I’ve been reviewing credit cards for a good number of years now. And throughout it all, I’ve found it very difficult to pick the best all around card. The difficulty is that the best credit cards typically excel at one feature, like having a low interest rate, the longest 0% offer, or the best rewards. And what might be the top card for one person may not be the right choice for somebody else.
But if I had to pick the best card, the Chase Freedom® Visa (which I’ve used for several years) would likely be my choice. And the card has gone through some substantial changes lately. Chase use to offer a number of versions of the card. Recently, however, it simplified the card to one version. The reason I like the card as the best overall option is that both its cash back rewards and 0% introductory rate are excellent, a combination that is hard to find in a single card. And it has no annual fee.
Here are the card’s benefits in a nutshell:
- Earn $100 Bonus Cash Back after you make $500 in purchases in your first 3 months from account opening
- 0% Intro APR for 15 months on purchases and balance transfers
- 5% Cash Back on up to $1,500 spent between Apr 1 and Jun 30, 2013 at restaurants, movie theaters, and Lowe's®
- You'll enjoy new 5% categories every 3 months like gas stations, restaurants and Amazon.com. It's free and easy to activate your bonus each quarter!
- Unlimited 1% Cash Back on all other purchases
- No annual fee and rewards never expire
The card is designed for consumers with excellent credit looking to earn cash back. The Chase Freedom has a variety of perks and features that continue to make consumers vote it best overall credit card.
0% Introductory Interest Rate
Until recently, the Chase Freedom offered a 0% rate on balance transfers for 12 months. Now the card has extended the introductory rate to 15 months. As with most balance transfer offers, there is a transfer fee of 3% of the amount transferred (minimum $5). You can find longer 0% balance transfer offers. And the Slate® from Chase offers a no fee balance transfer option. But these other offers won’t give you the cash back features that come with the Chase Freedom® Visa.
The Chase Freedom® Visa card also offers 0% on purchases for 15 months. This too is an improvement, as the card use to offer this introductory rate for just six months.
The Chase Freedom® Visa is one of a few 5% cash back credit cards. Here’s how it works. Every year, Chase Freedom® Visa puts together a calendar of categories in which consumers will earn 5% cash back. Each quarter the maximum cash back that can be earned with the 5% categories is $75 (5% of $1,500). Once you’ve exhausted this amount, all purchases receive 1% cash back.
It’s important to remember that you must log into your account and signup for these quarterly categories to get the 5% cash back. It just takes a few seconds, but you don’t want to forget.
$100 Cash Bonus
Chase Freedom offers a $100 cash bonus after you spend $500 on the card in the first three months.
Chase Freedom MasterCard
Finally, Chase does offer a MasterCard version of the Chase Freedom credit card. Called the Chase Freedom® MasterCard, the terms are identical to the Visa version described above.
Published or updated May 9, 2013.