When looking for a cashback credit card, you have to ask yourself what’s most important. For example, do you want to earn huge cash back on a couple of spending categories? Or would you prefer an unlimited 1.5% cash back on everything you buy? Annual fees also play a role in the decision, because one high annual fee could erase your hard-earned cash back for the year.
The Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express and the Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit Card are two of the most popular cashback cards on the market. And while these cards are similar in some respects, they differ in some key areas. Here’s what to know before you submit an application.
Amex Blue Cash Preferred vs. Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards
Both of these cash back credit cards offer great benefits for the right consumer. The trick is determining which one is best for you.
|Annual fee||$0 intro annual fee for the first year, $95 per year thereafter (Terms apply)||$0|
|Intro bonus||Earn a $250 statement credit after spending $3,000 on purchases in the first 6 months of account opening||Earn a one-time $200 cash bonus after you spend $500 on purchases within 3 months from account opening of account opening|
|Earning rate||6% cash back at U.S. supermarkets (for first $6,000 per year, after that 1%) and on select U.S. streaming services, 3% cash back at U.S. gas stations and on eligible transit, and 1% cash back on other eligible purchases||1.5% cash back on every purchase, every day; and 5% cash back on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel (terms apply)|
|Redemption options||Redeem for Reward Dollars or check.||Redeem for check, statement credits, gift cards, or Amazon Shop with Points purchases.|
|Foreign transaction fee||2.7%||None|
|Credit needed||Excellent, Good||Excellent, Good|
|Learn more||Learn more|
What both cards excel at
The Amex Blue Cash Preferred and Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards are both solid cashback credit cards, but each card is better in specific situations.
Amex Blue Cash Preferred Card
To earn the highest percent cash back (in the form of Reward Dollars that can be redeemed as statement credits), this Amex card is rock solid for spenders, with 6% cash back at U.S. supermarkets (for first $6,000 per year, after that 1%) and on select U.S. streaming services, 3% cash back at U.S. gas stations and on eligible transit, and 1% cash back on other eligible purchases.
You’ll have a hard time finding category bonuses higher than 6% from any credit card currently available. Though there are annual spending caps that limit how much you earn in these bonus categories, families who spend a lot on groceries and gas can still earn lucrative rewards. In fact, the Blue Cash Preferred is considered to be one of the best credit cards for groceries.
TipIf you want great rewards on grocery purchases but don't want to pay an annual fee, the Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express is a solid choice for earning rewards on everyday purchases. Learn more in our Blue Cash Everyday Card from American Express review.
Credit card enthusiasts love to cash in on welcome offers, but you only get those the first year. By spending a monthly average of $500 on groceries, $75 on gas, $240 at restaurants, and $350 everywhere else, you'd earn over $450 in cash back every year with this card! That's like receiving a cash bonus each year without applying for a new card.
Even after paying the $0 intro annual fee for the first year, $95 per year thereafter, you can still come out way ahead.
Learn more by checking out our Amex Blue Cash Preferred Credit Card review.
Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards
The Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards card offers straight-forward cash back no matter where you're swiping the card. There are no bonus rewards categories to track and you don’t need to remember which store you should use it at. It earns a flat 1.5% cash back no matter what you buy, making it a great card for everyday purchases.
There's also a $0 annual fee, which makes this credit card one that you'll keep in your wallet for years. Plus, it makes a great companion to other credit cards that do offer extra rewards for spending in certain categories. You can use other credit cards for the extra rewards, then use the Quicksilver Cash Rewards card for everything else you buy.
The early spend bonus is easy to attain with a low minimum spend requirement of only $500 within first 3 months. Redeeming your cash back rewards couldn't be simpler, either. You can redeem any amount for a statement credit or a check mailed to your home.
Learn more by checking out our Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards review.
4 important differences between the Amex Blue Cash Preferred and Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards
Although both of these options are among the best cashback credit cards, they have notable differences. Think about the way you spend and which benefits are most important to you as you compare these two credit cards.
1. Earning rate
The Amex Blue Cash Preferred offers 6% cash back at U.S. supermarkets (for first $6,000 per year, after that 1%) and on select U.S. streaming services, 3% cash back at U.S. gas stations and on eligible transit, and 1% cash back on other eligible purchases.
The Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Card earns unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase, every day; and 5% cash back on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel (terms apply).
Winner: Tie. How much you spend in the Amex card’s three bonus categories versus everywhere else will tell you which card the winner is for cash back rewards. Review your spending in the last few months to help you determine your average expenses.
There is a $0 annual fee for the Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Card, whereas the Amex Blue Cash Preferred has a $0 intro annual fee for the first year, $95 per year thereafter. Additionally, the Amex card charges a 2.7% foreign transaction fee, while the Capital One option charges none.
Winner: The Quicksilver Cash Rewards credit card is the winner in this category.
3. New cardmember offer
Both credit cards offer a bonus for new accounts. Here's the Blue Cash Preferred welcome offer: Earn a $250 statement credit after spending $3,000 on purchases in the first 6 months.
The Quicksilver Cash Rewards card, however, offers new cardholders the opportunity to earn a one-time $200 cash bonus after you spend $500 on purchases within 3 months from account opening.
Winner: The Amex welcome bonus is higher but comes with a larger minimum spend requirement. Assuming that you can comfortably meet the spend requirements, then the Blue Cash Preferred wins this point.
