Chase Slate® vs. Chase Freedom®: Which is best for you?

A low-stress way to start out with a new credit card is to acquire one with a zero-cost APR for the first 15 months and with no annual fee. The Chase Slate credit card and the Chase Freedom credit card both offer those features, and both of them are issued by JPMorgan Chase Bank, one of the most recognized and largest card issuers in the United States. Many customers find their customer service to be top-notch.

These two cards are a great choice if you want to transfer balances from cards that have higher APRs. They’re also helpful if you want to make a bigger purchase and have plenty of time to pay it off without accumulating interest. Only one of them gives you rewards points, though.

At a glance comparison

You should always begin by knowing exactly what’s being offered, even if you’re primarily after the no annual fee and zero introductory APR. Here are the fundamentals of each:

Chase SlateChase Freedom
Annual Fee$0$0
Rewards RatesNone5% cash back on purchases up to $1,500 in bonus categories (must activate each quarter; 1% on all other purchases)
Sign Up BonusNone$150 cash back bonus when you spend at least $500 within the first three months of card ownership.
Free Access to Credit Score?YesYes
Low introductory APR?Yes, 0% intro APR for 15 months on purchases and balance transfers. After that, there is a variable APR of 16.49%–25.24%.Yes, 0% intro APR for 15 months on purchases and balance transfers. After that, there is a variable APR of 16.49%–25.24%.
Authorized user feeNoneNone

Standout features

The Chase Slate card has a number of excellent features worth considering:

  • Vantage 3.0 credit score monitoring by TransUnion provides you with email alerts about changes to your credit report on a weekly basis. Plus, you can find out how your score may be affected when you pay off debt, open new accounts etc.
  • Contactless payments are available at supporting checkout terminals for fast, easy and secure payments.
  • Fraud alerts let you know right away if suspicious activity occurs on your account.
  • Zero liability protection ensures you’re not accountable for unauthorized purchases on your account.
  • Purchase protection benefits cover purchases made on your card for 120 days against damage or theft.

The Chase Freedom card also offers a variety of outstanding benefits:

  • Get 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in purchases in bonus categories each quarter (you must activate). This may include individual select merchants in addition to bonus rewards categories.
  • Get 1% cash back rewards for every dollar spent (with no maximum) after $1,500 quarterly bonus categories.
  • Zero liability protection covers you if unauthorized purchases are made on your account.
  • Get purchase protection and extended warranty on purchases. 
  • Credit Journey provides unlimited access to your credit score and more, and checking your score doesn’t affect your credit.

The case for the Chase Slate card

The Chase Slate card doesn’t earn any rewards like cash back, miles or points that you can redeem. However, it does offer a 0% APR for 15 months on purchases and 0% APR for 15 months on balance transfers. After that, there is a variable APR of 16.49%–25.24%. Another balance transfer perk is an introductory fee of $0 during the first 60 days your account is open. After 60 days, the fee for balance transfers is 5% of the amount transferred, with a minimum of $5.

Since there’s also a $0 annual fee, you could use this card for some time to either finance purchases or transfer balances from cards with higher APRs without penalties or fees. The credit score needed to be approved for the Chase Slate card is at least 700, so you’ll need to have a good credit rating. 

The case for the Chase Freedom card

The most obvious advantage of this card over the Slate card is the 5% cash back rewards on bonus categories, and then 1% cash back on all purchases after you max out $1,500 of purchases in the bonus groups. In addition, you can earn a generous $150 cash back bonus when you spend at least $500 within the first three months of card ownership. Since it doesn’t cost anything to add an authorized user, you might want to do that to build up points more quickly. 

The annual fee of $0 and the 0% intro APR for 15 months on acquisitions and balance transfers are identical to the Slate card. After that, there is a variable APR of 16.49%–25.24% for the Chase Freedom card. The credit score needed for Chase Freedom is slightly lower than the Slate card, at around 680. Before doing a full-fledged application, you can check online for free to see if you’re pre-qualified for a Chase Freedom card. This is a way to avoid a “hard” credit inquiry that might hurt your credit.

In a nutshell

Many similarities exist between these two cards. Choosing one over the other will depend on what you hope to accomplish. If you just want to transfer balances from higher APR cards, either card will suffice. Taking that step can provide you an extended opportunity to pay back a loan without interest, and in turn, that could help your credit score. 

If you want to earn cash rewards, you’ll want to go with the Chase Freedom card. In that case, you may want to add authorized users. For example, business owners could authorize employees to make purchases for the company, and sometimes parents want to make their children authorized users on their credit cards to help them build up a credit history.

Stephen Altrogge

Stephen Altrogge is a business and marketing writer from Ashland, Ohio. His writing has been published in Fast Company, Zapier, Entrepreneur, Forbes, and a host of other publications. He has a degree in Management Information Systems from Indiana University of Pennsylvania. Before launching his own business, he worked as an auditor at a bank.