The Bankrate promise
At Bankrate we strive to help you make smarter financial decisions. While we adhere to strict , this post may contain references to products from our partners. Here's an explanation for . The content on this page is accurate as of the posting date; however, some of the offers mentioned may have expired. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any card issuer.
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 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 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 learn more about the main perks of these two rewards credit cards and how they stack up against each other.
|Chase Freedom Unlimited||Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit Card|
|Welcome bonus||Earn an additional 1.5% cash back on top of all purchases’ original cash back rate (on up to $20,000) for the first year, exclusive offer through Bankrate)||$200 cash bonus after spending $500 within the first three months|
|Intro APR||0% intro APR on purchases and balance transfers for 15 months; 19.74% to 28.49% variable APR thereafter||0% intro APR on purchases and balance transfers for 15 months; 19.74% to 29.74% variable APR thereafter|
Chase Freedom Unlimited vs. Capital One Quicksilver highlights
Welcome bonus winner: Chase Freedom Unlimited
While the Quicksilver does offer an easily-attainable $200 cash back bonus after spending $500 in your first three months, the Chase Freedom Unlimited’s welcome offer extends throughout the entire first year — and potentially offers more value.
With the Freedom Unlimited, you earn an additional 1.5 percent cash back on top of your purchases’ original rewards rate, capped at $20,000 in spending for your first year (an exclusive Bankrate offer). That means you can earn up to $300 in cash back if you max out the $20,000 in first-year spending — just under $1,667 in spending per month. If you pay rent with your credit card each month, for example, maxing out this offer may be easier than you think.
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 for travel, respectively.
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. According to Bankrate valuations, Sapphire cards’ points can be worth up to 2 cents apiece toward transfer partner travel.
This being said, you should understand the Chase 5/24 rule and how it might affect your ability to qualify for multiple Chase 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.
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: 19.74 percent to 28.49 percent for the Freedom Unlimited and 19.74 percent to 29.74 percent variable for the Quicksilver.
However, they do differ when it comes to balance transfer fees. The Quicksilver charges a pretty standard 3 percent fee on transferred balances, whereas the 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 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 a 3 percent fee on each purchase made outside of the United States.
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?
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.
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 generous 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 3 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 Bankrate’s 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 Amazon.com
Recommended credit score
Why should you get the Capital One Quicksilver?
This 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 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 the fact you’ll never pay 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, Capital One recently announced that 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 Amazon.com or via PayPal
- Gift cards
Recommended credit score
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 pulls out ahead due to its added rewards categories, more lucrative welcome bonus offer and potential for more flexible redemption options, but only you can decide which card works better for your financial needs and goals.
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.