Is the Chase Freedom a Visa or Mastercard Credit Card?

Is the Chase Freedom a Visa or Mastercard Credit Card?

credit card advice

Brittney Mayer
By: Brittney Mayer
Posted: May 24, 2018
Opinions expressed here are ours alone, and are not provided, endorsed, or approved by any issuer. Site may be compensated through the issuer affiliate programs.

If you’re a regular credit card user, chances are relatively good that you’ve encountered the rare merchant that doesn’t accept a particular credit card network. And it always seems that whichever network they do accept is the one for which you don’t have a card on hand.

Given the frequency of these experiences, it’s safe to say that your credit card network still matters, even in today’s digital day and age when acceptance is more prevalent. So it’s a valid concern if you can’t identify the network on which your credit card operates, particularly for a popular everyday credit card like the Chase Freedom®.

Freedom® Network | Visa vs. Mastercard | Top Visa Offers | Top Mastercard Offers

All Current Chase Freedom® Credit Cards Are Visa Cards

To date, all* of Chase’s credit cards — including the Chase Freedom® — now operate solely on the Visa network. This applies to both consumer and business credit cards, including Chase in-house cards as well as co-branded partner cards. All Chase bank debit and ATM cards also operate on the Visa network.  (*The only exception is the co-branded IHG rewards card; it’s a Mastercard.)

EXPERT'S RATING

★★★★★
5.0

OVERALL RATING

5.0/5.0
  • Earn a $150 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening
  • Earn 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in combined purchases in bonus categories each quarter you activate
  • Enjoy new 5% categories each quarter
  • Unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases - it's automatic
  • 0% Intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases and balance transfers, then a variable APR of 16.74-25.49%. Balance transfer fee is 5% of the amount transferred, $5 minimum
  • Cash Back rewards do not expire as long as your account is open and there is no minimum to redeem for cash back.
  • Free credit score, updated weekly with Credit Journey℠
  • No annual fee
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0% Intro APR on Purchases for 15 months
0% Intro APR on Balance Transfers for 15 months
16.74% - 25.49% Variable
$0
Excellent/Good

So, what caused all the confusion in the first place? It all comes down to business — and money.

While the Discover and American Express networks mostly distribute their own in-house and co-branded credit cards, Visa and Mastercard credit cards are typically issued by third-party banks like Citibank, Chase, and U.S. Bank. As a side effect, some bank issuers can offer cards from both Visa and Mastercard in their card profiles.

That being said, specific credit card products — e.g., the Chase Freedom® — are usually only associated with a single network, though there are some cards (e.g., the Chase Freedom®) that break that mold. Indeed, at one point, the Chase Freedom® was issued for both Visa and Mastercard credit card networks (much to the confusion of its cardholders).

But, as usually happens in business (and bureaucracy) — contracts change. Chase’s partnership with Mastercard mostly fizzled around 2014, spurring the changeover to Visa. Mid-year, Chase phased out its Mastercard products, giving existing cardholders new Visa cards to replace the decommissioned Mastercard credit and debit cards.

Comparing the Benefits of Visa vs. Mastercard Credit Cards

Since the most obvious difference between credit card processing networks is acceptance, it makes sense to start there. For the most part, acceptance rates are pretty neck-and-neck for Visa and Mastercard in the US. In almost all cases, if a merchant accepts one, they accept both.

The main exception to this general principle is when specific brands have exclusive contracts with a particular network. The most popular example is the wholesale club, Costco, which currently has an exclusive contract with Visa that means it only accepts credit cards that operate on the Visa network.

ValuePenguin Chart Showing Credit Card Network Merchant Acceptance

This ValuePenguin chart shows the number of merchants that accept each of the major credit card networks.

And that relatively equal rate of acceptance is similar around the globe, with both cards being accepted in over 200 countries. The same exception applies as in the US, however, as some foreign merchants may have specific business reasons to use one network over others. A good example of this is found in Canada, where Walmart Canada has stopped accepting Visa cards.

The biggest factor for many merchants that determines whether they accept a particular credit card network is generally the cost. Processing transactions isn’t free, and networks charge merchants fees for every credit card transaction.

Overall, Visa and Mastercard fees aren’t too far apart in merchant costs, though Mastercard charges slightly more than Visa. Discover also charges similar fees to Visa and Mastercard, coming out somewhere in the middle. All three networks are significantly less expensive for merchants than American Express, however.

