Wells Fargo Active Cash Card vs. Chase Freedom Unlimited: Two of the Best Cash Back Options for Maximum Value

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Good for 2% Cash Back
Editor’s Score: (4.6/5)
Wells Fargo Active Cash® Card
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Wells Fargo Active Cash® Card
Editor’s Score: (4.6/5)
Rewards rate:

Earn unlimited 2% cash rewards on purchases.

Apply Now externa link icon At Wells Fargo’s secure site See Rates & Fees.
Good for Bonus Rewards
Editor’s Score: (4.7/5)
Chase Freedom Unlimited®
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Chase Freedom Unlimited®
Editor’s Score: (4.7/5)
Rewards rate:

Enjoy 5% cash back on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®, our premier rewards program that lets you redeem rewards for cash back, travel, gift cards and more;. 3% cash back on drugstore purchases and dining at restaurants, including takeout and eligible delivery service. 1.5% on all other purchases.

Apply Now externa link icon At Chase’s secure site
  • Intro offer:
    $200 cash rewards
  • Annual fee:
    $0
  • Regular APR:
    15.74%, 20.74%, or 25.74% Variable APR
  • Recommended credit score:
    670-850 (Good to Excellent)
  • Rewards rate:

    Earn unlimited 2% cash rewards on purchases.

  • Intro offer:
    Earn an Additional 1.5% Cash Back
  • Annual fee:
    $0
  • Regular APR:
    15.24% to 23.99% Variable
  • Recommended credit score:
    670-850 (Good to Excellent)
  • Rewards rate:

    Enjoy 5% cash back on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®, our premier rewards program that lets you redeem rewards for cash back, travel, gift cards and more;. 3% cash back on drugstore purchases and dining at restaurants, including takeout and eligible delivery service. 1.5% on all other purchases.

Pros and Cons
Pros and Cons
Pros
  • Unlimited 2% cash rewards on purchases
  • Valuable welcome bonus
  • 0% Introductory APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases and qualifying balance transfers (15.74%, 20.74%, or 25.74% variable APR thereafter)
  • Cellphone and travel protections
Cons
  • High variable APR after introductory offer ends
  • No bonus categories to maximize
  • 3% foreign currency conversion fee
Pros and Cons
Pros
  • Flexible, hybrid rewards structure made up of tiered categories and flat cash back
  • No annual fee
  • Valuable first-year bonus
  • Competitive intro APR period can be useful for paying off large purchases over time
Cons
  • Not a great choice for international travelers — you’ll incur a 3% foreign transaction fee
  • Travel bonus rewards only apply to travel booked through Chase
Additional Card Details
Additional Card Details
  • 0% intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases and qualifying balance transfers (followed by a variable APR of 15.74%, 20.74%, or 25.74% ).
  • Cell phone protection worth up to $600 when you pay your bill with your eligible Wells Fargo card (subject to a $25 deductible)
  • Visa Signature® Concierge service
  • Travel and emergency assistance services
  • Roadside dispatch
Additional Card Details
  • 0% introductory interest offer on purchases and balance transfers for the first 15 months after account opening, variable 15.24% – 23.99% interest thereafter; intro balance transfer fee of $5 or 3% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater in the first 60 days
  • 5% cash back on Lyft rides through March 2025
  • Complimentary 3-month subscription to Doordash’s DashPass, followed by 50% off DashPass for 9 months (activate by 12/31/24)
  • Travel protections
  • Purchase protections
NextAdvisor’s Take

Both the Wells Fargo Active Cash Card and the Chase Freedom Unlimited offer flat cash rewards on purchases. You’ll get a higher 2% cash rewards with the Active Cash Card, though the Freedom Unlimited’s 1.5% is boosted by additional bonus rewards categories that earn up to 5%. We consider both cards among the top cash rewards cards today.

A cash back credit card can help you earn a percentage back on your everyday spending, but how you maximize your cash back value varies from card to card. Some cash back cards offer a flat rate on every purchase regardless of the category, and other types of cash back credit cards have bonus categories that earn boosted rewards rates.

Among any type of rewards card, flat cash back rewards are often the simplest, but they also offer great value. Two of our favorite cash back cards available today — the Wells Fargo Active Cash® card and the Chase Freedom Unlimited — are in this card category. But while both have flat cash rewards, they have some distinct differences when it comes to additional bonus rewards, benefits, and more.

If you’re considering adding a cash back card to your wallet, either can make a solid choice. Before you decide, here’s what you need to know to choose the right card for your spending habits and credit goals.

Side-by-Side Comparison

Wells Fargo Active Cash CardChase Freedom Unlimited
Annual Fee$0$0
Welcome Offer$200 cash rewards bonus when you spend $1,000 on purchases within 3 months of account openingEarn an additional 1.5% back on everything you buy, up to the first $20,000 spent in the first year
Cash Back Rewards• 2% cash rewards on purchases• 5% back on Lyft rides (through March 2022)

• 5% back on travel booked through Chase

• 3% back on dining and drugstore purchases

• 1.5% back on all other purchases
Other Benefits• 0% intro APR on purchases and qualifying balance transfers for 15 months from account opening, followed by a variable APR of 15.74%, 20.74, or 25.74%

• Cell phone protection worth up to $600 ($25 deductible applies)

• Visa Signature benefits, including concierge service
• 0% APR on purchases and balance transfers for 15 months, followed by a variable APR of 15.74% to 23.99%

• Purchase protection against damage or theft

• Extended warranties

• Secondary auto rental coverage

• Trip cancellation and interruption insurance

• Travel and emergency assistance services

Bonus Comparison

Chase Freedom Unlimited offers a bonus that’s spread out over your first year, rather than an upfront cash bonus. In addition to bonus category rewards, you’ll earn an additional 1.5% back on everything you buy, up to the first $20,000 spent in the first year. That’s equal to up to $300 in bonus cash back.

