Capital One Quicksilver Rewards vs. American Express Blue Cash Everyday

June 28, 2013

When big banks fight for their share of the cash rewards market, credit card users will always come out on top. Capital One just released its new Quicksilver Rewards card that sets a new standard for flat rate cash back rewards. But at the same time, stalwart American Express still has an attractive option in its Blue Cash Everyday card. Both products offer excellent levels of cash back, but with no annual fee. Let’s take a look at these two cards and figure out which one is best for you.

Capital One Quicksilver Rewards

QuicksilverCapital One recently replaced its Cash Rewards card with its new Quicksilver Rewards card. The old Cash Rewards card offered 1% cash back on all purchases each month, and an additional .5% return that was distributed once each year. The new card simplifies this award arrangement by offering 1.5% cash back on all purchases each month, and with no annual fee. In addition, new cardholders earn a $100 sign-up bonus once they spend $500 on their cards within three months of opening their account. New cardholders also receive 12 months of interest-free financing on both new purchases and balance transfers, but there is a 3% balance transfer fee. After the promotional financing expires, the standard interest rate is 12.9%-20.9%. There is no annual fee for this card and there are no foreign transaction fees for any Capital One credit cards.

Insider tip: This card is actually offered in two versions. The Quicksilver Rewards card is for those with Excellent credit, and there is a card called the QuicksilverOne that is offered to those with Average credit. The card is nearly identical, except that it has a 19.8% interest rate, no promotional balance transfer offer, and a $39 annual fee. Double-check your credit, because if it has some serious blemishes, you won’t be approved for the standard Quicksilver card, but you could consider applying for the QuicksilverOne instead.

American Express Blue Cash Everyday

American Express Blue Cash EverydayThis card may not be as new as Capital One’s Quicksilver but this American Express card is time tested. New applicants earn $100 in rewards when they spend $1,000 on their card within three months of opening an account. 3% cash back is earned at U.S. supermarkets (up to $6,000 annually then 1%), 2% at U.S. gas stations, and 1% cash back on all other purchases.

In addition to the sign-up bonus, new cardholders receive 12 months of 0% APR financing on purchases, but there is no 0% APR financing offer for balance transfers. After the promotional financing expires, the standard interest rate is 12.99% to 21.99%, depending on the applicant’s credit worthiness when they applied for the card.

Card members also receive benefits such as a return protection policy, a purchase protection policy, and extended warranty coverage. There is no annual fee for this card, but there is a 2.7% foreign transaction fee that applies to all charges processed outside of the United States.

Insider tip: Be very careful when using this card at the bonus categories, as their are exclusions. For instance, only gas and grocery purchases in the United States are eligible to receive extra cash back. In addition, purchases at warehouse and discount stores are excluded, which means you won’t get any extra cash back at Costco or Sam’s Club. In addition, gas stations have to be “stand alone,” which excludes the fuel center at your local supermarket.

The Verdict

If more than half of your spending is at gas stations or grocery stores, you have the chance to earn more cash back from this American Express card than you do from the new Quicksilver card. That said, I am not sure if this describes many cardholders. In fact, it appears as if the majority of cardholders would be better off with a card that offers a simple, flat rate of return such as Quicksilver. In addition, I love cards from Capital One with no foreign transaction fees. With all of American Express’s experience and creditability in travel, I am still surprised that most of their cardholders must still pay an unnecessary 2.7% fee any time they step across the border. Capital One also offers a more attractive promotional financing offer, however those who have debt should be looking for a card with the lowest interest rate, not the best rewards.

In the end, since most cardholders are going to save the most money with the simpler Quicksilver card, I have to go with the new-comer. By offering valuable and simple rewards, Capital One Quicksilver has become the card to beat in the no-fee cash rewards marketplace.

Which card is your favorite? Leave a comment!


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Jason Steele has been dissecting credit card bonuses and loyalty travel programs for years. Digging into the details of credit card offers has enabled his family to vacation in cool places around the world. Pay attention to the details he digs up about which card is best for you.

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