Chase Freedom Unlimited vs. Capital One Quicksilver: Which Cashback Card is Right for You?

See which of these two popular $0 annual fee cashback cards makes the most sense for you.
Last updated Jan 18, 2021 | By Kevin Dukes
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If you are looking for a low maintenance credit card with straightforward rewards, both the Chase Freedom Unlimited and Capital One Quicksilver cards are great options. These two are among the best cashback credit cards available today. There’s a lot to love about earning cash back on purchases, but there are a few key factors you’ll want to consider before choosing which card to apply for. 

Here are some key similarities and differences to help you decide which one might serve you best.

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Chase Freedom Unlimited vs. Capital One Quicksilver

Here is a high-level overview of some key benefits of the Chase Freedom Unlimited and Capital One Quicksilver.


Chase Freedom Unlimited Capital One Quicksilver
Annual fee $0 $0
Early spend bonus Earn a $200 cash back bonus after spending $500 in the first 3 months Earn a $200 cash back bonus after spending $500 in the first 3 months
Earning rate Earn 5% on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards, 3% on dining and drugstore purchases, and 1.5% on all other purchases 1.5% cash back rewards on every purchase, every day
Redemption methods
  • Check
  • Statement credits
  • Gift cards
  • Amazon.com
  • Travel through Ultimate Rewards
  • Check
  • Statement credits
  • Gift cards
  • Amazon.com
Intro APR
  • 0% introductory APR on purchases for 12 months
  • 0% introductory APR on purchases for 15 months
Travel perks
  • 5% cash back on Lyft rides
  • Travel accident insurance
  • Rental car auto collision damage waiver
  • 24-hour travel assistance
Other benefits
  • Complimentary DoorDash DashPass membership for three months
  • Extended warranty protection
  • Purchase protection
  • Extended warranty protection
  • Access to premier culinary, music, and sporting events
  • Complimentary concierge service
  • Access to Wikibuy and Paribus to help you save while shopping online
Foreign transaction fee 3% None
Credit needed Excellent, Good Excellent, Good

What both cards excel at

On the surface, the Chase Freedom Unlimited and Capital One Quicksilver excel in a lot of the same areas. They’re both great cashback rewards cards for everyday spending, although their earning structures are a little different. The Capital One Quicksilver has a flat-rate cash back structure while the Freedom Unlimited earns cash back from bonus categories. With either card, you don’t have to deal with rotating bonus categories and cashback rewards do not expire while your account remains open. There's also no minimum to redeem your cashback rewards.

Both cards also come with great early spend bonuses as well. With the Chase Freedom Unlimited, you can earn a $200 cash back bonus after spending $500 in the first 3 months. The Capital One Quicksilver early spend bonus is also very good. New cardmembers earn a $200 cash back bonus after spending $500 in the first 3 months with this card.

Both the Chase Freedom Unlimited and Capital One Quicksilver allow you to redeem your rewards at a fixed value of 1 cent per point. Rewards across both programs can be redeemed in the form of a check or statement credit, applied against recent purchases, used at Amazon.com, or for gift cards. With the Chase Freedom Unlimited, you can also redeem rewards for travel through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal.

At a glance, the Chase Freedom Unlimited and Capital One Quicksilver seem very similar because they both earn cash back. But although both cards earn cash back on all purchases, a few major differences set the Chase Freedom Unlimited apart from the Capital One Quicksilver.

No-Frills Cash Back

Benefits

  • $200 early spend bonus
  • No annual fee
  • 0% intro APR on purchases for 15 months
  • 1.5% cash back on every purchase, every day


3 important differences between the Chase Freedom Unlimited and the Capital One Quicksilver

Here are three very major differences between the Chase Freedom Unlimited and the Capital One Quicksilver, which might make one the best travel credit card for your needs after a comparison:

1. Chase Ultimate Rewards redemptions

A big selling point for the Chase Freedom Unlimited vs. Capital One Quicksilver is the ability to redeem rewards for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards. Chase Freedom Unlimited cardmembers have access to the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal.

Through the portal, you can redeem cash back for travel at the same fixed rate of 1 cent per point with the Chase Freedom Unlimited. In other words: up to 5% cash back = 5X Ultimate Rewards points = 5 cents on travel.

There’s even more rewards flexibility when you pair the Chase Freedom Unlimited with premium Chase travel rewards cards like the Chase Sapphire Preferred or Chase Sapphire Reserve. For example, with the Chase Sapphire Reserve, your rewards are worth up to 50% more when you redeem them for travel through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal.

