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The Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit Card offers a simple way to earn some cash back on every purchase. If you want a card for all-around spending it might be right for you.
You’ll get 1.5% cash back on every purchase, without any limits or bonus categories to remember. There’s a signup bonus of $150 cash back, which you can easily earn by spending $500 in the first 3 months.
This card is issued with either Visa Platinum or Visa Signature benefits. Platinum benefits are pretty basic, but Signature benefits can be quite valuable, with special shopping, travel, and entertainment deals. You can use these to save money while traveling or making big purchases.
All this comes for no annual fee, and you even get a 0% intro APR for purchases and balance transfers for 15 months, then 16.24% - 26.24%. That makes this quite a good deal, giving you a way to earn cash back and enjoy card benefits for free.
The Quicksilver features contactless technology, allowing for quick tap-and-go payments.
This card is designed for good or excellent credit, so you might not be approved if your credit isn’t in that range (a FICO credit score of about 700 or higher). But there are two similar cards from Capital One that are designed for fair, average, or limited credit, and one of them may work for you. There are a few important differences between these cards, though.
|Card||Credit Level||Annual Fee||Rewards|
|Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit Card (This review)||Good or Excellent||$0||
|Capital One® QuicksilverOne® Cash Rewards Credit Card (Review)||Fair or Average||$39||
|Journey® Student Rewards from Capital One® (Review)||Fair or Average||$0||
Should you be using the Quicksilver Cash Rewards to earn rewards whenever you shop? Or would a different card be better for you? Read on to learn more and find out.
Our Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars
We give the Quicksilver Cash Rewards 4 out of 5 Stars because it can provide cash back completely for free, although you can find slightly better rewards programs on other cards.
Why we like this card
- No annual fee
- 1.5% cash back for every purchase
- The $150 signup bonus is easy to get
- 0% intro APR on purchases and balance transfers for 15 months, then 16.24% - 26.24%
- No foreign transaction fees
- Visa Signature benefits if your credit limit is $5,000 or above
Why this card could be better
- No bonus categories
- You might get basic Visa Platinum benefits
The Quicksilver Cash Rewards is good for earning a bit of cash back on every purchase, but there could be a better card for you. See a few other general-use cash back credit cards below, some of which offer more rewards.
Insider Advice: Using This Card as Part of Your Credit Card Strategy
- Buy anything and everything with the Quicksilver Cash Rewards to earn a flat 1.5% cash back on every purchase.
- Or, consider combining this card with a different rewards card with bonus categories. Then you can use that other card to earn more cash back in those spending categories, while using the Quicksilver for all your other purchases.
- Spend $500 in the first 3 months to earn a $150 signup bonus, a 30% return on your spending.
- Use the 15-month 0% intro APR to pay off purchases at no interest, or transfer a balance from a card with a higher interest rate.
- If you get a Visa Signature card be sure to take advantage of the many shopping and travel discounts you’ll have access to.
|Welcome Bonus Offer|
There are no bonus reward categories with this card, just a simple 1.5% back for everything you buy. And that $150 signup bonus is quite easy to earn with just $500 in spending. That’s a better deal than some other cards, like the Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express (Review) which requires $1,000 in spending during the first three months to get a $150 cash back introductory bonus.
If you’re sick of trying to remember which card to use for which purchases, the Quicksilver Cash Rewards makes it easy to get some cash back without giving it a second thought.
You can redeem your cash back for a statement credit, whenever you want and for any amount. Cash back won’t expire as long as your account remains open and in good standing.
Many credit cards require you to reach a certain amount before you can redeem it, and then you may only be able to do so in certain denominations. So being able to redeem any amount whenever you want is pretty convenient.
The Chase Freedom Unlimited® (Review) and Discover it® Cash Back Credit Card (Review) both let you redeem any amount at any time, too. The Citi® Double Cash Card - 18 month BT offer (Review) requires you wait until you accumulate $25 in cash back, but then you can redeem any amount over that. And the Amex Blue Cash Everyday and Preferred cards are more limited still, making you redeem in increments of $25.
