If you're one of the millions of people afloat in a sea of credit card debt, then you know how difficult it can be to make any impact at all on reducing that debt. Making the minimum payment is like trying to bail water with a spoon. Luckily for everyone, balance transfer cards can help. A balance transfer card is a credit card that you transfer your existing balances to; these cards often have a promotional APR that allows you to focus on reducing your overall debt rather than just making interest payments. This article is going to take a look at Capital One's balance transfer cards and help you determine which card best suits your needs.
Capital One doesn't have a dedicated balance transfer card, so any of their options are valid. However, the one that is clearly the best suited for balance transfers is the Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Card. Of all of Capital One's cards, this is the only one that has a 0% introductory APR for the first nine months that your account is open.
Once those initial nine months are up, the APR increases to 13.74%, 18.74%, or 23.74% based on your credit score, income, and other financial information. The Quicksilver has no annual fee, which makes it even better for people working to reduce their overall debt. That said, there is a 3% balance transfer fee. While that amount may not seem like a huge amount, if you are transferring a significant sum from other cards onto the Quicksilver it can quickly add up. For example, 3% of $5,000 is $150.
How does this card differ from other Capital One cards?
The Quicksilver is the only Capital One card with an introductory APR of 0%. Even so, it's designed as a cash rewards card, not a balance transfer card. While it is a solid choice for smaller amounts of debt, anyone looking to transfer more significant sums may be better off with another option.
That said, there are multiple benefits to owning the card that aren't directly related to the balance transfer aspect. For starters, the Quicksilver earns 1.5% cash back on all purchases, regardless of where you are. There are also no foreign transaction fees, and if you spend $500 within three months of opening your account, you get a one-time $100 cash bonus. You can find our full review of the Quicksilver here [link to the previous review.]
What are the benefits of a Capital One balance transfer card?
Aside from the 0% introductory rate, Capital One cards have a number of benefits just on account of being Capital One cards. For example, no foreign transaction fees, $0 Fraud Liability if you lose your card or it is stolen, and personalized security alerts so you remain in control of your account.
The more impressive benefits come from the Quicksilver itself. The World Elite MasterCard Benefits include:
- No-charge extended warranties on any item purchased with the credit card.
- Complimentary concierge service, 24 hours a day.
- Complimentary travel upgrades when available.
- Up to $1,500 in travel insurance per trip for non-refundable expenses.
- Automatic price protection within 120 days of purchase.
- A full suite of identity theft resolution services.
How does Capital One's balance transfer card compare against other balance transfer credit card offers?
Despite our love for Capital One, they simply don't have the best options for balance transfer cards. There are competitors that offer better rates, longer introductory periods, and lower transfer fees. Here are a few options that might be a better fit.
One of the main advantages of the Slate is its accessibility. Even people with average credit can qualify (the recommended score is 690 or higher.) If you're struggling to lower your principal because of interest payments, there is a good chance your credit score might suffer, disqualifying you from cards with higher credit score requirements. And that isn't the only perk. The Chase Slate has no transfer fee for the first sixty days, and has a 15-month 0% APR introductory period. There's no annual fee, either, making it great for people who want a hassle-free card.
That said, there are a few drawbacks. The Slate doesn't earn rewards, and balances can't be transferred from other Chase cards or any non-credit-card debt. Also, there is a $15,000 limit on the amount of debt you can transfer; if you have more credit card debt than that, you won't be able to transfer it all, so focus on transferring the debt with the highest interest.
The Citi Simplicity has the longest 0% APR period of any card we've evaluated, clocking in at 21 months total. If you feel like you'll need a long time to take care of your debt, this might be the best option for you. It's as accessible as the Slate, with a recommended credit score of 690, but the main drawback is the 3% balance transfer fee. While it may not seem like a massive amount of money, every $5,000 in debt you transfer is the equivalent of an extra $150 you have to pay off.
