[Update: Some offers mentioned below have expired. You can view the current offers from our partners here —Chase Freedom Unlimited and Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards. Disclosure: Cards from our partners are mentioned below.]
If you are looking to pick up a new cash back credit card, you have two choices. You can either get a card that offers different reward values depending on the type of purchases you are making, or you can choose a card that offers a flat rate, no matter what you might be buying. The latter are hassle free and take very little effort on the part of the consumer.
If you are looking to go down the easier path, then two of the best cards available are Chase Freedom Unlimited (which we’ve reviewed in detail here) and Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards. Both of these cards will offer the same flat rate on purchases, and both have no annual fee. Where these cards differ slightly is in how you redeem your rewards. In this article, we’ll walk you through the benefits each card has to offer. We’ll also talk a little about the costs and help you determine which card’s right for you.
Comparing the Rewards
The earnings potential is where these cards are very similar. With Chase Freedom Unlimited, you have the ability to earn an unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase. You also receive a generous signup bonus of $150 after spending $500 in the first three months. And you receive an additional $25 bonus when you add an authorized user who makes a purchase in the same three-month period.
The Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards card also offers 1.5% back on every purchase. There is no limit to the amount of cash back you can earn. Plus, when you sign up for this card, you will receive a $100 bonus after spending $500 in the first three months.
Redeeming Your Rewards
If your sole purpose in having either of these cards is to earn cash back, both will do the job. However, if you would prefer having additional redemption options, then you will enjoy the Chase Freedom Unlimited card. While this is technically a cash back card, you will also have the opportunity to convert your earnings into Ultimate Reward points, with some restrictions. You will then be able to use these points for travel through the Ultimate Rewards portal. If you go this route, your points will be worth 25% more. Alternatively, you can transfer points to one of the many airline or hotel transfer partners.
Now that you’ve heard the good stuff, let’s discuss why to choose either card.
Reasons to Pick the Chase Freedom Unlimited
If you are trying to decide between these two cards, then you are likely to choose the Chase Freedom Unlimited for two reasons. First, you will receive a higher signup bonus, including the ability to earn even more when you add an authorized user. The second reason is that you’ll have the option to convert your cash back into Ultimate Rewards. While earning cash back is nice, knowing you can also use your rewards for travel might be something you’d like.
If you are planning to make a large upcoming purchase, then you might find the introductory APR from the Chase Freedom Unlimited to be a little more useful. You will receive a 0% APR for 15 months on purchases and balance transfers. After that, there’s a variable 15.49% to 24.24% APR. The Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards card only offers 0% for the first nine months (and a variable 13.49% to 23.49% APR after).
Reasons to Pick the Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Card
The Capital One Quicksilver is great if you are looking for a plain-and-simple cash back card. This card is perfect for someone who doesn’t want the hassle of transferring points and figuring out whether they’re getting a good value. Plus, it has no foreign transaction fees (Chase Freedom Unlimited has a 3% fee), so this card is ideal for anyone who enjoys traveling outside the U.S.
Remember, before you apply for any credit card, it’s a good idea to know where your finances stand first. You can view two of your credit scores, with updates every 14 days, for free on Credit.com.
At publishing time, the Chase Freedom Unlimited and Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Card are offered through Credit.com product pages, and Credit.com is compensated if our users apply and ultimately sign up for this card. However, this relationship does not result in any preferential editorial treatment. This content is not provided by the card issuer(s). Any opinions expressed are those of Credit.com alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the issuer(s).