The Quicksilver Cash Rewards will come as either a Visa Platinum or Visa Signature card. If your credit limit when approved is less than $5,000, you’ll get a Visa Platinum. If it’s $5,000 or more you’ll get a Visa Signature.
Visa Platinum cards come with a pretty simple set of protections. But Visa Signature cards come with an expanded and upgraded set of benefits, adding some more valuable perks on top of the basic protections. We’ll briefly describe the Platinum benefits below, and then go into more depth with a few Signature benefits.
Capital One also provides its own set of features, which will come with both versions of the card.
Be sure to check your Guide to Benefits to see what exactly you can do with your card. Or you can browse the set of Visa Platinum benefits that come with this card, or the set of Visa Signature benefits.
Visa Platinum Benefits
If you’re approved for a card with a credit limit less than $5,000 you’ll get a Visa Platinum card.
These are the only protections you’ll get with a Quicksilver Visa Platinum card:
- Extended Warranty: Will double an eligible manufacturer’s warranty up to one additional year, for warranties of three years or less.
- Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver: Provides coverage for collision damage and theft of eligible rented vehicles, when you decline the rental company’s own insurance.
- Travel Accident Insurance: Up to $100,000 in coverage is available for accidental loss of life, limb, sight, speech, or hearing while traveling by common carrier.
- Travel and Emergency Assistance Services: A variety of services like medical and legal referrals, emergency transportation or ticket replacement, and pre-trip assistance.
You’ll find protections like these on most credit cards.
Luxury Hotel Collection
The Luxury Hotel Collection is a Visa Signature benefit that provides special perks at select hotels around the world. You’ll get seven services in particular:
- $25 food and beverage credit
- Best available rate guarantee
- Automatic room upgrade on arrival, when available
- VIP Guest status, with services and amenities that differ by property
- Complimentary in-room WiFi, when available
- Complimentary breakfast for two (if not available, you’ll get a different benefit of equal value)
- Late check-out upon request, when available
You’ll be able to search for participating hotels in different parts of world and see what they’re rated, along with the services you can expect there. Visa rates hotels on 10 different factors, including “Attention to Detail,” “Generosity & Value,” and “Architecture & Design.”
There are also quite a few special offers available at select locations, which come and go over time. These let you get some particularly good deals on hotel bookings, with free night stays and discounts.
Here are a few examples of the special offers:
- Get every fourth night free at The Breakers Luxury Palm Beach Resort, in Palm Beach, Florida.
- A $75 food and beverage credit when booking two nights at the Andaz London Liverpool Street, in addition to the $25 credit you usually get.
- A 20% discount at the Fairmont Copley Plaza Hotel in Boston, Massachusetts (does not apply to fees, taxes, or incidental charges).
So these deals could save you quite a bit of money if you can plan to stay at one of these hotels. Even if you don’t get a special offer, you’ll still have the basic perks to take advantage of like the food and beverage credit and VIP Guest status.
Use your Visa Signature card to get discounts at certain retailers. There are usually a few dozen offers available here, for both online and physical stores.
Some of the current discounts and offers are:
- Save 12% on your next order from Overstock.com
- Save 25% on purchases of $150 or more at Levi’s® Stores, online or physical
- Save up to 30% on select Lenovo PC’s and more
- Save $10 on purchases of $50 or more from GNC.com
- Free two-day shipping on orders of $40 or more from Ugg.com
You probably won’t find yourself using this service too often, but once in a while you could get a deal that fits right in with some of your planned spending. So it’s worth checking the selection here before making big purchases. That 12% discount at Overstock could save you quite a lot of money on a couch or dining table, for example.
Fine Wine & Food
This benefit is similar to the shopping discounts above but it’s focused on food, with a bit of wine thrown in too.
