Chase Freedom Flex Credit Card

Chase Freedom Flex Credit Card Review [Pros and Cons 2021]

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Chase Freedom Flex Credit Card

Our Chase Freedom Flex Credit Card review goes into detail about the pros and cons of the credit card, as well as who should and shouldn’t apply for it.

Overview

Onto our Chase Freedom Flex Credit Card review!

APRs

  • Introductory APR: 0% on purchases for 15 months
  • Variable APR (beyond introductory period): 14.99% – 23.74%
  • APR on Cash Advances: 24.99% (Variable)
  • Penalty APR: N/A

Fee Particulars

  • Annual Fee: $0
  • Balance Transfer Fee: N/A
  • Cash Advance Fee: 5% of the transaction amount; minimum $10
  • Foreign Transaction Fee: 3% of the transaction amount in USD
  • Late Payment Fee: Up to $39
  • Returned Payment Fee: Up to $39

Introduction

As COVID increases online shopping, it makes sense to have a cashback credit card in your wallet that can conveniently save you a few dollars on each purchase. The cashback card was actually introduced right in the middle of the pandemic in September 2020 so cardholders can benefit from the card’s flat cashback rate and superior cashback rates on select rotating categories. 

The card comes at no annual cost to the holder and brings some noteworthy benefits, including an attractive rewards structure. The card is a good choice for both novices as well as seasoned cardholders. 

The card isn’t the most attractive option for travelers given that it charges foreign transaction fees. Nonetheless, it offers various other travel benefits. The cardholders need to check if they’re in violation of Chase’s 5/24 rule before applying. Any person who has opened five or more accounts within the previous 24 months, will automatically disqualify. 

Pros vs. Cons of Chase Freedom Flex

PROS

  • Rotating, high-earning rewards categories
  • No annual fee
  • Attractive travel benefits
  • Points may be redeemed for merchandise, travel, gift cards, and cash
  • Cell Phone coverage when the bill is paid using the Chase Freedom Flex

CONS

  • 3% foreign transaction fee
  • 5% cashback rate comes with a $1,500 cap

Chase Freedom Flex Benefits and Features

  • Welcome Bonus

Chase always goes big on welcome bonuses. Consistent with this tendency, the Chase Freedom Flex also comes with a large welcome bonus for new cardholders. Cardholders must spend $500 during the first three months to earn the welcome bonus of $200. 

The Chase Freedom Flex credit card offers a double whammy because not only is this a large welcome bonus for a card with no annual fee, the $500 spending requirement is pretty low too. Add to the mix the 5% cashback on grocery store purchases (excluding purchases made from Target or Walmart) for the full first year up to $12,000—and it’s one of the best deals you get on a no annual fee card.

  • High-Earning Rewards Categories (Rotating and Fixed)

The Chase Freedom Flex offers 5% bonus cashback on a set of categories that people spend on regularly. The Chase Freedom Flex categories may include grocery stores, gas stations, department stores, and Amazon.com. Since the categories are commonly used by most people, you’ll be able to earn substantial cashback rewards without having to shuffle your spending habits as long as you keep activating the bonus categories quarterly.

Chase Freedom Flex also offers fixed bonus categories that earn excellent rewards throughout the year. If you’re outdoorsy and like to frequently visit diners or enjoy ordering yourself some gourmet dishes, be sure to use your Chase Freedom Flex. This will earn you 3% back. You’ll also earn 3% back on purchases made at the drugstore and 5% on travel bookings made through Chase. Thankfully, the 3% cashback categories aren’t capped at $1,500 per quarter like the rotating 5% categories.

All other purchases earn 1% back. Another great thing about the Chase Freedom Flex credit card is that the cashback rewards don’t expire. What’s more, you can redeem your rewards without any minimums imposed by Chase. 

  • A long, 15-month introductory 0% APR

If you’ve been putting off renovating your home for a while, the Chase Freedom Flex could finally help you go through with it without worrying about the large interest expense. You’ll also earn 1% back on this large purchase (or even 5% if your purchase aligns with one of the bonus Chase Freedom Flex categories), which would obviously be a significant amount if the purchase amount is large enough. What’s more, you’ll incur no interest expense for the first 15 billing cycles.

You should certainly map out the payments beforehand such that you pay off the entire balance before the expiry of 15 months. Beyond the introductory period, your balance will begin to accrue interest at a variable APR of 14.99%–23.74%, depending on your credit score. If you have a poor credit score, you’ll probably end up somewhere on the higher end of the APR spectrum. That’s why it’s critical to ensure that you pay off the balance before the introductory period ends.

If you’ve already got a pile of debt and want to hit the snooze button on the interest accrual, this isn’t the card for you. The Chase Freedom Flex doesn’t offer a 0% introductory APR for balance transfers.

