Citi Double Cash vs. Capital One Quicksilver

Citi Double Cash vs. Capital One Quicksilver

February 15, 2016         Written By Jason Steele

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Those who always pay their credit card statement balances in full and on-time each month are able to earn valuable rewards at no additional cost. There are many popular credit cards that offer rewards in the form of airline miles or other kinds of loyalty points, but there are still people who prefer to earn cash back rewards instead.

Citi and Capital One are two of the largest credit card issuers that compete fiercely for a share of the cash back rewards market. Citi offers its Double Cash card while Capital One features its Quicksilver card. Which card is right for you? Let’s compare these cards and find out.

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Citi Double Cash

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The Citi Double Cash card offers cardholders 1% cash back when they make a purchase, and a second 1% cash back at the time of payment, potentially 2% cash back with no limits on the amount that you can earn, and no category restrictions. In addition, new applicants receive 18 months of interest-free financing on balance transfers, with a 3% balance transfer fee.

The Citi Double Cash card is equipped with an EMV smart chip and is compatible with the Apple Pay mobile payment system. There is no annual fee for this card, and customers automatically receive their first late fee waived.  However, there is a 3% foreign transaction fee imposed on all charges processed outside of the United States.

Capital One Quicksilver

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The Capital One Quicksilver card offers 1.5% cash back on all purchases with no limits. New cardholders can earn a one-time bonus of $150 when they use their card to spend $500 within three months of account opening. New Quicksilver cardholders also receive nine months of interest-free financing on new purchases and balance transfers, with a 3% balance transfer fee.

This card includes Capital One’s Credit Tracker app which offers cardholders a free TransUnion credit score as well as a what-if simulator to give you an idea of how future actions could affect your credit score. The Quicksilver is part of the Visa Signature program which offers you access to travel upgrades and savings, as well as shopping discounts. Additional Visa Signature benefits include a complimentary concierge service, access to special events special, and an extended warranty policy. This card is equipped with an EMV smart chip and is compatible with the Apple Pay mobile payment system.

There is no annual fee for this card and no foreign transaction fees on this or any other Capital One card.

Alternatively, Capital One offers the QuicksilverOne card, which offers 15 months of 0% APR financing on not just new purchases, but on balance transfers as well. Furthermore, the QuicksilverOne Rewards is the rare card that offers 0% APR financing on balance transfers, but does not impose a balance transfer fee. The QuickSilverOne is also available to those with average credit, while the standard Quicksilver requires applicants to have excellent credit. This card does have a $39 annual fee.

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Which card should you get?

At first glance, the Citi Double Cash card may seem to be the clear choice, as it offers 33% more cash back than the Quicksilver card. But as you look more closely, it’s more complicated than that. The Citi card is less suited for those who pay their balance over time, as only 1% cash back is received at the time of purchase. This is significant as it does offer 15 months of interest-free financing, so it’s possible to pay over time without incurring interest charges. In addition, the Double Cash card has a 3% foreign transaction fee, so cardholders who travel outside of the United States will actually lose a net 1% on their purchases. In contrast, the Capital One cards do not have any foreign transaction fees.

The Capital One Quicksilver card has several other advantages that can outweigh the 0.5% lower amounts of cash back. The primary advantage is the $150 sign-up bonus, which is the equivalent of 0.5% cash back on $30,000. So only after spending $30,000 will a Citi Double Cash user begin to come out ahead of the Capital One Quicksilver user.

By closely examining the strengths and weaknesses of these cards, you can choose the right one for your needs.

The information contained within this article was accurate as of February 15, 2016. For up-to-date
information on any of the terms, cards or offers mentioned above, visit the issuer's website.


About Jason Steele

Jason Steele is a journalist that covers credit cards, travel and consumer credit. As one of the nation's leading experts in credit cards, Jason has contributed to dozens of travel and personal finance outlets including NerdWallet, Credit Karma and the Points Guy, where he serves as the Senior Points and Miles Contributor. Jason has also been widely quoted in mainstream media in outlets such as the Washington Post, the USA Today and Bloomberg Business Week. Jason is also the founder and producer of CardCon, which is the annual Conference for Credit and Credit Card Media.
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