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- The Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit Card and the Bank of America® Unlimited Cash Rewards credit card offer the same rewards rate of 1.5 percent back on all purchases.
- These two cards also offer the same welcome bonus of $200 as well, although the minimum spending requirements to earn them vary.
- While both of these cards come with no annual fee, there’s one detail that can make one much more valuable than the other — membership in the Bank of America Preferred Rewards program.
- You may also want to check out cash back credit cards with higher ongoing rewards rates.
The Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit Card and the Bank of America® Unlimited Cash Rewards credit card both come with no annual fee and offer 1.5 percent cash back on all purchases, which makes them hard to contrast. However, there are a few areas where one stands out over the other, especially for members of the Bank of America Preferred Rewards program.
If you’re comparing the Capital One Quicksilver vs. Bank of America Unlimited Cash Rewards and wondering which card would leave you ahead in terms of rewards or benefits, our in-depth analysis can help you decide.
|Cards||Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit Card||Bank of America Unlimited Cash Rewards credit card|
|Welcome bonus||$200 cash bonus if you spend $500 within the first 3 months||$200 online cash rewards bonus if you spend $1,000 within the first 90 days|
|Rewards rate||1.5% cash back on all purchases
5% cash back on hotels and rental cards booked through Capital One Travel
|1.5% cash back on all purchases|
|Intro APR||0% intro APR for 15 months on purchases and balance transfers (19.99% to 29.99% variable APR thereafter); promo rate balance transfers are subject to a 3% balance transfer fee||0% intro APR for 15 billing cycles on purchases and qualifying balance transfers (18.24% to 28.24% variable APR thereafter); balance transfers must be made in the first 60 days and a 3% balance transfer fee applies|
Capital One Quicksilver vs. Bank of America Unlimited Cash highlights
Both of these top cash back cards come with no annual fee, unlimited cash back on all purchases and 0 percent intro APR offers, but they vary in some areas, like their welcome bonuses. Read on to find out which card shines in the most important categories cardholders care about.
Welcome bonus winner: Capital One Quicksilver
Both cards offer a $200 welcome bonus, but the Capital One Quicksilver only requires you to spend $500 on purchases within the first three months to earn the bonus. The $500 spending threshold is easy to meet, and one of the lowest spending limits you’ll find among all cash back credit cards on the market today.
In comparison, Bank of America Unlimited Cash requires you to spend $1,000 on purchases within 90 days to earn the $200 online cash bonus. That said, it’s worth noting that a $200 welcome bonus is on par with other cash rewards cards that don’t carry an annual fee.
Rewards rate winner: Tie
Both cards offer an unlimited 1.5 percent cash back on all purchases, so they tie in this category. The exception to this tie is if you’re a Bank of America Preferred Rewards member, in which case you’ll earn 25 percent to 75 percent more in cash back on all your purchases depending on your membership level.
Tiers are based upon your combined three-month balance across qualifying Bank of America and Merrill investing accounts. Just remember that you’ll have to have at least a $20,000 balance in qualifying accounts to qualify for the lowest tier of this program, which will earn you 25 percent more rewards. You need a minimum of a $100,000 balance across accounts to earn 75 percent more rewards. As a result, many people won’t be able to take advantage of this program and the benefits it offers.
Annual fee winner: Tie
Like many cash back cards, neither the Capital One Quicksilver card nor Bank of America Unlimited Cash charge an annual fee. Either card is ideal if you’re trying to keep a yearly fee from eating into your rewards earnings.
Foreign transaction fee winner: Capital One Quicksilver
The Capital One Quicksilver card doesn’t charge foreign transaction fees on purchases made outside of the U.S. or in foreign currency, whereas the Bank of America Unlimited Cash charges a 3 percent foreign transaction fee.
Intro APR winner: Tie
Both the Capital One Quicksilver card and the Bank of America Unlimited Cash card offer a 0 percent intro APR on purchases and balance transfers for the first 15 billing cycles (15 months with the Capital One card). After this introductory period, the Bank of America card has a slight advantage with its variable APR of 18.24 percent to 28.24 percent (compared to 19.99 to 29.99 percent with the Capital One card).
Note, however, that with the Bank of America card, balance transfers must be made within the first 60 days to qualify for the intro offer and a 3 percent balance transfer fee applies. The Capital One Quicksilver, on the other hand, does not have this timing limitation, but does also have a 3 percent transfer fee on promotional APR balance transfers.
Which card earns the most?
If you’re looking for an unlimited 1.5 percent cash back on 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 card bonus categories, such as bill payments or certain types of online retail purchases.
If you already use a rotating category card to maximize cash back in specific bonus categories, either of these flat-rate cards would be a good complement. They’ll both offer you 1.5 percent back on non-category purchases instead of the baseline 1 percent back typically offered for general purchases on other cards.
So, which card earns the most? On their own, the cards are tied. However, there is one notable difference: Bank of America customers who belong to Bank of America’s Preferred Rewards program can get a 25 percent to 75 percent rewards boost on top of their Bank of America Unlimited Cash’s 1.5 percent cash back rate.
The Preferred Rewards program tiers are based on the combined three-month average balance of your Bank of America and Merrill accounts. For the Bank of America Unlimited Cash, here is the new cash back rate you’d earn for each rewards tier:
|Minimum balance required||$20,000||$50,000||$100,000||$1 million|
|New cash back rate||1.87%||2.25%||2.62%||2.62%|
As the tier bonus structure reveals, if you’re a Preferred Rewards member with $50,000 or more across all of your accounts, then the Bank of America Unlimited Cash card’s cash back rate of 2.25 percent is better than almost all flat-rate cards, which typically offer a maximum rate of 2 percent back on general purchases.
