The Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit Card and the Bank of America® Unlimited Cash Rewards credit card both offer 1.5 percent cash back on all purchases with no annual fee.
While Capital One Quicksilver is a mainstay in the flat-rate cash back rewards card space, Bank of America Unlimited Cash is a brand new entry, making its debut on July 19, 2021.
But which card is better for you? If you’re already a Bank of America Preferred Rewards member, then the Bank of America Unlimited Cash offering may provide you with the most bang for your buck.
On the other hand, if you’re looking for a straightforward card that earns high rewards without having to jump through a lot of hoops, the Capital One Quicksilver card may make the most sense.
|Cards||Capital One Quicksilver||Bank of America Unlimited Cash|
|Welcome bonus||$200 cash bonus if you spend $500 on purchases within the first three months||$200 online bonus cash rewards if you spend $1,000 on purchases within the first 90 days|
|Rewards Rate||Unlimited 1.5 percent cash back on all purchases||Unlimited 1.5 percent cash back on all purchases|
|Intro APR||0 percent APR on purchases and balance transfers for the first 15 months (followed by 14.99% to 24.99% variable APR thereafter)||0 percent APR on purchases for 15 billing cycles as well as on balance transfers made within the first 60 days (3% fee applies, min. $10)
(followed by 13.99% to 23.99% variable APR thereafter)
Capital One Quicksilver vs. Bank of America Unlimited Cash highlights
Both of these cash back rewards cards allow you to earn unlimited cash back without paying an annual fee, but they vary in terms of their welcome bonus.
Welcome bonus winner: Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards
Both cards offer $200 cash rewards, but Capital One Quicksilver requires half the spending amount ($500 on purchases within the first three months) compared to the Bank of America Unlimited Cash ($1,000 on purchases within 90 days).
A $200 bonus is on par with other cash rewards cards that don’t carry an annual fee. Plus, it’s easy to meet the $500 spending threshold, which may be as low as you’ll find.
Annual Fee winner: Tie
Like many cash back credit cards, neither the Capital One Quicksilver card or the Bank of America Unlimited Cash card charge an annual fee. As such, both cards are ideal if you’re trying to keep a yearly fee from eating into your rewards earnings.
Intro APR winner: Bank of America Unlimited Cash
Further demonstrating the similarities of these two cash back rewards cards, both the Capital One Quicksilver card and the Bank of America Unlimited Cash card offer a introductory APR on purchases.
However, the Bank of America Unlimited Cash card offers cardholders the chance at a lower ongoing APR rate after the intro APR offers end.
If you’re running the numbers to see if consolidating your debt makes sense, remember that Bank of America applies a 3 percent balance transfer fee with a $10 minimum.
Which card earns the most?
The amount of cash rewards you can earn with these cards is a straightforward 1.5 percent on all purchases you make. While 1.5 percent used to be the pinnacle rate for cash back cards, a growing number of cards now offer 2 percent cash rewards for qualified purchases, such as the Wells Fargo Active Cash℠ Card. Previously a straightforward flat-rate card, the Chase Freedom Unlimited® now offers 3 percent to 5 percent cash back in popular categories, in addition to its regular 1.5 percent rewards rate for general purchases.
Still, if you’re looking for unlimited 1.5 percent cash back for all purchases, the Capital One Quicksilver and the Bank of America Unlimited Cash both fit the bill. Either card may make sense if your purchases often fall outside the usual bonus categories, such as specific online retailers and bill payments. If you already use a rotating category card to optimize cash back in specific categories, either of these flat rate cards would be a good complement instead of the baseline 1 percent cash back typically offered for non-category purchases on a bonus category card.
So, which card earns the most? On their own, the cards standoff to a tie, with one caveat: Loyal customers who are members of Bank of America’s Preferred Rewards program can get a 25 percent to 75 percent bonus to their Unlimited Cash Reward card’s 1.5 percent cash back rate. Eligibility and reward amounts depend on how high your account balances are for your Bank of America checking and savings accounts and any eligible Merrill investment accounts.
The Preferred Rewards program tiers are based on your three-month average for the combined balances of your Bank of America accounts. Here is the breakdown:
- Gold tier requires $20,000 minimum balance: 25 percent bonus = 1.87 percent cash back rate
- Platinum tier requires $50,000 minimum balance: 50 percent bonus = 2.25 percent cash back rate
- Platinum Honors tier requires $100,000 minimum balance: 75 percent bonus = 2.62 percent cash back rate.
As the tier bonus structure reveals, if you’re a member of Bank of America’s Preferred Rewards program with $50,000 or more across all your accounts, then the Unlimited Cash Rewards card’s cash back rate of 2.25 percent or higher is better than almost all flat-rate cards.
