Chase Freedom Unlimited vs Barclaycard CashForward™ World MasterCard®

Brendan Harkness

Brendan Harkness | Versus

May 16, 2016 | Updated Sep 20, 2016

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This is a comparison of two similar cash back credit cards: the Chase Freedom Unlimited card and the Barclaycard CashForward World MasterCard.

These cards are far more alike than they are different, offering almost the same amount of cash back for every purchase you make. They also have pretty comparable costs and fees.

There are a few differences in the extra benefits, however, that might make you want one card over another. Keep reading to learn more and find out which one might be right for you!

Chase Freedom Unlimited

For People with
Good Credit

  • Annual Fee: $0
  • Interest Rate: 14.24%, to 23.24% *Variable
Quick Card Facts
  • 1.5% cash back on every purchase
  • $150 signup bonus for spending $500 in 3 months
  • $25 signup bonus for adding an authorized user and making a purchase within 3 months
  • No annual fee
  • 0% introductory APR for 15 months
  • 14.24%, 19.25%, or 23.24% APR *Variable after that
  • Shopping and travel benefits

The information for Chase Freedom Unlimited has been collected independently by Credit Card Insider. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

Barclaycard CashForward™ World MasterCard®
Apply Now

Barclaycard CashForward™ World MasterCard®

For People with
Good Credit

  • Annual Fee: $0
  • Interest Rate: 14.99%, 19.99% or 24.99% Variable
Quick Card Facts
  • Get a $100 cash rewards bonus after you spend $500 in purchases in the first 90 days after account opening
  • Earn unlimited 1.5% cash rewards on every purchase
  • Every time you redeem, get a 5% cash rewards redemption bonus to use toward your next redemption
  • Redeem your cash rewards for a deposit into your bank account, a statement credit or gift cards. Redemptions start at $50
  • Cash rewards do not expire as long as your account is open, active and in good standing
  • 0% introductory APR for 15 months on Balance Transfers made within 45 days of account opening. After that a variable APR will apply, 14.99%, 19.99% or 24.99%, based on your creditworthiness.
  • Please note, there is a fee for balance transfers
  • No annual fee

The Rewards

Freedom Unlimited

  • 1.5% cash back on every purchase
  • $150 signup bonus for spending $500 in 3 months
  • $25 signup bonus for adding an authorized user and making a purchase in 3 months

Your cash back won’t expire, and you can redeem it at any time and for any amount.

Barclaycard CashForward

  • 1.5% cash back for every purchase
  • 5% cash rewards redemption bonus every time you redeem your cash back
  • $100 signup bonus for spending $500 in the first 90 days

Reward redemptions start at $50.

The Verdict

These cards are pretty similar: 1.5% cash back for every purchase, along with a good signup bonus (more with the Freedom Unlimited).

But you’ll also get that extra 5% bonus when you redeem with the CashForward, making that card a bit more rewarding. How much does that extra bonus come to?

If you were to spend $2,000 with the CashForward card, you’d earn $30 in cash back initially. Then, when you redeem and get that extra 5% bonus, you’ll get another $1.50, for a total of $31.50 cash back.

So the CashForward provides a bit more cash back for your spending. It’s not much, but it will add up over the years.

The Unlimited card does have a useful feature that the CashForward doesn’t, the ability to redeem your cash back at any time and for any amount. This isn’t a very important feature, but it’s nice to have.

The Benefits

Here are some of the more valuable benefits offered by each card.

Freedom Unlimited

Shopping

  • Purchase Protection

    New purchases are covered for 120 days against damage or theft.

  • Price Protection

    Get reimbursed if you find a purchase you made being advertised at a lesser cost within 90 days.

Travel

  • Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver

    Provides coverage against theft and collision for rented vehicles (must decline the rental company’s insurance).

Barclaycard CashForward

Perks

  • Free FICO® Credit Score

    Keep track of your credit score easily, and get alerts if it changes.

The Verdict

The Freedom Unlimited has the more extensive lineup of extra benefits, but that doesn’t necessarily make it better. Those benefits can definitely come in useful, but in most cases you won’t need them (though they might save you a nice chunk of cash if you do!).

The CashForward, on the other hand, doesn’t have the shopping and travel benefits, but it does offer the free FICO credit score. This is a great way to see how your credit is doing, whether you’re focused on building up your credit or just like to check in on your finances.

Here’s a side-by-side comparison of the benefits offered by each card:

Chase Unlimited CashForward World MasterCard

Perks

  • Free FICO Credit Score
Security
  • Zero Liability Protection
  •  Zero Liability Protection
Shopping
  • Purchase Protection
  • Price Protection
Travel
  • Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver

The Costs & Fees

Card Annual Fee Intro Purchase APR Intro Balance Transfer APR Regular Purchase APR Regular Balance Transfer APR Cash Advance APR
Freedom Unlimited $0 0% for 15 months 0% for 15 months 14.24%, to 23.24% *Variable 14.24%, to 23.24% *Variable 25.24% *Variable
CashForward $0 N/A for N/A 0% for 15 months (on balance transfers made within 45 days of account opening) 14.99%, 19.99% or 24.99% Variable  See Terms See Terms
Card Balance Transfer Fee Cash Advance Fee Foreign Transaction Fee
Freedom Unlimited 5% ($5 min) 5% ($10 min) 3%
CashForward  See Terms See Terms See Terms
Card Penalty APR Late Fee Returned Payment Fee
Freedom Unlimited See Terms Up to $37 Up to $37
CashForward See Terms See Terms Up to $38

The Verdict

When it comes to the interest rates and fees you’ll need to pay for these cards, they end up being pretty similar.

Neither card has an annual fee to worry about, and the interest rates are the same. You’ll wind up paying the same fee for foreign transactions with both cards, so neither of them are a great choice to bring outside the country.

The intro APR period for the Freedom Unlimited is 3 months longer than the CashForward’s, but this isn’t a very significant difference.

The Bottom Line

The Chase Freedom Unlimited and the Barclaycard CashForward World MasterCard are both good cash back credit cards. They provide you with the same amount of cash back no matter where you shop, without needing to worry about which reward category you’re in.

The costs and fees for these cards are basically the same, so take a look at the rewards and benefits to figure out which card is right for you.

The CashForward wins in the reward category thanks to the extra 5% bonus on redemptions. But what about the other benefits? Would you rather have the shopping and travel protections just in case, provided by the Freedom Unlimited? Or would you rather be able to check in on your credit score any time with the CashForward?

The right card for you will depend on what you want to do with it. If you’re currently focused on building or rebuilding your credit, the CashForward provides you with an easy way to frequently check your FICO score. Or, if you’re concerned that you might need those shopping and travel protection benefits, the Freedom Unlimited might be a better choice.

If you use one of these credit cards, how do you like it? Leave your own review of the Chase Freedom Unlimited card or the Barclaycard CashForward World MasterCard, we’d love to hear from you!

Or learn more about Reward Credit Cards and see our picks for the best cards!
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