Capital One® Platinum vs. Capital One® Quicksilver® Card: Which Should You Pick?

Lyle is a writer specializing in credit cards, travel rewards programs, and banking. His work has also appeared on MSN Money, USA Today, and Yahoo! Finance.

Capital One has credit cards for every type of consumer, from those who are starting out or rebuilding their credit to those who have spent years attaining a high credit score. Two of the popular choices in its lineup are the Capital One® Platinum Credit Card, which is open to cardholders with a wide range of credit scores, and the more exclusive Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit Card.

To assist if you’re trying to decide between these two cards, I’m comparing them in six different categories that will cover their advantages and disadvantages. Under my scoring system, the first three categories will have values of two points, as they’re likely to be important to anyone. The last three will only be relevant to some consumers, so I’ve given them values of one point each.

Annual fees

  • Capital One® Platinum Credit Card -- No annual fee
  • Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit Card -- No annual fee

These are both no-annual-fee credit cards, which is as good as it gets if your goal is to save money. Another perk of credit cards like these is that even if you decide to get another card later, you can keep your no-annual-fee card open and preserve its longer account history.

Scores:

  • Tie, 2 points for each card

Why you can trust me

By researching credit card perks and using cards responsibly, I’ve been able to come out ahead, earning significantly more in rewards than I’ve spent in fees. I’ve checked out the entire credit card lineup from all the big banks, and I have a good idea of where specific cards rank compared to their competition. While I have firsthand experience using credit cards to improve my financial situation, I also specialize in writing about them, so I always consider how cards can help consumers in different situations.

Sign-up bonuses

  • Capital One® Platinum Credit Card -- No sign-up bonus
  • Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit Card -- $150 after spending $500 in the first three months

The Capital One® Platinum Credit Card is sorely lacking in terms of benefits. Unfortunately, you won’t get any sort of bonus for signing up and meeting a spending minimum.

If you can qualify for the Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit Card, you’ll be able to earn a $150 signup bonus. That’s well above average for cash-back cards, and it only requires you to average $166.67 in monthly spending to hit the $500 minimum.

Scores:

  • 2 points for the Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit Card
  • 0 points for the Capital One® Platinum Credit Card

Cash-back rates

  • Capital One® Platinum Credit Card -- No cash back
  • Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit Card -- Unlimited 1.5% cash back

A lack of a sign-up bonus is understandable, but the fact that the Capital One® Platinum Credit Card earns you nothing back is a glaring flaw. Even a few of the secured credit cards intended for rebuilding credit earn cash back, so it’d be nice if the Capital One® Platinum Credit Card had something.

The Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit Card is one of many cash-back cards that will earn you 1.5% back on everything you buy. There may not be any bonus categories where you can earn more, but being able to keep it simple is a plus.

Scores:

  • 2 points for the Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit Card
  • 0 points for the Capital One® Platinum Credit Card
  • Capital One® Platinum Credit Card -- Average
  • Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit Card -- Good/Excellent

And now we come to the reason why the Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit Card has so many more benefits than the Capital One® Platinum Credit Card One is available to quite a few consumers, and the other is available only to those with good credit and higher.

Besides telling you what kind of credit score you need for each card on its site, Capital One also explains what “Average” and “Excellent” mean. If you don’t have much credit history or you’ve had credit trouble once in the past, then you’ll probably only qualify for the Capital One® Platinum Credit Card. If your record is nearly spotless and your credit score is 720 or higher, then you fit the profile of a Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit Card cardholder.

Since the Capital One® Platinum is easier to get, it scores a rare win in this category.

Scores:

  • 1 point for the Capital One® Platinum Credit Card
  • 0 points for the Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit Card

Intro APR offers

  • Capital One® Platinum Credit Card -- No intro APR offer
  • Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit Card -- 0% intro APR on purchases and balance transfers for 15 months

Continuing our theme, the Capital One® Platinum Credit Card doesn’t offer anything here.

The name of the Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit Card is a giant spoiler for its APR offer, and for good reason. While the card may not have the absolute longest intro period you can find, 15 months is better than most balance transfer cards. And since that rate applies to both purchases and balance transfers, the card is equally effective for financing expenses and consolidation of any credit card debt.

Scores:

  • 1 point for the Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit Card
  • 0 points for the Capital One® Platinum Credit Card

The final score

The Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit Card is flat-out better, and its benefits are the rewards of having an excellent credit score. You should consider applying for it if:

  • You want a cash-back card with an unlimited flat rate
  • You’d like to earn a sign-up bonus without needing to spend much money
  • You have one or more major expenses to finance
  • You have credit card debt to consolidate

The lone advantage of the Capital One® Platinum Credit Card is that you can get it with an average credit score. If you’re currently in that situation, then it’s a solid card to use for a year or two until you have a higher score and can qualify for more feature-rich credit cards.

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