Capital One Quicksilver Student Cash Rewards Credit Card review: Streamlined cash back for students
This card is a great starting point for students who are new to credit, although there is a trade-off for earning rewards — paying interest with no 0 percent intro APR period.
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Capital One Quicksilver Student Cash Rewards Credit Card Overview
Student credit-builders looking for an easy way to earn cash back without paying an annual fee or tying up money in a security deposit will find plenty to love about the Capital One Quicksilver Student Cash Rewards Credit Card.
A student-centered version of one of the most popular flat-rate cash back cards out there, the Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit Card, the Quicksilver Student card keeps most of its parent card’s key features intact, including its streamlined cash back structure, low cost and perks. With responsible card use, the Quicksilver Student could help you build a solid foundation as both a credit-builder and a cash back enthusiast.
However, students still learning how to manage finances should tread lightly. The card lacks a 0 percent introductory APR offer and won’t waive its late fee the first time you miss a payment due date.
What are the pros and cons?
- The high end of the variable APR range (17.99 percent to 27.99 percent) could make it difficult to pay down debt if you carry a large balance
- It has no 0 percent introductory APR offer, so you will have to start paying off your balance with interest immediately
A deeper look into the current card offer
- Rewards rate: 1.5 percent cash back on all purchases and 5 percent back on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel
- Welcome offer: $100 when you spend $100 in the first three months
- Annual fee: $0
- Purchase intro APR: N/A
- Balance transfer intro APR: N/A
- Regular APR: 17.99 percent to 27.99 percent variable
Current welcome offer
The Capital One Quicksilver Student card has a reasonable and easy-to-grab sign-up bonus of $100 when you spend $100 in the first three months. Even the best sign-up bonuses usually earn back only a fraction of their spending requirement, so this is a boon for frugal students. If you spend just over $33 for three months, you can essentially get your money back — as long as you’re able to pay your balance in full each month. If you carry a balance, you’ll have to deal with credit card interest charges, which can cut into the value of the welcome offer.
The Quicksilver Student card boasts one of the highest flat cash back rates available on a student credit card, but it’s not necessarily the standalone winner when it comes to long-term value. You may squeeze more value out of a card that offers bonus cash back in specific categories that match your spending habits.
How you earn
Like its non-student counterpart, the Quicksilver Student card makes earning cash back a cinch — you’ll earn unlimited 1.5 percent cash back on all eligible purchases, plus 5 percent back on hotels and rental cars booked through the issuer’s travel portal. This is not only one of the best flat cash back rates on everyday purchases and travel you can find on a student rewards card, but it’s also not far off from the rate you’ll get from the most popular non-student cards on the market.
That said, that 5 percent on certain travel bookings might not be the best fit for a college student on a budget. If you don’t travel much, the 1.5 percent cash back may be the only rewards you earn.
Depending on your spending habits, an alternative like the Capital One SavorOne Student Cash Rewards Credit Card could prove more lucrative, since it offers twice as much cash back (3 percent) in popular spending categories like grocery stores (excluding Target and Walmart purchases), dining, entertainment and popular streaming services. Meanwhile, the Discover it® Student Cash Back offers a whopping 5 percent back (up to $1,500 in purchases per quarter, then 1 percent) in a variety of categories that rotate each quarter upon activation, including restaurants and online shopping.
While the Quicksilver Student card is a great option for earning cash back on general spending and specific travel bookings, you may be missing out on potential cash back if you use it on its own.
How to redeem
Once you’ve started earning rewards with the Quicksilver Student card, redeeming them is very simple. You can set your rewards to automatically redeem once you reach a given threshold (either $25, $50, $200, $500 or $1,500) or at a selected date each year in the form of:
- A statement credit
- A mailed check
- A credit on prior purchases
- A gift card
- Checkout payments through Amazon.com and PayPal
There’s no minimum cash back required to redeem, so you’re free to cash in your rewards whenever you like.
How much are the rewards worth?
Since this is a cash back card — not a points- or miles-based rewards card — you won’t have to worry about calculating point values or wading through complex redemption schemes. You’ll earn 1.5 percent back on general spending and 5 percent back on rental cars and hotels booked through Capital One Travel, which is equivalent to 1.5 cents back or 5 cents back per dollar spent.
Other cardholder perks
The Quicksilver Student card may not offer many student-centric perks, but it carries a respectable share of ancillary benefits, including several travel and purchase protections that could come in handy for students.
Travel and purchase protections
Among the Quicksilver Student card’s money-saving perks, its extended warranty and price protection coverage stands out. With extended warranty coverage, manufacturer or store warranties on items purchased with the card are automatically doubled, while price protection reimburses you the difference if the price on an item you bought with the card drops within 120 days of purchase.
You’ll also get a number of standard credit card travel benefits like rental car insurance, 24/7 access to a pay-per-use roadside assistance program and complimentary concierge services.
Chance at a higher credit limit
Your credit limit plays a key part in building credit, since 30 percent of your credit score is determined by your credit utilization ratio — the amount of money you’ve borrowed relative to your total available credit. That’s what makes the Quicksilver Student card’s credit limit increase policy so appealing: Your account is automatically reviewed for a credit line increase after six months of responsible card use and on-time payments, which is a much more generous timeframe than you’ll find on a number of competing student cards. Including the Chase Freedom® Student credit card (review at 10 months after making at least five on-time payments).
