The Chase Slate Edge credit card launched Monday, offering sliding interest rates and a higher credit limit to cardholders who meet spending and bill payment targets.
The no-annual-fee card doesn’t feature a lucrative rewards scheme or flashy travel perks like so many of the issuer’s other cards. Instead, the new card rewards responsible credit card use with an annual interest rate reduction and an automatic, one-time credit-limit hike. Both tricks can help cardholders improve their credit scores.
The automatic interest rate reduction is the more intriguing of the two features. Here’s how it works: If you pay your bill on time each month and spend at least $1,000 per year on the card, you're eligible for a 2% APR rate reduction every year, down to as low as 9.74% APR plus the prime rate. As of this writing, the prime rate is 3.25%, which translates to a minimum APR of 12.99% on the card. That rate is well below the average credit card interest rate of 20.26% offered by the 310+ cards in our database. While 12.99% is on the low end, there are other cards available with even lower minimum rates—some of which even offer rewards and other perks.
A lower interest rate means more of your payment goes toward paying down the debt rather than to paying the bank. That can help you reduce your debt sooner—thereby improving your credit score.
Slate Edge is also offering an automatic credit line increase. If you spend at least $500 in the first six months after opening the account and make all of your payments on time, Chase will automatically consider you for a credit limit increase. This automatic reconsideration is a one-time-only deal, however. It’s not an annual reset like with the APR decreases.
The automatic credit limit increase can boost your credit score if you don’t increase your spending on the card. That’s because credit utilization ratio, or the amount of available credit you have used, is an important part of a credit score, and adding more available credit improves it. Still, credit card companies are normally happy to increase your credit limit when you request it (up to a point), as long as you meet their criteria.
The Slate Edge also gives cardholders access to Chase’s installment-loan-like repayment feature, My Chase Plan, as well as the Chase credit monitoring tool, Credit Journey (which is available to anyone, whether you have a Chase account or not).
Beyond those credit-improving features, the card also offers a modest new-cardholder bonus and a one-year introductory 0% interest offer. If you spend at least $500 within the first six months, you'll earn a statement credit for $100. The 12-month 0% APR period covers both purchases and balance transfers—although you’ll pay a 3% fee on any transferred amounts you make in the first 60 days; after that, you’ll pay 5%.
Since it's being marketed as a credit-building card, we'd expect to see a longer 0% offer. Currently, the longest offer on the market is with the U.S. Bank Visa Platinum, which gives you almost twice as long—20 months—to pay off your debt interest-free. Chase itself even offers another card (Chase Freedom Unlimited) with a longer 15-month 0% intro APR offer. The 3% balance transfer fee also makes this card slightly less attractive to credit builders (a few competing cards offer 0% introductory transfer fees). And the recommended credit rating for this card is “Excellent” or “Good,” putting it out of reach of many people with weaker credit. By contrast, the Apple Card, which also touts a suite of credit-improvement tools, may accept applicants with credit scores as low as 600—squarely in the “Fair” range.
Nevertheless, the Chase Slate Edge card adds a basic, no-frills option to the bank’s existing lineup, which is heavy with rewards cards. It's a bid to attract people who may have seen their credit hit hard by the pandemic. According to a recent Chase Slate survey, 81% of people are still interested in trying to improve their credit despite the toll the pandemic has taken on their finances.