Chase Freedom Unlimited vs. Chase Slate [2021]: The Bottom Line Comparison

The Chase Freedom Unlimited and Chase Slate are both issued by Chase, but they offer very different features and benefits. See which card would suit you more.
Last updated May 26, 2021 | By Ben Walker | Edited By Becca Borawski Jenkins
Chase Freedom Unlimited vs. Chase Slate

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The Chase Freedom Unlimited and Chase Slate appear to be similar credit cards. They’re both issued by Chase and share a few of the same benefits. But each card is designed for different types of people, which is apparent when you dig into their details.

This Chase Freedom Unlimited vs. Chase Slate comparison will help you learn more about the strengths and weaknesses of each card, as well as what benefits they each have. Having this information can help you decide which of these credit card offers might suit you better.

In this article

Chase Freedom Unlimited vs. Chase Slate

The Chase Freedom Unlimited is considered a cashback credit card because it earns its cardholders cash back rewards on any eligible purchase. The Chase Slate card is considered a balance transfer card because it typically offers low introductory rates for balance transfers.

Since they fall into separate categories, it’s easy to see where each card could be better suited to certain situations. For example, the Freedom Unlimited can help you save money on every purchase you make because of the cash back you can earn. But if you’re trying to avoid paying interest on a large amount of credit card debt, then the Chase Slate could be your better option.

Use this table to compare features between both cards to see how they might align with your lifestyle and spending habits.

Chase Freedom Unlimited

Chase Freedom Unlimited

Chase Slate Card

Chase Slate

Card type Cash back Balance transfer
Credit card issuer Chase Chase
Credit card network Visa Visa
Annual fee $0 $0
Welcome bonus Earn a $200 cash back bonus after spending $500 in the first 3 months, plus earn 5% cash back on grocery store purchases (not including Target or Walmart; up to $12,000 in the first year) Long 0% APR period on purchases and balance transfers
Earning rate 5% on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards, 3% on dining and drugstore purchases, and 1.5% on all other purchases; plus get 5% on Lyft rides None
Redemption methods Cash back can be redeemed for:
  • Statement credits
  • Direct deposits
  • Gift cards
  • Travel
  • Purchases from participating merchants
None
Intro APR 0% intro APR on purchases for 15 months
  • 0% intro APR on balance transfers for 15 months
  • 0% intro APR on purchases for 15 months
Annual credits None None
Travel perks
  • Transfer rewards to travel partners if you have an eligible Chase card
  • Up to $1,500 per person and $6,000 per trip in trip cancellation/interruption insurance
  • Auto rental collision damage waiver
  • Travel and emergency assistance services
  • Auto rental collision damage waiver
  • Roadside dispatch
Other benefits
  • Purchase protection
  • Extended warranty protection
  • Complimentary three months of DashPass from DoorDash
  • Purchase protection
  • Extended warranty protection
Foreign transaction fee 3% 3%
Credit score needed Good, Excellent Good, Excellent
Learn how to apply

What both cards excel at

If you compare credit cards, you’ll typically find similarities between many of them, especially if they have the same credit card issuer. Here are the areas where the Chase Freedom Unlimited and Chase Slate overlap in what they offer:

  • Annual fee: Annual fees immediately take away from the value of any credit card. Fortunately, the Chase Freedom Unlimited has a $0 annual fee, which is the same as the $0 annual fee on the Chase Slate. Not having to worry about an annual cost means you can focus on each card’s benefits.
  • Intro APR on purchases: Credit cards with introductory APR rates can be helpful if you have big purchases coming up and want some time to avoid interest charges while you pay off your purchases. The Chase Freedom Unlimited offers a 0% intro APR on purchases for 15 months while the Chase Slate offers a 0% intro APR on purchases for 15 months.
  • Purchase protection: Chase purchase protection helps cover new purchases against damage or theft for a certain period of time after you make the purchase. For both of these cards, this period is up to 120 days. You get up to $500 per claim and up to $50,000 per card account.
  • Extended warranty: Chase’s extended warranty coverage extends eligible manufacturer’s warranties of three years or less by one additional year. This can be helpful for automatically adding another year of protection onto eligible products you’ve purchased.
  • Car rental coverage: If you decline the rental company’s collision insurance and pay for the entire rental using either the Chase Freedom Unlimited or Chase Slate, you’ll be eligible for this coverage. This covers against theft and collision damage for eligible vehicles within the U.S. and abroad. Keep in mind this coverage is secondary to any personal car insurance you may have.
  • Contactless payments: Skip the swipe or insert with quick and easy contactless technology. The best contactless credit cards only require a tap on or hover near a contactless-enabled terminal. If you see the contactless symbol, which looks like a Wi-Fi symbol, you know a payment terminal has contactless technology.
  • Chase Offers: Virtually every card issued by Chase is eligible for Chase Offers, a free discount program Chase cardmembers are automatically enrolled in. Check what offers are available and add them to your cards through your online Chase account or the Chase mobile app. Most offers focus on giving money back in the form of statement credits for eligible purchases.

