Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit Card vs. Discover it® Cash Back 2024: Simplicity or Earning Potential?

CREDIT CARDS - CASHBACK CREDIT CARDS
The Discover it Cash Back is generally the better card because of its high earning potential.
Updated Feb. 9, 2024
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We recommend the Discover it® Cash Back as the better card compared to the Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit Card. It has a $0 annual fee and provides excellent earning potential on everyday spending.

The Capital One Quicksilver can’t quite match the earning power of the Discover it Cash Back, but its simple rewards rate could be appealing to some people.

Let’s explore our Capital One Quicksilver vs. Discover it Cash Back card review to see which option is best for you.

In this article

Key takeaways

  • We prefer the Discover it Cash Back because of its above-average rewards rate. Earn 5% cash back on everyday purchases at different places you shop each quarter like grocery stores, restaurants, gas stations, and more, up to the quarterly maximum when you activate. Plus, earn unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases—automatically.
  • If you don’t want to deal with rotating categories, the Capital One Quicksilver is a great alternative because of its simple rewards rate. Earn 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).

Capital One Quicksilver vs. Discover it Cash Back comparison

Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit Card

Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit Card

4.5

Discover it® Cash Back

Discover it® Cash Back

4.7

Card type Cash back Cash back
Credit card issuer Capital One Discover
Credit card network Mastercard Discover
Annual fee $0 $0
Welcome offer Earn a one-time $200 cash bonus after you spend $500 on purchases within 3 months from account opening Discover will match all the cash back you’ve earned at the end of your first year.
Earning rate 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) Earn 5% cash back on everyday purchases at different places you shop each quarter like grocery stores, restaurants, gas stations, and more, up to the quarterly maximum when you activate. Plus, earn unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases—automatically.
Redemption methods
  • Statement credits
  • Gift cards
  • Mailed checks
  • Cover recent purchases
  • Transfers to eligible Capital One credit cards
  • Statement credits
  • Gift cards
  • Deposits to eligible checking or savings accounts
  • Charitable donations
  • Pay with Cashback Bonus at select merchants
Introductory APR 0% intro APR for 15 months on purchases (then 19.99% - 29.99% (Variable))

0% intro APR for 15 months on balance transfers (then 19.99% - 29.99% (Variable)); Balance transfer fee applies

0% intro APR for 15 months on purchases (then 17.24% - 28.24% Variable)

0% intro APR for 15 months on balance transfers (then 17.24% - 28.24% Variable)

Foreign transaction fee None 0%
Credit needed Excellent, Good Excellent, Good
Read full review Read full review

Our verdict

  • We recommend the Discover it Cash Back because it provides the opportunity to earn more rewards with its rotating categories. It’s also nice that it has a $0 annual fee and 0% foreign transaction fees.

Capital One Quicksilver benefits and drawbacks

Pros
  • Simple rewards rate
  • $0 annual fee
  • No foreign transaction fees
Cons
  • Limited bonus categories

Welcome offer: Earn a one-time $200 cash bonus after you spend $500 on purchases within 3 months from account opening.

We like the Capital One Quicksilver because it has a $0 annual fee, no foreign transaction fees, and provides 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).

This type of rewards rate makes it easy to earn cash back on all eligible purchases. The trade-off is you don’t have many bonus categories for earning a higher rewards rate.

Intro APR offers include:

  • Intro APR on purchases: 0% intro APR for 15 months on purchases (then 19.99% - 29.99% (Variable))
  • Intro APR on balance transfers: 0% intro APR for 15 months on balance transfers (then 19.99% - 29.99% (Variable)); balance transfer fee of Balance transfer fee applies

Read our Capital One Quicksilver review.

Discover it Cash Back benefits and drawbacks

Pros
  • Elevated earning potential
  • $0 annual fee
  • No foreign transaction fees
Cons
  • Rotating categories require quarterly activation and have a quarterly cash back maximum

Cashback Match® welcome offer: Discover will match all the cash back you’ve earned at the end of your first year. Note that this is an unlimited cashback match.

We like the Discover it Cash Back because it has a $0 annual fee and 0% foreign transaction fees. Plus, you can earn 5% cash back on everyday purchases at different places you shop each quarter like grocery stores, restaurants, gas stations, and more, up to the quarterly maximum when you activate. Plus, earn unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases—automatically.

Note that you must activate the rotating bonus categories each quarter in order to receive the elevated cashback rate. You can earn the elevated cashback rate on up to $1,500 per quarter that you activate.

Intro APR offers include:

  • Intro APR on purchases: 0% intro APR for 15 months on purchases (then 17.24% - 28.24% Variable)
  • Intro APR on balance transfers: 0% intro APR for 15 months on balance transfers (then 17.24% - 28.24% Variable)

Read our Discover it Cash Back review.

What both cards excel at

  • Welcome offers: New cardholders have the opportunity to earn a generous welcome offer with the Capital One Quicksilver or the Discover it Cash Back.
  • Cashback earnings: Both cards provide cash back for making eligible purchases.
  • No annual fees: The Capital One Quicksilver has a $0 annual fee, and the Discover it Cash Back also has a $0 annual fee.
  • No foreign transaction fees: You don’t have to pay foreign transaction fees on applicable purchases with either of these cards.
  • Intro APR offers: Both the Capital One Quicksilver and Discover it Cash Back provide useful intro APR offers on purchases and balance transfers.

3 important differences between Capital One Quicksilver and Discover it Cash Back

1. Rewards rates

The Capital One Quicksilver provides 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).

