When it comes to cash back credit cards what better two to compare than the Chase Freedom Unlimited® vs Wells Fargo Active Cash® Card. Both of these cards offer unlimited cash rewards, but they do so in different ways. If you are in the market for a cash back credit card then it’s safe to agree that these are two of the best options available. So let’s break down the details about each card and find out which one will be better for you.
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By Matthew Coan
Chase Freedom Unlimited vs Wells Fargo Active Cash Summary
If cash rewards are what you interest in then both of these cards have you covered. They both offer unlimited cash rewards on everything you buy, but one card offers different ways to earn it then the other.
The Chase Freedom Unlimited comes with a $200 signup bonus. Plus for your first year you can earn 5% cash back on select grocery store purchases (excluding Walmart and Target).
After that you can take advantage of 3% cash back on dining and restaurant purchases (including takeout and certain delivery services), 3% cash back on drugstore purchases, and 5% cash back on travel purchases made through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal.
To cap it all off you will get 1.5% cash back on all of the other purchases that you make.
The Chase Freedom Unlimited comes with no annual fee and you can enjoy 0% intro APR on new purchases and balance transfers as well.
With the Wells Fargo Active Cash Card you get a similar $200 cash rewards bonus after spending $1,000 in purchases in the first 3 months. After that there are no bonus categories that you have to keep track of.
You will earn unlimited 2% cash rewards on all of the purchases that you make. And there is no cap on how much cash rewards you can earn. Making the Wells Fargo Active Cash as simple and easy as it gets.
Looking for intro interest period on new purchases and balance transfers. You can enjoy 15 months of 0% intro APR on balance transfers and new purchases with the Wells Fargo Active Cash card. (then a 19.24%, 24.49%, or 29.49% variable APR)
And you get all of this with no annual fee. And they will also include up to $600 of cell phone protection (subject to $25 deductible), which covers damage of theft, if you use your card to pay your monthly bill.
As you can see both cards offer a lot but in different ways. Which is why this is a great matchup between the Chase Freedom Unlimited vs Wells Fargo Active Cash.
Chase Freedom Unlimited
The Chase Freedom Unlimited gives you the ability to earn highly elevated cash back rewards in certain bonus categories. These include travel, drugstores, and dining and delivery. After that you earn a base cash back rate on all other purchases that outranks many other cards in this category.
What further separates the Chase Freedom Unlimited is that is offers a a signup bonus in a slightly different way than other cards. You basically take the awesome cash back rate you earn, in all spending categories, and increase it for your first year. This allows you to earn even more cash back which will count as your welcome bonus.
There is a limit on the amount of bonus cash back you can earn in your first year. But if you maximize its value it comes out well ahead of other cards that are in the same market.
- $200 signup bonus
- 5% cash back on grocery store purchases for your first year (excluding Target and Walmart and up to $12,000 in spend)
- 3% cash back on dining (including takeout and select delivery services)
- 3% cash back on purchases made at drugstores
- 5% cash back on travel purchases made through Chase Ultimate Rewards
- 15 months intro 0% APR on new purchases and balance transfers
- No annual fee
Another great matchup: Chase Freedom Unlimited vs Citi Double Cash
Well Fargo Active Cash Card
The Wells Fargo Active Cash Card takes simple and easy cash rewards to a new level. This is because the cash rewards rate that it earns on everything you buy is well above what most other cards offer. No need to juggle or remember bonus categories. Just earn unlimited cash rewards on every purchase.
The Wells Fargo Active Cash Card does offer a traditional cash rewards bonus that rivals other cards in this market and you have to meet a minimum spend in a certain amount of time to earn it. But if you do then you will give your cash rewards a big boost.
You get all of this for no annual fee as well. Which means all of the cash rewards that you earn are yours to keep.
- $200 cash rewards bonus after spending $1,000 in purchases in your first 3 months
- 2% cash rewards on all purchases that you make
- No need to juggle or remember bonus categories
- 0% intro APR on new purchases and balance transfers for 15 months (then a 19.24%, 24.49%, or 29.49% variable APR)
- Up to $600 in cell phone protection (subject to $25 deductible)
- No annual fee
Also read about the Wells Fargo Active Cash Card Requirements
Chase Freedom Unlimited vs Wells Fargo Active Cash Foreign Transaction Fee
If you are looking to utilize either of these cards while traveling overseas then expect to pay a foreign transaction fee. Neither one of these cards waive foreign transaction fees so you are better of looking at other options if you want a card that you can use while traveling abroad.
This is not surprising as both of these cards come in the cash rewards category and besides the Chase Freedom Unlimited offering bonus rewards for travel book through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal, they don’t offer much as far as travel benefits.
One of the best ways to utilize the cash rewards you earn from these credit cards is with a statement credit. Both of these cards have the ability to use the cash rewards that you earn to erase any of the purchases you made with your card.
All you have to do is go into your online account and the select the charge you want the statement credit applied to and you are good to go. Another way that both of these cards make it simple and easy to not only earn cash rewards, but to use them for whatever you want as well.
A dead tie in this competition between the Chase Freedom Unlimited vs Wells Fargo Active Cash.
If you are someone who wants to not only earn great cash rewards, but also take advantage of a balance transfer as well, then both of these cards have you covered. The main thing to look at when considering a balance transfer is the amount of time that you get with the intro 0 APR rate. At the time of this writing both of these cards offer the same amount of time, which is actually comparable to that of cards solely focused on balance transfers.
