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Chase Slate vs. Chase Freedom Flex

Does the Chase Slate card's intro APR on balance transfers outweigh ongoing rewards?

Summary

If you’re struggling under the weight of a large credit card balance, you may be looking for a card that lets you transfer debt without charging interest, such as the Chase Slate or the Chase Freedom Flex. Read on to find out which card we recommend.

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Editor’s note: The Chase Slate card is not currently accepting new applications online, but you may be able to apply at a Chase branch location.

If you’re struggling under the weight of a large credit card balance, you may be looking for a card that will let you transfer your debt without interest accumulating immediately, such as the Chase Slate. However, the Chase Freedom Flex℠ card is an alluring option if you’re looking for rewards and more ongoing value – but it isn’t well suited for balance transfers since it doesn’t offer a zero-interest intro transfer APR or waive its balance transfer fee like the Chase Slate can.

See related: Best balance transfer credit cards

Ultimately, the Chase Slate vs. Freedom Flex debate comes down to what you’re looking for in a card. The Chase Freedom Flex card lets you earn impressive rewards on every purchase and carries valuable long-term benefits, but you should probably consider the Slate card if your main interest is transferring your balance to a Chase credit card. If you’re looking to avoid interest on both purchases and transferred balances, the Slate is the clear winner since it does not charge a balance transfer fee for the first 60 days and it’s the only Chase credit card that currently offers an intro balance transfer APR. However, the Chase Slate card’s biggest drawbacks are that it doesn’t earn rewards and it’s a bit harder to obtain. The Slate card is not currently available to apply for online, but you can get it at physical Chase branches.

Here’s what else we found when comparing the two cards:

Chase Slate vs. Chase Freedom Flex Summary

Chase Slate card
Chase Slate

Chase Freedom Flex℠
Rewards rateNone
  • 5% cash back on activated rotating categories (on up to $1,500 in purchases per quarter)
  • 5% cash back on Lyft purchases (through March 2022)
  • 5% cash back on Chase Ultimate Rewards travel purchases
  • 3% cash back on dining
  • 3% cash back on drugstore purchases
  • 1% cash back on general purchases
Sign-up bonusNone
  • $200 when you spend $500 in the first three months
Annual fee$0$0
Estimated yearly rewards value (for someone who spends $15,900)$0$340
Other benefits
  • 15-month 0% intro APR on purchases and balance transfers (then 14.99% to 23.74% variable)
  • No balance transfer fee for the first 60 days of account opening (5% or $5, whichever is greater, after)
  • Purchase protection, extended warranty protection and auto rental collision damage waiver coverage
  • Complimentary three-month subscription to DoorDash DashPass, and 50% off the rate for the next nine months (activate by December 31, 2021)
  • 15-month 0% intro APR on purchases (then 14.99% to 23.74% variable)
  • Purchase protection, extended warranty protection and auto rental collision damage waiver coverage
  • Additional trip cancellation/interruption insurance and cellphone protection when paying the non-refundable passenger fares and/or cellphone bill with your card
  • Complimentary three-month subscription to DoorDash DashPass, and 50% off the rate for the next nine months (activate by December 31, 2021)
  • Mastercard World Elite benefits, including credits and/or perks with select services, including Lyft, Boxed, ShopRunner and Fandango
Who should get this card?
  • Someone with more than $3,500 in credit card debt
  • Someone trying to strengthen his or her credit
  • Someone trying to lower his or her credit card balances
  • Someone who wants to earn rewards
  • Someone with a large purchase coming up
  • Someone with a balance small enough to be offset by rewards, a sign-up bonus and an intro purchase APR

Chase Slate

Overview

As Chase’s only balance transfer credit card – and the only Chase card with a zero-interest intro balance transfer period currently – the Slate is perhaps your best option by a long shot for paying off a sizable balance with this issuer. It doesn’t come with amazing 18-month 0% intro APR periods like its Wells Fargo and Citi competitors, but no balance transfer fee for your first 60 days is hard to beat. Not many credit cards carry this valuable benefit, and it has the potential to save you hundreds of dollars if your balance is worth a few thousand.

However, helping you whittle down your balance is about all the Chase Slate is good for. No rewards or significant lasting perks mean the Slate doesn’t offer much ongoing value once your balance is settled. Its ongoing APR (14.99% to 23.74% variable) doesn’t really make it a low-interest card either. If you can pay off your balance before switching cards, the Freedom Flex is a better option.

Pros and Cons

ProsCons
  • 15-month 0% intro APR on purchases
    and balance transfers (then 14.99% to 23.74% variable)
  • No balance transfer fee for the first 60 days of account opening
    (5% or $5, whichever is greater, after)
  • Offers a decent roster of shopping and travel protections
  • Complimentary three-month subscription to DoorDash DashPass,
    and 50% off the rate for the next nine months
    (activate by December 31, 2021)
  • No rewards program
  • APR is relatively high for a card that doesn’t offer rewards
  • Doesn’t carry as many benefits
    (such as Lyft rewards and certain protections)
    as Chase rewards cards

Best for someone with a balance switching to a Chase card

If you currently have a balance on your card, you’ll almost certainly be better off with the Slate card if you want to avoid interest.

The Chase Freedom Flex charges a 5% fee to transfer your balance ($5 minimum fee), which is on the higher side of the balance transfer fee range. Most cards charge just 3%.

