You've no doubt received a flyer in the mail for a "cashback" credit card. Everyone does. But what does it actually mean, and why should you care? Cash back is a common benefit used by credit card companies to get customers to sign up.
The idea is simple: For every dollar you spend, you receive a certain percentage of your money back as credit on your statement. The amount you get back is usually 1% or so, but may range from 2%-5% on purchases in specific categories. Cashback rewards cards usually have an upper limit on the amount you can earn and how long it lasts.
This article is going to take a look at the various cashback rewards options that Capital One has to offer, as well as how you can best utilize these rewards to get the most bang for your buck.
Capital One Rewards Cards
Capital One has seven cashback rewards cards broken down into between personal and business cards.
The Quicksilver is one of the most commonly recommended cash back cards available. It appears on numerous top ten lists and is met with rave reviews from reviewers across the board.
The benefits are excellent. With favorable rates and the lack of an annual fee, this card quickly rises to the top of most preferred card lists. The lone drawback might be the fact that you need an credit score of "Excellent" or better to qualify.
The QuicksilverOne is the lower-yield cousin of the Quicksilver. While it may not have quite the same rewards scheme, it has multiple benefits of its own that make it a valuable card to have, including no changing categories, no expiration on rewards, and the opportunity to access a higher credit limit after a consistent series of on-time payments.
Further, this is a great rewards card for someone with mediocre credit since you only need an credit score of "Average" to qualify. It also grants access to Capital One's CreditWise app to help you monitor your score and figure out what payments will have the most effect on improving your credit score overall.
Savor – Premiere Dining Rewards
This is the newest card in Capital One's lineup and easily one of the most impressive. It's so new that no reviews are listed on the company's website at the time of writing this, but we have no doubt that it will be favorably received, because its benefits almost guarantee as much.
Some of these benefits include no annual fee and no expiration on rewards
This card is excellent for those who enjoy eating out, but it's also great for people who cook often, with significant cash back on groceries.
While the intended audience is most likely businesspeople that spend hundreds or thousands each month taking clients out to dinner, the everyday person can benefit tremendously from this card. As with most Capital One cards with this level of rewards, though, it requires "Excellent" credit in order to qualify.
Journey Student Rewards
If you're a student (or remember when you were), then you know how tempting it can be to have a credit card. All that available money, all those fun things to buy. However, learning responsible credit card use is just as important as any other aspect of education, and Capital One designed a card to help cardholders do just that.
With an opportunity for cash back on all purchases, plus extra cash back available for on-time payments, responsible use of the card can pay off, literally, for students. There's also the chance to acccess a higher credit limit after a consistent series of on-time payments, no annual fee, no foreign transaction fees, and access to the CreditWise credit monitoring app.
The Journey Student Rewards card also starts with a much lower credit limit than most cards to encourage smart usage and responsible payments. While it's not the best choice for someone that plans to routinely use their credit card for purchases, it's a fantastic choice for students just going off to college.
The Spark Cash is an excellent card for small- to mid-sized business owners and is the number one recommended Capital One card for business owners overall.
If you make a lot of business purchases, this is the card for you. The rewards never expire, and you can easily get cards for your employees to use that contribute to the rewards as well.
The Spark Cash requires "Excellent" credit in order to qualify, but because it is a business card, business-specific credit also plays a role.
Spark Cash Select
The Spark Cash Select is a step down from the Spark Cash, but is still a very powerful rewards card for business owners. While it doesn't have the same level of rewards, it does have a potentially lower APR, which makes it a better pick in some people's eyes, as interest rates can result in crippling amounts of debt if you don't pay your balance off in full each month.
The Spark Classic is an excellent choice for smaller business owners or entrepreneurs. While it doesn't have a rewards scheme like that of the Spark Cash or Spark Cash Select, it has its own host of benefits, and only requires "Average" credit in order to qualify. While it is a rewards card, it's designed to help business owners build their business credit.
The lower rewards rate takes almost a back seat to the fact that it can help with credit building and learning how business credit usage differs from consumer usage.
