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If you’re looking for a credit card that earns cash back rewards for everyday spending with no caps on the amount of rewards you can earn, you would be right to look at both the Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit Card and Citi® Double Cash Card.
Both cards earn generous rewards on everyday spending, putting them among the best flat-rate cash back cards. The Capital One Quicksilver earns 1.5 percent cash back rewards on all purchases, and the Citi Double Cash Card earns up to 2 percent cash back (1 percent as you buy, plus another 1 percent when you pay for your purchases), but this comparison is not as simple as going for the greatest rewards.
Which one of these cards deserves a place in your wallet as your go-to card for everyday spending? Let’s find out.
|Capital One Quicksilver||Citi Double Cash|
|Welcome bonus||Earn a $200 cash bonus when you spend $500 on purchases within 3 months from account opening||None|
|Intro APR||0% intro APR for 15 months on purchases and balance transfers (then a variable APR of 19.74% to 29.74%)||0% intro APR for 18 months on balance transfers (then a variable APR of 18.99% to 28.99%)|
Capital One Quicksilver vs. Citi Double Cash Card highlights
Welcome bonus winner: Capital One Quicksilver
If you’re looking to jumpstart your rewards earnings with a great starter card, you’ll want to choose the Capital One Quicksilver. The Quicksilver offers a one-time $200 cash bonus when you spend $500 on purchases within three months from account opening; that’s a a little under $167 in spending per month for three months — an easy feat for most cardholders. The Citi Double Cash, on the other hand, does not offer a welcome bonus.
Rewards rate winner: Citi Double Cash Card
Earning effectively 2 percent cash back on every purchase is one reason to love the Citi Double Cash Card. As noted above, the Citi Double Cash earns 1 percent cash back when you make a purchase and an additional 1 percent when you pay for your purchase, compared to the Quicksilver’s 1.5 percent cash back rate.
The Citi Double Cash card doesn’t just win on base rewards. Behind the scenes, the card technically earns basic ThankYou points, which means you can pool your points with other Citi cards you own and potentially increase your rewards’ value. “Basic” simply means you can’t transfer your rewards to Citi airline and hotel partners. But if you combine your points into your Citi Premier® Card account, which earns standard ThankYou points, your points can be worth up to 1.9 cents apiece toward Citi transfer partner travel (according to recent Bankrate valuations).
If you frequently stay at hotels or book rental cars, you might be able to eke out more rewards using the Capital One Quicksilver, as it also offers 5 percent cash back on hotels and car rentals booked through Capital One Travel. But if you are traveling that frequently, you’re likely to get better rewards and benefits from a traditional travel credit card or hotel-centric card.
Annual fee winner: Tie
Neither the Capital One Quicksilver nor the Citi Double Cash charges an annual fee. This makes them both great options to have in your wallet alongside other credit cards that offer rotating categories but less-generous rewards on everyday spending.
Foreign transaction fee winner: Capital One Quicksilver
If you’re traveling abroad, be sure to carry the Capital One Quicksilver, as it doesn’t charge foreign transaction fees on purchases made outside of the United States. In fact, Capital One does not charge a fee on any of its cards for using your credit card for foreign currency transactions.
In contrast, the Citi Double Cash card charges a 3 percent foreign transaction fee on each purchase transaction in U.S. dollars.
Which card earns the most?
How much you earn on a rewards card will depend heavily on your spending habits and the number of purchases you’re charging. For cards that offer flat-rate cash back rewards like the Capital One Quicksilver and Citi Double Cash, your rewards will depend solely on how much spending you put on the card, irrespective of the spending category.
Capital One Quicksilver vs. Citi Double Cash Card spending example
Let’s imagine you charge $1,000 a month in everyday spending. Using the Citi Double Cash, you’ll earn $20 in rewards for the month (once you pay for your purchases), or $240 in cash back rewards for the year. Putting the same amount of spending on the Capital One Quicksilver will net you $15 for the month, or $180 in cash back rewards for the year.
