a software professional for a Fortune 100 corporation in Florida. Thanks for visiting the blog.

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Comments

  1. says

    My BF and I each have the Chase Freedom card. We both got it recently in the past couple of months and it’s our first reward credit card. I don’t know why we waited so long! We each also got back $300 for signing up.

       1 likes

    • says

      you both applied for same card? If you are living together and have shared expenses, you probably would have done better by taking different cards

         0 likes

  2. EconomicallyHumble.com says

    I’ve been using the chase Sapphire Preferred and have been enjoying the service and miles (just won a second free flight), but I have been thinking about cash rewards cards. I’ll have to check this one out.

       1 likes

  3. says

    So much to consider when it comes to credit cards! I keep hearing people say how BAD they are and how DANGEROUS they are – but you’re right – if you play your cards wisely and pay off the balance in full, the credit card companies end up paying you to use them! Can’t get much better than that!

    I was using a Shoppers Optimum Visa – until they discontinued the card. Then I switched over to an Air Miles Mastercard… but now Air Miles seems to be eliminating a lot of the rewards I like. Now the Shoppers Optimum Visa is back in the market – but I’m hesitant to jump on it, because I want to be cautious about repeatedly switching from one card to another. Don’t want it to hurt my credit score!

       1 likes

    • says

      I would say if you own a home and don’t need a car in near future, do the switching now. Your credit score would have a minimal impact and would come back up in a year or two. believe my words. I shall buy in a couple of years, hence I can’t risk even a minor drop in score.

         1 likes

  4. says

    I use the Chase Freedom card as my main credit card. It is an all-around good credit card. When I signed up, I got $150 bonus for spending $500 in the first three months. It was a hefty promotion, too bad they don’t offer it anymore. This was in Marh 2011.

       0 likes

  5. says

    Some credit card companies have introduced supplementary security measures such as 3D
    Secure by VISA and Securecode by Master – Card which are proving to
    very effective. I wonder if I had given him my number; how he would have exited the call ‘ a broken
    connection perhaps, or give me a phony number to call. Another advantage is customer
    satisfaction consumers have and exhibit. Choosing a lawyer to defend your rights and
    to handle your case is very crucial.

       0 likes

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