The Big Difference is in the Benefits

Beyond acceptance and transaction costs, the major differences between Visa and Mastercard come in the form of fringe benefits. Depending on the network (and the issuer), you’ll receive certain benefits from your card that can include things like purchase protection, warranty extensions, and rental car insurance.

Visa Infinite® Credit Card

The quality and amount of benefits you receive will typically vary based on whether you have a standard or premium card. Both Visa and Mastercard offer three tiers of cards, with the top-tier cards providing much more extensive benefits than the base models.

In particular, Visa’s three tiers include Visa Traditional, Visa Signature®, and Visa Infinite®. All members receive the same standard perks that include services like lost or stolen card reporting and emergency card replacement. Cardholders also receive an auto rental collision damage waiver and access to Roadside Dispatch®.

In addition, Visa Signature® members also receive warranty extensions and travel assistance. At the top status tier, Visa Infinite® members get everything from the lower tiers, plus extra perks that include return protection, travel accident insurance, trip delay, cancellation, and interruption coverage, and lost luggage reimbursement.

World Elite Mastercard®

The three Mastercard tiers are the Standard/Gold Mastercard®, World Mastercard®, and World Elite Mastercard®. Similar to Visa, all three Mastercard tiers have access to the same basic benefits, including Mastercard Global Service which provides virtual emergency assistance that can help you find an ATM, report a lost or stolen card, and replace your card.

One tier up, the World Mastercard® cardholders also get access to special concierge services, enhanced price protection, and access to the World Luxury Hotels & Resorts program. And World Elite Mastercard® members get access to all of the above, plus a whole host of extra travel discounts and savings programs.

As diverse as the benefits may be, one thing to keep in mind is that no matter which network you have, specific issuers can add or augment your card benefits. For example, Chase upgrades the rental car insurance from secondary to primary for its Chase Sapphire Preferred® Visa Signature®. Check your specific credit card to see what perks and benefits you have available.

See the Best Visa Credit Card Offers

As one might assume of the credit card network that holds the lion’s share of the global credit card transaction volume, a good chunk of the available credit cards sport a Visa logo on their faces. For those who are a fan of the Freedom® switch to Visa (or who just like what the network has to offer), options abound.

Those in the market for a Visa card can choose from any number of issuing banks — with the obvious exclusions of Discover and Amex — including Chase and Wells Fargo. Some issuers may offer both Visa and Mastercard, while others are strictly Visa partners. Start exploring Visa with some of our top-rated offers below.

VISA® RATING

★★★★★
5.0

OVERALL RATING

5.0/5.0
  • Unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase - it's automatic
  • Earn a $150 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening
  • 0% Intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases and balance transfers, then a variable APR of 16.74-25.49%. Balance transfer fee is 5% of the amount transferred, $5 minimum
  • No minimum to redeem for cash back
  • Cash Back rewards do not expire as long as your account is open
  • Free credit score, updated weekly with Credit Journey℠
  • No annual fee
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0% Intro APR on Purchases for 15 months
0% Intro APR on Balance Transfers for 15 months
16.74% - 25.49% Variable
$0
Excellent/Good

VISA® RATING

★★★★★
5.0

OVERALL RATING

5.0/5.0
  • Earn a $150 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening
  • Earn 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in combined purchases in bonus categories each quarter you activate
  • Enjoy new 5% categories each quarter
  • Unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases - it's automatic
  • 0% Intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases and balance transfers, then a variable APR of 16.74-25.49%. Balance transfer fee is 5% of the amount transferred, $5 minimum
  • Cash Back rewards do not expire as long as your account is open and there is no minimum to redeem for cash back.
  • Free credit score, updated weekly with Credit Journey℠
  • No annual fee
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0% Intro APR on Purchases for 15 months
0% Intro APR on Balance Transfers for 15 months
16.74% - 25.49% Variable
$0
Excellent/Good
Wells Fargo Cash Wise Visa® Card Review

at Wells Fargo'ssecure website

VISA® RATING

★★★★★
4.9

OVERALL RATING

4.9/5.0
  • Earn a $200 cash rewards bonus after spending $1,000 in the first 3 months
  • Earn unlimited 1.5% cash rewards on purchases
  • Enjoy 1.8% cash rewards on qualified mobile wallet purchases, like Apple Pay® or Android Pay™, during the first 12 months from account opening
  • No category restrictions or sign ups and cash rewards don't expire as long as your account remains open
  • Get up to $600 protection on your cell phone (subject to $25 deductible) against covered damage or theft when you pay your monthly cellular telephone bill with your Wells Fargo Cash Wise Visa® Card
  • 0% Intro APR for 12 months on purchases and balance transfers, then a 14.74%-26.74% variable APR; balance transfer fees apply
  • $0 Annual Fee
  • Select "Apply Now" to learn more about the product features, terms, and conditions
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0% for 12 months
0% for 12 months
14.74%-26.74% (Variable)
$0
Excellent/Good