To earn the $200 cash rewards bonus with the Wells Fargo Active Cash Card, you’ll need to spend at least $1,000 on purchases. That’s at least $334 in average monthly spending for three months in a row after account opening. Before you apply, it can be useful to look at your past spending to ensure that’s attainable within your regular budget.

Rewards and Benefits Comparison

To start, both of these cards offer a baseline flat cash back rate on purchases. Where the Wells Fargo Active Cash Card offers a higher unlimited cash rewards rate of 2% on purchases, the Chase Freedom Unlimited offers a lower rate of 1.5% cash back on every purchase. 

However, the Freedom Unlimited also has bonus rewards categories to boost how much you earn on certain everyday spending. You’ll get 5% cash back when you book travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards, 5% back on Lyft rides through March 2022, and 3% at restaurants and drugstores.

Pro Tip

If you’re hoping to get more value out of the Chase Freedom Unlimited, consider pairing it with a premium Chase travel credit card. You can get more value when you redeem points for travel, and it unlocks the option to transfer points to Chase airline and hotel partners.

To decide between these cards, consider whether you’d prefer to earn a lower 1.5% back on everyday spending with access to additional bonus categories with the Chase Freedom Unlimited, or you want to keep your rewards as simple as possible with the 2% cash rewards Wells Fargo Active Cash Card.

Beyond rewards rate alone, the Chase Freedom Unlimited has more cardholder perks and consumer protections. The Wells Fargo Active Cash Card’s primary added benefit is cell phone protection — but it’s also a Visa Signature card, and comes with some added benefits through the program. Chase Freedom Unlimited boasts purchase protection against damage or theft, extended warranties on eligible purchases that come with a manufacturer’s warranty, secondary auto rental coverage, trip cancellation and interruption insurance, and travel and emergency assistance services.

APRs

These cards come with nearly identical introductory APR offers for purchases and balance transfers, and similar ongoing variable APRs.

  • Wells Fargo Active Cash Card: 0% APR on purchases and qualifying balance transfers for 15 months from account opening, followed by a variable APR of 15.74%, 20.74, or 25.74%.
  • Chase Freedom Unlimited: 0% APR on purchases and balance transfers for 15 months, followed by a variable APR of 15.24% to 23.99%.

Fees

If you use either of these cards to consolidate and pay down debt, they charge the same 3% (minimum $5) balance transfer fee initially. After 60 days of account opening, the fee goes up to 5% (minimum $5) with Chase. Wells Fargo increases the fee to 5% (minimum $5) if you make a transfer after the first 120 days of account opening.

Both cards also charge the same 3% foreign transaction fee. Other fees include a late payment or returned payment fee, which can be up to $40 with either card.

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Wells Fargo Active Cash® Card

Wells Fargo Active Cash® Card

Editor’s Score: (4.6/5)
  • Intro offer:
    $200 cash rewards
  • Annual fee:
    $0
  • Regular APR:
    15.74%, 20.74%, or 25.74% Variable APR
  • Recommended credit:
    670-850 (Good to Excellent)
  • Apply Now externa link icon At Wells Fargo’s secure site See Rates & Fees.
Learn More externa link icon
Chase Freedom Unlimited®

Chase Freedom Unlimited®

Editor’s Score: (4.7/5)
  • Intro offer:
    Earn an Additional 1.5% Cash Back
  • Annual fee:
    $0
  • Regular APR:
    15.24% to 23.99% Variable
  • Recommended credit:
    670-850 (Good to Excellent)
  • Apply Now externa link icon At Chase’s secure site
Learn More externa link icon
Citi® Double Cash Card

Citi® Double Cash Card

Editor’s Score: (4.4/5)
  • Intro offer:
    N/A
  • Annual fee:
    $0
  • Regular APR:
    14.74% – 24.74% (Variable)
  • Recommended credit:
    670-850 (Good to Excellent)
  • Learn more externa link icon At our partner’s secure site

Deciding Between Wells Fargo Active Cash Card and Chase Freedom Unlimited

Editorial Independence

As with all of our credit card reviews, our analysis is not influenced by any partnerships or advertising relationships.

The Wells Fargo Active Cash Card and the Chase Freedom Unlimited are two of the best cash back credit cards on the market today, so you can’t go wrong with either one. The best way to determine the right card for you is by figuring out which offers the most value for your individual spending habits. If you spend a lot within the Freedom Unlimited’s bonus categories, it could bring you more value over time. Otherwise, the Wells Fargo Active Cash Card’s higher flat rewards rate could be the better long-term choice. 

Neither rewards strategy is right or wrong, but one may work better for you based on your spending style and goals.

You may also consider whether you would pair either of these cards with another credit card. With just flat rewards, the Wells Fargo card could pair well with any other rewards credit card in your wallet, to help you earn more on purchases that fall outside of rewards categories. 

And with the Chase Freedom Unlimited, you can unlock even more value by pairing it with a Chase Sapphire Preferred Card or Chase Sapphire Reserve. Not only can you pool all your Chase points from both cards in your premium travel card account for 25% more value with Chase Sapphire Preferred and 50% more value with the Chase Sapphire Reserve, but you can also transfer your points to Chase Ultimate Rewards transfer partners at a 1:1 ratio.

Before you apply for either card, consider your preferences for welcome bonus, rewards, redemptions, and how it fits into your overall budget to make the most informed decision.