  • Other Cardholder Perks

The Chase Freedom Flex credit card is a Mastercard. This means the cardholders become beneficiaries of the benefits of a Mastercard World Elite product. Following are the perks cardholders get with the Chase Freedom Flex:

  • Complimentary subscription to DashPass: A complimentary DoorDash DashPass subscription good for 3 months, and 50% off on DashPass subscription for 9 months beyond the aforementioned 3 months.
  • Complimentary membership on ShopRunner: You can get two-day shipping and free returns on purchases made from 100+ retailers with a ShopRunner membership. 
  • Lyft credits: You earn a $10 credit per month every time you complete 5 rides. Plus, you also get a limited-time (i.e., through March 2022) offer that earns 5% back on all Lyft rides.
  • Cell Phone protection: Your phones are covered for up to $800 per claim (with a $1,000 annual cap) against damage or theft, provided the bills are paid using the card and the phones are listed on the bills. There is also a $50 deductible on all claims.
  • 5% back on purchases from Boxed: Boxed is a wholesale retailer where you can buy household items, groceries, and the like. Using the Chase Freedom Flex for your purchases earns you 5% back at Boxed, and you can use the cash back for future purchases at Boxed.
  • Purchase protection: Your purchases are covered against theft or damage for up to 120 days after purchase with a $500 cap per claim and a $50,000 cap per account, provided it was an eligible purchase made with your Chase Freedom card.
  • Extended warranty: You can extend eligible manufacturer warranties by a full year, provided the manufacturer’s warranty is less than three years.
  • Travel benefits: The Chase Freedom Flex offers some great travel benefits even though it is a cashback card. Trip cancellations as a result of falling ill, severely bad weather, or other qualifying reasons make you eligible for reimbursement of up to $1,500 per person or $6,000 per trip. If you happen to need any emergency assistance during your travel, you can rely on your Chase Freedom Flex.
  • Car rental insurance: The card also offers car rental insurance that covers damage from a collision or theft for almost any car. However, the coverage is secondary car rentals in the U.S.

What Makes Other Cards Better Than The Chase Freedom Flex?

  • It’s not a “set it, forget it” deal

The Chase Freedom Flex comes with bonus categories. These bonus categories change each quarter and you’re required to choose them based on your spending patterns. If you miss setting these categories, you’ll end up earning just 1% back on all your spending. If you prefer simplicity, consider a card the Chase Freedom Unlimited or Citi Double Cash. 

The Chase Freedom Unlimited comes with preset bonus categories that aren’t subject to change, and all other categories earn a flat 1.5% back. The Citi Double Cash is a card with a $0 annual fee and earns 2% back on all your purchases—1% when you make the purchase and 1% when you pay your credit card bill. 

  • Better Options Available with Customizable Rewards

You may find optimizing rewards a little challenging with the Chase Freedom Flex credit card. It’s possible that your spending pattern doesn’t align well with the Chase Freedom Flex categories that rotate every quarter. For instance, your TV may break in a quarter where you’ve chosen some other bonus categories. However, you’ll still need the TV this quarter. This limits your capability to customize rewards.

In this case, the U.S. Bank Cash+ Visa Signature would offer you greater utility. The card offers 5% back on any two categories from a list of options on up to $2,000 (combined) each quarter. Plus, you can choose one category that will earn 2% back and you earn 1% back on all other purchases.

  • Foreign Transaction Fee

This travel isn’t international travel-friendly, and there are other cards that offer better value for international travelers. The Chase Freedom Flex’s 3% foreign transaction fees wipe out a sizable portion of your rewards. Instead, a card like the Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards is a finer choice. It charges no foreign transaction fees and also has a more straightforward rewards structure. As a Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards cardholder, you earn 1.5% back on all your purchases. 

  • No Introductory 0% APR on Balance Transfers

The Chase Freedom Flex offers a 15-month long 0% APR on purchases, but this offer isn’t available on balance transfers. If you’re trying to get a breather to pay off some debt, this card won’t do much for you. If you need a 0% introductory offer on balance transfers, consider the Citi Double Cash Card that offers a generous 18-month balance transfer card and 2% back on all purchases (1% when you purchase, 1% when you pay).

Chase Freedom Flex Vs Unlimited

Chase Freedom Flex vs. Other American Express cards

  • Chase Freedom Flex vs. Chase Freedom Unlimited

Naturally, the Chase Freedom is readily comparable with its close cousin, the Chase Freedom Unlimited. The Chase Freedom Unlimited is excellent for those who don’t like strategizing their spending based on the rotating categories. It offers a hassle-free rewards structure with year-round bonus categories such as travel (5%), dining (3%), and drugstore purchases (3%). Plus, you also earn 1.5% back on all other purchases. If you like earning travel rewards, the Chase Freedom Unlimited will pair nicely with premium Ultimate Rewards cards the same way as the Chase Freedom Flex. 

However, if you don’t mind allocating a few minutes of your time to thinking about optimizing your spending and choosing bonus categories strategically, you may be able to earn more overall with the Chase Freedom Flex. An even smarter proposition would be to have both cards in your wallet. You could use the Chase Freedom Flex for the bonus categories and the Chase Freedom Unlimited for all other purchases.

