The peace of mind provided by cash-back rewards cards cannot be overstated. With the Chase Freedom Unlimited® and the Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit Card, you are able to easily rack up cash-back rewards without having to keep an updated calendar of rotating bonus categories or enroll every quarter in order to receive bonus cash back. Both cards earn uncapped cash back on every eligible purchase made, have no annual fees, and provide enticing member privileges including 24/7 concierge service. The simplicity and excellent benefits that these cards provide, along with their introductory bonus offers, makes them two of the most popular cash-back rewards credit cards on the market.
While they share many similarities, including uncapped cash-back earning potential, as you compare the two side-by-side there are some notable differences between them.
Both the Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit Card and Chase Freedom Unlimited® are, as we mentioned, cash-back rewards cards at their core. But how you earn those rewards differs greatly.
With the Quicksilver® card, you earn a flat 1.5% cash back on every purchase. There are no categories or caps to keep up with. You gain when it comes to simplicity, but you just might lose a bit when it comes to rewards.
Freedom Unlimited®, on the other hand, offers more rewards earning opportunity, but it requires a bit more brain power to truly maximize the offering. Here's the deal:
- Earn 5% cash back on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
- 3% cash back at restaurants
- 3% back at drugstores
- 1.5% cash back on your other eligible purchases
That earning is in addition to the 5% cash back new cardholders earn on up to $12,000 spent at grocery stores for the the first year (excludes Target and Walmart purchases).
Cash back redemption options
Both cards have the ability to redeem cash back anytime with no minimums, as well as the option to redeem for a variety of gift cards. In addition to cash back options, the Chase Freedom Unlimited® also includes the opportunity to redeem points for travel through the Chase Ultimate Rewards® travel portal.
When used as a standalone card, Chase Freedom Unlimited® points are worth 1 cent per point when redeemed for travel including hotel stays and airfare, but when points are combined with one of Chase’s personal premium travel rewards credit cards, the redemption value has the potential to increase substantially. Specifically, when combined with the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card or Chase Sapphire Reserve®, every point earned is worth either 1.25 cents or 1.5 cents respectively through the Chase Ultimate Rewards® travel portal. Additionally, when combined with either of these premium travel rewards cards, points can be transferred at a 1:1 ratio to one of Chase’s airline or hotel travel partners.
If you carry either the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card or Chase Sapphire Reserve®, adding the no annual fee Chase Freedom Unlimited® card to your wallet is a solid choice. You can redeem for straight cash back, sure, but if you’re strategic, or want to use your rewards for travel instead of cash back, this option allows you to maximize the benefits of multiple Chase cards.
On the other hand, sometimes it’s a reward just knowing you’re earning cash back each time you swipe your card — which you’ll do with both the Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit Card and the Chase Freedom Unlimited® card. If you’re looking for a bit of strategic play though, the above plan isn’t a bad option to consider.
The information related to the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card has been collected by CardRatings and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of these cards.
Foreign transaction fees
For international travelers, the Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit Card does include an added benefit of no foreign transaction fees, allowing you to make purchases overseas without incurring extra costs. The Chase Freedom Unlimited® card charges foreign transaction fees, so keep that in mind when traveling abroad OR when making purchases in a foreign currency from home.
To put that in perspective, if you use the Chase Freedom Unlimited® card on an international trip, and you spend $3,000 on foreign transactions, you’ll end up paying an extra $90 on fees. If you use the Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit Card, however, you can spend freely knowing you won’t have to later worry about any extra costs.
When deciding between these two cards, ultimately it comes down to your spending habits and how you plan to use the cash back you earn.
To learn more about how these two cards match up, check out the table below to compare the various rewards, benefits, features, and fees associated with each card.
Chase Freedom Unlimited® vs. Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit Card
One-time $200 cash bonus after you spend $500 on purchases within 3 months from account opening. Additionally, 5% cash back on up to $12,000 spent at grocery stores during your first year as a cardholder.
One-time $200 cash bonus after you spend $500 on purchases within 3 months from account opening
5% cash back on travel through Chase, 3% at restaurants and drugstores, 1.5% on your other purchases
Earn unlimited 1.5% cash back on all purchases
- Redeem cash back at anytime, with no minimums
- Redeem for a wide selection of gift cards
- Redeem for travel including airfare and hotels stays through Chase Ultimate Rewards® travel portal
- Combine points with Chase’s premium travel rewards credit cards for 25- 50% more value when redeemed for travel
- Shop with Points at Amazon.com allows you to pay for all or part of your eligible order using your cash back rewards
- Redeem your cash back for any amount at any time for the life of the account
- Redeem cash back for gift cards with a wide variety of merchants
- Apply your cash back to directly cover a recent purchase
Introductory 0% APR on purchases for the first 15 months, then 14.99% - 23.74% Variable after that
Introductory 0% APR on purchases for the first 15 months, then 15.49% - 25.49% (Variable) after that
3% of each transaction in U.S. dollars
Trip cancellation/ interruption insurance up to $1,500 per person and $6,000 per trip for prepaid, non-refundable passenger fares if your trip is cancelled or cut short by sickness, severe weather and other covered situations
Travel and emergency assistance services
Auto rental collision damage coverage, provides reimbursement up to the actual cash value for theft and collision damage for most rental cars in the U.S. and abroad
Lost luggage reimbursement up to $3,000 for lost or stolen luggage
24-hour travel and emergency assistance service
Travel accident insurance which provides automatic insurance for a covered loss at no extra charge when you use your credit card to purchase your fare
- Auto rental collision damage waiver offers insurance coverage for rentals providing reimbursement for the actual cash value on damage due to collision or theft on most rental vehicles
- Purchase protection covers new purchases made with your card for 120 days against damage or theft up to $500 per claim and $50,000 per account
- Extended warranty protection extends the time period of the U.S. manufacturer’s warranty on items purchases with your card by an additional year on eligible warranties of three years or less
Access to Wikibuy, an online shopping tool that scans thousands of merchants to help you find the best price
Access to Paribus, which find potential savings on your previous online purchases and gets you money back effortlessly
Extended warranty which provides additional warranty protection at no charge on eligible items that are purchased with your card
Instant purchase notifications, helping you to stay on top of your spending by notifying you each time a purchase is approved on your account
Zero Liability Protection which means you won’t be held responsible for unauthorized charges made with your card or account information
Real time fraud monitoring with alerts via email, text or phone call
$0 fraud liability for unauthorized charges if your card is lost or stolen
Virtual account numbers allow you to keep your card number to yourself and shop online more securely
Card Lock allows you to effortlessly lock your card with a few taps if it has been misplaced, lost or stolen
24/7 access to a customer service specialist
Complimentary access to Visa Signature Concierge who can help find tickets to top sporting or music events, make dinner reservations, and even help sending the perfect gift to a loved one
24/7 access to a customer service specialist
Complimentary concierge service – enjoy comprehensive, personalized assistance in dining, entertainment and travel, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year
For a full synopsis of each card, be sure to check out our Chase Freedom Unlimited® and Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit Card reviews.