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Are Balance Transfer Cards Better Than Rewards Credit Cards?

When people think about applying for a new credit card, they often look at the welcome offers and the types of rewards that can be earned with everyday purchases. Sometimes you might need another perk, besides rewards, to make you click the “Apply Now” button. This might apply to you if you are carrying a balance on one of your current credit cards and are looking for a hand-up to help pay off the debt.

But, is it better to choose a balance transfer card or a rewards credit card? Applying for either type of credit card will count as a hard inquiry and affect your credit score, so you will want to compare the advantages and disadvantages of each credit card to help you make the best decision.

Advantages Of Balance Transfer Cards

While rewards credit cards might offer welcome offers of frequent flyer miles or complimentary hotel stays when you meet a spending minimum, balance transfer credit cards will not charge interest on balances transferred from other credit cards for a predetermined time period (typically 12 to 18 months). Your new credit card might charge a one-time fee of 3% to 5% of the balance transferred (credit cards need to make money somehow). But it’s still cheaper than the interest you are paying on your existing credit card.

These cards can be very advantageous if you have any type of credit card debt as you can make payments interest free for several months. This can be a great alternative to debt repayment compared to a high-interest personal loan. You should view the 0% APR as a “second chance” to getting debt-free and rebuilding your credit.

Disadvantages of Balance Transfer Cards

While balance transfer credit cards offer an introductory 0% APR, there are several drawbacks to these cards. Possibly the largest drawback is the APR after the 0% introductory period ends. If you cannot pay off your balance in full (or most of it), the interest rates on these cards can be noticeably higher than other rewards credit cards with interest rates as high as 23%.

If your balance is too high, it might be better to swap your credit card debt for a personal loan with a lower interest rate. Of course, the post-introductory rate will largely depend on the credit card and your credit score. Not all credit cards or credit scores are created equally. It might pay dividends to look at the interest rates and perks of the card after the introductory period.

If you have a high credit score and a low balance, it might be more advantageous to apply for a new credit card with a short introductory balance transfer period and a low-interest rate.

Caps on Transfer Amounts

Another downside of balance transfer credit cards is that some credit cards cap transfers to a certain dollar amount. For example, the Chase Slate limits balance transfers at $15,000 regardless of your credit limit. Depending on the balance amount you want to be transferred, you will need to verify if the prospective credit card will allow you to transfer your full amount.

A final downside of balance transfer credit cards is the lack of purchase rewards. Cardholders of balance transfer credit cards normally have to trade rewards for 0% APRs on outstanding credit card balances. This isn’t always the case as some balance transfer cards do offer purchase rewards. However, they are usually not as lucrative as those offered by rewards credit cards.

Advantages of Rewards Credit Cards

Rewards credit cards “reward” users for spending and making payments on-time. They might award cardholders with points or cash rewards. Plus, their welcome offers entice new applicants to spend a specific amount of money within the first two or three months of account opening to receive an additional bonus.

In one way, rewards credit cards are the complete opposite of balance transfer cards that offer a “second chance” to pay off their balances without interest. With both types of cards, credit card issuers make their money through transaction fees and balance transfer fees (even when the transferred balance is paid in full before the introductory period ends).

As many balance transfer credit cards do not offer purchase rewards, rewards credit cards are better for those that pay their bills regularly. They might also be a better option for somebody who has a small outstanding balance and has more to gain from long-term purchase rewards, even if it means paying interest on credit card debt. Your amount of debt might determine if short or long-term rewards are better.

Disadvantages of Rewards Credit Cards

One big downside of rewards credit cards is the relatively higher fees that are incurred with balance transfers. Credit cards need to make a profit to remain in business. That means they can only offer so many perks.

This is why most credit cards charge no interest for the first 12 to 24 months of account opening or offer purchase rewards. If rewards cardholders do not meet the payment deadlines, they do not earn rewards points on the outstanding balance.

Rewards credit card programs might also require a higher credit score than balance transfer cards. Each balance transfer and rewards program has different eligibility requirements. Some are more stringent than others. As a whole, balance transfer cards give credit card users a chance to catch up and rebuild their credit.

People with higher credit scores will qualify for rewards credit cards that offer better rewards and have lower interest rates than post-introductory APRs offered by balance transfer credit cards. If you have a history of credit card debt or low credit score, your application for a rewards credit card might not be a sure thing. The best place to get credit score information won’t hurt your credit but will also provide essential information.

Are There Credit Cards With Rewards and Introductory APRs?

Yes! There are a few credit cards that offer 0% APR on balance transfers for at least one year and rewards for everyday purchases. You may need a higher credit score to qualify for these cards, but they do exist. Our study of the best balance transfer credit cards to apply for in 2018 can be found here.

The Verdict on Balance Transfer Cards

Which type of credit card is better? It depends on your financial circumstances. If you have a manageable credit card debt of several thousand dollars that you can pay off within the 0% introductory period, a balance transfer card will be a better option. The interest-free payments will probably be a better “return on investment” than any rewards program.

Once you become debt-free, and if your credit score is high enough, you can always apply for a rewards credit card.

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Best Balance Transfer Credit Cards To Apply For in 2019

best balance transfer credit cards

What is a Balance Transfer Credit Card?

A balance transfer credit card is a great option for those of us looking to consolidate debt in 2019 and move closer to financial freedom. Balance transfer credit cards simply allow you to transfer your debt from a high-interest credit card to one with a lower interest rate, sometimes 0% for up to a year.

When is a Balance Transfer the Right Option?

Balance transfers are a good idea for someone that has a reasonable amount of credit card debt on a high-interest credit card. The majority of reputable balance transfer credit cards require that the applicant have good to excellent credit (around 690 – 850). This isn’t a great debt consolidation option for someone hoping to repair their credit.

