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® MasterCard (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 a $100 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening
- 5% Cash Back on up to $1,500 in combined purchases between October 1 — December 31, 2014 at Amazon.com, Zappos.com and select department stores
- Earn a $25 Bonus after you add your first authorized user and make a purchase within this same 3-month period
- 0% Intro APR for 15 months on purchases and balance transfers. After the intro period, a variable APR of 13.99%-22.99%
- 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
- This offer is for people with a good to excellent credit history which means, among other things, that your credit history is clear of bankruptcy and seriously delinquent accounts
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 Chase Freedom® MasterCard 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® MasterCard.
The Chase Freedom® MasterCard 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® MasterCard is one of a few 5% cash back credit cards. Here’s how it works. Every year, Chase Freedom® MasterCard 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.