Chase Slate Edge vs. Chase Freedom Unlimited

Is a Chase balance transfer card or cash back card the better fit for you?

Summary

The Chase Slate Edge and Chase Freedom Unlimited are two credit cards that provide introductory APRs. While the two cards share some similarities, depending on your situation, you’ll definitely want to choose one over the other.

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If you’re looking to compare the Chase Slate Edge℠ and the Chase Freedom Unlimited® cards, the first thing that you’ll notice is that the two have a lot of similarities. Both cards are issued by Chase and come with no annual fee. And both cards offer attractive introductory APRs on new purchases and balance transfers.

However, the Freedom Unlimited and Chase Slate Edge cards are tailored toward different kinds of cardholders. Whereas the Freedom Unlimited boasts a lucrative rewards rate, the Slate Edge doesn’t come with a rewards structure. The Slate Edge and the Freedom Unlimited are ultimately meant for different kinds of cardholders: those with a little debt or those who want profitable rewards without paying an annual fee.

Chase Slate Edge vs. Chase Freedom Unlimited

Card

Chase Slate Edge℠

Chase Slate Edge℠

Chase Freedom Unlimited®

Chase Freedom Unlimited®

Rewards rateNo rewards
  • 5% cash back on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards
  • 5% cash back on Lyft purchases (through March 2025)
  • 3% cash back on dining
  • 3% cash back on drugstore purchases
  • 1.5% cash back on all other purchases
Sign-up bonusNo sign-up bonusEarn an additional 1.5% cash back on everything you buy (on up to $20,000 spent in the first year)
Annual fee$0$0
Introductory APR (balance transfers and new purchases)18 months15 months

Rewards rate

The Chase Slate Edge does not come with a rewards program or a traditional sign-up bonus

The Chase Freedom Unlimited, meanwhile, earns you rewards through Chase Ultimate Rewards. While both the rewards rate for everyday purchases and the welcome offer are marketed as cash back, you will actually earn Ultimate Rewards points for your purchases. With the Freedom Unlimited, you will earn 1.5% cash back (or 1.5 Ultimate Rewards points per dollar) on general purchases and 5% or 3% on various bonus categories. Combined with the solid welcome offer and no annual fee, this makes the Chase Freedom Unlimited an attractive card.

With the Chase Freedom Unlimited card alone, your Ultimate Rewards points are worth 1 cent per point. But if you combine it with a premium Chase credit card like the Chase Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card or Chase Sapphire Reserve card, then you can combine your Ultimate Rewards points and get even more value out of your accrued rewards.

See related:Earn more Ultimate Rewards points with the Chase trifecta

Introductory APR

Both the Chase Slate Edge and the Chase Freedom Unlimited offer 0% introductory APR rates on both new purchases and balance transfers. The Chase Slate Edge is marketed as a balance transfer card, its 0% intro period lasts 18 months until the APR goes up to 15.74% to 24.49% variable. Though 18 months is generous, there are other balance transfer cards out there that offer far longer intro periods or more rewards.

On the other hand, the Chase Freedom Unlimited, though marketed as a cash back credit card, has an intro period of 15 months until the APR goes up to 15.74 to 24.49% variable.

As for a balance transfer fee, both the Chase Slate Edge and the Freedom Unlimited charge $5 or 3% of each transfer amount (whichever is greater) in the first 60 days. After that, the fee bumps up to $5 or 5%, whichever is greater. For either card, be sure you make your transfers within the first 60 days, or else you may find your payments going toward those fees more than your own debt.

Chase Slate Edge: Best for those with some debt

If you have carried balances and you need a simple balance transfer card to pay it off, the Chase Slate Edge would make a fine addition to your wallet. Its lack of rewards will not distract you from paying off your debt.

The Slate Edge’s particular perk: You can get a lower APR – by 2% each year – if you pay on time and spend at least $1,000 on your card by your next account anniversary. If you’re still carrying a balance that you’re steadily paying off, this could be both a way to lower your interest and encourage you to keep paying on time.

Wondering if you can pay off your debt within the introductory 18 months of the Slate Edge? Try out our payoff calculator.

Chase Freedom Unlimited: Best for steady rewards

Perhaps you have a little debt leftover from your high-interest card, but you’d still like to earn rewards on the new purchases you’re bound to make (like that Lyft back from the bar)? The Chase Freedom Unlimited perfectly fits your needs.

Its cash back bonus categories suit everyday purchases, and the sign-up bonus is qunique: earn an additional 1.5% cash back on everything you buy (on up to $20,000 spent in the first year). Not to mention, the intro APR on both new purchases and balance transfers for 15 months is a lovely perk for a card known for its rewards (followed by regular APRs).

However, we would not recommend this card for people who have a good amount of debt, for the Freedom Unlimited’s shiny rewards may tempt you into spending more than necessary rather than let you focus on paying off your balances.

Bottom line

The best card for you will depend on your specific situation. If you have a large credit card balance that you’d like to transfer, the Chase Slate Edge is the way to go. However, if your balance is small or you don’t carry a balance at all, then the Chase Freedom Unlimited and its generous rewards structure will make it easy to maximize.

See related:Is the Chase Freedom Unlimited worth it?,Chase Slate Edge vs. Citi Simplicity

Editorial Disclaimer

The editorial content on this page is based solely on the objective assessment of our writers and is not driven by advertising dollars. It has not been provided or commissioned by the credit card issuers. However, we may receive compensation when you click on links to products from our partners.

Credit Card Rate Report
Reward
17.72%
Student
18.28%
Airline
17.51%
Business
16.01%
Cash Back
17.71%

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