The Chase Freedom Unlimited credit card is one of several available 1.5% cash back cards. It comes with a signup bonus and free access to your FICO credit score. Chase recently added some excellent new cash back categories that pay up to 5%. We’ll look at the details of this card and how it compares to other comparable cards in this review.
Chase Freedom Unlimited Snapshot
- Welcome Bonus: Earn $200 after you spend $500 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.
- Earn 5% cash back on grocery store purchases (not including Target or Walmart purchases) on up to $12,000 spent in the first year.
- Earn 5% cash back on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards
- Earn 3% cash back at restaurants, including takeout and eligible delivery services
- Earn 3% cash back at drugstores
- Earn unlimited 1.5% cash back on all purchases
- Intro APR: 0% for 15 months from account opening on purchases
- Free credit score, updated weekly with Credit Journey
- No annual fee
Pros & Cons
- Excellent cash back rewards
- No annual fee
- Signup bonus
- Free access to FICO score
- Foreign transaction fee
- No 0% balance transfer
- No bonus cash back categories
The rewards structure for the Chase Freedom Unlimited has become more exciting this year. Traditionally, the card paid a simple 1.5% cash back on every purchase. That rate continues to be the base rewards rate, but Chase has added several bonus categories.
- 5% on Groceries: You can now earn 5% cash back on groceries (not including Target or Walmart purchases) on up to $12,000 spent in the first year.
- 5% on Travel: You can now earn 5% cash back on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards.
- 3% at Restaurants: Chase has also added a 3% cash back category for purchases at restaurants, including takeout and eligible delivery services.
- 3% at Drugstores: And you now earn 3% cash back on purchases at drugstores
All other purchases continue to receive 1.5% cash back.
Redeeming your cash back rewards is easy. You can cash them in at any time and in any amount. Your rewards also don’t expire, as long as your account is open and in good standing.
Certain transactions will not apply towards rewards. These include balance transfers, cash advances, traveler’s checks, money orders, casino gambling, or other betting transactions.
Learn how to apply for this and other cash back cards here.
Chase is currently offering a bonus of $200 after you spend $500 on purchases within the first 3 months of opening your account. The bonus offer is available only if you are a new Chase Freedom Unlimited cardholder and have not received a new cardmember bonus in the last 24 months.
The Chase Freedom Unlimited comes with two additional rewards.
First, earn 5% cash back on Lyft rides through March 2022. You get the standard 1.5% offered by the card on all purchases plus an additional 3.5%.
Second, you get a complimentary 3 months of DashPass, DoorDash’s unlimited deliveries subscription service. If you keep the service, you get 50% off for the next 9 months. You must activate this feature by December 31, 2021.
The Chase Freedom Unlimited comes with several additional features:
The card includes Zero Liability Protection. This means that you won’t be held responsible for any unauthorized charges on your card, or the use of your account information. You also get a physical card with Chip-Enabled Security, for additional protection of your account.
One of my favorite features is Purchase Protection. This means that any purchases made with the card are protected for 120 days from damage or theft. (Note that there is a maximum of $500 per claim, and $50,000 per account.)
The card comes with Extended Warranty Protection. This protection extends for up to one year the time period of the U.S. manufacturer’s warranty on eligible warranties of three years or less.
Lastly, the card is designed for contactless payment. In a world of global pandemics, contactless payment enables you to pay for something without touching the card reader.
Rates and Fees
The Chase Freedom Unlimited is offered with no annual membership fee, and no minimum interest charge.
Introductory Interest Rates
At one point the card offered 0% on balance transfers and purchases. Recently they dropped the introductory rate on balance transfers. On the bright side you still get a 0% Intro APR on purchases that applies to the first 15 months that your account is open. Once the introductory period is over, your rate will vary depending upon your creditworthiness.
No interest will be charged on your account if you pay the entire balance by the due date. That will be a minimum of 21 days after the close of each billing cycle.
How the Chase Freedom Unlimited Compares
Several popular credit cards offer 1.5% cash back on all purchases. Without question, the Chase Freedom Unlimited is now the best offer given the bonus categories Chase has added to the card. Nevertheless, here are other cards that pay a 1.5% reward rate:
- Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit Card: One plus with this card is that it doesn’t charge a foreign transaction fee. The Chase Freedom Unlimited does charge a foreign transaction fee.
- Capital One® QuicksilverOne® Cash Rewards Credit Card: Designed for those with average credit, it offers 1.5% cash back, but no signup bonus. The interest rate is also higher and there is an annual fee.
- Wells Fargo Cash Wise Visa® Card: Comes with the same 1.5% cash back but a lower $150 signup bonus. It adds 0% for 15 months on both purchases and balance transfers.
- American Express Cash Magnet Card: In addition to 1.5% cash back, this card offers a $150 “new card member” bonus, but it requires $1,000 in spending on the card in the first 3 months.
The Chase Freedom Unlimited card requires good to excellent credit. While there is no minimum score, aim for a score of 720 or better. Based on a review of FICO Forum postings, most approvals had a minimum of 700, although at least one had a score in the 600s.
Yes. It’s considered a competitive cash back card given its signup bonus, no annual fee, and 1.5% cash back on all purchases. There are some cards that pay 2% back on all purchases, but they can be harder to get and come with other limitations, such as an annual fee.
The Chase Freedom Flex card is a 5% rotating categories card, with quarterly caps of $1,500 in spending. After that it pays 1%. It does offer the same bonus categories and same signup bonus. With the Chase Freedom Unlimited, you give up the 5% on rotating categories, but get 1.5% as the base reward rate.
Chase Freedom Unlimited
The Chase Freedom Unlimited offers excellent cash back rewards with no annual fee. It’s 0% APR could be better, but its purchase protections and free access to FICO score make this card a reasonable choice.
Click here to learn more about this and other cash back credit cards.