The Chase Freedom Unlimited® and Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit Card may seem similar due to their similar rewards rates and $0 annual fee. 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 the additional insurance protections you receive.
However, you may find a reason to opt for the Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit Card instead. Keep reading to find out about the main perks each card offers and how they stack up.
Card comparison overview
|Chase Freedom Unlimited®||Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit Card|
|Welcome bonus||Earn a $200 bonus after spending $500 within the first three months||Earn a $200 bonus after spending $500 within the first three months|
|Rewards rate||Earn 1.5% cash back on all purchases; 5% cash back on Lyft purchases (through March 2022); 5% cash back on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards; 3% cash back on dining; 3% cash back on drugstore purchases||Earn 1.5% cash back on all purchases|
|Introductory APR||0% intro APR on purchases for 15 months; 14.99%—23.74% variable APR thereafter||0% intro APR on purchases for 15 months; 15.49%—25.49% variable APR thereafter|
Chase Freedom Unlimited vs. Capital One Quicksilver highlights
Let’s take a close look at the benefits of each card to determine which one might be most useful for your wallet.
Sign-up bonus winner: Tie
The Chase Freedom Unlimited offers the same welcome bonus as the Capital One Quicksilver—down to the same $500 minimum spending requirement and first three-month time frame. But if you’re hoping to sign up for a rewards credit card and you already have a travel card with Chase, then the Freedom Unlimited is the obvious choice since you can pool your rewards for a higher redemption value.
Rewards rate potential 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 additional reward 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 the Chase Sapphire Reserve®, then convert your cash back to Chase Ultimate Rewards to unlock redemption options and boost your points by 25 percent or 50 percent for travel, respectively.
Pooling your points in a premier Chase card account like the Chase Sapphire Preferred or Chase Sapphire 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).
This being said, you should understand the Chase 5/24 rule and how it might affect your ability to qualify for both of these cards over a short span of time.
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.
Introductory APR period winner: Tie
Both credit cards offer a 0 percent intro APR for 15 months on purchases. Even after the 15 months are up, the APRs are still very similar, depending on your creditworthiness. The APR range for Chase Freedom Unlimited is 14.99 percent to 23.74 percent variable, while the Capital One Quicksilver ranges from 15.49 percent to 25.49 percent variable.
Foreign transaction fee: Capital One Quicksilver
On your next trip abroad, you’ll want to pack the Capital One Quicksilver instead of the Chase Freedom Unlimited. The Capital One Quicksilver doesn’t charge any foreign transaction fees, while the Chase Freedom Unlimited charges 3 percent on each purchase made overseas.
Which card earns or saves 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?
Chase Freedom Unlimited vs. Capital One Quicksilver spending example
Let’s say you spend just enough to earn the welcome bonus on either of these cards (about $167 each month for three months) and then continue spending the same amount for the remainder of the year—strictly within the 1.5X category.
With the Capital One Quicksilver, you’ll earn a $200 welcome bonus (plus $30 in cash back rewards) for a total of $230 in cash back. On the other hand, you’ll also earn a $200 welcome bonus and $30 in cash back rewards with the Chase Freedom Unlimited, for a total of $230 in cash back for the year—but that’s not including the added bonus categories.
Say you also spend $200 per month on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards, $200 per month on dining, $50 per month on drugstore purchases and $100 a month on Lyft purchases. This first-year spending will earn you an additional $270 in rewards for a total of $500 in cash back rewards.
Why you should get Chase Freedom Unlimited
The Chase Freedom Unlimited offers stellar earning potential with its generous bonus offer, added categories and 1.5 percent earning rate on all other purchases. However, there are more reasons to pick this option instead of a comparable credit card from Capital One.
You want additional benefits
With the Chase Freedom Unlimited, you’ll receive purchase protection that covers new items against damage and theft, as well as extended warranties that add an additional year to many U.S. manufacturer warranties. You’ll also receive trip cancellation/trip interruption insurance for eligible prepaid nonrefundable tickets, which is surprising since this valuable perk is normally only carried by pricey travel cards (and isn’t offered by the Quicksilver card).
As an added bonus, you can enjoy a complimentary three months of DashPass, a subscription service for $0 delivery fees on DoorDash orders over $12 and 5 percent cash back rewards on Lyft rides through March 2022. (other fees may apply). After that, you are automatically enrolled in DashPass at 50% off for the next 9 months. Activate by December 31, 2021.
You want to pair cards for more travel-related redemption options
The points you earn with the Chase Freedom Unlimited are redeemable for cash, gift cards, travel booked through Chase Ultimate Rewards or shopping with points through Amazon.com or Apple. Your points never expire while your account remains open, but you will lose your points if your account is closed.
If you pair the Chase Freedom Unlimited with a Chase travel credit card like the Sapphire Preferred or Reserve, you can get 25 percent or 50 percent more value for travel when you redeem points through the Chase portal. Meanwhile, you’ll get the option to transfer your points to transfer partners like Southwest Airlines, United Airlines and Marriott Bonvoy.
Recommended credit score
A good to excellent credit score of 670 or above is recommended.
Why you should get Capital One Quicksilver
This card appeals to much of the same audience as the Chase Freedom Unlimited due to its lack of an annual fee, an achievable welcome bonus, the same flat rewards rate and a long introductory APR period on purchases. However, there are a few reasons to pick this credit card over the Chase Freedom Unlimited.
You want to travel
Travelers will like this rewards credit card. Besides the fact you’ll never pay a foreign transaction fee for purchases made abroad, the Capital One Quicksilver offers a complimentary concierge service to help you arrange dining, entertainment and travel, along with 24-hour travel assistance services to get an emergency replacement card. You’ll also qualify for travel accident insurance as a cardholder.
You want some protections
This card comes with extended warranty protection at no charge on eligible items purchased with your credit card, instant purchase notifications to avoid fraud and two online shopping tools, Wikibuy and Paribus, to make sure you get the best deals.
You only want basic redemption options
Capital One Quicksilver rewards can be redeemed in a few different ways—paper check, statement credit, coverage of a recent purchase you made with your card or gift cards. You can redeem rewards for any amount at any time. You can also use your cash back rewards to pay for eligible purchases on Amazon.com.
Recommended credit score
You should be able to qualify for this card if your credit rating is good to excellent (around 670 or higher).
The bottom line
Both of these credit cards are ideal for someone looking for lucrative rewards that are easy to track.
The Chase Freedom Unlimited pulls out ahead due to the added rewards categories, higher bonus offer and potential for more flexible redemption options, but only you can decide which card works better for your financial needs and goals.