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Chase Freedom Unlimited vs. Wells Fargo Active Cash Card

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The Chase Freedom Unlimited and Wells Fargo Active Cash cards are two of the market’s most popular cash-back credit cards. Check out the table below to see how the two compare.

Feature
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
Annual Fee $0 $0
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 -$200 when members spend $500 or more on purchases in the first three months.
-5% back on gas station purchases for the first year.  
$200 when members spend $1,000 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. 

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All told, the Chase Freedom Unlimited credit card edges out a slight win over the Wells Fargo Active Cash rewards card for three key reasons:

  1. Slightly lower interest rate.
  2. The $200 bonus promotion is easy to get on both offers but easier with Chase Freedom Unlimited. 
  3. Rewards are easier to accumulate on the Chase Freedom Unlimited card. 

Cash Rewards

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:

It’s also worth mentioning that, for the first year, cardholders earn 5% back on gas station purchases up to $6,000. 

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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.   

Sign-Up Bonus

Both credit cards come with $200 sign-up bonuses, but the bonus is slightly easier to access with the Chase Freedom Unlimited card than the Wells Fargo Active Cash card. 

Chase Freedom Unlimited cardholders earn a $200 sign-up bonus when they spend $500 on the card in the first three months after opening the account. Wells Fargo Active Cash Cardholders earn their $200 bonus when they spend $1,000 within the first three months of opening the account.  

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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. 

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Final Take

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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