Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit Card or Discover it® Balance Transfer: Which is Better?

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When ‘tis the Black Friday season and, for holiday shoppers, the most wonderful time of the year to score the best deals.

For those who carry a balance, the interest rate is generally a card’s greatest expense. The higher the interest rate, the more interest charges you could accrue on your balances. If you have some credit card debt, it may make sense to transfer your balance to a solid credit card that offers 0% introductory Annual Percentage Rate (APR) on balance transfers. And if you need to finance a new purchase you may want to consider a card that also offers 0% introductory APR on new purchases, which, if handled responsibility, may save you money on interest.

With a 0% introductory balance transfer APR you can use this time to pay down existing balances as quickly as you can. Even if you can’t pay off the entire sum by the end of the introductory period, you can whittle your balance down to a lower amount and ideally wind up paying substantially less in overall interest charges as long as you make your monthly payments so they are posted on-time and you manage your account responsibly.

As far as 0% introductory APR on purchases be sure to read the fine print and be careful as some offers with 0% introductory APR financing may be deferred interest cards, which means if you don’t pay off your entire balance before the introductory offer ends you will owe all the interest accrued from the original date of the purchase.

To help you choose your savviest holiday shopping strategy, I’ll compare and share my thoughts for a couple of balance transfer cards on the market today. And if you’re interested in balance transfer credit cards you can learn more and view credit card offers from our partners by clicking here.

I used the following criteria to compare the Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit Card and the Discover it® Balance Transfer card:

– Interest rates
– Introductory period
– Annual fee
– Cash back program
– Cash back categories

1. Annual percentage rate (APR)

Winner: Discover it® Balance Transfer

The Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit Card offers new cardmembers a 0% introductory APR on purchases for 15 months; 16.24%-26.24% variable APR after that. And 0% introductory APR on balance transfers for 15 months; 16.24%-26.24% variable APR after that; 3% fee on the amounts transferred within the first 15 months.

While Discover it® Balance Transfer offers new cardmembers a 0% introductory APR for 6 months on purchases, then 14.24% – 25.24% Standard Variable Purchase APR applies, based on your creditworthiness. And a 0% introductory APR for 18 months on balance transfers, then 14.24% – 25.24% Standard Variable Purchase APR applies, based on your creditworthiness. Balance transfer fee – 3% intro balance transfer fee, up to 5% fee on future balance transfers (see terms)*.

Discover it® Balance Transfer wins within the interest rate category as the lower and higher tier ongoing rate is lower than what the Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit Card offers.

2. Introductory APR period for balance transfers

Winner: Discover it® Balance Transfer

The Discover it® Balance Transfer card has a longer 0% introductory APR period for balance transfers – 18 months vs. 15 month cut-off for Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit Card.

Discover it® Balance Transfer offers new cardmembers a 0% introductory APR for 6 months on purchases, then 14.24% – 25.24% Standard Variable Purchase APR applies, based on your creditworthiness. And a 0% introductory APR for 18 months on balance transfers, then 14.24% – 25.24% Standard Variable Purchase APR applies, based on your creditworthiness. Balance transfer fee – 3% intro balance transfer fee, up to 5% fee on future balance transfers (see terms)*.

The Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit Card offers new cardmembers a 0% introductory APR on purchases for 15 months; 16.24%-26.24% variable APR after that. And 0% introductory APR on balance transfers for 15 months; 16.24%-26.24% variable APR after that; 3% fee on the amounts transferred within the first 15 months.

3. Annual fee: tied

Who likes paying a fee for their credit card each year?

The good news here is that neither card comes with an annual fee.

4. Cash back program

Winner: Discover it® Balance Transfer

To maximize cash back rewards, you may be able to put expenses like utilities, auto insurance, or daycare tuition on the card to start earning rewards, which can later be redeemed as a statement credit to pay for purchases such as gifts charged to your card. Check with your card issuer if these expenses are eligible to earn rewards. Be sure to use your card responsibly and pay expenses you charge to your card off (and on-time) each month!

The true winner of this category is you! If you use your reward card responsibly and pay off your balances on time and in full each month you can maximize your rewards earnings. The cash back program you select is dependent on your personal spending habits. If you think you will be able to take advantage of categories that change each quarter then the Discover it® Balance Transfer card may be the way to go, however if you find that the categories offered are not with businesses/merchants where you typically tend to spend, then the Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit Card, which offers the same cash back rate for all your purchases, may be the better option as far as potential earnings.

Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit Card offers unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase, every day. There are no rotating categories or sign ups needed to earn cash rewards; plus, cash back won’t expire for the life of the account and there’s no limit to how much you can earn. Qualifying new cardmembers earn a one-time $150 cash bonus after spending $500 on purchases within 3 months from account opening.

With Discover it® Balance Transfer earn 5% cash back at different places each quarter like gas stations, grocery stores, restaurants, Amazon.com and more up to the quarterly maximum, each time you activate. Plus, you earn unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases, automatically. A nice introductory offer, Discover will match all the cash back you’ve earned at the end of your first year, automatically, for new cardmembers only. There’s no signing up and no limit to how much is matched.

If you like to keep things simple, the Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit Card could be the card for you. There’s no rotating categories or sign ups needed to earn cash rewards. Even so, simplicity comes with a trade-off, as the unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase is far from the most attractive cash back offer on the market.

The Discover it® Balance Transfer card offers the potential for a higher benefit, but the changing categories makes keeping track a bit more complicated.

5. Cash back categories: tied

As mentioned, Discover it® Balance Transfer offers the option to earn 5% cash back at different places each quarter like gas stations, grocery stores, restaurants, Amazon.com and more up to the quarterly maximum, each time you activate. Plus, you earn unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases.

With the Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit Card, no rotating categories or sign ups are needed to earn cash rewards; plus, cash back won’t expire for the life of the account and there’s no limit to how much you can earn. This card offers a simple straightforward cash back rewards program where you earn unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase.

If you don’t tend to spend regularly in the specific categories that are offered and if you find signing up for categories each quarter is not something you want to do, cards that offer a very simple rewards structure may be a better fit for you. However, if the opportunity to earn 5% cash back at different places each quarter like gas stations, grocery stores, restaurants, Amazon.com and more up to the quarterly maximum, each time you activate appeals to you, then Discover it® Balance Transfer may be worth a closer look. Plus, with Discover it® Balance Transfer, earn unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases, automatically.

I’ll call this a tie, as it really is a personal choice as to what you are looking for in spending categories.

The end result

Based on my comparison of these two cards, the results are pretty close: although the Discover it® Balance Transfer card won in most of the five categories, there were a couple of ties. The bottom line is that selecting a credit card is a personal choice, it depends on what you are looking for and what is important to you.

If you’re interested in either offer, as with all offers, be sure to you review the rates, rewards details and other information to help you determine if either is a fit for you.

Terms apply.


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Published November 19, 2015
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