Chase Freedom Unlimited Credit Card Review [Cons, Benefits, Fees 2021]

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Chase Freedom Unlimited Credit Card Review

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Chase Freedom Unlimited Credit Card Review

Our Chase Freedom Unlimited 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 Unlimited Credit Card review!

APRs

  • Introductory APR: 0% on purchases for 15 months
  • Variable APR (beyond introductory period): 14.99% – 23.74% on balance transfers and purchases
  • APR on Cash Advances: 24.99% 

Fee Particulars

  • Annual Fee: $0
  • Balance Transfer Fee: 5% of balance transfer amount; minimum $5
  • Cash Advance Fee: 10% 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

Pros vs. Cons of Chase Freedom Unlimited

PROS

  • Great rewards rate, rewards do not expire, and no minimum redemption
  • No cap on cashback
  • $200 sign-up bonus
  • Introductory 0% APR on purchases

CONS

  • No introductory 0% APR on balance transfers and 5% balance transfer fee (minimum of $5)
  • 3% foreign transaction fee

Chase Freedom Unlimited Credit Card Review

Who Should Get The Chase Freedom Unlimited Credit Card?

The Chase Freedom Unlimited is a cashback card that comes with a fascinating blend of features like flexible options for redemption, rewards, a long introductory 0% APR, and a welcome bonus for new cardholders that beats any cashback card out there. All this, at no annual cost.

As a Chase Freedom Unlimited cardholder, you earn 5% on amounts spent towards travel (provided you make bookings through Chase), 3% on amounts spent at restaurants or drugstores, and 1.5% on all other categories. 

If you want to derive even more value from the reward points, consider owning a premium card (like the Chase Sapphire Preferred or Ink Business Preferred) from Chase to earn Chase Ultimate Rewards Points. Having these cards will enable you to redeem the pooled points at a better rate. 

Chase Freedom Unlimited Benefits

Chase Freedom Unlimited Benefits and Features

  • A welcome bonus for new cardholders ($200)

The no-cost credit card offers a tempting sign-up bonus to new applicants. The only requirement to earn the bonus is that the cardholder must spend at least $500 within three months of account opening, which should be fairly easy for most cardholders. 

  • Long introductory 0% APR period

The 15-month long 0% APR period on purchases is impressive given that Chase Freedom Unlimited is a rewards-focused card. The variable APR applicable beyond the introductory period is 14.99% – 23.74%. 

  • Rewards

Chase Freedom Unlimited cardholders stand to earn attractive rewards at the following category-based rates:

  • 5% rewards points on amounts spent on travel (provided you book through Chase) and Lyft rides (until March 2022)
  • 3% rewards points on amounts spent on dining at restaurants or purchases from drugstores
  • 1.5% rewards points on amounts spent in any other category

Fortunately, Chase Freedom Unlimited does not have a minimum redemption threshold. Cardholders may redeem rewards points worth as little as 1 cent for the statement credit.

Pro tip: While you can redeem these rewards points at the rate of 1 cent per point, combining the Chase Freedom Unlimited with a premium Chase card will enable you to redeem the rewards points at a rate as high as 1.5 cents per point.

  • Free DashPass (3 months)

DashPass is a subscription service from DoorDash (a food-delivery company). Using your DashPass, you get unlimited food deliveries without being charged a delivery fee, provided your order value exceeds $12. 

Upon expiration of 3 months, your card will be automatically charged for a 9-month DashPass subscription at 50% of the normal monthly rate of $9.99 a month, unless you cancel the subscription beforehand. To become eligible for the 3-month free DashPass, you must activate this offer before December 21, 2021. 

  • Protection against damage and extended warranty benefits

The Chase Freedom Unlimited protects cardholders against damage caused to items purchased with their Chase Freedom Unlimited card for a period of 120 days. The protection amount is capped at $500 per claim and an aggregate amount of $50,000 per account. 

Cardholders also get a year’s worth of extended warranty on items purchased through the card, provided the items are covered by a maximum 3-year warranty from eligible U.S. manufacturers.

