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Chase Slate® versus Chase Freedom®: Which Should You Apply For?

The Chase Freedom® and Chase Slate® are both top-of-the-line credit cards that are intended for two sets of very different consumers. The Chase Slate® is ideal for anyone who is struggling with credit card debt, and wants a card to help defer interest and pay down their balance. The Chase Freedom®, on the other hand, provides great cash back rewards and is highly recommended to consumers who pays off their card balance in full every month.

Chase Freedom®Chase Slate®
Chase Freedom®
Chase Slate®
Annual Fee$0$0
Rewards5% cash back on up to $1,500 in combined purchases in bonus categories each quarter you activate; Unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchasesNone
Sign-Up Bonus$150 bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in the first 3 months from account openingNone
Awards & Distinctions
APR17.24% - 25.99% Variable16.74% - 25.49% Variable
Intro APR0% Intro APR for the first 15 billing cycles that your Account is open0% Intro APR for the first 15 billing cycles that your Account is open
Balance Transfer FeeEither $5 or 3% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.$0 Intro fee on transfers made within 60 days of account opening. After that: Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
Other Features
  • Extended Warranty Protection
  • Purchase Protection
  • Price Protection
  • Return Protection
  • Monthly FICO® Score for free
  • Purchase Protection
  • Price Protection
Full ReviewFull Review

The sections below give a more in-depth look at both the Chase Freedom® and the Chase Slate®, exploring the areas where each shines. Below the analysis, you can also find alternatives to these cards that might be better suited for some consumers.

Better For Paying Down Existing Debts: Chase Slate®

The Chase Slate® is the undisputed winner in this category due to its $0 introductory balance transfer fee for transfers made during the first 60 days of account opening. Though it may not seem like a lot, the 3% to 5% you pay with most other cards makes it much more difficult to pay down your principal balance.

After the 60 day introductory period, both credit cards are more-or-less equally valuable for paying down debt. Consumers who are in a tough financial situation, and are likely to carry a balance on their credit card in the foreseeable future should find a card that has low ongoing APR instead.

Rewards: Chase Freedom®

The Chase Freedom® is the only one of the two cards to come with a rewards program. Your prioritize rewards only if you have no outstanding credit card debt and are diligent about paying back your balance in full every month. The Chase Freedom® awards 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in combined purchases in bonus categories each quarter. Cardholders get 1% on purchases that fall outside of that. The bonus categories change every three months, and include things like gas stations, restaurants, and wholesale clubs. If used to their fullest potential, bonus categories can net consumers an extra $75 each quarter. Below we have provided the 5% bonus cash back 2018 calendar for the Chase Freedom®.

Quarter

DatesBonus Categories
1Jan 1 - Mar 31Gas stations, internet, cable, and phone services, Chase Pay, Google Pay, Apple Pay and Samsung Pay
2Apr 1 - Jun 30Grocery Stores (no Walmart or Target), Paypal and Chase Pay
3Jul 1 - Sep 30Gas stations, Lyft and Walgreens
4Oct 1 - Dec 31Department stores, wholesale clubs and Chase Pay

Like most great rewards credit cards, the Chase Freedom® comes with a sign-up bonus. Cardholders can earn $150 cash back after they spend at least $500 on purchases within three months of account opening. Note: balance transfers will not help you qualify for this bonus. Purchases are the only transactions that count towards this minimum.

What Are Some Good Alternatives to The Chase Freedom® and the Chase Slate®?

If you aren’t completely committed to either the Chase Freedom® or the Chase Slate®, you should check out whether other alternatives can provide you with more savings. Here are the two leading competitors for each card.

For Balance Transfers: Citi® Diamond Preferred® Card

Citi® Diamond Preferred® Card
This card is not available through ValuePenguin.
Citi® Diamond Preferred® Card
This card is not available through ValuePenguin.

The Citi® Diamond Preferred® Card is the best option for anyone who needs more time to pay off their credit card debt, beyond the 15 months provided by the Chase Slate®. This card provides one of the longest 0% intro APR periods for balance transfers of any credit card on the market – 21 months. That’s close to two years of deferred interest. After the intro period your APR will be 14.99% - 24.99% Variable, based on your creditworthiness.

For Rewards: Citi® Double Cash Card

The Citi® Double Cash Card is a far simpler rewards credit card to use than the Chase Freedom®. The card is a good choice for anyone who doesn’t want to keep track of an ever-changing bonus calendar, or those who don’t want to have to activate their rewards every three months. The Citi® Double Cash Card provides users with 1% cash back whenever they make a purchase, and another 1% back when they pay that purchase off. A major downside is that, unlike the Chase Freedom®, the Citi® Double Cash Card doesn’t come with a sign-up bonus. That means its short-term value isn't nearly as good.

The major advantage of the Citi® Double Cash Card is that it doesn’t restrict your rewards. The Chase Freedom® isn’t a good value unless you’re spending money in its 5% bonus categories. Any purchases outside of that give cardholders a mere 1% return. You’d need to have at least 25% of all your purchases fall within 5% categories annually to beat the all-around rewards rate of the Citi® Double Cash Card. If you don’t think your financial habits meet that threshold, you should go with the Chase Freedom®. If your spending is more varied and doesn’t fit well with the 5% bonus calendar, go with the Citi® Double Cash Card.

Comments and Questions

Opinions, analyses, reviews, or recommendations expressed here are the author's alone, and have not been reviewed or endorsed by the issuer. We may be compensated through the issuer's Affiliate Program. For a full list of our advertisers see our disclosure page

* See the online credit card application for details about terms and conditions. Reasonable efforts are made to maintain accurate information. However all credit card information is presented without warranty. When you click on the "Apply Now" button, you can review the credit card terms and conditions on the issuer's website.

Info about the following cards: Premier Rewards Gold Card from American Express, Delta Reserve® Credit Card from American Express, Platinum Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express, Hilton Honors Surpass® Credit Card, American Express® Blue Sky, American Express® Green Card, The Amex EveryDay® Preferred Credit Card from American Express, The Amex EveryDay® Credit Card from American Express, The Plenti® Credit Card from Amex, Blue from American Express®, Platinum Card® from American Express Exclusively for Mercedes-Benz, Bluebird, Centurion® Card from American Express, Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card, Starwood Preferred Guest® American Express Luxury Card, Amazon Business American Express Card, and Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card has been collected independently by ValuePenguin. The issuer did not provide the details, nor is it responsible for their accuracy.

Disclaimer: This content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuer. Opinions expressed here are author's alone, not those of the credit card issuer, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuer. This site may be compensated through the credit card issuer Affiliate Program.

These responses are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

How We Calculate Rewards: ValuePenguin calculates the value of rewards by estimating the dollar value of any points, miles or bonuses earned using the card less any associated annual fees. These estimates here are ValuePenguin's alone, not those of the card issuer, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuer.

Example of how we calculate the rewards rates: When redeemed for travel through Ultimate Rewards, Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card points are worth $0.0125 each. The card awards 2 points on travel and dining and 1 point on everything else. Therefore, we say the card has a 2.5% rewards rate on dining and travel (2 x $0.0125) and a 1.25% rewards rate on everything else (1 x $0.0125).