There are currently only a handful of offerings here, and only one regarding wine:
- Benefits at over 50 wineries in Sonoma Wine County, California:
- buy one standard tasting, get one standard tasting free
- preferred pricing on non-wine purchases over $50, where applicable
- savings on wine purchased in tasting rooms
- savings on reserve tastings and special wine-and-food pairings
- learn more about Visa Signature benefits in Sonoma
The rest of the discounts are for more common merchants, like:
- 25% off regular menu price orders at PapaJohns.com
- $5 off a $25 online order from PizzaHut.com
- Get 5% off a $25 gift card for Krispy Kreme
- Get 10% off a $25 gift card for Cold Stone Creamery
- Buy one pretzel, get one free at Auntie Anne’s
- Save 15% on your entire purchase at Omaha Steaks
You can use these deals to save some money on food, but we don’t recommend basing your diet plan on this selection.
Sports and Entertainment Offers
Get exclusive discounts and offers at sports events and a variety of other experiences. Some of the current deals are:
- 5% off a $25 AMC Theaters eGift Card
- 20% off single-day tickets to Legoland® Florida Resort
- 20% off single-day tickets to Madame Tussauds (there are seven in the U.S.)
- 15% off a guided tour at Marineland in Florida, which includes swimming with dolphins and a kayak ride
- $15 off orders of $200 or more at Cloud 9 Living, which includes experiences like private ninja lessons
- Silver Status with Troon Golf Rewards, providing a 10% discount on fees and merchandise on 95 courses around the world
Some of these experiences and offers actually seem pretty interesting, and there is a decent selection spanning the country. Other card issuers offer similar perks but in some cases they’re limited to just a few big cities, like the Membership Experiences that American Express offers.
Visa Signature Concierge
You can call your Visa Signature concierge service any time at 1-800-953-7392. They’re ready to help with a wide variety of non-emergency tasks, very much like a personal assistant.
The concierge can provide assistance in four main ways, although you aren’t limited to these categories:
- Travel: For help coordinating trips, booking flights and hotels, and finding the best deals
- Sports and Entertainment: Your concierge can look for good prices on season tickets and may be able to find tickets to sold-out shows
- Fine Wine and Food: Get assistance finding and making reservations at a variety of restaurants, from family-style to five-star
- Shopping: Help finding special gifts, sending flowers, or searching for the best prices
Concierge services can be used for many different tasks, but they’re probably most useful when traveling, like if you’re visiting a new city. Call them up to find the best places to eat, or to book a room at a hotel that fits your budget.
Many credit cards come with a concierge service today, though it’s a bit rare to find on a no-annual-fee card like this. The Citi Double Cash is one of the other few that does have a concierge.
There are some interesting stories out there about people putting their credit card concierge to the test. Some people have used the service to find massive tubs of nacho cheese, or for help with a tricky crossword puzzle. One of the most impressive reported cases was perhaps when a guy used his Citi concierge to find the exact same earrings that Britney Spears wore in a music video, as a birthday gift for his girlfriend.
Capital One CreditWise
The CreditWise service provides free access to one of your VantageScore 3.0 credit scores, based on your TransUnion credit report. You can monitor your score over time and get alerts about any changes.
Users can see data from their actual TransUnion credit reports for free, which is an interesting feature that most credit card issuers don’t offer. There’s also a credit simulator which will show how certain decisions would impact your credit, for better or worse.
Anyone can enroll in the CreditWise service, cardholder or not. Although the VantageScore credit scoring models aren’t as popular as the FICO scoring models, this is still a good way to track your credit over time and see how it changes based on your financial activity. See some alternatives below for other cards that provide free access to a credit score. Most issuers don’t provide credit report access, like Capital One, but the Chase Freedom Unlimited (Review) is another cash back card with a similar service.
Visa Signature Travel Protections
- Travel Accident Insurance: You, your spouse, and unmarried dependent children are insured up to $250,000 against loss of life, limb, sight, speech, or hearing when traveling by common carrier.
- Lost Luggage Reimbursement: Provides up to $3,000 in reimbursement to cover the cost of lost or damaged luggage.
- Roadside Dispatch: Call 1-800-847-2869 for help while driving, for services like towing, tire changing, and fuel delivery.
Other Visa Signature Benefits
- Purchase Security: If an eligible item you buy is lost or damaged, you can be reimbursed up to $500 per claim.
