You’re in the market for a cash-back credit card. You don’t want any hassle or complicated rewards plans and your level of interest in travel rewards is remarkably low. Two of the major cards that might be what you are looking for are the Citi Double Cash Card and the Capital One Quicksilver Card. Each receives mostly positive customer reviews, so which one do you choose?
Citi Double Cash Card
First of all, what is a double cash card? Citi says you receive cash rewards twice – once when you make your purchase and once when you pay your bill. When you make a purchase, you receive a standard 1% cashback, and when you pay your bill, Citi refunds you an additional 1%.
That second 1% isn’t very hard to get because you don’t have to pay the entire balance. Paying at least a minimum payment on time is enough to earn the reward. And you don’t have to worry about categories: you get double 1% regardless of what you buy and there’s no limit to how much money you can earn.
The Citi Double Cash Card has an APR of 12.99% to 22.99%, an introductory rate of 0% for 15 months, and no annual fee. If you receive a cash advance, the APR is 25.24% with a standard amount of 5% of the advance or $10, whichever is greater.
The foreign transaction fee is 3% and after the 0% introductory period, the APR for balance transfers is the same as regular purchases with a 3% or $5 fee, whichever is greater. Balance transfer fees also apply during the introductory period.
CapitalOne Quicksilver Card
The two cards are very similar, but unlike the Citi card which sells as “double cash”, CapitalOne gives you the full reward with no additional strings attached. The Quicksilver Card gives you 1.5% back on all purchases, regardless of category, and has no limit on the number of rewards you can earn. There is no annual fee, the standard APR of 12.99% to 22.99%. However, the 0% introductory APR is only until November 2015. You also get a $100 bonus if you spend $500 in the first three months.
Looking at the fine print, this card charges 24.9% for cash advances, with a fee of 3% of the advance or $10, whichever is greater. If you regularly need cash advances, the lower rate and fees might make this card a better choice.
The Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit Card is an excellent competitor to the Citi® Double Cash Card – BT 18 month offer. The card comes with a slightly lower cashback rate of 1.5% cashback on every purchase, every day. However, the card also comes with a very attractive sign-up bonus. You will earn a one-time $200 cash bonus after spending $500 on purchases within 3 months of account opening. This makes the Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit Card more attractive than the Citi® Double Cash Card – BT 18 month offer, at least for the first year.
For the long haul, however, the Citi® Double Cash Card – BT 18 month offer is the best value. As you can see from our chart in the previous section, cardholders who spend at least $30,000 over time will come out on top with the Citi® Double Cash Card – BT 18 Month Offer.
There are no annual fees, no foreign transaction fees, and the balance transfer fee is 3% of the amount that is credited to your account during the November 2015 billing period.
Like all CapitalOne cards, the terms on the card are straightforward. The fine print on all CapitalOne cards is the same, making it easy to evaluate each of its offers.
The Bottom Line
Citi offers a higher reward than CapitalOne. If you usually pay off your balance in full at the end of the month and never need a cash advance or balance transfer, the Citi Double Cash card is probably the best choice.
If your credit card habits aren’t as strong as you’d like – or if you plan to travel abroad – the CapitalOne Card, with lower cash advance fees and no foreign transaction fees, could be the clear winner.
Public Service Announcement: Use your credit cards responsibly. The rewards you earn using the card will never be more than the interest you pay if you hold a substantial balance. To learn more, see Understanding Credit Card Balance Transfers and How a Cash Advance Works.