Note, in terms of first-year value, you’ll earn more with the Quicksilver thanks to its welcome bonus ($380 total). But each year after, the average spender stands to earn more with the Double Cash.
Why should you get Capital One Quicksilver?
The Capital One Quicksilver offers a flat rate of cash back on all purchases, with no foreign transaction fees and heightened rewards on hotel and rental car purchases through Capital One’s travel portal. Further, if you’re a big fan of Uber, the Capital One Quicksilver may be worth it to you as it offers up to six months of complimentary Uber One membership through Nov. 14, 2024.
A few additional Quicksilver benefits worth mentioning include a variety of travel protections (trip cancellation and interruption insurance, baggage delay insurance and travel accident insurance, for example) and purchase protections (extended warranties and price protection). For a no-annual-fee card, it offers a great variety of benefits, so be sure to check out Bankrate’s Capital One Quicksilver Card benefits guide for more details.
Additionally, if you’re looking to finance a large purchase or pay off existing credit card debt, the Capital One Quicksilver offers a 0 percent intro APR for 15 months on purchases and balance transfers (followed by a 19.74 percent to 29.74 percent variable APR). The Citi Double Cash does offer a longer balance transfer period but no intro offer on purchases, so if you have a large purchase on the horizon, this may tip the Quicksilver in your favor.
Capital One Quicksilver cash back rewards are easy to redeem. Most users will get the most value from their rewards by redeeming for cash or a statement credit. Simply log in to your account on the Capital One website and redeem your rewards as a check or statement credit. In addition to cash back rewards, the Capital One Quicksilver offers the following redemption options:
- Online purchases via Amazon.com and PayPal
- Cover recent purchases
- Gift cards
Recommended credit score
Why should you get Citi Double Cash?
If you want a card that earns generous and versatile cash back rewards on all purchases, the Citi Double Cash Card has a lot to love.
While the card doesn’t offer solid benefits specifically through Citi (other than things like Citi Identity Theft Solutions and lost wallet service), the Double Cash is a World Elite Mastercard, meaning it comes with the highest level of Mastercard benefits. This includes zero liability protection, Mastercard ID Theft Protection, Mastercard Airport Concierge, DoorDash and Lyft discounts and even cellphone protection.
And if you have a higher-interest balance that you’re looking to transfer, the Double Cash is great card for paying off debt with its introductory balance transfer offer: 0 percent intro APR for 18 months, followed by a variable APR between 18.99 percent to 28.99 percent. This offer, paired with its solid cash back rate on all purchases, can make the Citi Double Cash worth it for cardholders looking to reap value from their card long after their debt is paid off.
Similar to the Capital One Quicksilver, you can redeem your cash back rewards through the card issuer’s website. Cash rewards from the Citi Double Cash can be redeemed in any amount and are issued as a statement credit, direct deposit or a check. Most Citi Double Cash cardholders who do not pair their Double Cash with another ThankYou points-earning credit card will get the most value from a cash back redemption.
In addition to cash back, you can redeem ThankYou points in other ways, but these typically offer less value:
- Gift cards
- Shop with Points on Amazon or PayPal
- Travel through Citi’s portal
Recommended credit score
Similar to the Quicksilver, the Citi Double Cash is offered to consumers with good to excellent credit.
The bottom line
Either the Capital One Quicksilver or Citi Double Cash Card can be a great card to have in your wallet for your general spending. For rewards maximizers, the Citi Double Cash has the edge with its effective 2 percent cash back rate (1 percent as you buy, plus 1 percent when you pay), or for those looking to pay off credit card debt.
The Quicksilver, on the other hand, can be a good option for those looking for a wealth of card benefits, a zero-interest offer on purchases and first-year welcome bonus.
Before you decide, also consider Bankrate’s list of the best cash back credit cards in case another flat-rate option stands to offer you more value.