Capital One Quicksilver vs. Bank of America Unlimited Cash spending example
On their own, both the Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards and the Bank of America Unlimited Cash Rewards cards deliver a flat-rate 1.5 percent cash back. So, whether you spend $100 per month or $1,000 per month with your card, both cards will net you $1.50 or $15 cash back using these figures.
But, as we’ve seen above, you can boost your cash back rewards significantly with the Unlimited Cash Rewards card if you are a Bank of America Preferred Rewards member.
Say you spend $2,000 on purchases during a billing cycle. With either of these cards, you would receive $30 cash back. However, if you have the Unlimited Cash and are a Bank of America Preferred Rewards member, you could boost your cash back by an extra 25 percent (total cash back $37.40), 50 percent (total cash back $45), or 75 percent (total cash back $52), depending on your tier status.
Why should you get the Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit Card?
The Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards comes with unlimited 1.5 percent cash back on every purchase and a sign-up bonus that’s relatively easy to obtain. If it’s simplicity you’re after, the Quicksilver Cash Rewards is a solid option. You won’t need to plan your spending or keep track of particular categories or quarterly sign-ups.
The Quicksilver Cash Rewards delivers unlimited cash back rewards that never expire.
And despite its no-frills starter card appearance, the Quicksilver card comes with a robust suite of travel and shopping perks and protections. You have access to exclusive travel and entertainment opportunities, such as pre-sale tickets via Capital One Access. What’s more, you can take advantage of 24/7 services, including roadside assistance and concierge assistance.
The Eno assistant app uses virtual credit card numbers to shop online while protecting your actual credit card data.
Of course, the Quicksilver card comes with Visa protections, and—depending on your credit limit—you can get a standard Visa Platinum or Visa Signature card and receive even more benefits. Refer to your benefits guide when you receive your card for a detailed list of features.
Capital One makes it easy to redeem cash back on the Quicksilver Cash Rewards card. For starters, the card doesn’t impose a minimum redemption amount. In your Capital One online account, you’ll see your rewards balance and several redemption options. You may redeem cash back as a statement credit to lower your outstanding balance, or you can opt to receive a check in the mail. You can even donate your cash to charity or purchase gift cards with your rewards.
Recommended credit score
Even though the Quicksilver Cash Rewards card looks like a starter card, you’ll need good to excellent credit to qualify. Generally, this means you’ll need a FICO credit score of 670 or higher or a VantageScore of 661 or higher.
Why should you get the Bank of America Unlimited Cash Rewards?
What makes the Bank of America Unlimited Cash Rewards worthwhile is the bonus rewards that come with being a Preferred Rewards member. Here are some additional benefits and reasons to consider getting the Unlimited Cash Rewards card:
Bank of America cards typically don’t carry a host of benefits other than the usual Visa card features. But as we’ve seen, the Preferred Rewards membership enables you to receive additional bonuses that boost your cash back.
The Unlimited Cash is a Visa Signature card that delivers a few staple benefits, including 24/7 roadside dispatch, travel and emergency assistance, purchase security and extended warranty coverage. Contact Bank of America to verify which benefits you qualify for with your card.
BankAmeriDeals is Bank of America’s limited-time offer program which includes promotional offers to receive an extra 5 percent to 15 percent cash back at participating merchants. The program also rewards you with higher value offers for being an active member.
As you might guess from the name, Museums on Us is an attractive perk for museum lovers. Cardholders can gain free admission to over 225 museums and cultural institutions when they present their card and photo ID during the first weekend of every month.
With the Unlimited Cash Rewards, you may only redeem earnings as cash back, which you can take as a direct deposit to a Bank of America checking or savings account. You can also receive your rewards as a statement credit or a credit to a qualified Merrill investment account.
There are very few restrictions on when or for what amount you can redeem your cash back, and the rewards never expire. There is no minimum threshold if you manually redeem your cash rewards as a statement credit or direct deposit. However, if you choose to receive a direct deposit to a Bank of America checking or savings account or a credit to a Merrill 529 account, you must redeem a minimum of $25 cash back.
Recommended credit score
You’ll need good to excellent credit to qualify for the Bank of America Unlimited Cash Rewards card. As such, your FICO score should be above 670 and your VantageScore above 661.
The bottom line
For most consumers, the Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit Card and Bank of America Unlimited Cash Rewards don’t offer much you can’t find with many other cash back cards. For example, you can get a similar sign-up bonus and APR promotion with the Wells Fargo Active Cash Card, but you’ll earn an unlimited 2 percent cash rewards with that card.
Still, both the Quicksilver card and the Unlimited Cash Rewards card offer no-fuss opportunities to earn 1.5 percent cash back for every purchase with no limits. And, if you’re a Bank of America Preferred Rewards Member, or if you’re inclined to become one, you can enjoy some of the highest flat-rate cash back rewards rates available today.