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Compare Credit Cards: Chase Slate vs. Chase Freedom

Credit Cards
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Comparing credit card offers is a challenge because different cards are designed for different kinds of consumers. If you’re trying to decide between the Chase Slate® and the Chase Freedom®, you’ve probably noticed this. They both have some great features, but those features are very different.

Let’s dig in.

AT A GLANCE
Chase Slate® Chase Freedom®
Annual fee  $0  $0
Intro APR offer  0% on Purchases and Balance Transfers for 15 months, and then the ongoing APR of 15.74% - 24.49% Variable APR  0% on Purchases and Balance Transfers for 15 months, and then the ongoing APR of 15.74% - 24.49% Variable APR
Rewards program  None  Cash back:
5% back on rotating bonus categories (up to $1,500 in spending per quarter), and 1% back on all other spending
Signup bonus  None  Earn a $150 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening
Balance transfer fee  $0 for transfers in the first 60 days after account opening;

after 60 days, 5% of the amount transferred or $5, whichever is greater

5% of the amount transferred or $5, whichever is greater
VERDICT: If you’re in the market for a balance transfer credit card, go with the Chase Slate®. If you want over a year at 0% AND ongoing rewards, opt for the  Chase Freedom®.
Good for:
  • Someone who needs to refinance high-interest debt
  • Someone who wants to finance a large purchase
  • Someone who wants to finance a large purchase
  • Someone who wants a cash back rewards program
Bad for:
  • Someone who isn’t carrying credit card debt
  • Someone who wants a card that earns rewards
  • Someone who wants a sign-up bonus
  • Someone who doesn’t like rotating bonus categories
  • Someone who wants a really big signup bonus

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Chase Slate® vs. Chase Freedom®: Rewards

For a lot of folks, one of the best things about using a credit card is racking up rewards. If this sounds familiar, the Chase Freedom® doesn’t disappoint. With it, you’ll earn 5% cash back in rotating quarterly bonus categories, up to $1,500 spent per quarter. You’ll also earn unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases.

It’s worth noting that the bonus categories offered by the Chase Freedom® are far from chintzy. In past years, the Chase Freedom® has featured retailers like gas stations, restaurants, grocery stores and Amazon.com as 5% bonus categories. As a result, spenders of all stripes have the opportunity to earn 5% cash back throughout the year.

When it comes time to redeem your rewards, you’ll have a lot of choices. You can cash in for gift cards, a statement credit, a direct deposit to your bank account, or head over to Amazon to go shopping. In this way, the Chase Freedom® provides a lot of flexibility.

On the other hand, the Chase Slate® doesn’t offer a traditional rewards program. You won’t be earning points, miles or cash back when you swipe it.

The same scenario plays out when we compare the sign-up bonuses of the two cards. The Chase Freedom® provides a sizable sign-up bonus: Earn a $150 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening. On the other hand, the Chase Slate® doesn’t come with any type of introductory rewards offer.

Chase Slate® vs. Chase Freedom®: Fees

Credit card fees might be an unpleasant topic, but it’s important to look at them carefully before applying for a new card.

In terms of annual fees, the Chase Slate® and the Chase Freedom® fall pretty squarely in line. The Chase Slate® charges a yearly fee of $0 and the Chase Freedom® carries a yearly fee of $0. Six of one, half a dozen of the other.

The same goes for foreign transaction fees; both the Chase Slate® and the Chase Freedom® charge 3% for every purchase made abroad. Consequently, if you travel overseas a lot, neither the Chase Slate® nor the Chase Freedom® is a good choice.

However, when it comes to balance transfer fees, the Chase Slate® offers a really special opportunity. If you move your high-interest debt onto the card within 60 days of opening your account, the 5% balance transfer fee will be waived. This makes the Chase Slate® a rare find, and a very economical choice for balance transfers.

With the Chase Freedom®, you’ll have to cough up a balance transfer fee of 5% or $5 (whichever is greater) no matter what. This has the potential to cut into the savings you’re seeing by doing a balance transfer in the first place, so be sure to factor this in if refinancing high-interest debt is in your plans.

Chase Slate® vs. Chase Freedom®: APR promotions

If you’re looking for a new credit card because you need pay off high-interest credit card debt or finance a large purchase that you’ll pay off over time, the Chase Slate® and the Chase Freedom® both have something to offer.

With the Chase Slate®, you’ll get an introductory APR: 0% on Purchases and Balance Transfers for 15 months, and then the ongoing APR of 15.74% - 24.49% Variable APR.

With the Chase Freedom®, you’ll also get an introductory APR: 0% on Purchases and Balance Transfers for 15 months, and then the ongoing APR of 15.74% - 24.49% Variable APR.

Although the Chase Slate® and the Chase Freedom® offer identical 0% periods, it’s important to reiterate that the Chase Slate® waives its balance transfer fee if you move your debt onto the card within 60 days of opening your account. This brings the overall cost of a balance transfer way down if you choose the Chase Slate®, making it a clear choice for folks with good credit who are trying to get out of debt.

Nerd note: Remember, if you decide to move forward with a 0% APR offer, making your monthly payments on time is essential. If you don’t, your deal could be canceled. This would mean paying interest on your balance right away, which could get expensive fast. Paying your credit card bill by its due date should always be a priority, but devote special attention to this if you’re on a 0% promotion.

The bottom line: Should I get the Chase Slate® or the Chase Freedom®?

If you’re looking for a credit card that will allow you to finance a large purchase at 0% for long period of time and provide ongoing rewards on your spending, the Chase Freedom® is a great option.

Alternatively, the Chase Slate® is a ideal for consumers with very good credit who are interested in a balance transfer because it provides over a year at 0% and eliminates its costly balance transfer fee if you move your debt onto it quickly.

Image via iStock.