Chase Freedom Review – 5% Cash Back



  • APR: 13.99% to 22.99% depending on your credit worthiness
  • Introductory APR: 0% intro APR for the first 15 billing cycles
  • Cash advance APR: 23.99%
  • Penalty APRs: 29.99%
    • Applies if you make a late payment
    • Exceed your credit limit
    • Make a payment that is returned
  • Grace period: 21 days
  • Minimum interest charge: None

Note all APRs may vary based on the prime market rate.


  • Annual fee: None
  • Balance transfer fee: $5 or 3% whichever is greater
  • Cash advance fee: $10 or 3% whichever is greater
  • Foreign transaction fee: 3% in U.S dollars
  • Late payment fee: Up to $15 if the balance is less than $100, up to $25 if the balance is $100 and less than $250 and up to $35 if it is above $250
  • Over the credit line: None

Card Benefits

  • 5% rotating categories
  • Card earns Chase UR points which can be transferred to Hotel or Airline partners at a 1:1 rate if you have a Chase Sapphire Preferred, Ink Bold or Ink Plus.
  • 15 billing cycle 0% APR

Card Negatives

Application Information

We looked at X different data points from the credit boards credit pull application. We only looked at records from 2012 onwards.

What Credit Score Is Required

Credit Boards Credit Karma
Lowest approved score 638 637
Average approved score 704 706


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Common Reasons For Denial:

Here are some of the most common reasons people have been denied for. Just because you fall under one of these categories doesn’t mean you’ll be denied though.

  • Derogatory items on credit report (e.g Bankruptcy or tax lien). Chase will usually deny you if you have any major derogatory items on your credit report, that said if they have some age on them you still might be approved if you call their reconsideration number.
  • Insufficient credit history. Chase Freedom is a starter card but they like you to have a banking relationship with them or one year of credit card history with another card issuer. Find out how you can earn a cash sign up bonus by signing up for a checking/savings account with Chase.
  • Credit utilization too high. If you’re current credit utilization is sky high (e.g 50%+) you may have trouble being approved for this card even with a high FICO score.
  • Too many recent accounts. A few people have been denied for too many recent account openings, or the period between these openings being too small.

As always, if you’re denied make sure you call the reconsideration line to plead your case. Chase is usually very good about approving people for this card as it’s their most basic card. If you’ve never called reconsideration before, read these tips so you know what to expect from the call. If you have existing cards with Chase it often helps to offer to move some of your existing credit lines onto the new card.

What Credit Bureau Does Chase Pull For The Freedom?

Chase pulls different credit bureaus based on where you’re located. We’ve compiled this information to make it easy for you to see which credit bureau they are likely to pull. Click here to view this information.

What Credit Limit Will I Receive?

Minimum Credit Limit Highest Reported Credit Limit Average Credit Limit
$500 $25,000 $4,686.14

Rewards Program

This card earns Chase UR points, it’s important to note that you must have a card that has the ability to transfer to hotel or airline partners to be able to make use of this feature. The following cards allow you to do this: Chase Sapphire Preferred, Chase Ink Plus or Chase Ink Bold. Otherwise you can redeem these points for statement credit/cash.

Earning Rewards

This card earns at a rate of 1 point per $1 spend. It earns at an additional rate of 5 points per $1 spent on rotating categories. You must enroll your card quarterly to receive this increased rate on those categories, click here to enroll. There is a limit of $1,500 in spend ($75/7,500 points) that can be earned per quarter. We post creative tips on how to increase your spend in these bonus categories on the main blog, so make sure you’re subscribed to our mailing list or receive updates by e-mail or rss.

It’s also important to remember that you get an additional 10% of points earned every year that you have a Chase checking account opening. This turns the card into a 5.5%/1.1% card. You can read more about how it works here.

