You’ll likely need a good credit score (670 or higher) to be approved for the Chase Freedom Unlimited card. Here’s what else you need to know.
A long-time favorite of cash back cardholders, the Chase Freedom Unlimited card holds its popularity with solid cash back bonus categories and a variety of extra benefits. If you’re interested in getting it, you’ll need to qualify first. Chase, like most other banks, looks at your credit score as one factor in evaluating your application.
Unless you’re in the 800+ credit score club, you might be asking yourself, “What credit score do I need for the Chase Freedom Unlimited card?” Fear not. Although you will need good credit in order to qualify, it’s not quite as exclusive as some of the other options in the Chase reward cards lineup.
What credit score do I need to get the Chase Freedom Unlimited?
To qualify for the Chase Freedom Unlimited card, you’ll need good credit or better to qualify. That translates into a credit score of at least 670.
That’s much more attainable than some of Chase’s other credit cards. The Chase Sapphire Reserve card – its fanciest luxury card, for example – requires a credit score of at least 740. By contrast, the average credit score in the United States as of November 2020 is 711, according to FICO. That means the average person will likely qualify for the Chase Freedom Unlimited card but may have trouble qualifying for a more exclusive card.
One thing to note is that depending on your credit score, Chase may approve you for one of two versions of this card: either a Visa Signature card or a Visa Platinum card. Both come with the same rewards program from Chase, but they may differ a bit in the ancillary perks that Visa offers. In addition, the minimum credit limit on a Visa Platinum card is $500, whereas the minimum credit limit on a Visa Signature card is $5,000.
How can I improve my score to get this card?
If you don’t yet have a high enough credit score to qualify for the Chase Freedom Unlimited card, you can make several moves to improve your credit score. Here are some things you can do immediately:
- Check your credit report. It’s not uncommon for credit reports to have errors on them, and they’re not always in your favor. You can request one free copy per year of your credit report from each of the three credit bureaus at annualcreditreport.com. If you find any errors, you can get the credit errors fixed before you apply for the Chase Freedom Unlimited card.
- Get a secured credit card. Think of a secured credit card as a starting point. They’re available to almost anyone, as long as you put down a refundable deposit. In return, they’ll help you grow your credit score so you can apply for other, better cards later – like the Chase Freedom Unlimited card.
- Pay down other credit card debt. The amount of credit card debt you have (especially in relation to your credit limit) has a big impact on your credit score. If you have credit card debt now, you may be able to see an increase right away if you’re able to pay down some of it.
- Ask for a credit limit increase on your other credit cards. If you have other credit cards with a balance on them, call up those banks and ask for a credit limit increase. This makes it look like you’re using a smaller percentage of your available credit, which can positively impact your score. But remember, don’t spend up to that new credit limit or you’ll be in the same spot as before.
In most cases, building your credit score is more of a long-term game. These are things that you should always be doing:
- Track your credit score changes. Sign up for a free credit score monitoring service so that you can see your credit score go up in real time. These services often break down your credit score for you so you know what specific factors to focus on, which is very helpful.
- Make all your payments on time. This has the single biggest impact on your credit score. Even one late payment can drop your score by a lot. To be safe, you can put all your bills on autopay so that you never forget to make a payment.
- Keep old, fee-free credit cards open. As long as you don’t have to pay an annual fee, keep your old credit cards open even if you’re not using them all the time. This boosts your average account age and maintains a longer credit history, which can help increase your credit score. Make sure to use your old cards on occasion to prevent them from being closed.
What can I do if Chase declines my application?
If you’re not approved for the Chase Freedom Unlimited card, don’t panic. It’s not a reflection of who you are as a person, and it may even be a mistake.
By law, if Chase or another issuer denies your credit application, the issuer has 60 days to let you know why, or at least tell you you’re entitled to request a reason. If the issuer declines your application because of your credit score, then a few things open up to you. Chase will have to let you know what your credit score is and where it obtained your score. You’re then entitled to get a copy of your credit report, so you can check to make sure it’s accurate. If it’s not accurate, you can fix your credit file and ask Chase to reassess your card application.
Finally, if Chase denied you because of your credit and it is accurate, you’re still not out of options entirely. If you follow the steps above for building your credit score, you can reapply as soon as you think you have a better shot at qualifying with good or excellent credit.
The credit score needed for the Chase Freedom Unlimited card isn’t as high as some other Chase cards require, but you will likely need a credit score of 670 or higher. If you are denied, don’t worry. You can always work to build your credit in the meantime and apply again for the Chase Freedom Unlimited later.