Do you like to earn cash rewards on your purchases? You may enjoy the benefits the Chase Freedom Unlimited® and Wells Fargo Active Cash® Card offer. Both cards provide several benefits and opportunities to earn rewards. But is one better than the other?
Let’s dive into the similarities and differences between both credit cards and explore what they offer and how each of them may benefit you. This could help you understand which card might make more sense for your financial goals.
Chase Freedom Unlimited vs. Wells Fargo Active Cash
Both the Freedom Unlimited and Active Cash offer cash rewards for making eligible purchases and use the Visa card network to process payments. They also provide intro APR offers for balance transfers and purchases.
But the differences between the two cards may help you see where one would be a better fit for you than the other. Comparing each card’s welcome bonus, earning rates, redemption methods, and other details reveal several different benefits.
|Card type||Cash back||Cash back|
|Credit card issuer||Chase||Wells Fargo|
|Credit card network||Visa||Visa|
|Welcome bonus||Unlimited matched cash back. Use your card for all your purchases and at the end of your first year, Chase will automatically match all the cash back you earned (there is no limit to how much you can earn; every dollar in cash back rewards you earn is a dollar Chase will match)||$200 cash rewards bonus after spending $500 in purchases in the first 3 months|
|Earning rate||Earn 5% cash back on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®, 3% cash back on drugstore purchases and dining at restaurants, including takeout and eligible delivery services and unlimited 1.5% cash back on all other purchases||Earn 2% cash rewards on purchases|
0% intro APR on balance transfers for 15 months, then 20.49% - 29.24% Variable APR
0% intro APR on purchases for 15 months, then 20.49% - 29.24% Variable APR
0% intro APR for 15 months from account opening on qualifying balance transfers, then 20.24%, 25.24%, or 29.99% Variable APR
0% intro APR on purchases for 15 months from account opening, then 20.24%, 25.24%, or 29.99% Variable APR
|Foreign transaction fee||3% of each transaction in U.S. dollars||3%|
|Credit needed||Excellent, Good||Excellent, Good|
|Learn more||Learn more|
What both cards excel at
There are several strengths that the Chase Freedom Unlimited and Wells Fargo Active Cash cards share. Since both are cashback cards, they excel in the following categories:
- Welcome bonus: Not all rewards cards offer a welcome bonus, so it’s helpful to see that both the Freedom Unlimited and Wells Fargo Active Cash provide bonus offers. The offers are different, but they’re both valuable.
- No annual fee: The Chase Freedom Unlimited has a $0 annual fee and the Wells Fargo Active Cash also has $0 annual fee.
- Redemption options: Earning rewards works best when the redemption options align with your lifestyle and goals. Redemption options vary between the two cards, but they both offer multiple opportunities to use your rewards. This includes redeeming rewards for statement credits and travel.
- Intro APR on balance transfers: Chase Freedom Unlimited offers 0% intro APR on balance transfers for 15 months, then 20.49% - 29.24% Variable APR. The Active Cash Card offers 0% intro APR 15 months from account opening on qualifying balance transfers, then 20.24%, 25.24%, or 29.99% Variable APR.
- Intro APR on purchases: The Freedom Unlimited offers 0% intro APR on purchases for 15 months, then 20.49% - 29.24% Variable APR. The Active Cash Card offers 0% intro APR on purchases for 15 months from account opening, then 20.24%, 25.24%, or 29.99% Variable APR.
- The Visa worldwide network: Both cards use the Visa network to process payments and are accepted in over 200 countries and territories worldwide. You might not want to use either card for foreign purchases, though, since they both have foreign transaction fees. These fees are 3% of each transaction in U.S. dollars for the Freedom Unlimited and 3% for the Active Cash.
5 important differences between Chase Freedom Unlimited and Wells Fargo Active Cash
It’s useful to know that both the Freedom Unlimited and Active Cash provide plenty of similar benefits. But it’s likely easier to see where one card might stand out for you by comparing their differences.
