Key takeaways

  • Both Chase Freedom Unlimited® and Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit Card are no-annual-fee cash back cards that could fit well into many lifestyles and wallets.
  • Both cards can play well within their issuer’s respective rewards programs, meaning whichever you already have could point you toward either Freedom Unlimited or Quicksilver.
  • Both cards also offer strong intro APR terms that could help you pay off existing debt or finance a large purchase over time.

The Chase Freedom Unlimited® and Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit Card may seem similar due to their non-category rewards rates and $0 annual fees. But dig deeper and you’ll find quite a few differences between these two cash back credit cards — and perhaps even a reason to choose one over the other.

If you have to pick just one, we would be inclined to suggest the Chase Freedom Unlimited due to its added rewards categories, the flexibility of the Chase Ultimate Rewards program and additional insurance protections you receive. However, you may find a reason to opt for the Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit Card instead, which also includes flexible redemption options and an assortment of travel and purchase protections.

Keep reading to learn more about the main perks of these two rewards credit cards and how they stack up against each other.

Main details

Chase Freedom Unlimited Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit Card
Welcome bonus Earn a $200 bonus after you spend $500 on purchases within the first three months $200 cash bonus after spending $500 within the first three months
Rewards rate
  • 1.5% back on all non-category purchases
  • 5% cash back on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards
  • 5% back on Lyft purchases (through March 2025)
  • 3% back on dining and drugstore purchases
  • 1.5% cash back on all non-category purchases
  • 5% back on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel
Intro APR 0% intro APR on purchases and balance transfers for 15 months; 20.49% to 29.24% variable APR thereafter 0% intro APR on purchases and balance transfers for 15 months; 19.99% to 29.99% variable APR thereafter
Annual fee $0 $0

Chase Freedom Unlimited vs. Capital One Quicksilver highlights

Let’s take a closer look at the main highlights of the Chase Freedom Unlimited and Capital One Quicksilver to determine which one might be most useful for your wallet.

Welcome bonus winner: Chase Freedom Unlimited

Both Freedom Unlimited and Quicksilver offer an easily-attainable $200 cash back bonus after spending $500 in your first three months. However, we’re calling Freedom Unlimited the winner here because that cash back is awarded as 20,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points, which offer a ton of flexibility and potentially more value than the one cent each that is typical with credit card rewards.

Earning $200 cash back is great, but if you also have a premium Chase card, such as the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, your points could be worth about 2.0 cents each, according to Bankrate’s latest valuations. That’s because you can combine your points under that premium card and then transfer them to one of Chase’s high value travel partners.

Capital One Quicksilver cash back can also be converted to travel rewards, in this case they’re called “miles,” if you have a miles-earning Capital One card such as the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card. According to Bankrate valuations, those rewards are still worth a bit less, though, at about 1.7 cents.

Rewards rate winner: Chase Freedom Unlimited

While both cards offer the same 1.5 percent back for each dollar you spend, the Chase Freedom Unlimited’s myriad of additional rewards categories make it the overwhelming winner in terms of rewards rate potential — and that’s not even including its pairing ability with other Chase credit cards.

If you want to redeem rewards for travel, for example, you can pair the Chase Freedom Unlimited with the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card or Chase Sapphire Reserve®, then pool your rewards in your Sapphire account to unlock redemption options and boost your points by 25 percent or 50 percent when redeemed for travel through the Ultimate Rewards portal, respectively.

As already mentioned, pooling your points in a premier Chase card account like the Sapphire Preferred or Reserve also makes it possible to transfer your points 1:1 to Chase airline and hotel partners, which can help you glean even more value for your rewards. Keep in mind the Chase 5/24 rule and how it might affect your ability to qualify for multiple Chase cards over a short span of time.

It’s also worth noting if you have a Capital One travel credit card, such as the Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card, you can even turn your cash back into miles at a 1:1 ratio and redeem for travel bookings.

Annual fee winner: Tie

When it comes to important credit card fees, this comparison ends in a draw. Neither card carries an annual fee, making both cards a good option for those looking to skip the yearly payment.

Credit cards with no annual fee are especially helpful for those who don’t spend a lot on plastic but still want to earn something in return.

Intro APR winner: Tie

Both credit cards offer a 0 percent intro APR on purchases and balance transfers for 15 months. Even after the 15 months are up, the variable APRs are still very similar: 20.49 percent to 29.24 percent for the Freedom Unlimited and 19.99 percent to 29.99 percent variable for the Quicksilver.

However, the cards do differ when it comes to balance transfer fees. Quicksilver charges a pretty standard 3 percent fee on transferred balances; whereas, Freedom Unlimited charges an introductory 3 percent fee ($5 minimum) for balances transferred within the first 60 days. If you wait to transfer your balance after 60 days, the fee jumps to 5 percent ($5 minimum).

Foreign transaction fee winner: Capital One Quicksilver

On your next trip abroad, you’ll want to pack Capital One Quicksilver instead of Chase Freedom Unlimited. The Capital One Quicksilver card doesn’t charge any foreign transaction fees, while the Chase Freedom Unlimited charges a 3 percent fee on each purchase made outside of the United States or in a foreign currency.

