This no-annual-fee credit card comes with unlimited cash back
The Chase Freedom Unlimited makes it easy to earn and redeem rewards.
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The Chase Freedom Unlimited is a popular no-fee credit card that gives you 1.5% cash back on all spending with no restrictions. You can redeem cash back for statement credit, direct deposit into a U.S. account, gift cards, travel, or you can shop with points.
The beauty of an unlimited cash-back card is that earning rewards is passive. You don’t need to activate categories or adjust your spending each quarter to maximize rewards; instead, you earn one flat rate every time you swipe.
- Annual fee: None
- Introductory purchase APR: 0% for 15 months
- Regular APR: 14.99%–23.74%
- Balance transfer APR: 14.99%–23.74%
- Balance transfer fee: $5 or 5% (whichever is greater)
- Points: 1.5% cash back on all purchases, 5% on groceries during the first year, and an additional 3.5% on Lyft (through March 2022)
- Foreign transaction fee: 3%
Who should get the Chase Freedom Unlimited?
This card may be ideal for shoppers who are new to rewards and those looking for a program without tons of fine print to decipher.
The process of earning and redeeming rewards is as easy as swiping, collecting points, and cashing them in for statement credits, gift cards, and more. Cash back never expires, and you can redeem cash back at any time no matter what your balance is.
And if you have a big-ticket purchase on the horizon and need a few extra months to pay it off, you could take advantage of the intro APR offer, which includes interest-free purchases for 15 months.
What points do you get with the Chase Freedom Unlimited?
You earn an unlimited 1.5% cash back on all spending with no limits. During the first year, that rewards rate increases to 5% for up to $12,000 spent at grocery stores—a perk that comes close to the 6% our favorite credit card to use when stocking the pantry currently offers.
Additionally, you'll earn 3.5% cash back on qualifying Lyft rides through March 2022, bringing the total rewards rate to 5%. Plus, as of this publishing, Chase will give you a $200 bonus if you spend $500 within the first three months.
Cash back earned is tracked in points, and one point is worth one cent. While you have the option to shop with your rewards, you’ll get less bang for your buck: At checkout, one point is worth 0.80 cents.
The Chase Freedom Unlimited could partner well with a revolving category card like the Discover it, which gives 5% back in rotating categories up to $1,500 per quarter and 1% cash back on everything else. With these two cards in your wallet, you could maximize cash back in the 5% category and then earn an additional 0.5% for other purchases.
Say you have the Chase Freedom Unlimited and the Discover it, and you spend $3,000 for the quarter, with $1,500 in the 5% category and $1,500 outside of the category.
You would earn $75 in cash back on your Discover it for the category shopping, and then $22 on your Chase Freedom Unlimited card for the other purchases. With this dual card strategy, you have the potential to rack up nearly $100 during that quarter, and then an extra $75 because Discover offers a dollar-for-dollar match the first year.
What perks do you get with the Chase Freedom Unlimited card?
With the current offer, you'll get 0% APR for the first 15 months on new purchases before a variable interest rate applies. To sweeten the deal, new cardholders get a complimentary three-month subscription to DashPass, a DoorDash service that offers free food delivery from eligible restaurants. After the three months are up, you get a 50% membership discount for another nine months.
The card also comes with Zero Liability Protection, which means you won’t be held responsible for unauthorized charges, and Chase monitors fraud to help you keep tabs on your account activity.
Plus, your purchases are covered from damage or theft for the first 120 days (up to $500 per claim and $50,000 per account), and items you buy with the card may also qualify for an extended warranty.
How does Chase Freedom Unlimited compare to other cards?
There's two big competitors that also offer flat-rate cash back—the Citi® Double Cash and Quicksilver® from Capital One®.
The Citi Double Cash offers 2% cash back on all spending with no annual fee. You earn 1% when you make a purchase and another 1% when you pay the bill. The Citi Double Cash offers half a percent more in cash back, but you’ll have to regularly pay your entire statement to maximize your rewards, otherwise the interest you rack up may negate the rewards.
Like the Chase Freedom Unlimited, the Quicksilver from Capital One offers an unlimited 1.5% cash back on all spending with no annual fee, and it nearly matches the one-time bonus, offering $150 if you spend $500 within the first three months. But if you're looking to add a card that comes with no foreign transaction fees, the Quicksilver checks that box, and also offers travel accident insurance.
What drawbacks does the Chase Freedom Unlimited have?
The benefit of a flat-rate card is the opportunity to earn cash back without having to worry about activating or managing categories. But on the flip side, you don’t get the opportunity to earn 3% or 5% in an exclusive shopping category beyond the first year.
If you spend a lot of money in certain areas—e.g., travel, gas, dining, cell phone service, or warehouse clubs—you could rake in more cash back from a category-specific card that rewards you for that shopping.
Of course, a category card may come with tighter program restrictions, but the tradeoff is you could get perks (like complimentary upgrades or travel insurance) and a higher return for certain spending. This is especially true for airline and hotel rewards cards.
How does the Chase Freedom Unlimited rank in our reviews?
We recommend this as one of the best cards for new homeowners because you can maximize cash back while making your new house a home—and get a little wiggle room with interest-free purchases for more than a year. Hello, shiny new refrigerator.
It's also one of our top cards for families because it has a simple flat rate that you can use to teach teenagers how credit cards and rewards programs work.
Things to Know About Credit Cards
- Long introductory period APR rates are only a short-term incentive. Potentially high APR rates snap into effect after the card’s intro period ends, which could cost you a lot in interest if you’ve left your balance unpaid. It’s really important—especially when getting a card for a big purchase—to keep an eye on your finances and keep an eye on the calendar.
- APR rates and credit limits vary based on your individual credit. Credit limits and interest rates for each card are determined based on each cardholder's personal situation, so we did not take that information into account when evaluating these cards. Remember to pay your card off in full every month, so you will not be charged interest.
- Banks have the final say on who they accept for a credit card. These recommendations were put together with the assumption that applicants would have average credit or above. That being said, banks decide who they will issue credit cards to using criteria including, but not always limited to, an individual's credit score when evaluating each applicant.
So, should you get the Chase Freedom Unlimited?
The Chase Freedom Unlimited should be a top contender if you’re looking for a low-maintenance card. It’s free, and it’s easy to earn and redeem cash back. You don’t have to be strategic either—just swipe the card and points will be added to your rewards balance.
If you tend to spend a lot in specific categories, you may want to consider pairing another card with the Chase Freedom Unlimited. If you have a long commute, for instance, you can earn more than 1.5% at the pump.
Please note: The offers mentioned above are subject to change at any time and some may no longer be available.
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