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August 23, 2017 12:00 PM PT

Capital One Quicksilver vs Chase Freedom Unlimited

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Both Capital One Quicksilver and Chase Freedom Unlimited give 1.5% cash back with no annual fee. Which one is better? We break down the surprising differences.

On the surface, the two cards seem the same. Both cards have similar sign-up offers and give you an unlimited 1.5% cash back. Both have no annual fee and no rotating categories.

But there are subtle differences you should not ignore. The Freedom Unlimited has the potential for higher rewards, while Capital One has no foreign transaction fees.

Which one is better for you? Read on to find out.

Capital One vs Chase

 

Capital One Quicksilver

Chase Freedom Unlimited

 

Interest Rates and Fees

Introductory APR for Purchases0% intro on purchases for 9 months0% introductory APR for 15 months
Introductory APR for Balance Transfers0% intro on balance transfers for 9 months0% introductory APR for 15 months
Purchase APR13.99% to 23.99% (Variable) based on your creditworthiness and other factors15.99% to 24.74% Variable based on your creditworthiness and other factors
Balance Transfers APR13.99% to 23.99% (Variable) based on your creditworthiness and other factors15.99% to 24.74% Variable based on your creditworthiness and other factors
Foreign Transaction FeeNo foreign transaction fee3% of each transaction in U.S. dollars
Annual Fee$0 annual fee$0 annual fee
 

Benefits and Features

Cash Back DealIntroductory Bonus Cash Back: Earn a one-time $150 bonus if you spend $500 on purchases within three months of account opening.Introductory Bonus Cash Back: Earn a $150 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening.
Cash BackCash Back Rewards: Earn 1.5% cash back on every purchaseCash Back Rewards: Unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase - it's automatic!
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Capital One Quicksilver: Pricing information including interest rates, rewards, benefits and fees was obtained on July 19, 2017 from published websites and is believed to be accurate, but not guaranteed.

Disclaimer: The information for the Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit Card has been collected independently by CreditDonkey. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

What You Get with Both Cards

With both cards, you get:

  • $150 bonus. Both cards give you the chance to earn $150 in cash rewards after spending $500 in the first three months of account opening.
  • 1.5% unlimited rewards. You get a flat 1.5% cash back on all purchases, with no limit to how much you can earn. There are no rotating categories to keep track of and your rewards never expire.
  • No annual fee. The sign-up bonus and rewards are generous for a card with no annual fee.

Note: Both cards require good - excellent credit, which usually means a credit score in the 700+ range. If you know your credit isn't quite there, focus on building credit first.

Why Capital One Quicksilver Is Better

Here are some reasons you may prefer Capital One Quicksilver:

  • No foreign transaction fee. This may be your deciding factor. The Quicksilver has no foreign transaction fee, while Freedom Unlimited's fee is 3%. If you travel abroad frequently, you'd want the Quicksilver in your wallet.

  • Pick your own bill due date. This is another feature that you may find helpful. You can pick your own monthly due date to pay your bills. So if you usually get paid on a certain day, you can align your due date to your paychecks. Or you can set your due date to not coincide with other bills.

Why the Chase Freedom Unlimited Is Better

Chase Freedom Unlimited
Apply for Chase Freedom Unlimited
The 1.5% reward rate may sound the same for both cards, but the Chase Freedom Unlimited has opportunities for higher rewards. It's the better choice for these reasons:

  • Earn an extra $25 for adding an authorized user. On top of the sign-up offer, you can earn an extra $25 for adding an authorized user who makes a purchase in the first three months. That means in total, you can earn up to a $175.00 bonus.

  • Longer 0% intro APR (15 months vs 9 months) . You get a 0% intro APR for the first 15 months on purchases and balance transfers (and then the variable APR is 15.99%-24.74%). In comparison, the Quicksilver's promotional APR period is 9 months (after that, the variable APR is 13.99% - 23.99%) - a whole half a year shorter.

    If you're planning on making some big purchases and need time to pay them off, the Chase Freedom Unlimited will give you more time.

  • Shopping portal to earn bonus points. Chase has a great online shopping portal that awards bonus points for every $1 spent at partner merchants. Many popular online stores offer 3-5x bonus points, with some going up to as much as 20x points. This gives you the opportunity to earn more than just 1.5%. And you can rack up points faster.

    Capital One no longer has a shopping portal. So there are no other ways to earn extra points.

  • Earn Ultimate Rewards points. This could make a difference for you. With the Freedom Unlimited, you get your rewards in the form of Ultimate Rewards points, one of the most versatile and valuable credit card points.

    On their own, the points are worth cash back at 1 cent each. However, if you have one of the premium UR cards (Chase Sapphire Preferred, Chase Sapphire Reserve, or Chase Ink Business Preferred), you can pool your points. This will then allow you to transfer them 1:1 to an airline or hotel partner, or use them to purchase travel on the Chase travel portal at a discount. This allows your points to be worth more.

    Even if you don't have one of the premium cards yet, think about if you'd eventually get one. This would get you in the Ultimate Rewards family, where you can later redeem for travel at greater value.

Both Cards Have Some Disadvantages

Beware of these potential downsides for both cards.

Downsides of Capital One Quicksilver:

  • Shorter promotional APR time. The promotional period is a whole 6 months shorter for purchases and balance transfers.

  • No opportunities to earn extra points. Unlike Chase, Capital One doesn't have an online shopping portal where you can earn extra rewards when you shop at partner stores. All purchases will always be 1.5% cash back. And there is also no extra cash bonus for adding an authorized user.

Downsides of Chase Freedom Unlimited:

  • Larger balance transfer fee. Even though the promotional APR period is longer, the balance transfer fee is higher at 5% (versus 3% for the Quicksilver). This can add up to quite a bit. If you have a $3,000 balance to transfer, you'd be paying $150 in fees (as opposed to $90 for the Quicksilver).

    Note: However, the promotional APR time is 6 months longer. So figure out how long you'd need to pay off your balance, and see if the higher fee is worth it. If you are sure you can pay off the balance within 9 months, then Capital One Quicksilver will save you more money.

  • Chase's 5/24 rule. Chase has a rule with certain cards. If you have opened 5 personal credit cards in the past 24 months (with any bank), you will not be approved for a new card. Unfortunately, the Freedom Unlimited falls under this rule.

  • 3% foreign transaction fee. There will be an extra 3% charge for purchases made outside of the U.S.

Bottom Line: Which Card Is Better for You?

Since the sign-up offer and reward rate are the same, this depends on what you hope to get out of it.

If you're traveling abroad, the Capital One Quicksilver has no foreign transaction fee. If you're planning some larger purchases or have a balance to transfer, Chase Freedom Unlimited will give you more time to pay it off. And if you think you may eventually want one of the Chase's travel cards, it will also allow you to join the Ultimate Rewards family, where you can use your points at a higher value later on.

Chase Freedom Unlimited
Apply for Chase Freedom Unlimited
At Chase's Secure Site
  • Unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase — it's automatic
  • Earn a $150 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening
  • 0% Intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases and balance transfers, then a variable APR of 15.99-24.74%. Balance transfer fee is 5% of the amount transferred, $5 minimum
  • No minimum to redeem for cash back
  • Cash Back rewards do not expire as long as your account is open
  • No annual fee
Intro APR for PurchasesIntro APR for Balance TransferRegular APRAnnual Fee
0% for 15 months
0% for 15 months
15.99% - 24.74% Variable
$0

Editorial Note: Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author's alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any card issuer. This site may be compensated through the Advertiser's affiliate programs.

Disclaimer: The information for the Chase Sapphire Reserve and Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit Card has been collected independently by CreditDonkey. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

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