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Capital One® Platinum Credit Card vs. Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Card

Bankrate logo Bankrate 2/24/2020 Bankrate Staff

The Capital One(R) Platinum Credit Card and the Capital One(R) Quicksilver(R) Cash Rewards Card are both famously low in fees. With no annual fee and no foreign transaction fees, they won’t cost you anything to keep -- as long as you repay any outstanding balance you have each month.

But here’s the thing: the two cards are actually designed to serve very different cardholder needs. The Capital One Platinum will help someone with average credit to access a higher credit line and potentially build a better credit score. The Quicksilver, on the other hand, is about getting no-fuss rewards for your everyday spending.

Comparison overview

Features Capital One Platinum Capital One Quicksilver
Welcome bonus None Earn $150 cash bonus when you spend $500 in your first three months.
Rewards rate None Unlimited 1.5 percent cash back on every purchase.
Introductory APR None, Variable APR of 26.99 percent Zero percent APR for 15 months on both purchases and balance transfers, then regular APR between 15.49 and 25.49 percent variable.
Annual fee $0 $0

Capital One Platinum Credit Card vs. Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Card highlights

Although the Quicksilver comes out on top in many ways, it’s important to bear in mind that the main benefit offered by the Capital One Platinum is the opportunity to improve your credit profile and access a higher credit line.

Sign-up bonus winner: Quicksilver

Since the Capital One Platinum doesn’t offer a welcome bonus, Quicksilver wins this hands down. Although its cash bonus of $150 is not exactly top-of-the-market, it’s decent for a card without an annual fee, and the spending requirement of $500 within three months is relatively easy to reach too.

Rewards rate winner: Quicksilver

Since the Capital One Platinum doesn’t come with a rewards program, the Quicksilver is again the winner. Its 1.5 percent flat-rate cash back is not the highest, but there isn’t a cap on the rewards you can earn.

Annual fee winner: Tie

Neither card charges an annual fee or foreign transaction fee, making them both low-cost additions to your wallet.

Balance transfer fee: Platinum

The Capital One Platinum is one of a few cards on the market with no balance transfer fee. The Quicksilver, on the other hand, charges 3 percent.

Introductory APR period: Quicksilver

Considering the Platinum doesn’t have any intro APR periods, the Quicksilver wins yet again by default. You’ll get zero percent APR on both purchases and balance transfers for 15 months (15.49 and 25.49 percent variable thereafter).

Which card earns the most?

You’ll earn greater rewards with the Quicksilver because it has a cash rewards program. Given there are no bonus categories or maximum spending limits to worry about, you can earn cash back from everyday spending effortlessly.

If you meet the spending prerequisite of $500 in your first three months, you’ll also qualify for the $150 one-time welcome bonus.

Capital One Platinum Vs. Capital One Quicksilver spending example

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average household expenditure was just over $61,000 in 2018. Now, let’s say your expenditure is in line with the national average, and you use your credit card to pay for roughly one-quarter of your expenses, or $15,250.

Without a rewards program, the Capital One Platinum will clearly earn you nothing by way of cash or travel rewards.

But with the Quicksilver, you’ll get 1.5 percent back on every dollar spent, so that’s a total of nearly $229. It’s a great result, considering the cash back is automatic, there are no rewards categories to keep track of and most importantly, there isn’t an annual fee.

Bear in mind though that you’ll need to repay any outstanding balance in full each month, otherwise the interest charges you’ll incur will wipe out any rewards you’ll earn.

Why should you get the Capital One Platinum?

Given the lack of rewards, why would anyone consider the Capital One Platinum? Because many credit cards with a competitive rewards program require good or excellent credit for approval. Additionally, if you have average credit, you’ll often get low limits on credit products even when you’re approved for them.

So the fact that you can extend your credit line with the Capital One Platinum after making your first five monthly payments on time is highly appealing to anyone with fair credit or a thin credit history. In effect, the Capital One Platinum gives you the opportunity to improve your credit profile, then rewards you with a bigger and more useful credit limit for future use.

Additional benefits

The Capital One Platinum Card is a Mastercard, so you’ll still get useful Mastercard Platinum benefits, such as extended warranty, roadside assistance and travel accident protection.

Minimum credit requirement

Fair to good credit, which is around 580-740.

Why should you get the Capital One Quicksilver?

If you’ve got good to excellent credit and want to get something back for your day-to-day spending, then Capital One Quicksilver is a no-brainer. Its cash back program offers no-fuss, predictable rewards, and you’ll know exactly how much your benefits are worth.

The 15-month zero percent APR (15.49 to 25.49 percent variable thereafter) will save you a lot of money in interest if you have an existing balance to transfer, or if you have a big purchase coming up. Quicksilver’s regular APR is lower than the Capital One Platinum card too, which means lower interest charges in the event you can’t repay your outstanding balance in full.

Additional benefits

Enjoy extra protection when you travel, like auto rental collision damage waiver and travel accident insurance. You can also get 24-hour travel assistance services and roadside assistance for auto emergencies. For big-ticket items, the extended warranty feature will come in handy.

Redemption options

Receive cash back as a direct deposit or statement credit, apply to cover a recent purchase or spend on gift cards. There are no minimum redemption requirements, and your rewards won’t expire as long as your account is open.

Minimum credit requirement

Good to excellent credit, which is at least 670-850.

Bottom line

The Quicksilver is a clear-cut winner if uncomplicated rewards are what you’re after. You’ll get 1.5 percent cash back for every purchase, a lengthy introductory APR to save on interest, and a $150 one-time cash bonus to sweeten the deal. Redemption is flexible too, so you can redeem when you want and in ways that suit you.

But if you don’t have the credit score for the Quicksilver, and your goal is to improve your credit profile while extending your credit line, then the Capital One Platinum is a great choice. With an opportunity to extend your credit after just five on-time payments, it’s a practical card that will yield long-term benefits.

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