By contrast, Chase Slate waives the balance transfer fee altogether if you transfer your balance within 60 days of opening your account. That can make a huge difference if you owe several thousand dollars. For example, you’d have to spend $200 to transfer $4,000 in debt to a Freedom Flex card, which would wipe out your sign-up bonus. Any further transfer interest would eat through the rewards you earn.

Although the Freedom Flex card doesn’t charge interest on purchases for the first 15 months (then a 14.99% to 23.74% variable APR), it encourages bonus category spending to maximize your cash back. Cardholders may then be tempted to continue packing on debt that adds to their balance after the intro APR period ends.

With those points in mind, the Slate is the most practical option of the two if you want the best opportunity to keep a minimal card balance. Just keep in mind that the Slate card does charge a 5% balance transfer fee once you’ve owned the card for longer than 60 days, so you’ll want to transfer your balance right away.

Chase Freedom Flex

Overview

The Chase Freedom Flex is the clear winner if your balance is small enough to quickly pay off before switching so that a balance transfer isn’t necessary, or if your main concern is interest from big purchases on the horizon.

Although it doesn’t offer an intro balance transfer APR period, you can still keep interest on future purchases at bay with a 15-month 0% intro purchase APR (then 14.99% to 23.74% variable). On top of offering one of the most accessible sign-up bonuses in its class, the Freedom Flex card also provides some of the best reward rates among no annual fee cash back cards.

Choosing the Freedom Flex also future-proofs your wallet if your plan is to upgrade to a higher-caliber Chase Ultimate Rewards card. The Freedom Flex pairs nicely with Chase travel cards since it covers bonus categories outside travel cards’ typical dining and travel purchases. You can then pool your rewards with the Ultimate Rewards card for a 25% to 50% boost in redemption value toward travel bookings. No matter what your next step is, the Freedom Flex is a solid all-around card worth holding onto.

Pros and Cons

ProsCons
  • 15-month 0% intro APR on purchases
    (then 14.99% to 23.74% variable)
  • Easily obtainable $200 cash rewards sign-up bonus
    after spending $500 in purchases
    within the first three months
  • Offers a better roster of shopping and travel protections,
    including additional trip cancellation/interruption insurance
    and cellphone protection
  • Complimentary three-month subscription to DoorDash DashPass,
    and 50% off the rate for the next nine months
    (activate by December 31, 2021)
  • Mastercard World Elite benefits, including credits
    and/or perks with select services, including Lyft, Boxed,
    ShopRunner and Fandango
  • Excellent cash back bonus category coverage
  • No intro balance transfer APR offer
  • 5% (or $5, whichever is greater) balance transfer fee
  • No redemption value bonus when booking Chase Ultimate
    Rewards travel with the Freedom Flex card alone
  • Must track quarterly spending categories and
    remember to activate them every three months

Best for someone who wants to earn rewards

Unlike the Slate card, the Freedom Flex card offers a solid rewards program for popular everyday expenses. The Freedom Flex card offers 5% cash back on rotating categories you activate each quarter (on up to $1,500 in combined purchases per quarter, then 1%), which often include grocery stores, top online shopping retailers, gas stations and more. If you’re not as big of a seasonal spender, then the 5% on Chase Ultimate Rewards travel and Lyft purchases (Lyft offer through March 2022) plus 3% back on dining and drugstore purchases offer a bed of consistency you won’t find with many other rotating category cards.

In addition, the Freedom Flex card offers a $200 sign-up bonus that’s one of the easiest to attain among competing cards. You just need to spend  $500 in combined purchases during the card’s first three months to get it. Both the sign-up bonus and the cash back rewards are reason enough to seriously consider the Freedom Flex, but the solid intro purchase APR makes sure any rewards from big purchases on the horizon won’t be swallowed whole by interest.

First-year rewards value ($15,900 spend)

Chase SlateChase Freedom Flex℠
$0 (no rewards program)$15,900 x 1.72% average rewards rate + $200 sign-up bonus = $473.48

Which card is right for you?

The Chase Slate vs. Chase Freedom Flex battle boils down to whether you carry a balance prior to switching cards. If you’ve got a manageable balance and you’re looking for a rewards card you can use for everyday purchases once you’ve paid what you owe, the Chase Freedom Flex card is a solid choice.

However, the Slate card’s 60-day promotion waiving the card’s balance transfer fee puts it over the top for cardholders who need to transfer their balance.

That said, 15 months isn’t an especially long time to knock out a balance if you owe several thousand dollars and can only afford to pay a few hundred dollars at a time. If you don’t think you can pay your whole balance within the Slate card’s 15-month promotional period, then you may want to consider a card with a longer balance transfer period.

Bottom line

Both the Chase Slate and the Chase Freedom Flex credit cards are excellent options for their intro purchase APR offers, but the Chase Slate has a very narrow appeal. Other balance transfer credit cards can offer longer zero-interest periods and the Slate card is only accessible if you visit a Chase branch in person. If you’re trying to put your foot in the door so you can jump to a premium Chase card down the road, the Freedom Flex delivers an excellent long-term value that won’t become obsolete after you upgrade. But if you want to move to a Chase card with a balance in tow, the Chase Slate is the most viable option.

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.

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