3 important differences between the Chase Slate and Freedom Unlimited

The differences between credit cards are where you can typically see how one card might suit you more than another. Here are three important differences between the Chase Slate and Freedom Unlimited:

1. Rewards earning

Only one of these cards is a rewards credit card. The Chase Freedom Unlimited offers these cash back rewards rates: 5% on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards, 3% on dining and drugstore purchases, and 1.5% on all other purchases, plus get 5% on Lyft rides. The Chase Slate doesn’t offer cash back or any other rewards for making purchases. Rather, it focuses on other types of benefits.

The cash back you earn with the Freedom Unlimited actually comes in the form of Chase Ultimate Rewards points and can be redeemed for statement credits, direct deposits, gift cards, travel, and purchases from participating merchants. Since you get cash back with any purchase you make, it’s easy to use this card for everything and get at least a 1.5% discount on every purchase.

Learn more about this card in our Chase Freedom Unlimited review.

Unlimited Cash Back

Intro Offer

$200 cash back

Annual Fee

$0

Rewards Rate

up to 5% cash back

Benefits and Drawbacks

Benefits

  • $200 sign-up bonus
  • Bonus rewards on travel, dining, and drugstores
  • 5% cash back on grocery store purchases (up to $12k in your first year)
  • No annual fee
  • 0% intro APR on purchases

Drawbacks

  • Has foreign transaction fee
Card Details
  • Earn a $200 cash back bonus after spending $500 in the first 3 months, plus earn 5% cash back on grocery store purchases (not including Target or Walmart; up to $12,000 in the first year)
  • 5% on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards, 3% on dining and drugstore purchases, and 1.5% on all other purchases
  • Intro purchase 0% offer: 0% for 15 months then 14.99% to 23.74% (variable)

2. Sign-up bonuses

It’s common for credit card companies to offer sign-up bonuses or welcome offers to entice you to open one of their credit cards. These sign-up bonuses are often a huge benefit because of how much cash back or bonus points you can earn. With the Chase Freedom Unlimited, you could get $200 cash back after spending $500 in the first 3 months.

The Chase Slate sign-up bonus is different because you don’t earn rewards for using your card on purchases. Rather, you get an introductory APR offer on balance transfers and purchases. Here’s how the Chase Slate sign-up bonus works: Long 0% APR period on purchases and balance transfers.

Neither bonus is necessarily better than the other, as it depends on what you’re looking for. If you want cash back, the Freedom Unlimited is the best credit card option of these two. But if you want low intro APR rates, the Chase Slate would likely make more sense.

3. Balance transfers

The Chase Slate is the clear choice over the Chase Freedom Unlimited for balance transfers. A balance transfer is when you transfer a balance you owe from one account to another. This can be a useful money-saving strategy if the credit card you transfer your balance to charges a lower interest rate than the previous credit product.

The Chase Freedom Unlimited doesn’t currently offer an intro APR for balance transfers. But the Chase Slate offers 0% intro APR on balance transfers for 15 months after account opening. Though you will pay a balance transfer fee, in return, you get some time to continue paying down your balance without being subject to the normal variable APR.

Learn more about this card in our Chase Slate review.

Which card should you choose?

The best card for you between the Chase Freedom Unlimited versus Chase Slate is clear if you’re able to align one of the card’s benefits with your personal finance goals. If you want one of the best cashback credit cards available, the Freedom Unlimited easily beats out the Chase Slate.

