Capital One Cash Back Credit Cards

Cash Back is a popular option for credit card holders, and Capital One offers seven choices for their customers.

You've no doubt received a flyer in the mail for a "cash back" 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.

Cash back 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 cash back 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 cash back rewards cards broken down into between personal and business cards.

2018 Brand Preferences For Credit 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 speak for themselves:

  • Unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase.
  • $100 cash bonus if you spend $500 within 90 days of opening the account.
  • No annual fee.
  • No expiration on rewards.
  • 0% APR for 9 months.

Another way to look at it is this: even if you only spend $1,000 per month, you'll receive $180 cash back per year.

When you consider the favorable rates and the lack of an annual fee, it quickly rises to the top of most people's preferred card list.

The drawback?

You need an Excellent credit score 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.

Check these out:

  • Unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase.
  • No changing categories.
  • No expiration on rewards.
  • Access to a higher credit limit after making your first five payments on-time.

This is a great rewards card for someone with middling credit since you only need an Average credit score 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've no doubt that it will be favorably received - the benefits almost guarantee that.

  • 3% cash back on dining
  • 2% cash back on groceries
  • 1% cash back on everything else
  • One-time $100 bonus when you spend $500 within the first 90 days of opening the account
  • No annual fee
  • No expiration on rewards

This card is tailor-made to those who enjoy eating out, but it's also great for people who cook often; the 2% cash back on groceries is a great deal.

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 those days), 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.

  • 1% cash back on all purchases, plus another 0.25% cash back when you pay on-time
  • Access to a higher credit limit after making the first five payments on-time
  • No annual fee
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Access to CreditWise credit monitoring app

The Journey Student Rewards card has a variable APR of 19.99-22.99%. and 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 next three cards are geared towards business owners and may hold less utility for the average consumer.

Spark Cash

The Spark Cash is an excellent card for small to mid-sized business owners.

It's the number-one recommended Capital One card for business owners. See why.

  • Unlimited 2% cash back on all purchases
  • One-time $500 bonus if you spend $4,500 within the first 3 months of opening the account
  • Free employee cards
  • $0 annual fee for the first year

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.

Let's say you only spend $1,500 per month on utilities and services; that's still $360 cash back per year, and more than enough to qualify you for the one-time cash bonus.

That means within the first year of owning the card, you would receive $860 cash back.

The Spark Cash requires Excellent credit in order to qualify, but because it is a business card, your business' credit 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.

  • Unlimited 1.5% cash back on all purchases
  • One-time $200 cash bonus if you spend $3,000 on purchases within the first three months
  • Free employee cards
  • No annual fee

While the Spark Cash Select may not have the same level of rewards, it does have a potentially lower APR than the Spark Cash.

This 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.

Rate of New U.S. Entrepreneurs from 2000-2016

Spark Classic

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.

  • Unlimited 1% cash back on all business purchases
  • Free employee cards
  • No annual fee

The Spark Classic 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.

While 1.5% of $1 may not seem like much, 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.

The security benefits include $0 fraud liability if your card is lost or stolen, as well as personalized security alerts.

However, the most impressive benefits come in the form of the travel and retail benefits.

All Capital One cards charge zero transaction fees; whether you're a frequent traveler or just someone enjoying a much-needed break, you can use your card freely without paying conversion penalties.

If you use your credit card to purchase your ticket, you'll receive automatic travel insurance.

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.

Each trip is also eligible for up to $1,500 per trip for non-refundable travel expenses.

If you purchase an item with your Quicksilver card and find it for a lower price elsewhere within 120 days of purchase, you can be reimbursed the price difference thanks to the price protection benefit.

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 20% bonus to your redemption value.

Take a look at the rewards and you'll see how this can quickly add up:

  • Unlimited 1.5% cash back on all purchases.
  • One-time bonus of $150 if you spend $500 within the first three months. You can get an additional $25 if you add an authorized user and make a purchase in that time.
  • 0% APR for 15 months.
  • No annual fee.

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.

This Amex card has a higher threshold for its one-time bonus, as well as a significantly higher annual fee, but the rewards scheme is almost worthwhile:

  • 6% cash back at supermarkets.
  • 3% cash back at gas stations and department stores.
  • 1% cash back everywhere else.
  • A one-time bonus of $150 if you spend $1,000 within three months of signing up.

The annual fee is $95, and there is a $6,000 spending limit—but not many people will ever reach that, particularly not at supermarkets alone.

If you want to make the most of this card, you can purchase gift cards at the checkout counter at the supermarket.

This yields 6% cash back and allows you to use the money at other vendors.

Card Rates

The Quicksilver has an introductory APR of 0% for nine months, after which the rate jumps to 14.49% to 24.49% based on your creditworthiness.

This same rate applies to balance transfers.

It's one of the best introductory APR offers from Capital One, and the total absence of an annual fee is a tremendous benefit to cardholders.

The QuicksilverOne is designed to help build credit moreso than function as a rewards card, and this is reflected in its rates.

It has a flat rate of 24.99% for both purchases and balance transfers, and the annual fee of $39 means you'll need to spend at least $3900 per year to make up for the annual fee.

The Premiere Dining Rewards Card has no annual fee, and the rates are reasonable, although not as low as the Quicksilver.

APR starts at 15.74% and goes as high as 24.24%.

That said, the rewards scheme is tremendously beneficial and makes up for the higher rates.

  • credit score and cards icon

    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.

    Average Credit Score By Age in 2017
  • fees paper and money icon

    What are the fees associated with the Capital One's cash rewards cards? e.g. Annual fee, Late fee, Foreign transaction fee, etc.

    The standard late payment fee from Capital One is $35 per instance, plus any outstanding balance, additional interest fees, and other possible penalties.

    Depending on the card, there may or may not be an annual fee. The fee for a cash advance is $10 or 3%, whichever is higher.

  • Capital One bonus offer icon

    Are there any bonuses that come with the Capital One cash rewards cards? e.g. Introductory bonus offer, Balance transfer offer, etc.

    Not all cards have introductory offers; in fact, the majority do not. The Quicksilver is one of the only ones that does, and that is a 0% APR for nine months.

    The Spark Cash card has a $0 annual fee for the first year, after which the fee increases to $59.

Cardholder Feedback

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.

helabdk, November 14, 2016 (Quicksilver)

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!

Cashonlynow, May 18, 2016 (Quicksilver)

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!

McVey151, May 24, 2017 (QuicksilverOne)

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.

Long time customer, February 3, 2016 (QuicksilverOne)

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!

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