Some credit cards can have a range of bonus points that can be used for flights, hotels, gift cards or the classic pay-with-points kitchen blender. Other credit cards give their rewards as cold hard cash. There is a wave of new credit cards that offer this benefit, and this article will compare two of the longest running and most popular cash-back cards: Capital One® QuickSilver and Discover It®.
Getting Paid to Pay
Both credit cards have a cash back rewards system. As you spend money using your credit card, a certain percentage of the total spent is added to your cash back rewards balance. Upon your request or if you set up an automatic payment system, you will receive an account credit, a cheque or an electronic deposit for the money you racked up in your cash back account. The huge benefit is that this money is not tied to any certain online store or type of reward. The cash is yours to use however you like; you can buy boring but important groceries at the market, splurge on sweet new shoes online or even pay down your credit card balance with this cash.
The Capital One QuickSilver cash-back rewards system is simple: you receive 1.5% of everything you put on your card back as cash rewards. No matter what you use your card on, you will always receive 1.5% back. The Discover It card has a two-pronged rewards system. On certain, changing, categories, you can receive 5% cash back for purchases that fall within that category up to $1,500. On everything else, you receive 1% cash back.
If you are willing do your homework and track the categories, the Discover It card can reap big rewards with its 5% cash back rewards. The categories change seasonally, and currently, the 5% cash back is rewarded to purchases in restaurants and movies. The upcoming seasons will be home improvement stores and Amazon.com, followed by Amazon.com and more. Anything else will fall under the 1% reward that still provides a nice reward for your purchases. However, if you have no interest in tracking the categories or shifting your spending habits, the Capital One Quicksilver is a solid bet as you will get the slightly higher overall cash back rate.
First Time Perks
Both cards are offering first-time cardholders an appealing cash reward for your business. The Capital One Quicksilver card is currently offering $100 if you spend $500 on your card in the first three months. The Discover It card is offering to double all the cash back rewards you collect in the first 12 months of using the card. The quick math on these rewards shows that big spenders could fare well with the Discover It sign-up bonus, but a guaranteed bonus for smaller spenders (but who can still spend $500 in three months) is on the Quicksilver card. With the Quicksilver card, by putting your regular monthly spending on your credit card will get you $100 cash. However, for Discover It, you would have to spend $2,000 on the right categories at the 5% rewards level to earn $100 that can be doubled with this sign-up bonus. If you’re a big spender and follow the categories, you could earn lots with Discover It. A safer bet is Quicksilver’s $100 sign-up bonus.
The Fine Print: Annual Percentage Rates
As much fun as cash in the bank can be, the rates on your card are important considerations. Both cards offer the very appealing introductory annual percentage rate (APR) of 0%. Discover It offers this nice rate for the first year of your card contract. Capital One QuickSilver, however, only offers 0% until February 2017. After the 0% period, the Discover It APR can range from 11.24% to 23.24% while the Quicksilver APR can range from 13.24% to 23.24%. To compare APRs is difficult to do effectively as it will vary depending on your credit score. However, Discover It has a slight edge in this competition with its extended 0% APR period and a lower bottom end of the APR range.
Wondering how your credit score is doing? Discover It also provides a nice addition of your FICO® credit score on your account statement and online.
Annual Fees & Balance Transfers
Both cards tie when it comes to the annual fee to use the card: $0. The card pays you to use it, but you don’t have it pay for it, which seems to be a very nice arrangement.
Both cards also tie on a 3% balance transfer fee. If you are transferring a balance to your new card, remember that Discover It offers a longer 0% interest period than Quicksilver. The 0% APR applies to transferred balances, but Quicksilver’s ends in February 2017, but Discover It’s lasts for the first 12 months.
Travel, Card Recovery, and Other Benefits
Capital One Quicksilver comes with Visa Signature® benefits which include travel upgrades and savings, discounts at certain stores both online and offline, and other perks. If your card is lost or stolen, Discover It will overnight you a new one anywhere in the United States. Quicksilver does not provide a timeline other than “quick”, but they do provide the service worldwide. Neither card charges foreign transaction fees, and both include fraudulent activity protection.
This range of benefits is quite wide and someone difficult to compare, but Capital One Quicksilver comes out on top as there’s no equivalent for the Visa Signature benefits on the Discover It card.
Both the Capital One Quicksilver and the Discover It cards are good options for a cash back card. Overall, the winner depends on what kind of cardholder you are. If you are a keen cardholder who tracks the big percentage categories or if you are someone who will keep a balance on their card for some time, Discover It is the card for you because the categories can provide big cash back rewards and the extended 0% APR period is a relief for a new or transferred balance. If you have no interest in tracking which categories are which season, if you’re not a big spender and you won’t carry a balance on your card, Capital One Quicksilver is a great pick as it provides a consistent 1.5% cash back with a $100 sign up bonus, but its 0% APR period is not as long. Either way, these cards will start paying you once you start paying with them.