When it comes to choosing a credit card, both the Chase Freedom and the Bankamericard Cash Back are two popular contenders.
But when you compare them, does one card stand out more than another? Or are both strong contenders for your business?
You may find yourself asking, are one company's rewards or incentives better in the short term or the long run? Which card has a lower interest rate or balance transfer fees?
We recently did a head-to-head comparison of Chase Freedom and Bankamericard Cash Back credit cards to see which card truly comes out on top. You won't believe what we found out - read on for all the details:
Incentives for New Customers
A sign on bonus can be a great incentive to apply for a credit card. Of course, most customers look at the biggest incentive -- the interest rate and balance transfer rate.
Like other credit cards, the Chase Freedom and Bankamericard Cash Rewards Cards offer highly competitive sign-on incentives to encourage you to make purchases or transfer a balance to your new card.
We've outlined the interest rate details as of August 2017 below, as well as any sign-on bonuses and incentives you get when you're approved for these cards and meet the prerequisite conditions (such as a certain dollar amount of purchases within a certain timeframe).
Chase Freedom Credit Card
New customers get an introductory cash back offer -- a $150 bonus after you spend $500 or more on purchases within the first three months of opening your account.
You also get unlimited 1% cash back on every purchase you make with your card, automatically.
Moreover, you can earn a $25 bonus after adding your first authorized user to the card provided that user makes a purchase within the same 3 month period.
You can also get up to 5% total cash back in different categories, including gas stations, restaurants and even websites like Amazon.com. The categories change every quarter.
If you plan to use the card internationally, you should know however that there is a foreign transaction fee, so keep that in mind if you're traveling!
We've conducted a thorough review of the best travel credit cards as well, so if you want the most airline miles and rewards for using your card when you travel, be sure to check it out!
Bankamericard Cash Back Credit Card
The Bankamericard Cash Back credit card also gives you a 0% introductory APR on purchases and balance transfers for 12 balance cycles -- making it a somewhat shorter timeframe than the Chase Freedom Unlimited card. After the 12 billing cycles, the purchase and balance transfer APR is a variable APR from 13.99-23.99 depending on creditworthiness and other factors.
Like the Chase Freedom credit card, the Bankamericard Cash Back card has $0 annual fee.
In terms of introductory offers, new cardholders get a $150 online cash bonus after spending at least $500 on purchases within the first 90 days of opening your account.
In terms of cash back rewards, you get 1% cash back on all purchases, but you also get 2% cash back at grocery stores and wholesale clubs, and 3% cash back on gas (up to the first $2,500 on combined grocery, wholesale and gas club purchases every quarter).
Incentives for Loyal Customers
Getting a customer to apply for, and be approved for, your credit card is one thing. Keeping them, however, can present an even greater challenge. Both Bank of America and Chase offer several ongoing incentives to help encourage customers to continue to use their cards. We've outlined them for you in detail below:
The Chase Freedom card offers up to 5% cash back across different categories, which change each quarter. Your cash back rewards never expire as long as your account remains open.
Every three months, you'll need to login to your Chase account online to "activate" your rewards in order to start earning the 5% cash back. It may seem like a hassle, but it's only four times per year, and the categories are in line with normal consumer shopping habits. Currently they are as follows:
January - March - 5% cash back at gas stations and local commuter transportation services
April - June - 5% cash back at grocery stores and wholesale clubs. Does not include Walmart or Target
July - September - 5% cash back at restaurants and wholesale clubs
October - December - 5% cash back for holiday shopping and wholesale clubs.
Chase regularly adds retailers to the list of categories as the timeframe comes closer, so be sure to check their website to see where you can get the most bang for your buck!
Bankamericard Cash Rewards
The Bankamericard gives you 1% cash back on every purchase, but also gives you 2% cash back at grocery stores and 3% cash back on gas up to $1,500 in combined grocery and gas purchases every quarter.
Unlike the Chase Freedom, the categories for cash back from the Bankamericard don't change. Like the Chase Freedom, however, your rewards don't expire as long as the account is open.
Bankamericard also offers some additional incentives. For example, you get a 10% customer bonus each time you redeem your cash back rewards into a Bank of America checking or savings account. If you're a Preferred Rewards client, that bonus can increase to between 25%-75%.
If you apply for a Bankamericard online, you can also get a $100 sign-on bonus if you spend $500 during your first 90 days of opening the account. This offer is only available for online applicants.
