Battle of the 1.5% cash back cards: Chase Freedom Unlimited® vs. Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards

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In a Nutshell

In a head-to-head comparison, the Chase Freedom Unlimited® emerges the winner of the 1.5% cash back rewards cards. Learn why our editors prefer this card over the Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit Card.

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Chase Freedom Unlimited® and the Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit Card both offer unlimited 1.5% cash back.

Chase Freedom Unlimited® and Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit Card stand out from the cash back pack by offering unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase — a nice jump up from the typical 1% cash back rate.

But pit these two cards against each other, and the competition becomes tight.

After digging into the fine print and weighing other factors besides the cash back rate, we found that Chase Freedom Unlimited® squeezes past its rival as the better option.

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Chase Freedom Unlimited®

From cardholders in the last year

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Before diving into a comprehensive review of each card, let’s look at how they compare side by side.

At a glance: Chase Freedom Unlimited® vs. Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit Card

  Chase Freedom Unlimited®  Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit Card
Annual fee None None
Sign-up bonus None $150 bonus after you spend $500 on purchases within the first 3 months from account opening
Rewards Earn 3% cash back on all purchases in your first year on up to $20,000 spent. After that, earn unlimited 1.5% cash back on all purchases. Unlimited 1.5% cash back
Intro APR 0% intro APR for 15 months on purchases and balance transfers 0% APR for 15 months on purchases and balance transfers
Variable APR on purchases and balance transfers 17.24 - 25.99% 16.24% - 26.24%
Balance transfer fee 3% (minimum $5) of the amount of each transfer 3% of the amount of each transfer that posts to your account within the first 15 months
Other benefits $25 bonus when you add your first authorized user and make a purchase within the first 3 months No foreign transaction fees

At a glance

The winner: Why we prefer Chase Freedom Unlimited®
Counterpoint: Why you might want the Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit Card instead
Heads up: What to consider when applying for a cash back card
Bottom line: Is Chase Freedom Unlimited® right for you?


The winner: Why we prefer Chase Freedom Unlimited®

If you’re looking for a simple, straightforward and rewarding cash back card, it’s hard to beat Chase Freedom Unlimited®.

You’ll earn 3% cash back on all purchases in your first year on up to $20,000 spent. After that, you’ll earn unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase. And there’s no annual fee.

You can get an extra $25 bonus with Chase Freedom Unlimited® if you add your first authorized user and make a purchase within the first three months.

Don’t underestimate Chase Freedom Unlimited® as a balance transfer card, either. It features a competitive 0% intro APR on both purchases and balance transfers for 15 months, which gives you a good cushion of time to pay down your balances before the regular variable APR (17.24 - 25.99%) kicks in. Keep in mind that you’ll have to pay a balance transfer fee of 3% (minimum $5) as well.

Credit card expert Jason Steele offers yet another reason to love the Chase Freedom Unlimited®: The cash back comes in the form of Chase Ultimate Rewards® points, which could give you better value than straight-up dollars and cents.

Steele says Chase Freedom Unlimited® can be especially valuable when paired with the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card or Chase Sapphire Reserve®. That’s because you can transfer your Ultimate Rewards® points to one of those accounts and unlock greater rewards-earning potential.

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Chase Sapphire Reserve®

From cardholders in the last year

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With the Chase Ultimate Rewards® portal, points can be transferred to points or miles with airline partners or hotel programs, Steele says. “Points are worth 1.25 cents to 1.5 cents each toward travel reservations booked through Chase, depending on the card. This is how I personally use Chase Freedom Unlimited® .”

Even if you aren’t into traveling, Chase Freedom Unlimited® makes it easy to earn cash back on all of your daily purchases. Sure, you could earn more with its sibling card, Chase Freedom®, which offers 5% cash back in categories that rotate quarterly. But if you’re looking for a simple, no-fuss way to earn cash back at a competitive rate, this may be where your search ends.

From our partner

Chase Freedom®

From cardholders in the last year

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Counterpoint: Why you might want the Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit Card instead

From our partner
See Details, Rates & Fees

Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit Card comes out far ahead in terms of international travel. You’ll avoid foreign transaction fees with this card, whereas the Chase Freedom Unlimited® charges a 3% foreign transaction fee.

The two cards charge similar balance transfer fees. But Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit Card could be the better option if you’re planning to transfer a balance from another issuer’s card (for example, you can’t transfer a balance from one Capital One® card to another Capital One® card or from one Chase® card to another Chase® card).

Heads up: What to consider when applying for a cash back card

Everyone’s lifestyle and financial situation is unique, so you’ll have to figure out whether a cash back card is best for you. Do you travel regularly? If so, a travel rewards card might be a better option.

If you’re sure that a cash back card makes the most sense for you, the next step is to figure out whether you want a flat-rate cash back card like the two presented here. Both offer 1.5% cash back on all purchases, so you’ll never have to think about making purchases in specific categories.

Other cash back cards, like the Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express, offer extra cash back in categories such as U.S. supermarkets and U.S. gas. If those are among your biggest spends, you’ll want to crunch the numbers and see which card will give you the best return.

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Bottom line

If you’re looking for a flat-rate cash back card and know you’ll pay off your balance monthly, it’s hard to go wrong with either the Chase Freedom Unlimited® or Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit Card.

If neither Chase Freedom Unlimited® nor Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit Card seem like the right card for you, don’t stress. While both are excellent cash back cards, they’re far from the only options out there.

To illustrate that point, here are three more cash back cards that may fit better with your lifestyle and spending habits:

Other cash back cards to consider

Citi® Double Cash Card

2% cash back (1% cash back on purchases and another 1% when you pay for the purchases)

Discover it® Cash Back

5% cash back in rotating categories (on up to $1,500 in purchases each quarter); 1% for all other purchases

Bank of America® Cash Rewards credit card

 3% cash back on choice category (choose from gas, online shopping, dining, travel, drug stores, or home improvement and furnishings) and 2% at grocery stores and wholesale clubs (on up to $2,500 in combined grocery/wholesale club/choice category purchases each quarter); 1% on all other purchases