How low can Chase go? Such is the question being asked by those following the recent flurry of product changes that Chase, the largest credit card issuer in the United States, has made of late. Following the company’s surprising resurrection of its free balance transfer credit card offer a few months ago, Chase this past week upped the ante by extending the 0% introductory periods on three of its most popular cards: the Chase Freedom Visa and the Ink Cash and Ink Classic business cards.
The Chase Freedom Visa Credit Card, which offers a $100 initial bonus after one spends $500 in the first three months of being a cardholder as well as 5% cash back on spending categories that rotate on a quarterly basis, used to offer 0% on both purchases and balance transfers, but not for that long. Consumers got six months without interest on new purchases and 12 months on transferred balances.
While lucrative, these introductory terms weren’t competitive in a market that also includes three Citi credit cards offering 0% for 18 months. In addition, the mismatch between the 0% periods for purchases and transfers created the risk that cardholders might see their minimum payments allocated to the balance with the lowest interest rate, rather than that with the highest rate.
By lengthening both of the Freedom Card’s 0% rates to 15 months, Chase has certainly closed the gap. In the Freedom Card, Chase now has an offer with both competitive rates and attractive rewards, something the aforementioned Citicards don’t have at all. Consider this along with fact that Chase also has the best balance transfer card on the market, and it’s clear that Chase now has a powerful suite of cards to offer consumers who are sick of finance charges.
Chase hasn’t forgotten small business owners either, applying a Freedom-esque boost to the 0% terms offered by the flagship Chase business credit cards, the Ink Cash and the Ink Classic. Whereas the Ink Cash and Ink Classic cards used to offer 0% on purchases and balance transfers for 6 months, they both now offer 0% on purchases and transfers for the same year-long period.
The effect of these changes was to transform great business rewards credit cards into attractive offers overall. The Ink Cash offers a $250 initial bonus, 5% cash back on the first $25,000 spent on office supply and telecom services, 2% cash back on $25,000 in annual gas and restaurant expenses, and an unlimited cash back rate of 1% on everything else. The Ink Cash boasts the exact same rewards structure and the Ink Classic is essentially the same, though rewards are offered in the form of points instead of cash back.
Ultimately, Chase’s sudden pro-consumer bent is perhaps a way to lessen some of the heat the company brought upon itself with its recent debt collection impropriety scandal, but for those consumers who benefit from the revamped offers, the savings and not the motivation for offering them, are what count.