Since the Chase Slate has no rewards program associated with it at all, using it to make purchases doesn’t have additional benefits other than an opportunity to build your credit and put purchases on credit.

However, the Chase Slate has helpful intro APR rates on both purchases and balance transfers. If you can plan ahead for future purchases or a balance transfer, the Chase Slate can help you avoid interest payments for a certain amount of time. So the Chase Slate may not earn rewards, but it’s useful for a different reason.

Overall, the Freedom Unlimited makes sense if you want an everyday cashback card to use for daily expenses. You get cash back for every purchase you make, and the added benefits of purchase protection and extended warranty coverage can help ensure your eligible purchases are well protected.

But if you specifically need a card for low introductory interest rates on purchases and balance transfers, the Chase Slate likely has more to offer.

FAQs

Which is better: Chase Slate or Chase Freedom Unlimited?

The better card for you between the Chase Slate and Chase Freedom Unlimited depends on your situation and financial goals. If you want a balance transfer card to help pay down debt while avoiding interest charges, consider the Chase Slate. If you want a rewards card that earns cash back on every purchase plus some bonus categories, consider the Chase Freedom Unlimited.

Can I upgrade my Chase Slate to a Freedom card?

It’s possible to product change between different Chase credit cards, including from a Chase Slate to one of the Chase Freedom cards. But you won’t typically receive a card’s sign-up bonus if you product change from one card to another. So it would likely make more sense to apply for the new Chase card instead of doing a product change if you want to earn its sign-up bonus.

But if you don’t want another hard inquiry on your credit report, doing a product change might be the better idea. You’ll get a new card with different benefits, and a product change doesn’t impact your credit.

What is the minimum credit limit for Chase Freedom Unlimited?

The minimum credit limit for the Chase Freedom Unlimited is likely $500, though Chase doesn’t post or state official credit limits for their cards. If you want a credit limit increase, Chase regularly offers automatic increases depending on your credit usage, credit history, and other factors.

Chase doesn’t offer a time frame for these automatic credit limit increases, but it’s recommended you responsibly and regularly use your Chase credit cards to improve your chances. In addition, filling out your income information in your Chase online account could also help.

Keep in mind that automatic credit limit increases don’t typically affect your credit score, but asking for a manual increase is likely to incur a hard credit inquiry.

Is the Chase Freedom Unlimited hard to get?

The Chase Freedom Unlimited typically requires a good or excellent credit score to qualify. This would mean you would likely need at least a 670 FICO Score or a 661 VantageScore to successfully apply for and receive this card.


Bottom line

The Chase Freedom Unlimited and Chase Slate are two of the best cards available in their respective categories as far as Chase credit cards are concerned. But keep in mind that they’re different types of cards and would fit different types of situations. Before deciding which card to go with, use the information above to compare each card’s benefits.

Remember to consider your lifestyle and how a new credit card could align with your spending habits and preferences. The best card for you will have the benefits you’re looking for and can help you achieve your goals.

Unlimited Cash Back

Intro Offer

$200 cash back

Annual Fee

$0

Rewards Rate

up to 5% cash back

Benefits and Drawbacks

Benefits

  • $200 sign-up bonus
  • Bonus rewards on travel, dining, and drugstores
  • 5% cash back on grocery store purchases (up to $12k in your first year)
  • No annual fee
  • 0% intro APR on purchases

Drawbacks

  • Has foreign transaction fee
Card Details
  • Earn a $200 cash back bonus after spending $500 in the first 3 months, plus earn 5% cash back on grocery store purchases (not including Target or Walmart; up to $12,000 in the first year)
  • 5% on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards, 3% on dining and drugstore purchases, and 1.5% on all other purchases
  • Intro purchase 0% offer: 0% for 15 months then 14.99% to 23.74% (variable)

Author Details

Ben Walker Ben Walker is a credit cards and travel writer at FinanceBuzz who loves helping others achieve their travel goals through financially-sound decisions. For nearly a decade, he has been using credit card points and miles for the sole purpose of traveling the world. Ben has been featured in The Washington Post, MSN, Debt.com, and Finder.com.