Citi Simplicity vs. Capital One Quicksilver

Citi Simplicity vs. Capital One Quicksilver

April 28, 2016         Written By Jason Steele

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There are two ways to approach credit card usage. One is by finding the card that offers the most rewards and benefits, so that you can maximize the value that you receive from it. The other is to simplify the relationship and receive value from the card just by avoiding as much interest charges and fees. The Capital One Quicksilver and the Citi Simplicity are designed for these different types of credit cards users.

Citi Simplicity

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The name Citi Simplicity sums up what this card is about. It offers cardholders no late fees and no penalty interest rate. In addition, new applicants receive a 12 months of interest-free financing on new purchases and 21 months on balance transfers. The balance transfers have to be made within four months of becoming a cardholder and come with a 5% balance transfer fee. After that, the standard interest rate will be an APR of 14.74% - 24.74% (Variable), based on your creditworthiness when you applied. There is no annual fee for this card, but there is a 3% foreign transaction fee imposed on all purchases processed outside of the United States.

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Capital One Quicksilver

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The Capital One Quicksilver card offers customers rewards for their spending in the form 1.5% cash back on all purchases with no limits. Rewards never expire, and you can redeem your cash back in any amount and at any time. New applicants also receive a $150 cash bonus when they use their card to spend $500 on new purchases within the first three months of account opening. New cardholders also receive 15 months of interest-free financing on both new purchases and balance transfers, with a 3% balance transfer fee. Once the promotional financing period expires, the standard interest rate of 15.49% - 25.49% (Variable) purchases will apply.

Other cardholder benefits include a complimentary concierge service that’s available 24 hours a day and includes special access and preferred seating at popular sporting events, premier golf outings, and concerts. Cardholders also enjoy extended warranty coverage, shopping discounts, and travel savings. There’s no annual fee for this card, and no foreign transaction fees.

Which card is right for you

The Citi Simplicity does several things well. First, it features an excellent promotional financing offer that lasts 12 months on purchases and 21 months on balance transfers, which can be extremely valuable to those who are trying to pay off an outstanding balance, and for those who may need to carry a balance in the future. It’s also a card that’s very fault tolerant, as those who accidentally make a late payment from time to time will not have to suffer the expense of late payment fees and exorbitant penalty interest rates.

Nevertheless, the Citi Simplicity lacks a rewards program, which simplifies the card and removes the incentive for customers to spend more money in order to earn additional rewards, which is always a self defeating proposition. This card also adds a 3% foreign transaction fee to all charges processed outside the United States.

As for the Capital One Quicksilver, the 1.5% cash back rewards represents its strongest feature, and it is a very competitive rate of return for a cash back card with no annual fee. Other strengths of this card include the $150 sign up bonus and the premium benefits offered as part of the Visa Signature program, including concierge services, shopping discounts, travel savings, and access to special events. And while it does have a late fee of up to $35, it doesn’t have a penalty interest rate; and like all Capital One cards, there are no foreign transaction fees.

Therefore, those who have debt that they are working on paying of, and those who might need to carry a balance should strongly consider the Citi Simplicity card for its introductory financing offer and its lack of late payment fees. And as a card that doesn’t offer rewards, this product is best suited to those with modest spending needs, as even a competitive rewards card won’t offer very significant amounts of cash back at lower spending volumes.

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The Capital One Quicksilver is the card you want if you are more focused on earning rewards than you are on reducing interest costs. It still offers a nominal promotional financing period and it lacks both a penalty interest rate and foreign transaction fees. In fact, it even offers some benefits commonly found on higher end reward cards that require the payment of an annual fee.

By understanding the strengths and weaknesses of these two cards, you can choose the one that’s right for you.

The information contained within this article was accurate as of April 28, 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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