Chase Freedom Unlimited Cash Back Rewards
By far the most important aspect of the Freedom Unlimited is its cash back rewards. Here’s a quick breakdown:
There’s also a first year bonus: Earn an extra 1.5% cash back the first year on all purchases up to $20,000 in spending (up to a $300 value)
While these reward rates look appealing, we need to crunch some numbers before making a decision on this card.
Chase Freedom Unlimited Calculator
To crunch the numbers, use this Freedom Unlimited Calculator to estimate your annual cash back rewards and your overall reward rate.
The key is to determine whether the Freedom Unlimited can be your everyday card or should it take a backseat to a 2% cash back on all purchases card. If you spending doesn’t get you at least an overall 2% cash back rate, a 2% cash back card will be the better deal.
For example, using data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, we assumed monthly spending as follows:
- $200 on travel
- $300 eating out
- $200 at drugstores
- $1,500 on other purchases.
The result was $570 in annual cash back with an overall reward rate of 2.2%. And this doesn’t include a first year bonus of $396. With these assumptions, the Freedom Unlimited would be a solid everyday card.
What Credit Score Do You Need to Get the Chase Freedom Unlimited Card?
The Chase Freedom Unlimited® is classified as a good to excellent credit card (generally a FICO score of 690+). We track reported approvals and denials on various credit forums. Based on our research, aim for a credit score of 725 or better.
Note that Chase pulls from each of the three major credit bureaus (Experian, Equifax and TransUnion) depending on the applicant’s location (Source).
Here are some examples of both (with date reported and source):
|App Status||Date||Credit Score||Bureau||Credit Limit|
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.
Other Chase Freedom Unlimited Benefits
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.
Who is the Chase Freedom Unlimited 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.
Best Chase Freedom Unlimited Alternatives
Several popular credit cards offer 1.5% cash back on all purchases. Without question, the [card_name] 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.
- 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.
Chase Freedom Unlimited vs. Chase Freedom Flex
The Chase Freedom Flex(SM) is very similar to the Chase Freedom Unlimited, with one key difference. Flex offers 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in purchases in select categories each month. That’s the good news.
In exchange for the 5% rotating categories, the reward rate on all other purchases drops to 1%. Freedom Unlimited pays 1.5% on all other purchases.
For most, I believe Freedom Unlimited is the better option. You don’t have to worry about rotating categories or maxing out the quarterly spending to get the 5% rewards.
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.
Is it hard to get approved for the Chase Freedom Unlimited?
The card requires a good credit score, generally 690 or higher. If you have a good credit score, steady income and comply with the Chase 5/24 rule, you should have a good chance at approval.
Get more details and learn how to apply here.