The Citi Simplicity also has another strength that is often overlooked: no late fees. Ever. Miss a payment? No big deal. You aren't slapped with a penalty. You can also transfer any sort of debt to this card, including student and auto loans, making it a great pick for recent graduates that need a bit more time than Sallie Mae grants to pay off loans. The only type of balance that can't be transferred is from other Citi accounts.
The previous two options have great terms, but they lack rewards—and if you're reading this article, then chances are good that you like rewards cards. Unlike many balance transfer cards, the Discover It sets itself apart from the competition by remaining useful even after the 0% period ends. The Discover It pays 5% cash back in activated rotating categories with a limit of up to $1,500 each quarter, and then 1% cash back on everything else.
There's no annual fee when using the Discover It, and it has an 18-month 0% APR period. It also shares the lower credit score requirement that the Slate and Simplicity have. However, the It also charges a 3% balance transfer fee for each transfer and restricts transfers from other Discover cards.
We're listing the Barclay Ring last for one reason: it requires excellent credit to qualify, which can be a drawback for someone struggling with paying off debt. However, it does have benefits that the others don't. For one, the Barclay Ring has no annual fee, and never charges a balance transfer fee. This makes it useful for flexibility alone, and for transferring balances from multiple cards on multiple occasions. There are also no penalty fees to consider, making this card very low risk.
Minimum Recommended Credit Score for the Capital One Quicksilver
The glaring downside of the Quicksilver as a balance transfer card is the "Excellent" credit requirement. If you have too much credit card debt (and need a balance transfer to help get it under control), then your score likely isn't the best. Requiring a score of 720 or higher to qualify doesn't win any points, but as stated before, the Quicksilver is primarily a cash back rewards card—not a balance transfer card.
There are a few fees associated with the Quicksilver you should be aware of ahead of time. First of all is the late fee; if you miss a payment, you'll have to pay a $35 penalty. You'll also need to pay whatever interest penalties and outstanding balances at this time. The balance transfer fee is 3% or $10, whichever is higher.
On the other hand, there are no foreign transaction fees and no annual fee. The Quicksilver is a low-maintenance card.
The Quicksilver's main strength is its bonus introductory APR of 0% for nine months. The other major benefit is the $100 cash back reward you receive if you spend more than $500 within the first three months of owning the card.
One of the most effective ways of figuring out if this card is the right choice for you or not is to look at what other customers have said about it. Check out some of the feedback other customers have left on this card.
"I have had this card for 3 months. I have really liked it so far. I applied for it to transfer my balances from other cards to consolidate them. The card offer had 0% interest for the first year, which is pretty awesome. I love the cash back and weekly deals!"
-- maryblue, 5 out of 5
"Account benefits aren't as good as competitors and customer service was poor. As a customer with excellent credit and who pays card balance in full every month , when the 0% financing rate was over, I would expect customer service to honor an extension for the rate to keep a good customer and for general customer satisfaction. Instead, even though I have an account with Capital One, I never use it now."
-- dfkonkle, 1 out of 5
Out of 4,748 reviews, 93% of reviewers recommended the Quicksilver to others.
The Capital One Quicksilver excels in a number of areas, but it is simply not the best balance transfer card on the market. However, depending on your needs, it might be the right fit for you. If you only have a small amount of debt to transfer, the Quicksilver can be a good choice. If you are struggling with credit card debt and are looking at a balance transfer card as a last-ditch resort to save your credit, however, the Quicksilver would not be a good choice. Not only do the high credit requirements pose a barrier, but the intro APR period is not as long as the competitors, and the 3% balance transfer fee can quickly add up. If your credit isn't particularly noteworthy, you might not have a high enough credit limit for a balance transfer to be effective.
While we aren't discouraging you from applying for the Quicksilver, we won't recommend it specifically for balance transfers. In terms of cash rewards, it's one of the best options out there. The Quicksilver excels at its strengths, but makes a mediocre balance transfer card.
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