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In the world of credit cards, 2016 has been quite a successful year for JPMorgan Chase. As the producer of 60% of the 95 million cards made each year in the U.S. (stat courtesy of Bloomberg), Chase has become an industry leader. Earlier this year, it helped solidify its market share by releasing the extremely popular Chase Sapphire Reserve card — a card that offers, among other things, a signup bonus equivalent to $1,500 if you redeem the rewards through the bank’s travel portal. Demand for the card was so high that Chase ran out of materials used to produce it.
Chase made another splash earlier this week with the release of a brand new business card, the Ink Business Preferred. While that card doesn’t have all the hype the Chase Sapphire Reserve did, it’s still a safe bet many business owners will be jumping at its lucrative 80,000 point signup bonus (worth $1,000 when redeemed for travel through Chase’s Ultimate Rewards portal).
But, before all the anticipation for the Chase Sapphire Reserve and the Ink Business Preferred, Chase released another new personal credit card, the Chase Freedom Unlimited, that, compared to the others, has flown slightly under the radar. But while the card may not offer a big, flashy signup bonus or a 3x return on purchases, it’s still a good option for someone looking for a straightforward rewards program. Here’s why.
Why the Chase Freedom Unlimited?
One of the more popular credit cards for a long time has been the original Chase Freedom card (see full review here). It offers cardholders 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in rotating categories each quarter. The only big potential drawback with the card is that it requires opting in to receive the 5% every quarter. Plus, if you have multiple credit cards, it can be difficult to keep track of what purchases are earning you those big bonus rewards.
The Chase Freedom Unlimited (see full review here) targets the market that didn’t want all the work involved with opting in and keeping track of bonus categories. It offers a much more simple 1.5% cash back on every purchase you make, no caps and no expiration dates, so long as you keep the account open.
While the signup bonus isn’t going to blow you away like the Chase Sapphire Reserve or the Ink Business Preferred, you are eligible to receive $150 cash back after spending just $500 within the first three months of opening an account. Plus, when you add an authorized user to your account and they make a purchases in those first three months, you receive an additional $25. Not too bad for a card with no annual fee.
Another plus: If you’re planning to make a large purchase in the near future, the Freedom Unlimited gives you the flexibility to pay it off over time, because it comes with an introductory 0% annual percentage rate for the first 15 months on both purchases and balance transfers. After the introductory period, the APR will move to a variable 14.24% to 23.24% depending on your creditworthiness. With the Chase Freedom Unlimited card, you can also receive several protection benefits, including purchase protection, an extended warranty and price protection.
Vetting a Credit Card
Remember, it’s important to read the fine print of all credit cards carefully so you understand what you’re signing up for. It’s also important to consider your spending habits during your search. For example, rewards credit cards, like the Freedom Unlimited, aren’t best-suited to someone who consistently carries a balance, because after that introductory APR expires, you could easily lose the rewards you earned to interest. This group would be better-served looking into low-interest credit cards instead. Finally, it’s a good idea to check your credit so you know what type of cards you can qualify for. (You can do so by viewing two of your credit scores, updated every 30 days, on Credit.com.)
At publishing time, the Chase Freedom Unlimited is offered through Credit.com product pages, and Credit.com is compensated if our users apply and ultimately sign up for thiscard. However, this relationship does not result in any preferential editorial treatment.
Note: It’s important to remember that interest rates, fees and terms for credit cards, loans and other financial products frequently change. As a result, rates, fees and terms for credit cards, loans and other financial products cited in these articles may have changed since the date of publication. Please be sure to verify current rates, fees and terms with credit card issuers, banks or other financial institutions directly.
Image: Vesna Andjic