[Update: Some offers mentioned below have expired. You can view the current offers from our partners here — Chase Freedom, Discover it, Chase Freedom Unlimited and Capital One Quicksilver. Disclosure: Cards from our partners are mentioned below.]
Have you ever heard of the Chase Freedom card? The Freedom card (see full review here) has been a well-known reward credit card in the U.S. in recent years, offering a standard 5% cash back on up to $1,500 spent each quarter in select categories at select retailers. The card also provides 1% cash back on all other purchases.
The categories offering 5% cash back are revolving. For example, from April through June of this year, Freedom cardholders can receive 5% cash back on up to $1,500 spent at grocery stores and wholesale clubs. To receive these bonuses, Freedom cardholders just have to login to their account and “activate” the bonus categories. This feature can be attraction for many cardholders, but a downside for others.
Other issuers have cards that work similarly to the Chase Freedom. The Discover it Card, for example, also features revolving 5% cash back bonus categories with 1% cash back offered on all other purchases.
But Chase recently changed things up a bit, introducing its Freedom Unlimited card. Instead of offering 5% cash back on rotating spending categories, and 1% cash back on all other purchases, the new Freedom Unlimited card (see full review here) offers 1.5% cash back on all purchases with no limits. This structure is similar to the Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards card, which also offers 1.5% cash back on all purchases. (You can go here to learn what cards rate among the best cash back credit cards in America.)
How the Two Chase Cards Are Similar
Beyond their different rewards programs, the two cards still have much in common. Both offer a $150 sign-up bonus after new cardholders spent $500 within three months of account opening, and another $25 for those who add an authorized cardholder that makes a purchase within the same three-month time period.
Both cards also offer 15 months of 0% APR introductory financing on both new purchases and balance transfers, with a 5% balance transfer fee. After the promotional financing period ends, the standard rate of 14.24% to 23.24% (based on the applicant’s creditworthiness) will apply to any remaining balances. There is no annual fee for either of these cards, but there is a 3% foreign transaction fee imposed on all charges processed outside of the U.S.
Which Card May Be Right for You?
There are generally two base types of reward credit card users; those who like being engaged in their rewards program and those who just don’t have the time. Those who like being actively engaged with their credit card reward program usually know how much points, miles and cash back they’ll earn from certain purchases. They regularly login to their accounts, keep track of their rewards and are sure to maximize earnings in the big bonus categories. This is the group to which the standard Chase Freedom card might appeal.
On the other end of the spectrum are people who may want to use a rewards credit card, but don’t want or have the extra time to routinely track their rewards or bonus categories. These cardholders might prefer the Chase Freedom Unlimited’s straightforward rewards program structure.
By considering how you treat your cash back rewards card, it will become clear to you which of these two cards will best meet your needs.
Remember, before you sign up for any credit card, it is a good idea to look at the terms and conditions so you understand what you’re agreeing to. It’s also a good idea to check your credit before applying since a stellar credit score will help you qualify for the better cards on the market. You can do see where your credit stands by viewing two of your credit scores for free each month on Credit.com.
At publishing time, the Chase Freedom, Discover it, Chase Freedom Unlimited and Capital One Quicksilver are offered through Credit.com product pages, and Credit.com is compensated if our users apply and ultimately sign up for these cards. However, this relationship does not result in any preferential editorial treatment.
Note: It’s important to remember that interest rates, fees and terms for credit cards, loans and other financial products frequently change. As a result, rates, fees and terms for credit cards, loans and other financial products cited in these articles may have changed since the date of publication. Please be sure to verify current rates, fees and terms with credit card issuers, banks or other financial institutions directly.
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