Editorial Note: The content of this article is based on the author’s opinions and recommendations alone. It may not have been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuer. This site may be compensated through a credit card issuer partnership.
Choosing between the Chase Freedom Flex℠ and the U.S. Bank Cash+™ Visa Signature® Card comes down to which of the two cards have reward categories that best line up with your budget. The U.S. Bank Cash+™ Visa Signature® Card gives users more control. You get to choose which stores and shops will earn you its coveted 5% rewards rate. With the Chase Freedom Flex℠ you are stuck with whatever bonus categories happen to fall on a given quarter—something the bank decides. When it comes to long-term reward potential, we give the edge to the Chase Freedom Flex℠. The card can be combined with other Chase Ultimate Rewards credit cards, which enables users to optimize and supercharge their rewards.
Table of Contents
Relevant Differences Between Chase Freedom Flex℠ and U.S. Bank Cash+™ Visa Signature® Card
Chase Freedom Flex℠
U.S. Bank Cash+™ Visa Signature® Card
|Rewards||Earn 5% cash back on eligible purchases in rotating categories, 5% on travel purchased through Chase, 3% on dining and drugstores, and 1% on all other purchases.||5% cash back on your first $2,000 in combined eligible net purchases ($100 per quarter) on two categories you choose. That adds up to $400 cash back!|
|Foreign Transaction Fee||3% of each transaction in U.S. dollars||2% of each foreign purchase transaction or foreign ATM advance transaction in U.S. Dollars; 3% of each foreign purchase transaction or foreign ATM advance transaction in a Foreign Currency.|
|APR||14.99% - 23.74% Variable||13.99% - 23.99%* (Variable)|
|Intro APR||0% Intro APR on Purchases for 15 months||N/A|
|Sign-up Bonus||Earn a $200 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening.||Earn $150 after you spend $500 in eligible net purchases in the first 90 days of account opening|
5% Cash Back Opportunities
As we pointed out in the opening, the chief differentiating factor between these two credit cards has to do with when and how you're awarded cash back. The Chase Freedom Flex℠ awards Earn 5% cash back on eligible purchases in rotating categories, 5% on travel purchased through Chase, 3% on dining and drugstores, and 1% on all other purchases. On the other hand, the U.S. Bank Cash+™ Visa Signature® Card has a set list of 5% cash back categories and you pick two each quarter that will apply to your account. With the U.S. Bank Cash+™ Visa Signature® Card, you also get to pick one everyday category in which you get unlimited 2% cash back. All other spending you do on the card gives you 1.5% cash back—significantly better than the measly 1% awarded by the Chase Freedom Flex℠.
In-Depth Analysis of Chase Freedom Flex℠ & U.S. Bank Cash+™ Visa Signature® Card
If you're not satisfied with quick takeaways and want a deeper dive into each of these cards, and what they can provide, this section will deliver that. We not only look at the rewards offered by each card, but also their interest rates and long-term potential.
The U.S. Bank Cash+™ Visa Signature® Card: Good For Those With a Predictable Budget
The U.S. Bank Cash+™ Visa Signature® Card is great for people who tend to shop at the same spots while retaining full control over their rewards. It excels in this area because it lets you select the categories where you earn the most cash back. The 5% cash back categories on the card are very fragmented, with things like furniture stores, car rentals, movie theaters and bookstores each listed separately. This isn't necessarily a negative, as long as this restriction lines up with how you spend your money month-to-month.
The U.S. Bank Cash+™ Visa Signature® Card comes with a zero percent interest offer on balance transfers that can be helpful for people currently struggling to pay down their debt. You get N/A While the perk is nice, it's not extraordinary. You can get significantly better deals on balance transfers with cards that specialize in it, and even through the Chase Freedom Flex℠, which we will detail more in the next section.
Chase Freedom Flex℠: Best for Optimizers
The Chase Freedom Flex℠ offers you less control over where you earn 5% cash back, but makes up for that through a better initial bonus and a significantly more flexible rewards program. The Chase Freedom Flex℠ offers the ability to Earn a $200 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening. Not only is this better than what you get through the U.S. Bank Cash+™ Visa Signature® Card, but it's one of the best sign-up bonuses on all cash back credit cards. For readers who are interested in optimizing for short-term rewards, the Chase Freedom Flex℠ is the clear winner.
You should also be aware that the Chase Freedom Flex℠ earns points called Chase Ultimate Rewards. You Earn 5% cash back on eligible purchases in rotating categories, 5% on travel purchased through Chase, 3% on dining and drugstores, and 1% on all other purchases. When you have just the Chase Freedom Flex℠ in your wallet, these points are mostly good for simply earning cash back. But if you were to ever pair the card with either the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, you could exchange those points for much better rewards, such as travel bookings. If you trade in, the rewards rate on the Chase Freedom Flex℠ can be significantly better than just 5%. The only problem is that you will have to be willing to open more credit card accounts and pay an annual fee.
The Chase Freedom Flex℠ is much better at helping cardholders manage debt than the U.S. Bank Cash+™ Visa Signature® Card. Users get an 0% Intro APR on Purchases for 15 months (then 14.99% - 23.74% Variable APR). Therefore, it's possible to skip interest payments for over a year on both existing debt and future debt, so long as you fit inside the billing cycle window.
Combining the Chase Freedom Flex℠ and the U.S. Bank Cash+™ Visa Signature® Card
Since both the Chase Freedom Flex℠ and U.S. Bank Cash+™ Visa Signature® Card have $0 annual fee, a valid strategy involves applying for both. There is only one downside to considering this approach. The two separate applications will result in two 'hard pulls' on your credit report, resulting in a temporary dip in your credit score. A hard pull happens whenever a lender, like a bank, looks into your credit history to determine if you can qualify for their loan. Most credit score models view multiple hard pulls as a bad thing. To them, it seems like a person with multiple pulls in a short period of time is desperately trying to get credit, and therefore their financial situation may be shaky. This is, of course, not true in all cases. FICO, the folks responsible for generating most credit scores, simply make this assumption for their model.
Which Card Is Better for the Average Consumer?
The average consumer will be better off choosing the U.S. Bank Cash+™ Visa Signature® Card. We base this on the average expenditures data provided by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. This government body catalogs how much U.S. consumers spend each day, and in what categories. When you match those up with purchases that can be charged to a credit card, we can estimate the rewards provided by each card.
The average consumer expenditure for our model consumer was the following:
- Groceries (food at home): $330
- Gas (gasoline and motor oil): $200
- Dining (good away from home): $230
- General (All other expenditures, entertainment, apparel and services): $670
In total, our model cardholder would earn $296 with the U.S. Bank Cash+™ Visa Signature® Card during their first year, and $276 per year going forward. The Chase Freedom Flex℠ user would earn $412 in the first year, and roughly $262 annually moving forward.
Assuming your spending breaks down similarly to the above example, you will be better off choosing the U.S. Bank Cash+™ Visa Signature® Card in the long-run. For everyone else, it’s worth taking the time to inventory how you spend your money throughout the year. As you can see from the above example, the difference can be quite substantial between the two cards.