5% Categories

x Q1 Q2 Q3 Q4
2015 Grocery Stores, Movie Theatres And Starbucks stores Restaurants and more Gas stations and more and more
2014 Gas stations, Movie Theaters, Starbucks Stores Restaurants, Lowe’s home improvement stores Gas stations, Kohl’s Amazon, Zappos & select department stores
2013 Restaurants & Movies Home improvement stores Gas stations Online shopping
2012 Gas stations, Grocery Stores, Movie Theaters Gas Stations, Restaurants Hotels, Airlines, Best Buy, Kohls
2011 Grocery Stores, Drug Stores Home Improvement, Lawn & Garden, Home Furnishings Gas, Hotels, Airlines Dining, Department Stores, Movies, Charity

Current Sign Up Bonus Sign Up Bonus

  • November 15th – Current: $200 (20,000 points) when you spend $500 within 3 months of account opening. Additional $25 bonus (2,500 points) for adding an authorized user when they make their first purchase
Sign Up Bonus History
  • July 16th, 2014 – November 15th: $150 (15,000 points) when you spend $500 within 3 months of account opening. Additional $25 bonus (2,500 points) for adding an authorized user when they make their first purchase
  • July 1st, 2014 Current: $100 (10,000 points) when you spend $500 within 3 months of account opening. Additional $25 bonus (2,500 points) for adding an authorized user when they make their first purchase
  • May 29th, 2014 – July 1st: $200 (20,000 points) when you spend $500 within 3 months of account opening. Additional $25 bonus (2,500 points) for adding an authorized user when they make their first purchase

This card has had a highest sign up bonus of $350. This hasn’t been offered offered since 2012 and it looks like that was a mistake on the Chase website. It now looks like Chase switches between a $200 offer & $100 offer – both now come with an authorized user bonus of $25.

Public Offers:

Targeted Offers:

  • 2011: $300 after first purchase
  • 2011: For some existing customers receive $20 after you make 10 purchases

Redeeming Your Rewards

Your redemption options are going to vary based on whether you have a Chase Sapphire Preferred, Ink Bold or Ink Plus. If you do then you can transfer your points to airline & hotel partners, otherwise your options are pretty limited.

The most popular option is statement credit which gives you a flat cash value of 1 point = 1 cent.

Our Verdict

The Chase Freedom has one of the highest cash sign up bonuses on the market and it’s rotating 5% categories make it attractive for use for those categories. That said, I’d never recommend somebody use this for their everyday spend due to it’s low earning rate.

This card is best used for the sign up bonus and then for purchases that are currently earning 5%. It’s also best paired with a card that allows transfers to a hotel or airline partner so you can get the most value out of the points. Another way to maximize the rewards is by linking a Chase checking account so that you get a 10% bonus on points earned.  Because the requirements for getting this card are quite low, it’s perfect for those who have only a limited credit history.

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We Recommend This Card For:

  • Those with limited credit history
  • Those looking for cash back
  • People who value cash sign up bonuses
  • People with a Chase checking account (that way you get an additional 10% on points earned)

We Don’t Recommend This Card For:

  • People who are planning on using it as their only credit card

Card Alternatives

F.A.Q’s & Tips





12 Responses to Chase Freedom Review – 5% Cash Back

  1. Pingback: Chase Freedom $200/20,000 Chase UR Points Offer - Doctor Of Credit

  2. Aaron Lemmon says:

    You’re missing the Chase AARP card as well. Same $100 back after $500 in spend

  3. Pingback: $200 Sign Up Bonus On Chase AARP Card + 3% On Restaurants & Gas Stations - Doctor Of Credit

  4. Pingback: Nusenda Federal Credit Union: Platinum Cas Rewards Card 5% Cash Back In Rotating Categories - Doctor Of Credit

  5. Jason says:

    Please also add the Chase Freedom Unlimited Card which is a separate card to the existing Chase Freedom card. I’ve verified that I have earned the start-up bonus on the Unlimited Card even though I already have the “regular” Freedom card. Please also add that Chase offers Ultimate Rewards (which requires a login to view) to earn points. For example, I visited Apple Store directly from Shop through Chase, where I purchased two iPhones at $849 each. I checked out using the Freedom Unlimited Card and T&C says maximum 2 iPhones for every 30 days then an extra of 2% will be posted. The card gives 1.5% so total bonus adds to 3.5% for 2 phones, that’s $59.43.

  6. Pingback: Chase Freedom 5% Categories For Q4 2016: Drugstores, Department Stores & Wholesale Clubs - Doctor Of Credit

  7. Jeff H says:

    Chase Freedom 5% rewards 2017 Calendar is up including the activation link.

  8. Pingback: Master List of Credit Cards with 4%/4x+ Rewards - Doctor Of Credit

  9. Pingback: American Express Blue Cash Preferred Card Review – 6% on Groceries, 3% on Gas & Dept Stores - Doctor Of Credit

  10. Pingback: Did You Know Chase In Branch Pre-Approvals Show United Cards? - Doctor Of Credit

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