- Lost/Stolen Card Reporting: Call customer support to report your card as lost or stolen any time.
- Emergency Card Replacement and Cash Disbursement: After reporting your card as lost you can quickly and easily get a replacement, or an emergency cash advance.
- Year-End Summary Statement: If you’d like you can get a detailed summary of your yearly spending.
Other Capital One Benefits
- Personalized Payment Date: Choose your own due date to make paying bills more convenient.
- Security and Account Alerts: You can be notified about changes to your account or unauthorized activity.
- Capital One Second Look Fraud Coverage: Automatically monitors your account 24/7 for fraudulent activity.
- Zero Liability Protection: You won’t be held responsible for fraudulent charges.
The Costs & Fees
|Intro APR for Purchases and Balance Transfers||Purchase APR||Balance Transfer APR||Cash Advance APR|
|0% intro on purchases for for 15 months||16.24% - 26.24%||16.24% - 26.24%||26.24% (Variable)|
|Annual Fee||Foreign Transaction Fee||Balance Transfer Fee||Cash Advance Fee|
|$0||None||3%||3% of the amount of the cash advance, but not less than $10|
|Penalty APR||Late Fee||Returned Payment Fee|
|None||Up to $39||None|
This card can be completely free to use because there’s no annual fee. Just pay your statement balance in full each billing period, and interest will never accrue on your purchases. That will let you earn cash back at no cost whatsoever.
You can also make good use of the 15-month 0% intro rate you’ll get for purchases and balance transfers. That gives you 15 months to pay off purchases at no interest. Or, if you’re being charged interest on a different credit card with a high balance, you can move that balance over here and pay it down without being charged extra. A 3% fee will be charged if you transfer a balance during that time and take advantage of the offer, but after that transfers will have no fee.
If you have a card with a 0% rate you won’t need to pay your statement balance in full to avoid interest. But you’ll still need to make at least the minimum payment every month or you could lose your 0% rate.
There are no foreign transaction fees with this card, making it a good pick to bring with you outside the country. And it’s a Visa, so you won’t have trouble finding merchants that accept it. All Capital One cards come with no foreign transaction fee, in fact.
|Customer support for existing accounts||1-800-CAPITAL (1-800-227-4825)|
|Apply for a credit card||1-800-695-5500|
Give Capital One’s customer support a call if you need help with your account, or if you have a question about one of their cards. In our experience, they’ve been very friendly and eager to help, even if you’re not a cardholder. They seem well-trained compared to representatives from most other credit card companies.
Occasionally, reps from some issuers will seem a bit less patient with you if you’re not a cardholder, but that hasn’t happened to us with Capital One. At the worst, we’ve found that you may need to wait on hold for some time if you’re not a cardholder and you want to speak to a representative.
We called Capital One to ask a couple questions about their Quicksilver Cash Rewards card. First, we wanted to know if it would be possible to get an upgrade to this card from the QuicksilverOne Cash Rewards (Review), which only requires average credit. And then we wanted to know if you can upgrade this card from Visa Platinum to Visa Signature if your credit limit starts below $5,000 but then reaches that level or above.
It turns out that these questions have the same answer. Capital One may present cardholders with certain upgrades or card offers, but there’s no guarantee that you’ll get one. These offers are system-generated based on your creditworthiness as it changes over time. It seems like it could be possible, though we suspect you’d need to manually request an upgrade to Visa Signature.
So the best strategy will be to use your credit cards responsibly to improve your credit, which will let you qualify for better cards and higher credit limits (this is always the best strategy!). You can also check to see if you’re pre-qualified for credit cards at any time, for free and without hurting your credit.
Capital One recently ranked third in J.D Power’s Credit Card Consumer Satisfaction Survey 2017, examining consumer attitudes towards the 11 major credit card companies. Over 22,000 people contributed to this survey, which ranked American Express in the lead, closely followed by Discover.
We’ve seen Capital One strengthen their customer support game, jumping quickly up the chart since placing 8th in 2014. If you had a bad customer service experience with them a few years ago you may want to give them another shot.
