|Interest Rate Promotion||0% for 15 months on purchases and qualifying balance transfers||0% for 15 months on purchases and qualifying balance transfers|
|Standard Interest Rate||depending on the applicant’s qualifications||depending on the applicant’s qualifications|
|Balance Transfer Fees||-$5 or 3% of the transaction amount, whichever is greater, for transfers made within 60 days of opening the account.
-$5 or 5% of the transfer amount, whichever is greater, for transfers made after 60 days from opening the account.
|-$5 or 3% of the transaction amount, whichever is greater, for transactions made within 120 days of opening the account.
-5% after the initial period with a $5 minimum.
|Cash Rewards||1.5% – 5%||2%|
|Bonus Offer||-Unlimited matched cash back at the end of the first year||$200 when members spend $500 in purchases in the first three months.|
At first glance, it’s difficult to discern the difference between Chase Freedom Unlimited and Wells Fargo Active Cash credit cards. They offer compelling rewards, no annual fees and promotional interest rates. They have similar balance transfer fees and other structures.
All told, the Chase Freedom Unlimited credit card edges out a slight win over the Wells Fargo Active Cash rewards card for two key reasons:
- Slightly lower interest rate.
- Rewards are easier to accumulate on the Chase Freedom Unlimited card.
The Chase Freedom Unlimited and Wells Fargo Active Cash credit cards both have cash-back rewards schemes, but cardholders with each option earn cash at different rates.
Chase Freedom Unlimited Rewards
The Chase Freedom Unlimited card comes with a tiered reward system, offering different percentages depending on the cardholder’s purchase. Those tiers and categories include:
- 5% Back. Cardholders get 5% back on travel purchases when they’re made through Chase Ultimate Rewards.
- 3% Back. Cardholders receive 3% back on all restaurant purchases, including dine-in, takeout and eligible delivery services. They also earn 3% back on all drugstore purchases.
- 1.5% Back. Cardholders receive 1.5% back on all other purchases.
It’s also worth mentioning that, for the first year, cardholders earn unlimited matched cash back at the end of the first year.
Wells Fargo Active Cash Rewards
The Wells Fargo Active Cash rewards scheme is simple. Cardholders earn 2% back on all purchases on an unlimited basis with no categories to track. However, those who are willing to track categories have the potential to earn rewards faster with the Chase Freedom Unlimited card.
Interest and Fees
Interest and fees are major factors to consider with any credit card, and these two options are no different. Both cards come with 0% introductory interest rates on purchases and qualifying balance transfers for the first 15 months, and neither comes with an annual fee.
However, interest rates are slightly lower on the Chase Freedom Unlimited credit card, coming in at . The Wells Fargo Active Cash card comes in at rates of .
Considering that both cards are well into double-digit interest rates, paying them off monthly is best to avoid interest charges altogether.
Chase Freedom Unlimited cardholders are not eligible to earn the $200 bonus currently. Wells Fargo Active Cash Cardholders also earn their $200 bonus when they spend $500 within the first three months of opening the account.
Wells Fargo Active Cash vs. Chase Freedom Unlimited: The Verdict
The Chase Freedom Unlimited credit card will be the best option for most people. Cardholders of this card typically pay less interest, earn rewards faster and access their sign-up bonuses more easily than the Wells Fargo Active Cash card.
However, there is one case where it would make more sense to sign up for the Wells Fargo Active Cash card over Chase Freedom Unlimited. Cardholders must spend in specific categories, including travel, restaurants and drugstores, to earn more than 1.5% cash back with Chase. Those who aren’t interested in tracking categories or don’t spend much time traveling, or going to restaurants or drugstores, should consider taking advantage of the Wells Fargo Active Cash offer for 2% back on all purchases.
It May Make Sense to Apply for Both
Cardholders who don’t mind getting a little creative as they earn credit card rewards might want to consider signing up for both options. These borrowers can easily use the Chase option in categories where they earn 3% to 5% back and use the Wells Fargo option on all other purchases for 2% back.
The Chase Freedom Unlimited and Wells Fargo Active Cash cards are two premier cash-back options worth taking advantage of. However, those who use cash-back credit cards shouldn’t allow the rewards they earn to entice them into spending more than they can afford to pay back within a reasonable amount of time. After all, even 5% cash back doesn’t offset the interest rate cardholders pay in the best-case scenario. It’s best to pay rewards credit cards off monthly to avoid excessive costs.
Rates are subject to change; unless otherwise noted, rates are updated periodically. All other information on accounts is accurate as of Oct. 3, 2022.
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- Forbes. 2022. "How Does Credit Card Interest Work?"