4.0MoneyWise Rating

Pros

  • The bonus is worth $250 just for spending $500 with your card in the first three months of account opening.
  • Earn up to 5% cash back, including 1.5% on purchases outside of bonus categories.
  • No annual fee.

Cons

  • 5% cash back is only for groceries the first year and for travel with Chase Ultimate Rewards.
  • Cash back covers several categories, which might get confusing.
  • There is a foreign transaction fee of 3%.

Chase Freedom Unlimited review: What we think

The Chase Freedom Unlimited credit card is a popular credit card because of its generous rewards program, which allows you to earn as much as 5% cash back on travel, through Chase Ultimate Rewards. You can get 3% back on dining and at drugstores.

Most significant, however, is the 1.5% cash back you earn on purchases outside your bonus categories. Nearly every other rewards credit card out there limits cash back on “other” purchases to just 1%, which means you’ll likely have plenty of opportunities to earn 0.5% more cash back with this card than you would with another card.

Plus, the sign-up bonus is one of the highest of any credit card and is fairly simple to earn: You have to meet a low spending requirement of $500 with the card during the first three months. Looking at just the sign-up bonus and the 5% you earn on travel through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal, in your first year, you can earn $800 — and not lose any of that to an annual fee. The Chase Freedom Unlimited doesn’t have one.

What are the downsides? The different rewards for the various purchase categories can get a little confusing. Many people would rather just deal with a flat rate of rewards on all purchases. Also, this card is not ideal for travel purchases made abroad because it has a foreign transaction fee, which can get expensive if you use your card for purchases outside the U.S.

Chase Freedom Unlimited benefits

  • Earn a bonus worth $250 after you spend $500 on purchases with your card in the first three months from opening the account. Also, earn 5% cash back on grocery store purchases (not including purchases at Target or Walmart) on up to $12,000 in purchases your first year.
  • Earn 5% cash back on travel you purchase through Chase Ultimate Rewards. That’s higher than the standard 1% default rate on cash-back cards.
  • Earn 3% on dining at restaurants, including takeout and eligible delivery services.
  • Earn 3% on purchases at drugstores.
  • Earn 1.5% on all other purchases.
  • There is no minimum to redeem, and rewards do not expire as long as your account is open.
  • 0% introductory APR for 15 months from opening the account on purchases and balance transfers. Then, the APR is 14.99% to 23.74%.
  • There is no annual fee for this card.

Chase Freedom Unlimited fees

Annual fee

There is no annual fee for this card.

Intro APR

There is a 0% introductory APR for 15 months from opening the account for purchases and balance transfers. The intro balance transfer fee is the greater of $5 or 3% on transfers you make within the first 60 days of opening your account. After that, the fee is $4 or 5% of the transfer, whichever is greater.

Regular APR

After the introductory period, the APR is 14.99% to 23.74%, depending on your credit score.

Foreign transaction fee

The foreign transaction fee is 3%.

Chase Freedom Unlimited required credit score

Chase doesn't publish credit score requirements, but you do need excellent credit to qualify for the card. This can mean a score in the mid 600s or higher. Chase factors in your income level, the age of your credit accounts, and your current relationship with Chase Bank and whether you have any other Chase cards.

Chase Freedom Unlimited vs. Chase Freedom Flex

The Chase Freedom Unlimited is often compared to the newer Chase Freedom Flex. Although the Chase Freedom Unlimited and Chase Freedom Flex offer similar benefits, there are key differences to be aware of before choosing one over the other.

Both cards have no annual fee, and offer the same sign-up bonus and introductory APR for purchases and balance transfers.

The biggest difference between the two cards is in the cash-back rewards. They both award 5% cash back on travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards, and allow you to earn 3% back at restaurants and drugstores.

But the Chase Freedom Unlimited gives 5% on grocery store purchases, and 1.5% cash back on everything else. The Chase Freedom Flex awards 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in purchases in various quarterly categories that you must activate, and provides just 1% cash back on all other purchases.

Is Chase Freedom Unlimited worth it?

The Chase Freedom Unlimited can be well worth it if you take advantage of the sign-up bonus and the big bonus for groceries that’s possible in your first year. You have the potential to earn hundreds of dollars — and you won’t have to worry about seeing any of that drained away by annual fee, since this card doesn’t have one.

If you’re the one who does most of the shopping for your household, you should get the Chase Freedom Unlimited for your grocery store spending, because you can earn as much as $600 in cash back at the supermarket during your first year. Plus, there's a sign-up bonus worth $250 with a low spending requirement. It’s one of the highest and easiest bonuses offered — especially among cards that don't have annual fees.

This card also is one of the only cash-back rewards cards offering a default rate of 1.5% on your "other" purchases. This is convenient especially if you prefer not to have to keep track of lots of different cash-back categories.

Further, you should get the Chase Freedom Unlimited if you are planning to make a large purchase or need to transfer a balance from a high APR card. The 0% APR intro offer can save you hundreds of dollars in interest, as long as you pay off your balance before the introductory period runs out.

The MoneyWise editorial team developed a grading system — taking into account fees, features and other factors — to prescribe the four-star rating shared in this review. The opinions and writing in this article are solely my own. Other customer’s outcomes may differ.

About the Author

Christina Majaski

Christina Majaski

Reporter

Christina Majaski is a reporter with MoneyWise.com.

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