With the Discover it Cash Back, you can earn 5% cash back on everyday purchases at different places you shop each quarter like grocery stores, restaurants, gas stations, and more, up to the quarterly maximum when you activate. Plus, earn unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases—automatically.

The Capital One Quicksilver has a more straightforward earning rate, which makes it easy for cardmembers to earn cash back on all eligible purchases. In other words, it’s simple and stress-free.

But if you want to maximize your earning potential, we prefer the Discover it Cash Back and its high rewards rate on rotating categories.

Past 5% Cashback Bonus categories have included:

  • Restaurants and drugstores (January-March 2024)
  • Amazon.com and digital wallets (October-December 2022)
  • Grocery stores, fitness clubs, and gym memberships (January-March 2022)
  • Amazon.com, Walmart.com, and Target.com (October-December 2021)
  • Gas stations, wholesale clubs, and select streaming services (April-June 2021)

Winner: Discover it Cash Back because of its excellent earning potential.

2. Redemption options

The Capital One Quicksilver provides these redemption options:

  • Statement credits
  • Cover recent purchases
  • Mailed checks
  • Gift cards
  • Transfers to eligible Capital One credit cards

The Discover it Cash Back provides these redemption options:

  • Statement credits
  • Deposits to eligible checking or savings accounts
  • Gift cards
  • Charitable donations
  • Pay with Cashback Bonus at select merchants

We think the redemption options are fairly similar between the two cards with their usefulness.

The Capital One Quicksilver does allow you to transfer rewards to certain other Capital One credit cards, such as the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card. This could open up opportunities to redeem rewards for travel with the Capital One Venture Rewards.

But you can also simply redeem rewards on the Discover it Cash Back for eligible bank deposits and use the money however you want.

Winner: It’s a tie because it depends on how you prefer to redeem rewards.

3. Card networks

The Capital One Quicksilver uses the Mastercard credit card network to process payments. Mastercard credit cards are accepted in over 200 countries and territories worldwide, making it one of the most popular card networks in the world.

The Discover it Cash Back uses the Discover card network to process payments. Discover credit cards are accepted at 99% of U.S. locations that accept credit cards. However, the global acceptance levels don’t match the Visa or Mastercard networks.

Winner: Capital One Quicksilver because the Mastercard network is better than Discover for international acceptance.

Which credit card should you choose?

When you should choose the Capital One Quicksilver

  • You already have a relationship with Capital One
  • You prefer a simple rewards rate on fixed categories
  • You want a card for international travel
  • You want to transfer rewards to another Capital One credit card

When you should choose the Discover it Cash Back

  • You already have a relationship with Discover
  • You prefer a high rewards rate on rotating categories
  • You don’t typically travel abroad
  • You want to redeem rewards for bank deposits

What factors to consider before choosing

As you compare credit cards, consider these primary factors:

  • Credit requirements: Both cards have similar eligibility requirements.
  • Rewards: The Capital One Quicksilver has a simple rewards rate with limited bonus categories, while the Discover it Cash Back has a high rewards rate on rotating categories.
  • Perks and benefits: Both cards provide intro APR offers.
  • Card acceptance: The Capital One Quicksilver uses the Mastercard network, while the Discover it Cash Back uses the Discover network. Mastercard is more accepted worldwide.

FAQ

Is the Capital One Quicksilver hard to get?

You typically need a good or excellent credit score to qualify for the Capital One Quicksilver. A good credit score is at least 670 on the FICO scoring model. Keep in mind that credit scores are guidelines and not a guarantee of approval.

Capital One and other credit card issuers, such as Chase, American Express, and Bank of America, typically use multiple factors to determine your creditworthiness. That could include your credit score, total income, credit history, and total debt.

Is the Capital One Quicksilver worth getting?

It’s worth applying for if you want a $0 annual fee, intro APR offers, and a simple rewards rate. The Capital One Quicksilver is a no-stress card that provides 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).

Is Capital One Quicksilver or the Discover it Cash Back better?

We prefer the Discover it Cash Back for its high rewards rate on common rotating categories. With this type of card, you can maximize how much cash back you earn on everyday purchases. We like the Capital One Quicksilver for its ease of use, but we don’t think its rewards rate is as competitive.

Capital One Quicksilver vs. Discover it Cash Back: bottom line

Our overall recommendation is the Discover it Cash Back. If you want to maximize your earning potential, this card could earn you plenty of cash back.

We still think the Capital One Quicksilver makes sense as a simple cash back card, but it doesn’t reach the same level of earning.

For more of our top recommendations and credit card offers, check out the best cash back credit cards.

Up To 5% Cash Back

4.7

Discover it® Cash Back

Current Offer

Discover will match all the cash back you’ve earned at the end of your first year.

Annual Fee

$0

Rewards Rate

Earn 5% cash back on everyday purchases at different places you shop each quarter like grocery stores, restaurants, gas stations, and more, up to the quarterly maximum when you activate. Plus, earn unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases—automatically.

Benefits and Drawbacks
Card Details

Author Details

Ben Walker, CEPF, CFEI® Ben Walker, CEPF, CFEI®, is a Senior Credit Cards Writer at FinanceBuzz. For over a decade, he's leveraged credit card points and miles to travel the world. His expertise extends to other areas of personal finance — including loans, insurance, investing, and real estate — and you can find his insights on The Washington Post, Debt.com, Yahoo! Finance, and Fox Business.

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