With a balance transfer offer you always want to find out if there is a balance transfer fee. Almost all cards have them so it might not be something you can avoid. But if you get your entire balance paid off before the introductory APR rate expires then you will still come out way ahead. Even with paying a balance transfer fee.
If you are looking for bonus categories then this is where the competition between the Chase Freedom Unlimited vs Wells Fargo Active Cash gets interesting. The Wells Fargo Active Cash Card offers a high elevated cash rewards rate on everything that you buy. But it does not have any bonus categories.
So if you are someone who knows that you do a lot of spending in certain places, then you may what to consider another card. But if you want to keep everything smooth and simple the the Wells Fargo Active Cash Card is for you.
On the other hand the Chase Freedom Unlimited offers bonus categories that offer a superior cash back rate, especially in the first year of having your card. Right now these categories are travel purchases made through Chase Ultimate Rewards, drugstores, and dining and food delivery.
If you know that is where most of your spending occurs, then you are on the way watching your cash back rewards add up quickly.
Cell Phone Protection
Cell phone protection is not something that you usually see show up in a credit card competition. And that is because there are not many credit cards that offer it. But for the Wells Fargo Active Card vs Chase Freedom Unlimited it is a point that needs to be brought up.
The Wells Fargo Active Cash Card comes with cell phone coverage that protects against damage and theft as long as you use your card to pay your monthly cell phone bill. There is small deductible, but with how expensive cell phones are it is well worth if. And since there is no annual fee this is a nice included benefit.
The Chase Freedom Unlimited does not offer cell phone protection. So if this is something that you find a lot of value in the the Wells Fargo Active Cash is the way to go for this section.
Credit Score Requirements
Both the Chase Freedom Unlimited and Wells Fargo Active Cash Card are considered to be at the top of the list as far as cash back rewards credit cards go. So it should be no surprise that you need good to excellent credit in order to qualify. You should be up to date on your current credit score and credit history before you apply.
This way you give yourself the best chance of getting approved.
Good to excellent credit scores range between 670 and 850. If you know that you are in this range then you have a good shot at getting approved. Although there are no guarantees as credit card companies factor in more than your credit score when you submit an application.
Other Options To Consider
Capital One SavorOne Cash Rewards Credit Card
The Capital One SavorOne Card is another cash-back card where you can maximize the bonus categories that it comes with. If you favor entertainment and dining then this may be the option for you. As it has a huge bump in cash back earnings for purchases made in these categories.
It also comes with no annual fee and has a competitive signup bonus as well. You can also take advantage of the great Capital One SavorOne benefits that are included along with everything else you get.
- Great signup bonus opportunity
- Bonus categories that include entertainment, dining, and travel
- Base level cash back rate on everything else you purchase
- No annual fee
- And more
Also check out our Capital One SavorOne vs Quicksilver matchup
Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express (see rates and fees)
If you are looking for a cash back credit card that comes with an annual fee but also the rewards and benefits to match, then the Amex Blue Cash Preferred Card could be your best option available. You get elevated rewards at select U.S. supermarkets and select U.S. gas stations to name a few. Along with statement credits for certain purchases.
The higher cash back rate and awesome welcome bonus can justify the annual fee and make it worth it if you maximize everything that comes with it.
Want an American Express Cash Back card that has no annual fee. Check out the Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express.
- High valued welcome bonus opportunity
- Super elevated cash back rewards categories
- Statement credit for certain purchases
- Annual fee
- And more
Also check out the Amex Gold vs Blue Cash Preferred matchup
Citi® Double Cash Card
The Citi Double Cash Card is another straightforward option when it comes to flat-rate cards. You earn an elevated cash back rewards rate on all of the purchases that you make. There are no bonus categories to juggle or think about.
This card also comes with no annual fee as well. So you are free to keep all of the cash back that you earn. Clearly an option to think about if you are considering the Wells Fargo Active Cash Card.
- Unlimited 2% cash back. 1% when you spend and 1% when you pay off your purchases
- Intro 0% APR on balance transfers for 18 months (then 18.49% – 28.49% variable APR)
- No annual fee
- And more
Another great credit card comparison: Capital One Quicksilver vs Citi Double Cash
Chase Freedom Unlimited vs Wells Fargo Active Cash Card Conclusion
If you are looking for a cash rewards credit card then these are two of the best options available. On one side you have the Chase Freedom Unlimited that offers great bonus categories and can maximize the cash back rewards that you earn.
Then you have the Wells Fargo Active Cash Card that comes with a great elevated cash rewards rate on everything that you buy with no need to worry about bonus categories.
Both cards come with a cash rewards bonus that is something you should take advantage of. Although the Chase Freedom Unlimited goes about it in a different way then the Wells Fargo Active Cash you still get one of the best offers available. And both cards also come with no annual fee, which means you get to keep all of the cash rewards that you earn.
So the decision is up to you. No two credit cards are the same, just as no two consumers are the same. If you know that you can get maximum value out of the bonus categories that come with the Chase Freedom Unlimited then it is the card for you. If you want simple and easy then the Wells Fargo Active Cash Card is a great choice as well.
Either way you are getting a great cash rewards credit card that comes from two awesome credit card issuers. So go ahead and check out the current up to date offers for both of these cards to see which one will take your cash back earnings to the next level.
About the author: Matthew Coan is the founder of Casavvy and a credit card expert. He has appeared in various media outlets including Yahoo, Credit Karma, Market Watch, Mens Journal, and more. Continue reading