1. Earning rate
If earning cash rewards for your purchases is a top priority, consider the rewards rates on both cards.
- Chase Freedom Unlimited: 5% cash back on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®, 3% cash back on drugstore purchases and dining at restaurants, including takeout and eligible delivery services and unlimited 1.5% cash back on all other purchases.
- Wells Fargo Active Cash: Earn 2% cash rewards on purchases.
The Freedom Unlimited might seem more appealing because it has several bonus categories.
But if you want a low-stress credit card with a simple earning structure, the Active Cash might be the better choice. You don’t have to worry about bonus categories with this card because of its simple rate. Earn 2% cash rewards on purchases, which typically covers most purchases including everyday expenses such as gas, groceries, and utilities.
Compare this to the Freedom Unlimited which receives no rewards advantage over the Active Cash for gas, groceries, or utilities. With the Freedom Unlimited, you would earn a 1.5% rate on all other purchases.
Winner: For an everyday, low-stress earning rate, the Active Cash might be a simple option. See more details about this card in our Wells Fargo Active Cash review.
2. Bonus categories
Earning additional rewards through bonus categories gives your dollars more cashback power, but only if the categories align with your everyday expenses.
The Freedom Unlimited offers 5% total cash back on qualifying Lyft rides, 5% cash back on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®, and 3% cash back on drugstore purchases and dining at restaurants, including takeout and eligible delivery services.
The Wells Fargo Active Cash doesn’t have category-specific earning rates. Instead, you can earn 2% cash rewards on purchases.
Lyft and travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards® are specific categories and might not be beneficial on a frequent basis. But earning 3% on drugstore purchases and dining at restaurants, including takeout and eligible delivery services could be valuable in many situations.
Let’s say you typically spend $500 per month on dining and drugstore purchases, $500 per month on groceries, and $250 per month on gas for a total spend of $1,250. This is how much you could earn in cash rewards with each card after one month:
- Chase Freedom Unlimited: $26.25
- Wells Fargo Active Cash: $25
The Freedom Unlimited offers 3% on drugstore purchases and dining at restaurants, including takeout and eligible delivery services ($500 x 0.03 = $15) and 1.5% on all other purchases ($750 x .015 = $11.25). Your total cash rewards could be $26.25.
The Wells Fargo Active Cash allows you to earn 2% cash rewards on purchases ($1,250 x .02 = $25) so you could earn a total of $25 in cash rewards.
Winner: Because of its bonus categories, the Freedom Unlimited edges the Active Cash in this example, but different spending patterns may give different results. Learn more about this card in our Chase Freedom Unlimited review.
3. Travel redemptions
Travel redemptions might not be a big deal for most cardmembers using a cashback rewards credit card. But both of these cards offer ways to redeem your rewards for travel, including flights and hotel stays, and the process varies.
The Freedom Unlimited uses the Chase Ultimate Rewards program, a popular program for frequent travelers, for its redemptions.
The Active Cash uses Wells Fargo Rewards for its travel redemptions, a travel portal that’s not as widely known as its Chase counterpart.
Tie: Apart from more users knowing about and using the Chase travel portal, you’d find that both portals function like third-party travel sites such as Expedia or Priceline. The travel redemption experience would be familiar enough for most cardholders, so neither cards stand out.
4. Protection benefits
The Freedom Unlimited offers both purchase and extended warranty protection but doesn’t offer cell phone protection.
On the other hand, the Active Cash Card offers cell phone protection, but it lacks purchase protection and extended warranty protection.
All three protections are helpful to have, but choosing one card over the other based on these benefits alone depends on your situation. Would you rather have extra protection for your eligible purchases or coverage for phones on your cell phone bill?
Winner: Cell phone protection is typically less common, so the Active Cash might have a slight edge over the Freedom Unlimited.
5. Travel benefits
Having any sort of travel benefits isn’t typically expected on cashback cards, but both of these cards offer a few travel perks.
