Why the Chase Freedom Unlimited Credit Card Beats the Competing Capital One Quicksilver

Image showing the Chase Freedom Unlimited and Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards credit cards Getty Images

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If you are taking a closer look at rewards credit cards, you are not alone.

As travel cautiously resumes, at least within the U.S., travel rewards credit cards are becoming newly attractive. Some of these cards come with high, $550 annual fees — such as The Platinum Card® from American Express and the competing Chase Sapphire Reserve® — but many have more manageable fees and still offer many  travel perks, like the $95 Chase Sapphire Preferred.

Then there are cards that offer rewards not geared towards travel, like cash back, and carry no annual fees. Those might be more attractive for people who want rewards for their spending but are not looking to travel soon. 

Today, we’re taking a closer look at two contenders in that category: the Chase Freedom Unlimited® and the Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit Card

The Chase Freedom Unlimited is, in fact, NextAdvisor’s current pick for the best cash back credit card, thanks to features like a 15-month introductory period in which you will not be charged interest on any balance you may carry. But might the Capital One Quicksilver, which also offers a 15-month intro period with no interest, be better for your specific needs?    

The “best” credit card for you, after all, is the one that helps you achieve your personal finance goals, and offers the most value for  your purposes. And with either card, you would have to exercise the same financial discipline, paying your balance off after the introductory period to avoid paying the hefty interest that credit cards charge.

Chase Freedom Unlimited vs. Capital One Quicksilver at a Glance

These two no-annual-fee cards do have some similarities, but also a few important differences.

Chase Freedom UnlimitedCapital One Quicksilver
Annual Fee$0$0
Welcome Offer$200 after spending $500 within three months of account opening$200 after spending $500 within three months of account opening
Cash Back Earning5% cash back on travel purchases made through Chase Ultimate Rewards; 5% cash back on Lyft rides through March 2022; 3% cash back on dining and drugstores; 1% cash back on everything else1.5% cash back on every purchase
Other BenefitsComplimentary 3-month subscription to Doordash’s DashPass followed by 50% off DashPass for 9 monthsNone
Foreign Transaction Fee3%Does not charge foreign transaction fees

Bonuses Comparison

Both cards offer the same welcome bonus: $200 after spending $500 in your first three months of account opening. This is one area where they are on a level playing field, with both offering a generous welcome bonus for a relatively low spending. 

Rewards Comparison

In terms of rewards, the Chase Freedom Unlimited outshines the Capital One Quicksilver. Both cards are cash back cards, meaning you’ll earn cash back on your purchases as opposed to points that you can redeem for travel.

The Freedom unlimited earns 5% cash back on travel purchases made through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal, including hotels, flights, and car rentals, among others. Through March 2022, it also earns 5% cash back on Lyft rides. You’ll also earn 3% cash back on dining and drugstores, and 1.5% cash back on everything else.

Conversely, the Capital One Quicksilver only earns 1.5% cash back on all purchases.

Chase Freedom Unlimited®

Chase Freedom Unlimited®

Editor’s Score: (/5)
  • Intro bonus:
    $200
  • Annual fee:
    $0
  • Regular APR:
    14.99% – 23.74% Variable
  • Recommended credit:
    670-850 (Good to Excellent)
  • Learn more externa link icon at our partner’s secure site.
Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit Card

Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit Card

  • Intro bonus:
    $200
  • Annual fee:
    $0
  • Regular APR:
    15.49% – 25.49% (Variable)
  • Recommended credit:
    670-850 (Good to Excellent)
  • Learn more externa link icon at our partner’s secure site.
American Express Blue Business Cash™ Card

American Express Blue Business Cash™ Card

  • Intro bonus:
    No current offer
  • Annual fee:
    No annual fee
  • Regular APR:
    13.24% – 19.24% Variable
  • Recommended credit:
    670-850 (Good to Excellent)
  • Learn more externa link icon at our partner’s secure site. See Rates & Fees, Terms Apply.

APR Comparison

Both cards offer an introductory 0% APR period for the first 15 months. After that, the Chase Freedom Unlimited has a variable APR rate of 14.99% – 23.74%. The Capital One Quicksilver has a variable APR rate of 15.49% – 25.49%.

Fee Comparison

Neither the Chase Freedom Unlimited nor the Capital One Quicksilver carries an annual fee. The Chase Freedom Unlimited has a 3% foreign transaction fee, while the Capital One Quicksilver does not charge foreign transaction fees.

Deciding Between the Chase Freedom Unlimited and the Capital One Quicksilver

There are some major similarities between the Chase Freedom Unlimited and the Capital One Quicksilver. They are both cash back-earning cards and do not carry an annual fee. They also have the same welcome offer: $200 bonus after you spend $500 in the first three months of account opening.

That said, there are some areas where one outshines the other and vice versa. The Chase Freedom Unlimited has a better earning rate, with 5% cash back on travel (and on Lyft rides through 2022), plus 3% cash back on dining and drugstores, and 1.5% on everything else. You’ll also get an extra rewards boost if you have a Chase Sapphire Reserve® or Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card.

Pro Tip

If you have a Chase Sapphire card, you can convert the cash back from the Chase Freedom Unlimited into Ultimate Rewards points and redeem them for travel.

That’s because if you convert the cash back from the Freedom Unlimited into Chase Ultimate Rewards points, it will yield a value of 1 cent per point. However, you can transfer points earned with the Freedom Unlimited to your Sapphire Reserve for a value of 1.5 cents per point, or to the Sapphire Preferred for a value of 1.25 cents per point, when redeeming through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal.

The Capital One Quicksilver offers 1.5% cash back on everything, but it also does not charge a foreign transaction fee. The Chase Freedom Unlimited has a 3% foreign transaction fee, so depending on your international travel habits and goals, this could be a consideration for you.

Ultimately, it’s important to consider your spending habits to determine which card would be a better fit for you. The Chase Freedom Unlimited’s wide bonus categories could sway you in its favor, while the Capital One Quicksilver’s lack of foreign transaction fees might be what decides it for you.