We’ve already talked about the Chase Freedom Card, with 5 percent cash back on up to $1,500 in combined purchases in bonus categories each quarter you activate, plus unlimited 1 percent cash back on all other purchases, and the Chase Sapphire Preferred, a favorite of the travel hacking set, with its sweet sign-up bonus and easy transfer of points to participating partners.
But what of Chase Slate? Chase Slate, unlike its shiny brethren, doesn’t offer cash back, or travel rewards, or a sign-up bonus. If you’re looking to earn money as you spend money, Chase Slate won’t appeal.
But if you used another card to make a big purchase-and now the finance charges are adding up-then Chase Slate might be the card of you.
Chase Slate is notable, not for what it gives you, but rather for what it doesn’t. Namely:
- A 0 percent Introductory APR for 15 months on purchases and balance transfers
- No annual fee
- $0 Introductory balance transfer fee for transfers made during the first 60 days of account opening
- No Penalty APR – Paying late won’t raise your interest rate (APR). All other account pricing and terms apply
Is Chase Slate for you?
Cash back and travel rewards cards are great for people financially secure enough to pay their balances off in full every month, thus reaping all the benefits of rewards cards without experiencing the pain of their high interest rates.
But if you occasionally use credit cards to pay for large purchases over time, rewards cards miss the mark. Plus, cards with rewards can be an easy way to rationalize unnecessary purchases-after all, you’re earning rewards, so it’s almost not like spending money at all, right? Chase Slate offers more flexibility than a charge card (you can, after all, carry a balance) but less incentive to spend than a rewards card.
Chase Slate is a great option if you’re paying down debt and need a little help.
According to Chase, the Slate Card requires good or excellent credit. This typically means you have at least five years of credit history without any late payments or other negative information in the last couple of years.
Secondly, even though Chase Slate accepts balance transfers, you may not be approved if your existing credit utilization ratio or debt-to-income ratio is too high. (In other words, if your existing cards are close to maxed or you don’t have a lot of cash left over after making all of your loan and card payments each month.)
How much could you save?
Chase Slate’s $0 introductory balance transfer fee for transfers made during the first 60 days of account opening allows you to transfer a balance at no charge, and gives you time to pay it off with no interest. Other credit cards that offer a 0 percent APR on balance transfers typically charge balance transfer fees of between 3 and 5 percent of the transferred balance: That’s between $30 and $50 per $1,000 you transfer.
As our balance transfer calculator will show you, that fee may still be well worth it if you’re paying double-digit interest on your existing card. But if you can avoid paying a balance transfer fee, that’s more money you can put toward paying the balance down.
Here’s one scenario:
You transfer $5,000 from a card with a 19.99 percent APR to Chase Slate. Paying $300 a month, you might save up to $895.35 by making the transfer.
Actual savings would depend on regular payments of at least $300 and the regular APR you qualify for when you apply – these are determined by your creditworthiness. At $300 a month, it would take approximately 17 months to pay off the balance, which is two months longer than Slate’s intro 0 percent APR period (at the time of this review).
Let’s compare this to a competing balance transfer card that offers an introductory 0 percent APR for 18 months but charges a 5 percent balance transfer fee. Using the same criteria, you would only save $652.87.
In addition, Chase Slate offers a monthly Fico® score and credit dashboard for free so that you can watch your credit score rise as your debt levels fall.
Once you’ve paid off that unwieldy balance, you can still use Chase Slate for everyday purchases (it has stronger fraud protections than a debit card), or certainly until you’re confident you’re ready for a rewards card.