Cash back credit cards let you earn a percentage of rewards based on your spending, but the way they dole out cash back varies from card to card. For example, some cards offer bonus rewards in categories that change each quarter, while others offer a flat rate of cash back for each dollar you spend. There are even cards that take on a hybrid approach, offering a flat rate of rewards on regular spending and bonus rewards in specific categories you may spend a lot in, like groceries or gas.
The Chase Freedom UnlimitedÂ® and the Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit Card are two cash back credit cards that take a unique approach when it comes to how they award points. In this guide, we hope to help you compare them so you can decide which one would be best for your wallet.
Chase Freedom Unlimited vs. Capital One Quicksilver
Chase Freedom Unlimited
Capital One Quicksilver
|Welcome bonus||$200 bonus when you spend $500 within three months of account opening||$200 bonus when you spend $500 within three months of account opening|
|Foreign transaction fees||3 percent of each transaction||None|
|Introductory APR offer||0% intro APR on purchases for 15 months, followed by a variable APR of 14.99% to 23.74%||0% intro APR on purchases for 15 months, followed by a variable APR of 15.49% to 25.49%|
|Major cardholder benefits||
When it comes to earning rewards, the Chase Freedom Unlimited will definitely leave you better off. Both credit cards offer a flat rate of 1.5% back on all regular purchases, but the Chase Freedom Unlimited also lets you earn 5% back on travel booked through Chase Ultimate Rewards and 3% back on dining and drugstore purchases. You’ll even get 5% back on the first $12,000 you spend on groceries your first year (excluding Target and Walmart).
Since most people spend at least some money on groceries, dining and drugstore purchases each year, the Chase Freedom Unlimited will almost certainly leave you with a bigger rewards haul over time.
When it comes to redeeming your rewards, you’ll have several options with either card. The Capital One Quicksilver lets you redeem your rewards for cash back or gift cards, but you can also apply your rewards as a statement credit to your account. In addition, you can now use Capital One rewards from this card to cover purchases made through PayPal or Amazon.com.
The Chase Freedom Unlimited lets you cash in your rewards for cash back, statement credits, merchandise, gift cards and travel through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal. If you have a premier travel rewards credit card from Chase like the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card, you can even pool all your Chase points in one account for discounted travel redemptions or transfers to Chase airline and hotel partners.
Both of these cash back credit cards come with a surprising number of benefits for a card with no annual fee. With the Chase Freedom Unlimited, for example, you’ll get purchase protection against damage or theft, as well as extended warranties on items that come with a manufacturer’s warranty. You’ll also get travel perks like travel and emergency assistance services and secondary auto rental coverage. One big standout benefit also comes in the form of trip cancellation and interruption insurance worth up to $1,500 per covered person and up to $6,000 per covered trip.
The Capital One Quicksilver comes with a slightly less generous suite of benefits. As a cardholder, major perks you’ll enjoy include travel accident insurance, extended warranties and 24-hour travel assistance.
Annual fee, foreign transaction fees and authorized users
Neither of these cash back cards charge an annual fee, which is good news. However, the Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit Card could be a better option if you travel abroad. Where the Chase Freedom Unlimited charges a 3% foreign transaction fee on all purchases made outside the United States, the Capital One Quicksilver doesn’t charge this fee.
Also, be aware that either card lets you get free authorized user cards for your account.
Introductory APR offers
If you want access to a low introductory APR for a limited time, both cards are worth looking into. The ChaseÂ Freedom Unlimited gives you an introductory 0% APR on purchases for 15 months, followed by a variable APR of 14.99% to 23.74%.
The Capital One Quicksilver also offers an introductory 0% APR on purchases for 15 months, and then a variable APR of 15.49% to 25.49% when you carry balance from month to month.
If you’re considering a new cash back credit card, the Chase Freedom Unlimited and the Capital One Quicksilver are both good options. However, the Chase Freedom Unlimited is probably better if you spend a lot in everyday categories like dining and drugstores, or if you have a travel credit card from Chase, as well. This card is also a good option if you want to pay down your purchases with a low APR for a limited time.
On the flip side, the Capital One Quicksilver is geared toward users who want to earn rewards on their spending without any foreign transaction fees.
Before you sign up for a new credit card, it pays to compare all the top rewards credit cards on the market today.