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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.
- For Those Struggling with Credit Card Debt: Chase Slate®
- For Those Seeking Rewards: Chase Freedom®
|Chase Freedom®||Chase Slate®|
|Rewards||5% cash back on up to $1,500 in combined purchases in bonus categories each quarter you activate; Unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases||None|
|Sign-Up Bonus||$150 bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening||None|
|Awards & Distinctions|
|APR||17.24% - 25.99% Variable||16.74% - 25.49% Variable|
|Intro APR||0% Intro APR for the first 15 billing cycles that your Account is open||0% Intro APR for the first 15 billing cycles that your Account is open|
|Balance Transfer Fee||Either $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.|
|Full Review||Full 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®.
|1||Jan 1 - Mar 31||Gas stations, internet, cable, and phone services, Chase Pay, Google Pay, Apple Pay and Samsung Pay|
|2||Apr 1 - Jun 30||Grocery Stores (no Walmart or Target), Paypal and Chase Pay|
|3||Jul 1 - Sep 30||Gas stations, Lyft and Walgreens|
|4||Oct 1 - Dec 31||Department 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
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.