  • Insurance for cancellation or interruption of a trip

This is a valuable benefit in a pandemic-riddled world. The benefit is also most common on cards that charge a significant annual fee. Should you be compelled to cancel or cut your trip short due to any of the circumstances covered (like severe weather, sickness, etc.), you will be eligible for reimbursement for the amount of tickets and non-refundable fares up to $1,500 per person and $6,000 per trip.

What Makes Other Cards Better Than The Chase Freedom Unlimited?

  • High fees on foreign transactions

If you are a frequent overseas traveler, the foreign transaction fees can add up quite rapidly. The Chase Freedom Unlimited charges cardholders 3% on foreign transactions. If you frequently transact overseas using a credit card, you may want to look at a card that does not charge a foreign transaction fee like the HSBC Gold Mastercard.

  • High fees on balance transfers with no introductory 0% APR period

This is hardly astonishing given that the Chase Freedom Unlimited is a cashback card and not a balance transfer card. If you are looking to cut back on debt, you will be better off with a balance transfer card. 

Nevertheless, you could find a sweet spot if you are impressed with the perks offered by Chase Freedom Unlimited. 

You can do this if:

  • You qualify to be charged at a rate that is towards the lower end of the variable APR scale (starting at 14.99%) on Chase Freedom Unlimited, and
  • This Chase Freedom Unlimited APR is lower than the interest rate you are currently paying.

You could run some numbers and see if the savings will add up to a significant amount.

However, a balance transfer to Chase Freedom Unlimited comes with a 5% balance transfer fee as well, so be sure to factor that in.

Chase Freedom Unlimited vs. Other Chase cards

  • Chase Freedom Unlimited vs. Chase Freedom Flex

Both Freedom cards from Chase offer alluring cashback benefits and cost nothing to own. The differentiating factor between the two Chase cards is the rate of cashback. 

Effectively, you will either pick the 1.5% cashback on all purchases with the Chase Freedom Unlimited or opt for 5% cashback on categories that rotate quarterly and 1% on other purchases with the Chase Freedom Flex.

Let’s get some more clarity so you can crunch the numbers before making a decision:

  • Chase Freedom Flex: The 5% cashback seems enticing at first, but you may want to consider that this rate reverts to 1% after you have spent $1,500 in a quarter.
  • Chase Freedom Unlimited: The much lower 1.5% cashback on all purchases may look like a raw deal, but it offers flexibility.

So, which one should you choose? 

Take a few moments to familiarize yourself with the bonus categories that Freedom Flex offers. If your spending pattern aligns with these categories, you may be better off with the Freedom Flex.

If you tend to spend a lot in general, however, the unlimited 1.5% cashback on Freedom Unlimited will offer more value. 

  • Chase Freedom Unlimited vs. Chase Sapphire Preferred

Both these cards serve different categories of cardholders, so there is not a lot they have in common. The only perk both cards share is protection against damage and an extended warranty. 

The Chase Sapphire Preferred is an excellent choice for travelers. Cardholders can collect Chase Ultimate Rewards points and redeem them later for cashback, merchandise, travel, or gift cards. The Chase Sapphire Preferred does not levy a fee on foreign transactions and offers travel insurance to cardholders, but it does charge a $95 annual fee. If you travel often, it is fairly easy to offset the $95.

On the contrary, Chase Freedom Unlimited makes a lot more sense for those who do not travel frequently. Plus, there is no annual fee to offset and you get generous cashback rewards too. 

Chase Freedom Unlimited vs. Competitors’ Cards

  • Chase Freedom Unlimited vs. Bank of America Cash Rewards

The comparison between these two cards is similar to that of Freedom Flex and Freedom Unlimited. 

The Bank of America Cash Rewards lets you choose 3 categories on which you will earn 3% cashback. The categories include home furnishings/improvement, online shopping, drugstores, travel, gas, and dining. Cardholders earn 2% back on amounts spent at wholesale clubs and grocery stores, and 1% on any other purchases. Note that the 3% and 2% rates come with a $2,500 per quarter cap. 

