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

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

If you don’t have a great credit score right now, Capital One has you covered with two of the cards in its extensive lineup. Both the Capital One® Platinum Credit Card and the Capital One® QuicksilverOne® Cash Rewards Credit Card have flexible approval guidelines, making them a good fit for consumers who are working on their credit.

Selecting a credit card is a big decision, especially when you’re building your credit score and you don’t apply for new cards very often. To help you choose between these two options, I’ve matched them up in a head-to-head comparison.

With no sign-up bonuses or intro APR offers to speak of, these are both fairly no-frills credit cards, and there are three categories to look at. Since the categories are similar in terms of importance, they’re all worth one point.

Annual fees

  • Capital One® Platinum Credit Card -- No annual fee
  • Capital One® QuicksilverOne® Cash Rewards Credit Card -- $39

The biggest perk of the Capital One® Platinum Credit Card is that it’s a no-annual-fee credit card. It doesn’t offer many features, but at least you won’t have to pay for it. This can prove useful as your credit score improves and you qualify for better cards, because you can keep the Capital One® Platinum Credit Card open and maintain the account history without paying for it. A longer account history is beneficial for your credit score.

With the Capital One® QuicksilverOne® Cash Rewards Credit Card, you’re paying $39 per year to have it. That probably won’t wreck your budget, as it only comes out to $3.25 per month, but it’s more than many other cash-back cards. It also means you can’t just keep this card and its account history open after you’ve boosted your score and moved on to other credit cards, as you’d still be paying the fee. You could, however, ask Capital One to let you product change to a no-annual-fee card, so you wouldn’t be entirely out of options in that scenario.

Scores:

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

Why you can trust me

My philosophy on credit cards is to get as much as I can out of them while paying as little as possible. To do that, I apply for cards with the benefits and bonuses that I want, pay off my entire statement balance every month, and rack up big rewards without ever paying interest or letting my credit utilization get too high. I started out with a basic credit card when I was younger and hadn’t built my credit history. From there, I progressed to travel rewards cards that I now use to fund my trips, and I’ve earned over 400,000 points to date while keeping my credit score well above 720.

Cash-back rates

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

Here we have our explanation for why one of these cards has an annual fee and the other one doesn’t.

There are no cash back or points to speak of with the Capital One® Platinum Credit Card. It’s understandable, but still disappointing.

The Capital One® QuicksilverOne® Cash Rewards Credit Card offers a cash-back rate of 1.5%. For a flat rate that applies to all purchases, 1.5% is competitive. While you’ll find plenty of cards offering more cash back in specific spending categories, there are very few cards offering a higher flat rate.

Scores:

  • 1 point for the Capital One® QuicksilverOne® Cash Rewards Credit Card
  • 0 points for the Capital One® Platinum Credit Card
  • Capital One® Platinum Credit Card -- Average
  • Capital One® QuicksilverOne® Cash Rewards Credit Card -- Average

Capital One recommends both these cards to applicants with average credit levels, so this category’s a tie. But what exactly would be considered average?

According to the Capital One site, average credit refers to consumers without much credit history and consumers who have defaulted on a loan in the last five years. There aren’t any specific numbers mentioned. The FICO guidelines on credit scores classifies scores of 580 to 669 as fair, and that’s a good range to go by.

If your credit score is any lower than 580, you would likely have better luck with a credit card intended for bad credit. On the other end of the spectrum, with a score of 670 or more, you could probably get a credit card with superior benefits to either of these.

Scores:

  • Tie, 1 point for each card

Other benefits of both cards

These cards share quite a few benefits, because they’re both Capital One cards, and because each is a Platinum Mastercard®. While I’m not going to list every single feature, as it won’t affect our comparison and all that information is available on the card pages, I will point out a few highlights that you may want to know about:

  • An early credit line increase -- If your pay your bill on time the first five months, Capital One will increase your credit line courtesy of its Credit Steps feature.
  • Price protection -- You get price protection on your purchases for up to 60 days with a maximum benefit per item of $250 and up to four claims per 12-month period.
  • Extended warranty coverage -- Eligible warranties of 12 months or less are automatically doubled.

Which card is the better value?

Based on my scoring system, this matchup is a tie with three points for each card. That’s a bit anticlimactic, but the good news is that there’s a simple way to make your decision. All you need is an idea of how much you’ll be putting on your credit card every year.

The Capital One® QuicksilverOne® Cash Rewards Credit Card will cost you $39 more upfront because it has that annual fee. It also earns you 1.5% cash-back, though, so spending enough will even things out.

If you expect to spend more than $2,600 per year ($216.67 per month), go with the Capital One® QuicksilverOne® Cash Rewards Credit Card. If you’ll spend less, pick the Capital One® Platinum Credit Card Or, here’s another way to look at it without any numbers involved:

  • Capital One® Platinum Credit Card is for cardholders who only use their credit cards for the occasional purchase.
  • Capital One® QuicksilverOne® Cash Rewards Credit Card is for cardholders who put most or all their monthly expenses on their credit cards.

Whichever one you choose, always pay your bill on time and monitor your credit score with the Capital One CreditWise® tool. Once your score has improved enough, you can ask for an upgrade or apply for a new card.

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