Interest rates are a key deciding factor when comparing credit cards - but they aren't the only thing you should consider. Other rates can add up quickly if you're not prepared -- balance transfer rates, foreign transaction rates and annual fees (if any) can surprise you if you're not expecting them! Fortunately, we've outlined all the added fees as well as interest rates below:
The Chase Freedom card gives you a 0% APR for 15 months on purchases and balance transfers. After that, cardholders will be subject to a variable APR from 13.99%-22.99% depending on creditworthiness.
Bankamericard Cash Rewards
The Bankamericard Cash Rewards credit card offers a 0% introductory APR for 12 billing cycles on purchases and balance transfers made in the first 60 days of opening your account. After that, you'll be subject to a variable APR of 13.74-23.74% depending on creditworthiness.
Fees are another important consideration when deciding between credit cards. You'll be glad to know that neither the Chase Freedom credit card or the Bankamericard Cash Rewards card have an annual fee. With the Bankamericard, there's a $0 balance transfer fee for the first 60 days from the day your account is open. After that, the balance transfer fee is 3% or $10, whichever is larger.
The Chase Freedom card has a 5% balance transfer fee - or $5 whichever amount is larger. There is also a foreign transaction fee of 3% of each transaction (in U.S. dollars). If you travel often, you may want to look for a card that has no foreign transaction fee.
Perks of Each Card
Perks are one of the biggest selling points of a credit card beyond its interest rate, and both Chase and Bank of America have stepped up to the plate to make customers feel safer and more at ease doing business with their respective cards.
They've also partnered with different third party companies to offer additional perks that may be a key deciding factor in which one you choose. We've outlined the biggest perks below:
Chase Freedom provides Zero Liability Protection which means you won't be held responsible for unauthorized charges that are made with your card or account details. Zero liability protection extends to U.S.-issued cards only and does not apply to ATM or PIN transactions not processed by Visa.
The Chase Freedom card also comes with a number of shopping protectons including purchase protection and extended liability protection. The card also hosts a number of travel benefits including auto rental collision damage waiver and roadside assistance. Chase Freedom Visa Signature cardmembers can also benefit from trip cancellation/interruption insurance, lost luggage reimbursement and travel accident insurance.
Consult your Guide to Benefits for more information or details on coverages.
Bankamericard Cash Rewards
The Bankamericard Cash Rewards card also offers a $0 liability for fraudulent transactions as well as online and mobile banking options. It comes with several other notable features, however, that are lacking in the Chase Freedom card, most notably the chip-enabled technology which offers enhanced security at chip terminals in 130+ countries.
You can also add your Bankamericard to a mobile device and pay with a digital wallet using Apple Pay, Android Pay or Samsung Pay.
Do you have to have a checking or savings account with either provider in order to obtain one of their cards? Are there incentives for getting or having an account with either provider?
Having a checking or savings account with either Chase Bank or Bank of America isn't a requirement in order to apply for these companies' credit cards, however the Bankamericard does offer you a 10% customer bonus if you redeem your cash back rewards into your Bank of America checking or savings account. If you're a loyal Bank of America customer anyway, this customer bonus can add up quickly to your benefit.
What aspects of a person's life should they consider to decide which card provider is right for them? E.g. frequent business travel, several grocery shopping trips, etc.
Considering your lifestyle is a key decision when applying for any kind of credit card. Generally speaking, the Chase Freedom card is a better "all purpose credit card" that you can use to get greater cash back rewards in rotating categories such as grocery stores, gas stations, wholesale clubs and so on. If you travel often, particularly across the country, you may find that the included rental/travel insurance (offered by a third party, not Chase) can come in handy in case of emergencies.
On the other hand, the Bankamericard is a better card if you want a simpler cash back credit card that doesn't limit you to certain categories, but also doesn't give you increased cash back percentages for those categories. The Bankamericard may be a better option for travel as well, since there are no foreign transaction fees and your card comes with integrated chip technology for added security.
That being said, however, there are other travel credit cards which offer more travel-targeted benefits such as airline miles and more rewards points for travel-related expenses. Be sure to check out our detailed guide on the best travel credit cards for frequent flyers and domestic travelers.
If you're looking to maximize rewards points, you may want to consider other cards. Be sure to check out the Bank of America Rewards program and Chase Ultimate Rewards programs as well. Keep in mind that cash back cards - such as the two cards featured here provide their benefits in the form of cash back versus rewards points.
Card Security Features
Identity theft and credit card fraud are very real and ever-present threats in today's society. Credit card providers have taken the initiative to not only strengthen their respective card offerings but have also adopted stronger security transaction encryption and technology to help make it harder for identity thieves and scammers to usurp your financial and personal information.