This may be a little more cumbersome to deal with as compared to the 1.5% flat cashback on the Chase Freedom Unlimited. However, you may be able to earn 25% – 75% over and above the mentioned rewards rate if you are a part of BoA’s Preferred Rewards Program. In this case, Chase Freedom Unlimited may take a backseat. 

  • Chase Freedom Unlimited vs. Citi Double Cash

There are several points of differences between the two cards, and which ones will offer more value will depend on your spending choices. 

The Citi Double Cash has a much simpler cashback framework where it offers a flat 2% back on all purchases, while the Chase Freedom Unlimited offers 5% on travel (provided it is booked through Chase), 3% on restaurant dining and drugstores, and 1.5% on other amounts spent. 

If you travel or dine outside often, Chase Freedom Unlimited is the better choice. For all other types of spending, the Citi Double Cash clearly outshines the Chase Freedom Unlimited. 

However, Chase Freedom Unlimited also offers a 15-month 0% APR period, so that tips the scale back in its favor to an extent. Also, you get a $200 sign-up bonus on the Chase Freedom Unlimited provided you spent at least $500 within 3 months of opening your account. 

Frequently Asked Questions (Chase Freedom Unlimited Credit Card FAQs)

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

What is the recommended credit score for Chase Freedom Unlimited applicants?

Applicants with a credit score of 690-850 have the best chances of being approved. If you have a credit score of less than 690, it does not rule out the possibility of approval. Chase will analyze your current income and debt obligations to arrive at a decision.

How to apply for Chase Freedom Unlimited?

You can apply for your Chase Freedom Unlimited credit card online. On the application page, you will enter details such as your name, address, annual income, etc. 

If you are denied for Chase Freedom Unlimited, refer to Chase’s popular 5/24 rule. Put simply, you cannot be approved for a Chase card if you have opened 5 or more credit card accounts in the immediately preceding 24 months. If you have not opened 5 or more accounts, check other factors like your credit score, income, and outstanding debt, among others, to understand the possible reason(s) for denial.

What is the credit limit on Chase Freedom Unlimited and how often does Chase Freedom Unlimited increase credit limit?

Chase offers a minimum of $500 to successful applicants. If you have an excellent credit score and manage to get approved for a limit of $5,000 or more, you will receive the Visa Signature version as against the Visa Platinum which entitles you to a few additional Visa benefits. 

You may ask Chase to increase your current credit limit by calling the number on the rear side of your card. However, before you call make sure you have maintained a good payments history by paying your dues on or before time. It’s recommended to request a credit increase after using the card for at least 6 months and making timely payments.

Does Chase Freedom Unlimited have travel insurance?

The Chase Freedom Unlimited offers travel insurance and other travel perks like coverage for you and your family for accidental death or in-transit dismemberment of up to $250,000, auto rental collision damage waiver, roadside assistance, and trip cancellation and interruption insurance. However, some benefits are exclusive to cardholders with the Visa Signature version of the card. 

Does Chase Freedom Unlimited have foreign transaction fees or late fees?

Yes, foreign transactions on a Chase Freedom Unlimited card attract a 3% foreign transaction fee. Chase Freedom Unlimited also charges a late fee of up to $39. 

How to refer Chase Freedom Unlimited?

You must register on the Refer-A-Friend page on Chase’s website or register via the Chase mobile app. Note that you can only refer someone for the Chase card that you have. For example, if you have Chase Freedom Unlimited, you can only refer your friends and family for the Chase Freedom Unlimited. The number of referrals you can make in a calendar year is capped at 5 referrals. 

How do I contact Chase Freedom Unlimited customer service?

You may call Chase Credit Card customer service on 1-800-935-9935. 

Apply For A Chase Freedom Unlimited Credit Card

Check out the website to see if the credit card is a good fit for your financial needs

Thanks for reading our Chase Freedom Unlimited Credit Card review.

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