Capital One does a great job explaining the card on their website, compared to some other card issuers. You’ll find a good explanation of the basic rewards and terms, along with links to more details about the card benefits.
The Quicksilver Cash Rewards is available as either a Visa Platinum or Visa Signature, but it doesn’t come across as confusing. They even include links to the Guides to Benefits you can expect to get with this card, one for the Platinum and one for the Signature. This is a step that most credit card companies don’t take, but we fully support it.
As a Capital One cardholder, you can access their live web chat to ask about your account. Or, if you’re not a cardholder, you can send general questions to their Twitter customer support account, @AskCapitalOne. Be sure not to reveal any personal or account information on social media.
The Bottom Line
The Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Card is a good option if you want to earn some cash back for every purchase, with a nice signup bonus too.
Get 1.5% cash back no matter where you shop, without worrying about bonus categories. And don’t forget to spend $500 in the first 3 months to earn $150 in bonus cash back.
If you’re approved with a credit line of $5,000 or more you’ll get a Visa Signature card, with a more expansive and valuable set of benefits. Use these to find deals and discounts while shopping or traveling, getting even more out of your card.
You’ll pay no annual fee for the privilege of getting cash back, and you get a 0% intro rate on purchases and balance transfers for 15 months before the regular 16.24% - 26.24% APR starts. It’s not a bad offer at all, but you might find some other cards to be more rewarding. Check out some alternatives to the Quicksilver Cash Rewards card below, with different reward programs and benefits.
How to Apply for the Quicksilver Cash Rewards Card
You can apply securely on Capital One’s website. Capital One will check your credit with one or all three of the major credit bureaus when you apply.
Most people will get an instant decision, either approved or denied, but in some cases it could take longer. Capital One may request more information from you.
Qualifications and Requirements
- Must not have applied for a Capital One credit card two or more times in the last 30 days
- Must not have five or more open credit card accounts with Capital One
- Must not be past due or over the credit line with any Capital One credit accounts
- Must be 18 to apply
- Personal identifying information, including SSN, address, and phone number
- Total annual income, and source of income
- Monthly mortgage/rent payment
Alternatives to the Quicksilver Cash Rewards Card
- Journey® Student Rewards from Capital One® (Review): No annual fee, designed for fair or average credit, up to 1.25% cash back for all purchases
- Citi® Double Cash Card - 18 month BT offer (Review): No annual fee, designed for good credit, up to 2% cash back on all purchases
- HSBC Cash Rewards Mastercard® credit card (Review): No annual fee, 3% cash back on purchases for the first 12 months (up to $10,000), 1.5% cash back on all purchases after that
- Discover it® Cash Back Credit Card (Review): No annual fee, 5% cash back rotating categories, double cash back in your first year
If your credit isn’t good enough for the Quicksilver card, consider the Journey® Student Rewards from Capital One® (Review). It’s available to anyone, despite its name. You don’t need to be a student to apply.
This card is meant for people with fair, average, or limited credit (like students). It’s not the most rewarding card but it has no annual fee, so you can use it to improve your credit for free and then go for a better card later.
- 1% cash back for every purchase
- pay on time and that goes up to 1.25% cash back
That’s it, pretty simple. You can expect to get 1.25% cash back, assuming you always pay on time of course. This is not too bad for a card designed for fair or average credit, although there’s no signup bonus.
The Journey Student comes at the basic Visa Platinum level, so it will have a fairly simple set of protections. They include an Extended Warranty and Travel Accident Insurance, among a couple others.
Other than that, this card also comes with all of the Capital One benefits that you’d get with the Quicksilver Cash Rewards. You’ll have Zero Liability Protection, Security and Account Alerts, you can pick your own due date, etc. And as a cardholder you get easy access to the CreditWise service so you can keep tabs on your credit.
The Journey Student also comes with one benefit that the Quicksilver does not have. If you pay your first 5 monthly payments on time you’ll get access to a higher credit line. This is a handy feature to have on a student card, or any card designed for average credit, because they typically come with credit limits on the low side, like $1,000 or less. So this will increase your spending power and it will be better for your credit utilization.
