- The Points Guy
- The Chase Freedom Unlimited is a compelling cash-back credit card for anyone looking to earn with a simple, easy-to-understand rewards program and no annual fee.
- While it is not the very best awards rate out there, it does come with some valuable benefits that competing cash-back cards don’t offer.
- If you have a Chase Ultimate Rewards-earning card like the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card, the Freedom Unlimited‘s earnings can be redeemed as points. This makes it one of the best cards for everyday, non-bonus category spending.
- As long as you pay it off in full every month, you have a lot to gain and almost nothing to lose with the Freedom Unlimited card.
If you want to earn cash back on every single purchase, the Chase Freedom Unlimited credit card may be a great choice. This card offers unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase with no limits, annual fees, or bonus categories to worry about.
This card came about after a long reign by the Chase Freedom card, which offers 5% cash back on rotating bonus categories and 1% everywhere else, as an alternative that allows users a simpler, but still lucrative, cash-back experience. Depending on your spending habits, the Chase Freedom Unlimited card may be the right fit.
Chase Freedom Unlimited card details
Annual fee: $0
Sign-up bonus: 3% back on all purchases in your first year, up to $20,000 spent. Then, earn an unlimited 1.5% back on all purchases.
Cash-back/points earning: 1.5% back after the sign-up offer – but you can redeem 1.5x cash-back points as Chase Ultimate Rewards points (meaning you can transfer them to travel partners and potentially get more value) if you also have a card that earns UR points, like the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card
Foreign transaction fee: 3%
Sign-up bonus and everyday earning
This card starts users with a valuable bonus of 3% back on all spending in their first year, up to $20,000. If you maxed this sign-up offer out, you’d earn $600 back.
After the first year and after hitting $20,000 in spending, you’ll earn 1.5% cash back on all purchases. There is no limit to what you can earn.
Compared to the original Chase Freedom card, this card offers an interesting value.With the old Freedom card, which is still available, you can earn more with the 5% bonus categories. But with only 1% everywhere else, you may still earn more cash back in total with the 1.5% flat rate cash back. It really depends on where you shop most.
Using cash-back rewards
If you also have a Chase Sapphire Reserve or Chase Sapphire Preferred Card, you can turn cash back into Ultimate Rewards points at a rate of 1 cent per 1 point. If you value free award travel, this is another way to earn rewards points that can be worth a lot more than 1 cent each depending on how you redeem – there are a variety of travel partners from British Airways to United, and you can also redeem them for travel through the Chase Ultimate Rewards travel-booking portal.
The 1.5% cash back rate is pretty good, but it isn’t the best out there. Even among cards with no annual fee, you may do better with Citi Double Cash, which offers 1% cash back when you shop and 1% when you pay your bill. That is an equivalent 2% cash back on every purchase. For big spenders with great credit, the Alliant Cashback Visa Signature credit card may offer even more with a 2.5% rate and 3% for the first year.
Again, though, if you pair the Freedom Unlimited with a card that earns Chase Ultimate Rewards points, you can earn more than 1.5%-3% back with this card. Travel website The Points Guy subjectively values Chase points at 2 cents apiece, so if you’re able to redeem your Freedom Unlimited earnings as points, you’re looking at 3%-6% back. That’s one of the best returns on spending for purchases that don’t fall under a bonus category like dining or groceries.
Chase Freedom Unlimited features
Unlike some other banks, Chase offers a lot in additional benefits on its cards. In addition to zero fraud liability, which is standard for pretty much every credit card, Freedom Unlimited includes an automatic extended manufacturer’s warranty and purchase protection.
The extended warranty gives you an additional year on top of the manufacturer’s warranty for eligible purchases with a warranty of three years or less. Purchase protection will repair or replace new purchases for 120 days due to loss or theft. If you just got a brand-new phone and dropped it, that screen repair is covered up to $500 per claim and $50,000 per account lifetime.
This card does not offer any benefits specific to travel.
Freedom Unlimited costs and fees
This card has no annual fee and most other fees are easily avoidable. As long as you pay your card off in full every month and skip balance transfers, cash advances, and pay on time, you won’t ever pay to keep or use this card.
Starting out, this card offers 0% APR for 15 months on purchases and balance transfers. That is a great deal and may allow you to consolidate other debt to this card and pay it off completely during the no-interest period. After the intro period, the card charges variable-rate interest. Current rates are 17.24% to 25.99% APR based on your credit history. Rates can change at any time with market rates. In the current rising interest rate environment, they are likely to follow suit. Cash-advance transactions charge a higher 27.24% variable rate APR.
Balance transfers cost 5% of the transferred balance with a $5 minimum. Cash-advance transactions charge 5% with a $10 minimum. Late and returned payments cost up to $39 per occurrence.
This card charges a 3% foreign transaction fee. If you travel outside the United States regularly, you can find a card, like the Chase Sapphire cards mentioned above, that charge no foreign transaction fee.
The bottom line: Is this the best card for you?
Overall, the Freedom Unlimited is a compelling cash-back credit card for anyone looking to earn with a simple, easy-to-understand rewards program and no annual fee. While it is not the very best cash-back rate out there, it does come with some valuable benefits that competing cash-back cards don’t offer. And if you pair it with a card that earns Chase Ultimate Rewards points and redeem your cash back as points used for travel, this card becomes even more valuable.
If you’re a fan of Chase cards or just want a simple way to earn every time you swipe (or dip, tap, or pay online), the Chase Freedom Unlimited credit card has you covered. The sign-up bonus of 3% back on the first $20,000 spent in the first year may be enough to tip the odds in favor of this card as well. As long as you pay it off in full every month, you have a lot to gain and almost nothing to lose with the Freedom Unlimited card.