4. Intro APRs
If you're looking for no-interest financing on purchases, then either of these cards could be a good choice for you. Capital One is offering a 0% intro APR on purchases for 15 months, then 19.99% - 29.99% (Variable) on new accounts, while the American Express card is offering a 0% intro APR on purchases for 12 months, then 19.24% - 29.99% Variable.
Winner: We'll give the nod to Capital One because you get a few extra months of no interest charges on purchases, plus you get the same intro APR offer on balance transfers. The balance transfer offer is 0% intro APR for 15 months, then a 19.99% - 29.99% (Variable) APR after that. There is a 3% fee for the first 15 months. No fee for amounts transferred at the Transfer APR.
In either case, make sure that you pay off those balances before the 0% APR offers expire, as those standard interest rates are much higher.
Which card should you choose?
The right cashback credit card for you comes down to how much you spend in which categories. Both of these credit cards have valuable benefits and strong cash back rewards that are appealing.
Families that spend a lot on groceries, gas, and streaming services will be best served by the American Express Blue Cash Preferred. There is a $0 intro annual fee for the first year, $95 per year thereafter to overcome, which can be done by spending just $132 per month on groceries.
If you max out the grocery category, you'll earn a whopping $360 in cash back (in the form of Reward Dollars that can be redeemed as statement credits) each year. By comparison, spending that same $6,000 (or $500 per month) with the no-annual-fee Capital One Quicksilver, you'll only receive $90. When you factor in the cash back on streaming services and on gas, the decision to go with Amex is even easier.
Many consumers are against paying an annual fee for a credit card or don't want the hassle of trying to remember which card to use where. If you're looking for a solid no-fee cashback credit card, then the Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards card might be right for you. You won’t have to worry about using the card in certain stores to earn bonus points, and you won't be charged those pesky foreign transaction fees when you travel internationally.
Amex Blue Cash vs Capital One Quicksilver FAQs
Does my American Express or Capital One cash back expire?
The cash back rewards that you earn from both of these cards does not expire as long as your account remains open and in good standing.
What is the credit limit for the Amex Blue Cash Preferred and Capital One Quicksilver?
The credit limit for either card will be based on a number of factors, including your credit score, income, other debt payments, and existing credit limits with the bank you are applying to.
Is the Capital One Quicksilver a Visa or Mastercard?
The Quicksilver is now a Mastercard. Recently, Capital One switched some of its credit cards from the Visa to Mastercard payment network, and the Quicksilver was one of them. Overall, differences between the two networks are minor, and the recent change will only impact new cardholders.
So if you’re thinking about applying for a Quicksilver card, you can expect the same great benefits with Mastercard. Your card will be accepted at most locations worldwide, and you won’t notice a difference when you use it for everyday spending. Plus, you’ll still get the same cardholder perks.
What credit should I have to qualify for these credit cards?
For the Blue Cash Preferred, it is recommended that have good to excellent credit to apply. The Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards card suggests that you need good to excellent credit for approval.
If you have average credit, you may want to consider an alternative like the Capital One QuicksilverOne Cash Rewards Credit Card or wait until you've increased your score to apply for the Blue Cash Preferred or Quicksilver.
Can I carry a balance from month-to-month?
Some American Express cards must be paid in full each month, but that’s not the case with this Amex card. Both the Blue Cash Preferred and Quicksilver Cash Rewards are credit cards that offer the flexibility to pay over time as needed.
While carrying a balance and paying interest is possible, it’s not recommended. The interest you pay will likely be higher than any rewards that you earn. During the introductory APR periods, you will enjoy no interest on your purchases.
Can your cash back rewards be transferred to airline partners?
Although both American Express credit cards and Capital One cards have rewards programs with points that transfer to airline partners, neither of these cards participates. Instead, their rewards are focused on earning cash back.
If you’re interested in a card that comes with travel rewards and more flexible rewards for travel purchases, the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card might be a better option.
Both the Amex Blue Cash Preferred and the Capital One Quicksilver come with generous rewards and perks, and depending on your situation, one could definitely be the right choice for your wallet. But if you're open to applying for a card from a different credit card issuer, there are several other great options to consider, including the Chase Freedom Unlimited® and the Citi® Double Cash Card.
Like the Amex Blue Cash Preferred, the Chase Freedom Unlimited credit card offers bonus rewards in different spending categories. As a Freedom Unlimited cardholder, you earn 5% cash back on Chase travel purchased through Ultimate Rewards®, 3% cash back on drugstore purchases and dining at restaurants, including takeout and eligible delivery service and unlimited 1.5% cash back on all other purchases; plus 5% total cash back on qualifying Lyft rides.
Read our Chase Freedom Unlimited review.
If you prefer a flat cashback rate as you'd get with the Capital One Quicksilver, the Citi Double Cash Card could be a good alternative as well. This card offers flat-rate cash back, whether you're making purchases at the grocery store or a streaming subscription. Citi Double Cash cardholders earn 2% on every purchase with unlimited 1% cash back when you buy, plus an additional 1% as you pay for those purchases. Unlike the other cards mentioned, this card also comes with a 0% intro APR on balance transfers for 18 months, then 19.24% - 29.24% (Variable).
Check out our Citi Double Cash Card review.
Cash Back at U.S. Supermarkets
Earn a $250 statement credit after spending $3,000 on purchases in the first 6 months
$0 intro annual fee for the first year, $95 per year thereafter
6% cash back at U.S. supermarkets (for first $6,000 per year, after that 1%) and on select U.S. streaming services, 3% cash back at U.S. gas stations and on eligible transit, and 1% cash back on other eligible purchases