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Credit Card Review: Chase Slate

Author: Michael Smith

If you think you are paying too much interest on one or more of your credit card balances, then Chase might have the perfect consolidation or transfer option for you. The Chase Slate card created buzz in the credit card world almost immediately after it was released in 2011.

Known for its long introductory annual percentage rate, or APR, and complete lack of balance transfer fees, the Slate card presents obvious benefits for borrowers stuck with higher rates on a competing card.

Every good product inspires copycats, so the Slate card's balance-transfer benefits are no longer the only reasonable horse in town. Nevertheless, this could still be the right choice for plenty of credit-worthy applicants who are looking for a cheaper way to pay down their debt.

Rewards and Benefits

After its introduction by Chase in 2011, the Slate credit card was named "Best Credit Card for Balance Transfers" by Money Magazine on consecutive years. Since that time, the 0% introductory rate on new purchases and transfers increased from 12 months to 15 months, a direct result of competitor cards offering longer grace periods.

Chase Slate ignores a host of potential fees. There are no annual fees, no balance transfer fees and no over-the-limit fees, and it does not charge a max penalty APR. Once the grace period expires, the card carries a regular APR between 12.99 and 22.99%, depending on the credit score of the applicant.

Cardholders also gain access to a free monthly FICO score and Credit Dashboard through Chase. Unlike other credit-checking services from cards such as Capital One's Quicksilver Rewards card, this is the same FICO score other creditors see when they pull your credit.

All Chase credit cards come with the "Blueprint" payment feature. Cardholders can select between four different options, or a combination thereof, for their payments. These include full pay, split pay for large purchases, select a "finish it" pay-off date and a tracking option for specific spending categories.

The Fine Print

If you are going to transfer a balance to Slate from an existing card, do it quickly. The zero balance transfer fee is actually only valid for the first 60 days after approval. Balance transfers made after this period are subject to a fee of $5 or 3% of the transfer amount, whichever is greater.

Chase also includes steep ATM fees: $10 minimum or 5% of the withdrawal amount, whichever is greater. This makes Chase Slate one of the worst ATM cards out there.

This is not designed as a rewards card, but it is worth noting that Chase Slate does not offer reward points or any cash back.

Main Competitors

Two cards directly challenge the Chase Slate card for the balance transfer or large purchase crowd: the Citi Simplicity card and the Discover it double cash back card. Neither of these cards have the costless balance transfer options, however, which puts them behind the pack.

Discover it double cash back does offer attractive rewards during the first year, where you can earn 5% cash back, which might be enough to entice big spenders away from the cheaper Slate. Citi Simplicity has one upgrade over the Slate: a 21-month introductory period, versus 15 months.

Who Should Get It

There is no question who this card is designed to help most: consumers who are worried about their credit card debt and want to find a cheaper way to pay it down. Because the introductory rate of 0% for 15 months applies to transfers and new purchases alike, the Chase Slate card is a great card for individuals or families who plan on financing a large purchase.

This is not the card for those with below-average credit, those who want a big rewards program or those who cannot pay off their balance in 15 months.

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