Fraud protection and credit tracking tools
The Quicksilver Student will also be helpful if you’re looking for a simple way to keep tabs on your credit score and protect yourself against fraud and identity theft. You can take advantage of virtual card numbers to protect yourself when you shop online and use Capital One’s CreditWise credit monitoring service to track your score and get alerts should your personal financial information appear on the dark web or otherwise be compromised.
Rates and fees
The Quicksilver Student card is pretty standard on its rates and fees compared to other student credit cards. You won’t have to worry about offsetting the cost of an annual fee or getting hit with a penalty APR should you have trouble paying on time. Plus, the card’s ongoing variable APR of 17.99 percent to 27.99 percent is a slight decrease from its previous variable APR of 26.99 percent. The lower end is comparable to the average credit card interest rate, and given students are typically less experienced with credit cards, this lower potential APR is less risky.
However, you’ll face a late fee of up to $40 if you slip up and miss a payment due date. And unlike the Discover it® Student Cash Back, which waives your first late payment fee (up to $41 thereafter), the Quicksilver Student card does not let this fee slide the first time you miss a due date.
Unlike the non-student version, the Quicksilver Student card does not carry a 0 percent introductory offer on purchases. This may be a deal-breaker for students who could use some help chipping away at large purchases like textbooks or a laptop while avoiding interest. A few competing student cards offer zero-interest periods of six months or more on new purchases.
On the plus side, the card charges no foreign transaction fees, so it will come in handy if you plan to travel or study abroad. In contrast, most credit cards charge a whopping 3 percent fee on every purchase you make overseas, which could completely eclipse any cash back you’d earn on those purchases.
How the Capital One Quicksilver Student Cash Rewards Card compares to other student cards
The Capital One Quicksilver Student Cash Rewards Credit Card is among the better options for students searching for a card that pairs credit-building capabilities with competitive everyday rewards value. While this card is designed for individuals with fair or limited credit history, it still carries a strong set of cardholder perks for its category and a similar rewards structure to its parent card.
However, there are other cards in its category that may offer students a bit more variety and value when it comes to earning rewards. For example, the Capital One SavorOne Student Cash Rewards Credit Card and the Discover it® Student Cash Back Card offer higher earning rates on popular student-centric categories such as dining, groceries and streaming services. The Discover it® Student Cash Back also offers a unique welcome offer — the issuer will match all cash back earned in the first year of ownership.
Quicksilver Student vs. Capital One SavorOne Student Cash Rewards Credit Card
Assuming your spending habits match those of the average person, you’ll likely earn more cash back with the SavorOne Student card than with the Quicksilver Student card. That’s because the SavorOne Student card offers double the cash back you’ll get with the Quicksilver Student in popular, practical categories like grocery stores (excluding Target and Walmart purchases), dining, entertainment and select streaming services. Since groceries and dining make up a big chunk of most people’s monthly budget — and since students may not book hotel rooms or rental cars through Capital One — it may be tough for the Quicksilver Student card and its 1.5 percent flat rate on everyday spending to catch up.
Quicksilver Student vs. Discover it Student Cash Back Card
Though it gets you streamlined, consistent rewards, the Quicksilver Student card is also held back by its flat cash back rate on general purchases. The Discover it® Student Cash Back, on the other hand, gives you a chance at 5 percent back on up to $1,500 in purchases per quarter upon enrollment (1 percent after that) and incentivizes being strategic and planning out purchases in advance to maximize your earnings. If you plan to travel throughout your schooling and need to book hotels or rental cars, then the Quicksilver Student may earn you more than the Discover it Student, as long as you spend more than $1,500 a quarter on qualifying purchases through Capital One Travel rather than Discover’s rotating bonus categories.
The Discover it Student cash back also comes with a generous 0 percent introductory APR offer on new purchases for the first six months (after which a 16.74 percent to 25.74 percent variable APR applies), which could be a huge help if you need some time to pay off a large purchase while avoiding interest.
Best cards to pair with this card
If you’re just starting out with credit-building, it may be best to stick to a single card until you get a bit more experience and feel comfortable managing your monthly due dates and credit limit. But if you feel ready to juggle more than one student card in order to maximize your rewards, there are a few solid options.
Flat-rate cash back cards often pair best with cards that earn bonus rewards in specific spending categories like grocery stores, dining or gas. If you want to stick with a single issuer, the Capital One SavorOne Student card should be a great fit as it offers terrific cash back in a variety of practical everyday categories like grocery stores (excluding Walmart and Target purchases) and dining. Using this card together with the Quicksilver Student would allow you to maximize your cash back across a wide range of spending.
Bankrate’s Take: Is the Capital One Quicksilver Student Cash Rewards Card worth it?
If you’re looking for a simple way to earn cash back rewards while building credit as a student, the Quicksilver Student card is unlikely to disappoint. It offers a competitive flat cash back rate, charges no annual fee and carries a solid set of benefits compared to other cards in its category.
But depending on your spending habits, it may not be the most rewarding option, as a few competing cards offer at least double the Quicksilver Student card’s cash back rate in spending categories common to students. And if you’re looking for a card that offers a bit of wiggle room with regard to its fees and interest rate, the Quicksilver Student wouldn’t be the best fit due to its high APR and absence of a 0 percent introductory APR offer.