  • Chase Freedom Flex vs. Chase Sapphire Preferred

Making a decision between these cards ultimately boils down to where you spend more. If a large portion of your income goes to travel and dining, the Chase Sapphire Preferred will offer you an opportunity to redeem your points for travel. On the contrary, if your objective is to earn cashback on regular purchases like coffee, gas, and groceries, the no annual fee Chase Freedom Flex will offer you more utility.

Chase Freedom Flex vs. Competitors’ Cards

  • Chase Freedom Flex vs. Citi Double Cash

If you like a no-fuss credit card, the Citi Double Cash will be the obvious choice between the two cards. You pay no annual fee and earn 2% back on every purchase, 1% when you make the purchase, and 1% when you pay your bill. You don’t need to worry about rotating bonus categories and their caps, which makes it a great card for those who like simplicity in their card.

That said, if your spending patterns fit well with the Chase Freedom Flex categories, you could potentially earn significantly more with the Chase Freedom Flex than the Citi Double Cash’s 2% flat cashback rate. Chase Freedom Flex’s value proposition becomes even better when paired with one of the Sapphire cards.

  • Chase Freedom Flex vs. Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards

The Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards earns 1.5% back on all purchases throughout the year. Both cards offer a good sign-up bonus, but the Chase Freedom Flex goes a step further and offers cardholders 5% back on purchases made at grocery stores (excluding Target and Walmart) in the first year with a cap of $12,000. 

Travelers will find the Capital One Quicksilver a more useful card to own though. It offers travel insurance and charges no fees on foreign transactions. If you frequently travel overseas and don’t want to pay the annoying foreign transaction fees, Capital One Quicksilver may be a good choice for you.

Who Should Get The Chase Freedom Flex?

The Chase Freedom Flex is a beginner-friendly, all-around card that works well for cash back fans. It’s not difficult to obtain like some of Chase’s top-tier cards and also costs nothing to own. However, the Chase Freedom Flex is also a great card to pair with other premium cards as a part of your bigger credit card strategy. 

A Chase Ultimate Rewards card like the Chase Sapphire Preferred combined with the Chase Freedom Flex credit card has several benefits. For instance, you can convert the rewards earned on your Chase Freedom Flex to Ultimate Rewards Points. 

The card is also perfect if you’re expecting a big-ticket purchase in the near future since it offers a long, 15-month 0% introductory period on purchases (14.99%–23.74% thereafter). This allows you to finance the purchase without incurring any additional interest charges. 

Chase Freedom Flex Credit Score

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

We answer some of the most common questions in our Chase Freedom Flex review:

Does chase freedom have foreign transaction fees?

Yes, the Chase Freedom Flex does have foreign transaction fees. As a cardholder, you will be charged a 3% fee on the amount of the transaction in USD. 

Is Chase Freedom Flex hard to get?

In general, no, Chase Freedom Flex is not difficult to get for most applicants. However, you do need an above-average credit history to qualify. Chase will look at other variables like your debt-to-income ratio and employment status to arrive at a decision.

How to apply for Chase Freedom Flex?

You can apply for Chase Freedom Flex via its website. Click on the button at the top-right to begin the application process. On the next screen, you’ll need to enter your personal details and submit them for review. Chase will analyze your application and revert to you with a decision.

Is the Chase Freedom Flex a card good?

The Chase Freedom Flex, in general, is a very decent card that offers lots of benefits to the cardholder. However, your spending patterns may make this card good or not-so-good for your specific situation. For instance, this card isn’t the best choice for international travelers but is great for someone who likes optimizing rewards.

What is the minimum Chase Freedom Flex credit score requirement?

You will need a good to excellent credit score to be approved for the Chase Freedom Flex. This translates to a requirement of a credit score of 690 or above. However, your credit score alone isn’t a deciding factor and Chase will also consider other things before making a decision.

Our Verdict

If you consider yourself a big-time optimizer, the Chase Freedom Flex has much to offer. It comes with an attractive welcome bonus and gives you 15 months of no-interest purchases from your card. Plus, you can use the card’s rotating bonus categories to earn up to a 5% bonus and save up to $300 a year if you utilize the full allowed spending limit. 

Throw the 5% back in the mix from travel bookings made through Chase, 3% back on dining and drugstore purchases, and a flat 1% back on all other purchases, and you’ve got one of the worthiest cash back cards out there. 

Clearly, there is quite a lot to manage with this card. If you don’t want to juggle the bonus categories and want a simple, no-fuss credit card, there are several other options you may find worthwhile like the Citi Double Cash card. While you’ll be giving up on the bonus categories, you’ll earn a flat 2% back on all your purchases. This means you won’t have to bother yourself with choosing bonus categories each month. Granted, it’s a lot less work, but it comes with a price. Some may find it worth the convenience, while others may beg to differ. Regardless, the Chase Freedom Flex credit card is at the top of the cash back game and offers several bonus categories that are sure to save cardholders a good amount of money. Plus, it offers all this at no annual cost. If you’re a cash back fan, this card should certainly hold a spot in your wallet.

Apply For A Chase Freedom Flex Card

Check out the Chase website to see if this is the right credit card for you.

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Thanks for reading our Chase Freedom Flex Credit Card review.

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