The Freedom Unlimited provides:
- Trip cancellation or interruption insurance: This insurance might reimburse you if you purchased a flight or a trip that was then canceled or interrupted due to a covered event.
- Auto rental collision damage waiver: This waiver enables you to decline the collision insurance from car rental companies and still be covered. To qualify, you would need to charge the entire rental cost to your card.
- Travel and emergency assistance service: This service helps connect you with medical or legal assistance if you face an emergency while traveling. Keep in mind that you’d still pay for the services you use.
The Active Cash Card offers:
- Roadside dispatch: This service helps put you in touch with a towing company or a locksmith in your area if your car breaks down or you get locked out of your vehicle. You’d be responsible for the costs of the service provider you use.
- Visa Signature Hotel Collection: This collection gives you several benefits at a selection of prestigious properties, such as potential room upgrades, complimentary breakfast, and more.
- 24/7 Visa Signature Concierge: The Visa concierge service is a phone-based service that helps you make travel, dining, and entertainment bookings and reservations. This service is available 24/7 all year long.
Keep in mind that these benefits might not be the most robust travel benefits, but they could be helpful in the right situation. Check out our list of the best travel credit cards to see cards with better travel-related benefits and travel rewards.
Tie: Neither suite of travel benefits is necessarily better than the other as it depends on your preferences. The Freedom Unlimited leans toward travel insurance and assistance, while the Active Cash offers roadside dispatch and Visa Signature benefits.
Which card should you choose?
The better card between these two options depends on your preferences and spending habits.
You might choose the Chase Freedom Unlimited if:
- You want to earn Chase Ultimate Rewards points.
- You want purchase and extended warranty protections.
- You want to take advantage of its bonus spending categories.
You might choose the Wells Fargo Active Cash if:
- You want a low-stress cash rewards credit card.
- You want cell phone protection.
- You want Visa Signature benefits.
Keep in mind that both cards have introductory APR offers that could be useful for balance transfers or upcoming large purchases. These types of offers might not always be available on rewards cards. Check out our list of the best rewards credit cards to see what other credit card offers are available.
Does Chase Freedom Unlimited have travel insurance?
Yes, the Chase Freedom Unlimited has these travel insurance benefits:
- Trip cancellation or interruption insurance
- Auto rental collision damage waiver
The Freedom Unlimited also offers its cardmembers travel and emergency assistance services, purchase protection, and extended warranty protection.
What credit score is needed for the Wells Fargo Active Cash Card?
You may need a good to excellent credit score to qualify for the Wells Fargo Active Cash Card. The FICO scoring model uses these ranges to calculate credit scores:
- Good: 670 to 739
- Very good: 740 to 799
- Excellent: 800 to 850
Do note that numerical credit scores are provided as guidelines only and are not a guarantee of approval.
Is 2% cash rewards rate a good rate?
Two percent cash rewards rate might be a good earning rate for flat-rate cashback credit cards. It’s common for many rewards cards to offer 1.5% cash back, so earning 2% would be an above-average rate. Keep in mind that certain cards might offer more than 2% back in specific bonus categories such as groceries or dining.
The Chase Freedom Unlimited and Wells Fargo Active Cash both offer cash rewards on eligible purchases. But their different earning rates and benefits may indicate that they’re designed for different situations or people.
For example, you might prefer the Active Cash for its cell phone protection and flat rewards rate. But the Freedom Unlimited would make sense if your everyday purchases align with its bonus categories.
Continue learning about available card offers using our dedicated page to compare credit cards and their benefits.
Unlimited Cash Back
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SPECIAL OFFER: Unlimited Matched Cash Back. Use your card for all your purchases and at the end of your first year, Chase will automatically match all the cash back you earned! There is no limit to how much you can earn. Every dollar in cash back rewards you earn is a dollar Chase will match
5% cash back on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®, 3% cash back on drugstore purchases and dining at restaurants, including takeout and eligible delivery services and unlimited 1.5% cash back on all other purchases