The Benefits of Cash Rewards
What separates Capital One cash rewards cards differ from other Capital One cards? The easiest and most obvious answer is that cash rewards cards yield cash rewards, while other Capital One cards either have no rewards, or yield miles or points. That said, there are a few other differences.
While all Capital One rewards cards require "Excellent" or "Average" credit in order to qualify, there are a few cards in Capital One's lineup designed for people with damaged credit that need to rebuild. These cards don't yield any rewards, have lower credit limits, and couldn't be much more different than cash rewards cards.
Cash rewards cards also operate on a percentage of how every dollar spent.
Sometimes, that may not seem like much, but it can add up over time. However, the one-time bonuses of travel rewards cards are usually of higher value (when converted to their equivalent cash value) than the one-time bonus of cash rewards cards.
Aside from the previously stated rewards, there are a series of benefits that come with Capital One cards. These benefits include account management aids, apps and digital services, security, and additional travel and retail awards that apply to all cards. Some of the account management benefits include personalized emails or text reminders to help you stay on top of payments, autopay services that automatically draft the amount from your account, personalized payment dates, 24/7 customer service, and several others.
Capital One also provides a mobile app that allows you to pay your bill from your phone, track your spending, view recent transactions, and much more. Combine this with the Capital One Wallet and you'll always know when a transaction is made from your account.
You'll also receive 24 hour travel assistance services, as well as an auto rental collision waiver.
Finally, any items you purchase with your Capital One card automatically receive an extended warranty if one is available.
The Quicksilver, our top pick for the cash rewards card, also comes with World Elite MasterCard benefits. You'll receive a variety of Identity Theft Resolution services in case your card is swiped or cloned while traveling. You also have access to complimentary room upgrades, early check-in and late check-out times when available, and a host of other features.
Measuring Up the Competition
While the Quicksilver may be the flagship cash rewards card from Capital One, it's certainly not the only one out there. There is quite a bit of competition in the arena, and some of those cards may have arguably better rewards and rates.
The Chase Freedom Unlimited is one of these cards. Not only does it have a high-yield rewards scheme, but if you have another eligible card through Chase, you can transfer the points you earn between them. Redeeming these points through the right portals can also grant a solid bonus to your redemption value.
The Chase Freedom is a solid choice for a cash rewards card, but then you have cards that fit the average family slightly better, like the Blue Cash Preferred from American Express, which has a higher threshold for its one-time bonus, as well as a significantly higher annual fee, but the rewards scheme can make it worthwhile:
What is the minimum credit score one should have before applying for a cash rewards card from Capital One?
The minimum credit score you should have is based on what card you're applying for. The highest yield rewards cards require an "Excellent" credit score in order to qualify, or a point rating of 720 or higher. The lower-yield cards like the QuicksilverOne cards require an "Average" rating to qualify.
One of the best ways of evaluating whether a card is a solid choice or not is to see what other users have had to say about it.
Check out what cardholders have to say:
It's a great fit for me because I can make a payment from my phone at any time, check my transactions and balance on my phone. They give me rewards any time I need them and are helpful on the phone.
I am going to quit using my card because my rates are TOO high. It will take an extreme emergency to get me to use it again!
My Capital One card is AMAZING! I wouldn't choose any other credit company to use. I have never had any issues with my card, going on two years of service. The online app is so easy to use and its features are great! Also their customer service department is top notch. The staff is very friendly and courteous! Oh, and, lets not forget you earn cash back and rewards with every purchase! I would recommend Capital One to ANYONE!
Capital One is average. I originally got my Capital One cards when my credit was in the tank. Since then, I have radically improved it. Yet, Capital One continues to treat me as if I did not. Interest Rate ridiculously high. Low Credit Limits forcing me to have multiple cards with them. Candidly, if this does not change, after my next round of credit repair—which should push me well over 700 and close to 800, either they change or I will. Sorry.
If getting cash back on your purchases is important to you, Capital One has a great variety of offers.
Just be aware of all the terms in your cardholder agreement!