Costs & Fees
There’s no annual fee for the Journey Student, and no foreign transaction fees either. It doesn’t come with a 0% introductory APR, like the Quicksilver. Instead your purchases will accrue interest at a fairly high APR of 26.96%, unless you pay off your statement balance in full each billing period.
The Journey Student and the Quicksilver Cash Rewards are similar in several ways, though you’ll earn more cash back with the Quicksilver. The Quicksilver card might come with better benefits, if you get it at the Visa Signature level. And it also has the 15-month 0% intro rate on purchases and balances transfers (then 16.24% - 26.24%).
The Quicksilver card is obviously better, but it’s also meant for good or excellent credit. If you’ve been denied for the Quicksilver or other similar cards, , or you’re just starting to build your credit, the Journey Student provides another way to earn cash back for no fee.
Read more in our Review of the Capital One Journey Student Credit Card
1.5% cash back on every purchase is pretty good, but you can get even better than that with the Citi® Double Cash Card - 18 month BT offer (Review). This is the most rewarding general-use cash back card with no annual fee on the market today, and you can see why.
- 2% cash back for every purchase you make
- 1% back when you make a purchase
- 1% back when you pay for that purchase
2% back is a decent step up from the 1.5% you’ll get with the Quicksilver Cash Rewards.
You’ll get a pretty similar set of benefits with each of these cards. But the Visa Signature version of the Quicksilver comes with some more valuable perks, if you can get it.
The Double Cash doesn’t come with the travel and shopping discounts you’d get with a Quicksilver Visa Signature card, but it does have a fairly comprehensive set of basic protections. Included are Purchase Protection, Return Protection, Worldwide Accident Insurance, and several more.
Some of the features are more valuable than others, like the Price Rewind tool. If you buy an item and suspect you could have found a better deal, register it with Price Rewind. This service will automatically search the internet for you, and if a lower price is found you’ll be able to claim it (up to $200 per item, and $1,000 per year). You won’t get a price protection service like this with the Quicksilver card, although many other credit cards do include it.
The Citi card offers a personal concierge service, which you’ll usually only find on higher-level cards. The Visa Signature version of the Quicksilver will come with a concierge too, but if you get the Visa Platinum version you won’t get a concierge service. So it’s interesting to find this feature built in to the Double Cash.
Citi cardholders can also access offers through the Private Pass, which provides presale and preferred access to tickets in select large cities. This is a bit similar to the deals you can get through Visa Signature, but it will be more limited in scope.
Citi will provide you with your FICO Bankcard Score 8 credit score, based on your Equifax credit report. But it doesn’t provide actual information about your credit report, like the CreditWise tool.
Costs & Fees
There’s no annual fee for the Citi Double Cash, and it comes with a 0% intro APR for 18 months followed by a rate of 15.74% - 25.74%* Variable. This doesn’t apply to purchases, just balance transfers. It’s actually one of the longest balance transfer offers you’ll find on a credit card today. Transfers will incur a fee of 3%, however.
Foreign transactions will come with a 3% fee with the Double Cash card, compared to no fee with the Quicksilver. So the right choice for spending outside the country is obvious, although there are some travel credit cards that would probably suit you better for traveling abroad.
The Double Cash provides more cash back, but it has no signup bonus. It also doesn’t offer a 0% rate for purchases, like you’d get with the Quicksilver. So the right choice for you will depend on which features you want in a credit card: more cash back over a longer time, or a nice signup bonus with a 0% intro rate?
Read more in our Review of the Citi Double Cash Card
- 1.5% cash back on every purchase, with no limit to the amount you can earn
- Signup bonus: 3% cash back on purchases for the first 12 months (up to $10,000)
- 10% Anniversary Bonus on all cash back rewards earned in the previous year
This rewards program is almost identical to the Quicksilver Cash Rewards, but it also has that 10% anniversary bonus. That means you’ll be earning the equivalent of 1.65% cash back with this card, after getting the year-end bonus.