Which card earns the most?

It’s easy to see how the Chase Freedom Unlimited could be slightly more desirable compared to the Capital One Quicksilver. But how do the earnings on these cards compare?

Credit Card
Chase Freedom Unlimited vs. Capital One Quicksilver spending example

Let’s say you spend the following in a month with either card:

  • $500 on hotel travel booked through your card’s portal
  • $200 on dining
  • $150 on everything else

With the Chase Freedom Unlimited, you’d earn $25 in cash back on hotel travel purchases, $6 in cash back on dining and $2.25 on all other non-category purchases, for a total of $33.25 in monthly cash back earnings. That’s $399 in cash back if you repeated this spending for an entire year.

Using the Capital One Quicksilver, on the other hand, you’d earn $25 in cash back on hotel purchases, $3 in cash back on dining and $2.25 on everything else, for a total of $30.25 in monthly earnings. That would be $363 in cash back earned for the year.

Of course, in this example, we’re not highlighting the additional rewards you would earn from any drugstore or Lyft spending, meaning the already higher-earning Chase Freedom could earn you even more rewards.

Furthermore, this example doesn’t account for Ultimate Rewards points possibly being worth more when redeemed than rewards earned with Quicksilver.

Why should you get the Chase Freedom Unlimited?

The Chase Freedom Unlimited is worth it for many everyday spenders as it offers stellar earning potential, in addition to 1.5 percent cash back on non-category purchases, with a decent first-year welcome offer. However, there are a few more reasons to pick this card.

  • With the Chase Freedom Unlimited, you’ll receive purchase protection that covers new items against damage and theft, as well as extended warranty protection that adds an additional year to many U.S. manufacturer warranties. You’ll also receive trip cancellation and trip interruption insurance, auto rental insurance and roadside assistance.

    In terms of partner offers, you can enjoy a complimentary three months of DashPass, a subscription service that offers $0 delivery fees on DoorDash orders over $12 (when you activate by Dec. 31, 2024). There’s also a complimentary three months of Instacart+ membership that provides unlimited deliveries with $0 delivery fee and reduced service fees on eligible orders. Simply enroll by July 31, 2024.

    For a full list of everything the card has to offer, consider reading our Chase Freedom Unlimited benefits guide.
  • The rewards you earn with the Chase Freedom Unlimited are redeemable for the following:

    • Cash in the form of a statement credit or direct deposit
    • Travel booked through Chase Ultimate Rewards
    • Gift cards
    • Shop with your rewards on
    • Combine them with Ultimate Rewards from a premium Chase card to transfer them to travel partners
  • A good to excellent credit score of 670 or above is recommended.

Why should you get the Capital One Quicksilver?

The Capital One Quicksilver appeals to much of the same audience as the Chase Freedom Unlimited due to its lack of an annual fee, achievable welcome bonus and same base flat rewards rate. However, there are a few reasons why the Quicksilver may be more worth it for you compared to the Freedom Unlimited.

  • Besides not paying a foreign transaction fee for purchases made abroad, the Capital One Quicksilver offers a wide array of travel perks for a standard no-annual-fee card, like travel accident insurance, trip cancellation and interruption insurance, baggage delay insurance and an auto rental collision damage waiver.

    You can also enjoy extended warranty protection at no charge on eligible items purchased with your credit card, a price protection tool that ensures you get the best deals and purchase protection in the case of damage or theft.

    Plus, Quicksilver cardholders receive up to six months of complimentary Uber One membership (formerly Uber Eats Pass) through Nov. 14, 2024. This perk has the potential to save you around $59 in membership fees.

    For a more in-depth look at the card’s offerings, read through Bankrate’s Capital One Quicksilver Card benefits guide.
  • Capital One Quicksilver rewards can be redeemed in a few different ways:

    • Cash back in the form of a statement credit or check
    • Cover recent purchases
    • Travel through Capital One’s portal
    • Pay with rewards on or via PayPal
    • Gift cards
    • Combine points under a miles-earning Capital One card to transfer your rewards to travel partners.
  • You should be able to qualify for the Capital One Quicksilver if your credit rating is good to excellent (around 670 or higher).

The bottom line

The Chase Freedom Unlimited and Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit Card are both ideal for those looking to earn at least 1.5 percent cash back on every purchase — and for no annual fee.

The Chase Freedom Unlimited pulls out ahead due to its added rewards categories and potential for more flexible redemption options, but only you can decide which card works better for your financial needs and goals. If you’re already collecting rewards in the Ultimate Rewards or Capital One miles universes, you may want to stick with the card that will allow you to continue to add rewards to that pool.

Of course, before you make your choice and apply, consider reading through Bankrate’s list of the best cash back credit cards on the market.

Information about the Chase Freedom Unlimited® has been collected independently by Card details have not been reviewed or approved by the card issuer.