Chase Freedom Unlimited Review | Up to 5% Cash Back

The Chase Freedom Unlimited is one of our tap rated cards due to its signup bonus and excellent cash back rewards. Redeem rewards for cash or Chase Ultimate Rewards points, all with no annual fee.

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Our Rating: 4.9
4.9/5

Annual Fee

$0

Rewards Rate

1.5-5.0%

Signup Bonus

$200

Est. Credit Required

Good to Excellent 670 – 850

0% on Purchases

15 Months

0% on Transfers

N/A

Snapshot

  • Welcome Bonus: Earn $200 bonus after spending $500 within your first 3 months.
  • 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 and Cons

What we like

  • Excellent cash back rewards
  • Signup bonus
  • No annual fee
  • Intro 0% APR
  • Free access to your credit score

What could be better

  • Charges foreign transaction fees
  • Requires good to excellent credit

Editorial Review

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.

Signup Bonus

Allcards Rating: 4.5

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.

For a cash bonus, the card is on the high end. Most 1.5% cash back cards offer a signup bonus of just $150, although occasionally you’ll find a $300 bonus with some cash back cards. Some travel and business cards offer signup bonuses that approach or even exceed $1,000 in value.

Rewards

Allcards Rating: 4.7

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.

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.

Introductory Interest Rates

Allcards Rating: 4.7

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.

This 0% introductory rate compares favorably with other cash back credit cards. Virtually no cash back card today offers 0% on balance transfers (Citi Double Cash is the one exception). As for 0% on purchases, 15 months is the standard for cash back cards that offer the feature. You can get a longer 0% APR credit card, but not with the rewards offered by the Chase Freedom Unlimited.

Features and Benefits

Allcards Rating: 4.3

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

Allcards Rating: 4.2

The Chase Freedom Unlimited has no annual fee, which is our primary focus when evaluating a credit card’s fees. It’s not, however, the only fee. The card does charge a foreign transaction fee, which can make it less than ideal for international travel. The regular purchase APR varies based on credit worthiness and the range is typical for premium credit cards.

Who the card is best for

The Chase Freedom Unlimited is best for those looking for the simplicity of a single rewards credit card. Given its rewards structure, including a minimum of 1.5% cash back, the card can generate over a $1,000 a year in cash back rewards, subject of course to spending amounts.

Alternatively, the card is well suited as a second credit card used for travel. The cash back rewards for travel lead the industry. And because the rewards can be used as Chase Ultimate Rewards points, the card is ideal for those who enjoy travel. For this approach, consider pairing the card with a 2% flat rate card for everyday purchase.

Chase Freedom Unlimited Alternatives

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 and its signup bonus. 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.

Approval Odds

The Chase Freedom Unlimited is classified as a good to excellent credit card (generally a FICO score of 670+). We track reported approvals and denials on various credit forums. Here are some examples of both (with date reported and source):

Approvals

  • EX 677, TU 696, and EQ 709 (3/16/2021–myFICO Forum)
  • EX 836 EQ 841 TU 828 (1/2/2021–myFICO Forum)
  • TU 808 EX 789 (9/26/2020–myFICO Forum)

Denials

  • EX 612 TU 613 (6/13/2019–myFICO Forum)
  • 775 (2020–r/creditcards)

Keep in mind that credit score is just one factor issuers consider during the underwriting process. Other factors may include income, debt, and number of credit cards an applicant already has.

FAQ

What credit score do you need to get approved for the Chase Freedom Unlimited?

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.

Is the Chase Freedom Unlimited a good credit card?

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.

How does the Chase Freedom Unlimited compare to the Chase Freedom Fles card?

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.

Get more details and learn how to apply here.

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