Chase Freedom Unlimited℠ vs. Slate®
It’s hard to be everything to everyone, but that doesn’t stop many from trying. Chase has an extraordinary lineup of credit cards that offer everything from frequent flyer miles and cash back to 0% APR promotional financing offers. For many years, the Chase Slate card has featured extraordinary terms for its promotional financing offer while its new Freedom Unlimited card offers both promotional financing and competitive cash back rates.
Let’s take a look at these two cards, and see which one makes sense for you.
Chase has offered its popular Freedom card for many years, which features 5% cash back each quarter on featured categories of purchases, with limits, and 1% cash back on all other purchases. But since some reward card users do not want to have to worry about which purchases are eligible for the bonus cash back and when they’ve reached their limits, Chase introduced its Freedom Unlimited card which offers 1.5% cash back on all purchases, all the time, with no limits.
New applicants currently receive a $150 cash back bonus after spending $500 on new purchases within three months of account opening, and an additional $25 after adding an authorized cardholder who makes a purchase during the same time period.
This card also offers 0% APR introductory financing on both new purchases and balance transfers, with a 5% balance transfer fee. After the promotional financing period expires, the standard interest rate will apply which is a variable APR of 14.24%, 19.24%, or 23.24%, depending on your creditworthiness when you applied for the card, with no penalty APR.
Other benefits including a purchase protection policy that covers your new purchases for 120 days against damage or theft, up to $500 per claim and $50,000 per account. A price protection policy can reimburse you for the difference in price, up to $500 if you find a lower price advertised within 90 days.
This card also offers Chase’s innovative Blueprint program, which allows you to save money on interest by paying some charges in full while carrying a balance on others. Blueprint also contains powerful budgeting and goal setting features to empower you to pay off your balance on a schedule that you set. There is no annual fee for this card.
While it doesn’t offer any rewards, the Chase Slate stands out in the market due to its offer of 15 months of 0% APR promotional financing on both new purchases and balance transfers, with no fee for balance transfers completed within 60 days of account opening. After the promotional financing rate expires, the standard interest rate will apply, which is a variable APR of 13.24%, 18.24%, or 23.24%, depending on your credit when you applied. And unlike many cards, there is no penalty APR.
Slate cardholders also receive a free monthly FICO Score and Credit Dashboard as part of Chase’s Credit Score & More benefit. This online dashboard shows you a summary of your credit report information as well as the reasons behind your score and suggestions to manage your credit health.
Slate cardholders can also use the Blueprint feature to help save money on interest charges and pay off their balance sooner. There is no annual fee for this card.
Which card is right for you
The Chase Freedom Unlimited is designed for reward credit card users who want to earn a competitive, and predictable amount of cash back on all their transactions, without worrying about bonus categories and limits. While this card also has a strong promotional financing offer, it is primarily a rewards credit card. Like other reward cards, it’s best used by people who avoid interest charges by paying each month’s statement balance in full. The Freedom Unlimited card also offers a generous sign-up bonus and strong purchase protection benefits.
On the other hand, the Chase Slate card is one of the only credit cards offered with 0% financing on balance transfers, with no balance transfer fee, while the Freedom Unlimited has a 5% balance transfer fee. That’s a difference of $250 on a transfer of $5,000. Thankfully, both cards offer Chase Blueprint, which is an extremely valuable benefit to help save money on interest charges and pay off your balance sooner.
But let’s look at this another way. Those who are planning on transferring a balance of under $3,000 will actually receive a sign-up bonus from the Freedom Unlimited that is worth more than the cost of its 5% balance transfer fee. So for these cardholders, the Freedom Unlimited will actually end up costing less when accounting for both the sign-up bonus and the 5% balance transfer fee.
But ultimately, the Slate card is most suited for those who are struggling to pay off an existing balance. It’s a simple card with no rewards for spending, but its no-fee balance transfer offer, free FICO scores, and access to Blueprint make it ideal for the millions of Americans who struggle with credit card debt. The Freedom Unlimited is the card for those who don’t have debt and are looking to maximize rewards. Depending on which type of credit card user you are, Chase has a strong product for you.