Both Chase and Bank of America have a zero liability purchase protection system in place, as well as options to notify you via email, phone and/or text about alerts on your account if fraudulent activity is detected.
Both companies also leverage the latest in online security technology when you opt in for paperless statements. Support services at both companies take proper precautious when asking for and receiving personal or financial information over the phone.
In this regard, the Bankamericard credit card pulls ahead of Chase simply for the fact that its card is chip-enabled, which provides an extra layer of security and privacy when using the card at various terminals in 130+ countries. With the ongoing threat of things like card skimmers, one can never be too careful in protecting and safeguarding one's personal information.
What Customers Have Said
Reading a review of the Chase Freedom credit card compared to the Bankamericard Cash Rewards card is one thing. Reading what customers have to say about each card is another thing entirely. So how do customers feel about their respective cards?
Chase Freedom cardholders like the no-frills, no-fuss cash back rewards on the Chase Freedom card. Customers who often shop at wholesale clubs, or who use their cards at grocery stores or gas stations generally find the Chase Freedom to be a good, all-around card that offers the kind of protections you'd expect as well as the convenience you need in this day and age.
Since the rewards rotate around commonly used categories anyway, customers find the card very easy to use - particularly for seasonal items like holiday shopping or summer travel. Customer service is responsive and attentive, and when asked what could be improved with the Chase Freedom credit card, the overwhelming customer response is "don't change a thing!"
Bankamericard Cash Rewards
If you're a loyal Bank of America customer, the added bonus of having a checking or savings account can really add up here. Otherwise, as far as a general credit card goes, there are other cards which are better suited to different needs and lifestyles. For instance, there are cards with better rewards programs, better travel incentives and so on. For loyal Bank of America customers, however, this is the card to have, and the added chip technology is a definite bonus in terms of being on the cutting edge of identity theft and security solutions.
Credit Score Requirements
Ideally, you'll want to have Good or Excellent credit in order to apply for these cards and be approved.
Of course, your credit score is just one factor that the credit card companies consider when reviewing your application and there are many other points that are also taken into consideration.
Even if you have a fair credit score, you may very well be approved if other items on your credit report look good, so why not apply for the card that most closely matches your needs and lifestyle and see what happens?
The bottom line - which card is right for you?
When it comes to comparing credit cards, the Chase Freedom and the Bankamericard Cash Rewards card both seem very similar on the surface in terms of cash back rewards.
However, they have decidedly different consumers in mind with vastly different goals when you dig a little deeper. A head to head comparison isn't really possible when there are so many key differences.
Of course, the things which are perhaps the most important, such as interest rate and APR are generally in line with other competitive credit cards of this type.
But that is where the similarities end. Rather than give you a lower cash-back rate across the board, like the Bankamericard Cash Rewards card does, Chase is opting to attract shopping-savvy consumers who follow a fairly predictable, seasonal purchasing routine.
That being said, the Bankamericard Cash Rewards card certainly comes out on top when it comes to security, as all credit cards are swiftly moving toward chip-enabled technology to keep up with the very real threat of skimmers, identity thieves and other kiosk-style credit card scanners and swipers.
Both cards, despite their similarities, are looking to attract very different consumers with very different lifestyles and priorities.
If you can keep on top of the categories, the Chase Freedom gives you a lot more cash back and convenience.
If you'd rather be rewarded for loyalty and not have to deal with categories, but get a lower cash back amount, the Bankamericard Cash Rewards card may be a better option for you.
It's worth noting, however, that there's no one size fits all when it comes to choosing the right credit card, and you'll never find a card that offers cash back PLUS rewards PLUS a low interest rate PLUS sign on bonuses. You have to sacrifice things in some areas in order to get more in others -- that's just the way the credit card business works. There are cards from both Chase and Bank of America, as well as other companies, which are better suited to things like travel, points and other incentives. Be sure to check out our reviews and in-depth guides on those cards as well.
But if you're trying to narrow down your choices between the Chase Freedom and the Bankamericard Cash Rewards card, you'll want to whittle down the pros and cons to determine what features are truly the most important for you.
Ease of use? Convenience? More cash back? Customer service? Loyalty rewards? It can be a challenge to prioritize these things.
Both companies have rock solid financial backgrounds and are well-known brands in the credit card space.
And although we can't make your decision for you, It's our hope that our detailed review and comparisons featured here will help make your decision a little easier!