So clearly, you’ll be earning 10% more cash back with the HSBC card than the Capital One card. And that’s before you factor in the intro bonus.
The HSBC Cash Rewards comes with a set of protections that is similar to what you’ll get with the Quicksilver. It has MasterRental Insurance (which is a rental collision damage waiver), MasterTrip Travel Assistance, and Price Protection, among several others.
Travelers can also use the Mastercard Airport Concierge to get a 15% discount on airport meet-and-greet services. You can get escorted through the airport, have your luggage taken care of, enjoy expedited check-in and security screening, and many other services.
If you get a Visa Signature version of the Quicksilver you’ll end up with some more valuable perks, like shopping and travel offers. These aren’t available with the HSBC card.
Costs & Fees
There’s no annual fee to use the HSBC card, and there are no foreign transaction fees either. That matches the Quicksilver card.
The HSBC card comes with a 0% introductory APR for 12 months on both purchases and balance transfers. This is a bit shorter than the Quicksilver’s intro period, which lasts for 15 months.
These cards are alike in many ways, though you’ll be able to earn a bit more cash back with the HSBC card. If you want better benefits you’d have to go with the Quicksilver, but you’d need to get a Visa Signature card which means having a credit limit of $5,000 or above.
Read more in our Review of the HSBC Cash Rewards Mastercard
- 5% cash back on the first $1,500 spent per quarter, in reward categories that rotate throughout the year (see calendar below)
- 1% cash back on all other purchases
- Cashback Match: new cardmembers get double the cash back earned in the first year
Instead of just 1.5% back for every purchase, the Discover it provides 5% back in select categories. And for your first year you’ll get double that, for 10% cash back in the bonus categories and then 2% cash back for every other purchase. So you’ll have quite a bit more earning potential than you would with the Quicksilver, getting at least 2% back for every purchase and sometimes much more.
But you won’t earn unlimited cash back in the 5% categories, unfortunately. Once you reach $1,500 in bonus category spending per quarter you’ll drop to 1% cash back.
The 5% cash back calendar for the Discover it for 2019 is:
|Quarter||5% Cash Back Category|
|January – March||Grocery Stores|
|April – June||Gas Stations, Uber, Lyft|
|July – September||Restaurants, PayPal|
|October – December||Amazon.com, Target, Walmart.com|
If you find yourself spending in these categories every year, a card like this could be a good way to earn some money back. And for your first year the discount will be pretty significant, at 10% for these category purchases.
Discover cards definitely don’t come with the best benefits, and that became even more true after Discover recently discontinued many of their card protections. You can get Free Social Security Number Alerts, a service that most card issuers don’t offer. Sign up for this service and Discover will send you an alert if it finds your SSN on any of the thousands of risky websites it monitors.
You can monitor your credit score using Discover’s FICO Credit Scorecard. This will show your FICO Score 8, based on your TransUnion credit report. It lets you see some useful data from your TransUnion report too, like your total number of accounts, overall revolving utilization, and the number of missed payments you’ve had. But you won’t be able to check out data from your actual TransUnion credit report, like you can with the CreditWise service. The FICO Credit Scorecard is open to anyone, cardholder or not.
Costs & Fees
The Discover it has no annual fee, and charges no fee when making foreign transactions. It comes with 14 months at 0% APR for purchases and balance transfers, one month shorter than the 15 months you get with the Quicksilver. So they’re pretty comparable in their costs, fees, and length of the intro period.
These cards are similar in many ways, but the rewards programs are very different. That actually makes them good cards to pair together. You can use the Discover it whenever you’re spending in the bonus categories, to earn 5% back. Then pay with the Quicksilver Cash Rewards for every other purchase to get 1.5% back on non-category spending.
This isn’t a bad strategy. But since Discover will double all the cash back you earn in the first year, you’ll earn 2% back on non-category purchases. So for that first year you should use the Discover it for all your spending because you’ll get a better rate than the Quicksilver. But after that first year, the strategy outlined above will be more effective.
Read more in our Review of the Discover it Credit Card
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