+See More Visa Credit Cards

See the Best Mastercard Credit Card Offers

If you are bummed about the Chase Freedom® switch and still holding a Visa grudge — or simply want the benefits and acceptance that come with using a Mastercard — don’t fret. You still have plenty of great options for the Mastercard you crave, many of which offer fair purchase rewards and valuable intro-APR offers.

In fact, dozens of banks have strong partnerships with Mastercard. They include several major issuers, like Bank of America, Citibank, and HSBC, as well as smaller community banks and credit unions (though many will offer cards from both networks). You can explore some of our favorite Mastercard options below.

Barclays Arrival® Premier World Elite Mastercard® Review

at Barclays'ssecure website

EXPERT'S RATING

★★★★★
4.5

OVERALL RATING

4.5/5.0
  • 75,000 miles each year if you spend $25,000 on purchases
  • After that, keep earning unlimited 2X miles on every purchase
  • Global Entry – $100 automatic statement credit for the cost of one Global Entry application fee every five years
  • Book the best travel deal, no airline, seat or hotel restrictions, and redeem your miles for travel statement credits
  • Access to over 850 lounges worldwide with Mastercard® Airport Experience provided by LoungeKey, fees apply
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • International Chip and PIN for use at self-service chip terminals around the world
  • See Rates & Fees
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
17.74%, 21.74% or 24.74% variable based on your creditworthiness
$150 (waived first year)
Good/Excellent
Barclaycard Arrival® Plus World Elite Mastercard® Review

at Barclays'ssecure website

EXPERT'S RATING

★★★★★
4.5

OVERALL RATING

4.5/5.0
  • Enjoy 60,000 bonus miles after spending $5,000 on purchases in the first 90 days and paying the annual fee
  • Earn unlimited 2X miles on every purchase
  • Book travel your way—no airline, seat or hotel restrictions—and redeem your miles for travel statement credits
  • Get 5% miles back to use toward your next redemption, every time you redeem
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • International Chip and PIN for use at self-service chip terminals around the world
  • Miles don't expire as long as your account is open, active and in good standing
  • See Rates & Fees
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
0% intro for first 12 billing cycles following each BT that posts within 45 days of account opening
17.74%, 21.74% or 24.74% variable based on your creditworthiness
$89
Good/Excellent
Barclaycard Ring® Mastercard® Review

at Barclays'ssecure website

EXPERT'S RATING

★★★★
4.3

OVERALL RATING

4.3/5.0
  • Enjoy a 0% intro APR for 12 months on balance transfers made within 45 days of account opening. After that, a variable 13.74% APR will apply
  • Low 13.74% variable APR on purchases and cash advances
  • No annual fee
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • International Chip and PIN
  • See Rates & Fees
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
See Terms
13.74% Variable
$0
Good/Excellent

+See More Mastercard Credit Cards

Choose Your Network Wisely

All in all, the Chase transition to Visa instead of Mastercard was likely unimportant to many Chase Freedom® cardholders. After all, the card certainly has enough going for it — including high-return cash back rewards — that the typical cardholder is probably more concerned about how to maximize their earnings than which network logo their card sports.

And, overall, the differences between Visa and Mastercard are likely not very noticeable for most shoppers in general. So many US merchants accept both networks that it’s rare to run into one that doesn’t — though it does happen. Outside the US, acceptance rates are still fairly close, meaning even the typical traveler likely won’t see much difference.

At the same time, the differences are there. Furthermore, if you’ve ever taken advantage of purchase price protection, rental car insurance, or other fringe benefits of being a cardholder, the differences between the two networks can be a lot more important.

In the end, though, there’s no perfect network for everyone. Your best bet to ensure universal acceptance is to carry more than one credit card so you can have access to multiple networks (and don’t forget that ATM card when traveling abroad — parking kiosks, ticket booths, and smaller merchants still prefer cash).

If you’re not sure of which network your card operates on and you have the card handy, simply look for the network’s logo on the front or back of your card. Discover cards always operate on the Discover network, and American Express cards always operate on the American Express network, so you’ll only see those logos. For Visa and Mastercard credit cards, you should have both a bank logo (e.g., Chase), as well as the network logo.