Plus, pairing with premium Chase cards allows for more lucrative redemptions, as cash back can be turned into Ultimate Rewards points and transferred to one of many Chase airline and hotel transfer partners.

On the other hand, the Capital One Quicksilver doesn’t offer the same reward flexibility. Rewards can only be redeemed as cash, checks, gift cards, or statement credits. Although you do have the ability to apply cash back against travel-related purchases, you don’t get access to a travel portal with the Capital One Quicksilver card.

2. Benefits sweeteners

Chase also offers some unique benefits that make the Chase Freedom Unlimited a very compelling card. We won’t list them all, but two specific benefits really stand out:

  • Big earnings with Lyft: 5% on Lyft rides
  • DashPass membership: You can get three months of free DashPass membership, followed by a 50% discount on the regular rate for the next nine months (you can cancel at any time). DashPass typically costs $9.99 per month and offers $0 delivery fees at DashPass restaurants for orders over $12, as well as reduced service fees.

On the other hand, the Capital One Quicksilver offers a couple of unique benefits that the Chase Freedom Unlimited does not:

  • No foreign transaction fees: This is a great benefit that’s certainly worth considering if you travel abroad frequently.
  • Premium experiences: Cardmembers get access to experiences such as culinary events, concerts, music festivals, and sporting events.

3. Additional savings with Chase Offers

The Chase Freedom Unlimited also gives cardmembers access to Chase Offers. With Chase Offers, cardmembers can earn statement credits for purchases from various merchants. You can view offers any time in your online account or via the Chase mobile app.

Keep in mind, payments must be made directly with the merchant, so third-party delivery services such as DoorDash don’t count.

Chase Offers can be a great way to save on purchases. When you’re logged into your Chase account, simply click “Add to card” to add the offer to your card and to review the offer terms.

Unlimited Cash Back

Benefits

  • $200 sign-up bonus
  • Bonus rewards on travel, dining, and drugstores
  • No annual fee
  • 0% intro APR on purchases


Which card should you choose?

Both the Chase Freedom Unlimited and Capital One Quicksilver are great cards for regular, everyday purchases. Although the Chase Freedom Unlimited has a more compelling rewards structure and stronger overall benefits, foreign transaction fees might be a game-changer if you travel abroad often. However, because so many other credit cards have no foreign transaction fees, this may be a non-issue for you.

The bottom line: if you’re looking for a low-maintenance card with a simple cashback rewards structure, you might be happier with the Capital One Quicksilver. It’s a card you can take anywhere, and you won’t have to stress when you’re traveling.

On the other hand, some key factors make the Chase Freedom Unlimited a more compelling cashback card. It offers bonus cashback categories, greater reward flexibility, an intro APR on purchases, and additional savings opportunities with Chase Offers and Lyft.

If you’re willing to take a more active role in managing your rewards, you’d likely be happier with the Chase Freedom Unlimited. It’s an excellent choice if you’re under 5/24 and are eager to dive into the world of points and award travel.

Common questions about the Chase Freedom Unlimited and Capital One Quicksilver

Which is better: Chase Freedom Unlimited or Capital One Quicksilver?

If you’re looking for a low-maintenance card, the Capital One Quicksilver may be your best choice. However, the Chase Freedom Unlimited has much more lucrative earning opportunities.

What credit score is needed for the Chase Freedom Unlimited?

To qualify for the Chase Freedom Unlimited, you’ll need to have a good or excellent credit score. But there are many other factors that will affect your approval odds, including debt-to-income ratio, credit utilization, and other credit history details.

What credit score is needed for the Capital One Quicksilver?

Like the Chase Freedom Unlimited, you’ll need a good or excellent credit score to be approved for this card. If approved, you’ll either receive a Visa Platinum or Visa Signature card, depending on your creditworthiness. Visa Signature accounts have credit limits of at least $5,000 and come with a few extra benefits that Visa Platinum accounts do not offer.

What’s the difference Between Chase Freedom and Chase Freedom Unlimited?

The Chase Freedom is a cashback credit card that earns 5% cash back in rotating bonus categories (up to $1,500 in combined purchases per quarter) and 1% cash back on all other purchases. Due to this earning structure, it requires more maintenance if you want to maximize earnings. The Chase Freedom Unlimited does not have rotating bonus categories; instead, it earns 5% on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards, 3% on dining and drugstore purchases, and 1.5% on all other purchases. Both cards offer the same redemption options and allow you to combine points with premium Chase travel cards.

Unlimited Cash Back

Benefits

  • $200 sign-up bonus
  • Bonus rewards on travel, dining, and drugstores
  • No annual fee
  • 0% intro APR on purchases