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 1.5 percent cash back on all purchases. So, for example, whether you spend $100 per month or $1,000 per month, both cards will earn either $1.50 or $15 (respectively) in cash back.
But, as demonstrated above, you can boost your cash back rewards significantly with the Bank of America Unlimited Cash if you are a Bank of America Preferred Rewards member.
For example, say you spend $2,000 on purchases during a billing cycle. At a rate of 1.5 percent cash back, you’d earn $30 back with either the Capital One Quicksilver or the Bank of America Unlimited Cash. However, if you are a Bank of America Preferred Rewards member, you could boost your rewards earnings further on that $2,000 in purchases with Bank of America Unlimited Cash. For each tier, you could earn a total of:
- Gold (25 percent boost): $37.40
- Platinum (50 percent boost): $45
- Platinum Honors (75 percent boost): $52.40
- Diamond (75 percent boost): $52.40
Now let’s imagine your spending and rewards remain stable over the course of a year. The chart below shows how much you would earn in rewards on $2,000 in monthly spending with the Bank of America Unlimited Cash Rewards as a member of Bank of America Preferred Rewards vs. Capital One Quicksilver:
|Rewards for $2,000 in monthly spending||Rewards for $24,000 in annual spending|
|Capital One Quicksilver Cash Reward or Bank of America Unlimited Cash||$30||$360|
|Bank of America Unlimited Cash (with Gold membership in Preferred Rewards)||$37.40||$448.88|
|Bank of America Unlimited Cash (with Platinum membership in Preferred Rewards)||$45||$540|
|Bank of America Unlimited Cash (with Platinum Honors membership or better in Preferred Rewards)||$52.40||$628.80|
While the rewards offered through the Bank of America Preferred Rewards program are attractive, keep in mind that you need a minimum of $20,000 in qualifying accounts with the bank to even join this program, and that earning the highest bonus of 75 percent more rewards requires six figures.
And even though the Bank of America Preferred Rewards program offers a nominal “boost” on savings rates for members, their starting rate on savings accounts is a disappointing 0.01% APY to begin with. This is much less than you’ll earn with the best high-yield savings accounts, which currently offer rates of around 5.00% APY.
Why should you get the Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards?
The Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards includes 1.5 percent cash back on every purchase and a welcome bonus that’s easy to earn. If it’s simplicity you’re after, the Capital One Quicksilver is a solid option since you won’t need to plan your spending according to rotating quarterly categories or keep track of quarterly category sign-ups.
Despite its no-frills starter card appearance, the Capital One Quicksilver card comes with a number of travel and shopping benefits. You’ll have access to Capital One Entertainment, Capital One Travel, 24/7 travel assistance, concierge services, travel accident insurance, extended warranty protection and access to the Eno assistant app, which uses virtual credit card numbers to protect your card data while you shop online.
Cardholders can also sign up for six months of complimentary Uber One membership, valid through November 14, 2024.
You can redeem cash back for a statement credit, a check in the mail, purchases through Amazon or PayPal.com or gift cards. Plus, with the Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards card, there is no minimum redemption amount for many of these redemptions.
If you also have a Capital One miles earning card, such as the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card, you can also convert your cash back earnings to Capital One Miles and redeem them for travel.
Recommended credit score
You’ll need good to excellent credit to qualify for the Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards card. Generally, this means you’ll need a FICO credit score of 670 or higher.
Why should you get the Bank of America Unlimited Cash Rewards?
The bonus rewards you can earn as a Preferred Rewards member make the Bank of America Unlimited Cash Rewards more worthwhile. Here are some additional benefits and reasons to consider getting the Bank of America Unlimited Cash card.
The Bank of America Unlimited Cash is a Visa Signature card that includes benefits like 24/7 roadside dispatch, travel and emergency assistance, credit monitoring and extended warranty coverage.
Additionally, you’ll get access to BankAmeriDeals and Museums on Us. BankAmeriDeals allows you to receive an extra 5 percent to 15 percent cash back at participating merchants for a limited time when you select the offers. As for Museums on Us, cardholders can enjoy free admission to over 225 museums and cultural institutions when they present their card and photo ID during the first weekend of every month. Cardholders also get a free credit score on their statement each month, which they can access online or through the Bank of America mobile app.
With the Bank of America Unlimited Cash, you can redeem earnings as a statement credit to your card, a credit to a qualifying Merrill investment account or a direct deposit to a Bank of America checking or savings account.
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 at least 670.
The bottom line
Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards and Bank of America Unlimited Cash Rewards offer 1.5 percent cash back on every purchase, along with standard welcome bonuses and intro APR offers. If you’re a Bank of America Preferred Rewards member, or if you’re inclined to become one, you can also enjoy some of the highest flat-rate cash back rewards rates available today.
However, for most consumers, the Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards and the Bank of America Unlimited Cash Rewards don’t offer much that you can’t find with many other cash back cards. For example, you can get a similar sign-up bonus with the Wells Fargo Active Cash® Card, along with an unlimited 2 percent cash rewards on purchases.
And then there’s Chase Freedom Unlimited®*, which offers 3 percent to 5 percent cash back in popular bonus categories in addition to 1.5 percent back on all purchases. That’s why, before deciding on a card, it’s important to compare all of your options to see which one would work best for your needs.
If you’re still on the fence between these two cards in particular, it can also help to read over our Capital One Quicksilver benefits guide and our Bank of America Unlimited Cash Rewards benefits guide to see how their perks stack up.
The information about the Chase Freedom Unlimited has been collected independently by Bankrate. The card details have not been reviewed or approved by the issuer.