Rotating categories in some cash-back credit cards can seem like you're playing a game of roulette. One month you’ll be at the movies flicking kernels of popcorn into your mouth with a smile on your face knowing you’re getting 5 percent back on purchases at the theater, but next month it's only at home improvement stores you can earn those cash-back incentives. What are you going to do at a home improvement store? You can barely handle unclogging the toilet.
With the Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit Card it doesn't matter where your purchases take you. You automatically earn 1.5 percent cash back on all your purchases, anywhere. And those points won't expire for the life of the account. That means you're good for milking some cash back from the movie theaters and, if you’re feeling brave enough, the home improvement store as well.
Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit best features:
The Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit Card is good for earning consistent 1.5 percent cash back without registering for quarterly promotions, which means it’s also your best bet if your purchasing habits don't fall into predictable patterns.
Because Capital One has reserved this version of its credit card for those with excellent credit, the bank can afford to load this account up with special benefits that stack up nicely against cards with annual fees and higher APRs. The Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit Card gives you a full slate of member privileges, such as complimentary around the clock concierge assistance, extended warranty protection on your purchases and travel upgrades as part of your Visa Signature® benefits.
Many banks charge a premium annual fee for access to perks like these, and you'd easily pay hundreds of dollars a month for a virtual assistant who can help handle your travel requests.
It's also worth noting that the Quicksilver card, as with all Capital One offerings, charges no foreign-transaction fees on purchases made outside of the U.S., so feel free to take this card with you on your next adventure abroad. You’re also protected with fraud coverage and security alerts.
While the Quicksilver is a no-gimmick card with a straight-and-to-the-point cash-back rewards structure, you can earn quite a bit more cash back with cards that offer rewards in rotating categories of up to 5 percent. You might be someone who does shop a lot at home improvement stores, does a lot of grocery shopping or fills up on gas frequently, so a card that rewards those purchases at a higher rate could certainly benefit you. The intro APR offer is slightly short – three months shy of a year - where other cash-back cards' APR offers stretch out over the course of a year or longer, so if you need a lengthy balance transfer offer or have a big purchase on the horizon you might want to look for another card with a longer intro period.
Both cards come with no annual fee and intro APR offers; however, the Chase Freedom® boasts a 15-month intro APR on both purchases and balance transfers, much longer than the nine months offered by Quicksilver. But Chase Freedom will charge you 3 percent per transaction if you use the card while abroad.
Still, Chase Freedom® has an identical introductory cash bonus of $150 after you spend $500 during your first three months of opening an account.
Where the meat of the comparison falls is in each card's rewards. Chase Freedom® is a rotating-categories cash-back card that offers 5 percent cash back on up to $1,500 in purchases made in quarterly categories for which you must sign up. Once you reach that spending cap of $1,500, the cash back drops to a flat 1 percent, below the everyday earning rate of 1.5 percent with the Quicksilver. In the short term, you could reap higher rewards with Chase Freedom® if you're organized enough to spend in the rotating categories, but, if simplicity is what you value and you aren't willing to spend only in the bonus categories, the flat-rate Quicksilver is likely a better bet.
Unlike the aforementioned Chase Freedom®, the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express is a tiered-rate rewards card that gives cardholders the chance to earn 6 percent cash back at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $6,000 spent annually), 3 percent cash back at U.S. gas stations and select U.S. department stores and 1 percent on everything else (American Express is a CardRatings advertiser). That means that, if you spend in those categories, you stand to earn a lot of cash back with this card. That said, you don't want to spend too much in the grocery category – once you hit a $6,000 cap annually your rate falls to 1 percent cash back on every purchase. That means Quicksilver offers higher cash back once you cap out on your annual spending.
Additionally, the Quicksilver doesn't have an annual fee like the $95 the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express charges.
The Chase Freedom Unlimited® is somewhat of a sibling to the Quicksilver in terms of the rewards they both offer. Both allow cardholders to earn a flat rate of 1.5 percent cash back on all purchases and neither comes with an annual fee.
Where they differ is in the details surrounding their intro offers. The Chase Freedom Unlimited® has a far longer introductory 0 percent APR offer of 15 months on purchases and balance transfers as compared to Quicksilver’s offer of nine months. Chase Freedom Unlimited® also offers a chance to earn $150 dollars after spending $500 within three months of opening an account.
The Quicksilver Card does, however, beat out Chase Freedom Unlimited® for those who travel abroad often by not charging foreign transaction fees.
It's hard to find a consistently stronger flat-rate cash-back credit card with no annual fee than the Quicksilver Card. This is a decent choice for the credit card user who wants an everyday card and doesn't want to have to keep up with rotating categories or even tiered reward levels. Plus, the Quicksilver Card travels well with its lack of foreign transaction fees.
Still, if your monthly credit card statement reads like the departures list at your favorite airport, you might prefer earning a higher rewards rate from a travel-oriented card like the Capital One® Venture® Rewards Card.