How Does a Balance Transfer Work?

Your existing credit card issuer will first need to approve all or part of the balance transfer request. It can take up to 3 – 5 weeks for a balance transfer to take effect, so you will need to continue making payments on your old account until the transfer has been completed.

There are some fees and limitations that apply to balance transfer credit cards. These include:

  • Balance Transfer Fees: Balance transfer fees are typically 3% to 5% of the transfer amount.
  • Interest Rates: Most balance transfer credit cards offer a 0% APR introductory rate; however, interest rates apply after this introductory period, just as they would for any other credit card.
  • Annual Fees: Ideally, a balance transfer card won’t include annual fees; however, a few do. It is important to be aware of this when looking for cards.

The criteria above are highlighted for each of the cards we’ve identified in this post.

The Top Balance Transfer Credit Cards for 2019

BankAmeriCard Credit Card

Balance Transfer Fee: 3% of the amount transferred, with a minimum of $10.

Introductory APR: 0% on purchases for 15 months.

Regular APR: 12.99% to 22.99% variable

Annual Fee: $0

Recommended Credit Score: 690 – 850

Rewards: Access to FICO score for free once per month.

Pros: No annual fee and a great introductory offer – $0 balance transfer fee on transfers made within the first 60 days of opening an account. If you are able to pay down your debt quickly, you may not incur any interest or pay any fees.

Cons: Comparatively high balance transfer fee after the introductory period, and a comparatively shorter introductory APR period. There are also no additional rewards associated with this card.

Chase Slate Credit Card

Balance Transfer Fee: 5% of the amount transferred, with a minimum of $5.

Introductory APR: 0% on purchases for 15 months.

Regular APR: 15.99% to 24.74% variable

Annual Fee: $0

Recommended Credit Score: 630 – 719

Rewards: No rewards, but cardholders can check their FICO score once a month for free.

Pros: No annual fee and a great introductory offer – $0 balance transfer fee on transfers made within the first 60 days of opening an account. This card is also available to those with average credit, compared to the rest of the cards on this list, which require excellent credit.

Cons: No rewards, and account holders can’t transfer balances from other Chase credit cards or non-credit-card debt. Transfers can’t exceed $15,000 in total, so this card isn’t a good option for someone with relatively high credit card debt. It also has a comparatively short introductory APR period.

Citi Simplicity Card

Balance Transfer Fee: 3% of the amount transferred, with a minimum of $5.

Introductory APR: 0% on purchases for 21 months.

Regular APR: 14.99% to 24.99% variable

Annual Fee: $0

Recommended Credit Score: 690 – 850

Rewards: None.

Pros: No annual fees, no late fees, and an extremely long introductory APR offer. This card is ideal for someone that needs a little longer to pay down their debt. Citi also allows you to transfer any type of debt to your card, including non-credit-card debt such as student loans and auto loans.

Cons: No rewards, and account holders can’t transfer balances from other Citi credit cards.

Citi Diamond Preferred Card

Balance Transfer Fee: 3% of the amount transferred, with a minimum of $5.

Introductory APR: 0% on purchases for 21 months.

Regular APR: 13.99% to 23.99% variable

Annual Fee: $0

Recommended Credit Score: 690 – 850

Rewards: None.

Pros: No annual fee, and a comparatively long 21-month introductory period. This is an excellent card for someone that needs longer to pay back their debt.

Cons: No rewards, and account holders can’t transfer balances from other Citi credit cards.

Discover it Card

Balance Transfer Fee: 0% on balance transfers for 18 months.

Introductory APR: 0% on purchases for 6 months.

Regular APR: 11.99% to 23.99% variable

Annual Fee: $0

Recommended Credit Score: 690 – 850

Rewards: Earn 5% cash back at gas stations, grocery stores, Amazon.com, or wholesale clubs each quarter. Cash back can be redeemed at any time, it never expires.

Pros: This is the only balance transfer card on this list that offers robust cash back rewards, so it is worth holding onto long after your debt has been paid off. If you have good to excellent credit and are able to pay down your debt quickly, this card is an excellent option. There are also new-cardholder bonuses that grow the more often you use your card for everyday purchases.

The 18 month 0% balance transfer fee period isn’t as long as the two 21-month options offered through Citi, but it still stacks up nicely against introductory offers from other balance transfer credit cards.

Cons: Comparatively short introductory period. Unless you can pay your debt off within six months, you will likely incur interest charges with this card.

Top Recommendations of Balance Transfer Credit Cards

Best Long-Term Value

The Discover it MasterCard is by far the best long-term value. It is the only card that offers rewards on everyday purchases, and its 18-month 0% transfer charge is a strong introductory offer.

Best Introductory Offer and Flexible Repayment Options

For those that may need longer to pay off their debt that also has the bulk of their debt in student loans or an auto loan, the Citi Simplicity card is the best option.

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The Sam’s Club MasterCard vs. Other Cash Back Cards

Everyone loves a cash back card, which is why so many banks and stores offer them to customers. It used to be just the big banks that gave cash back rewards based on spending. Now it is common for stores to get in on this market and get more customer loyalty in the quest for cash being returned to them.

Some stores have even begun to offer cards that come in MasterCard or Visa versions that they can be used for other purchases, like gas, dining, groceries, travel, and other big categories. The Sam’s Club MasterCard is one of these cards. They are offering a nice tiered cash back program to cardholders.

If you are a frequent shopper at Sam’s Club warehouse stores, this might be a good choice for you. Let’s take a look at the benefits that they are offering to customers.

New Sam’s Club MasterCard

Highlighted Cash Back Features

The Sam’s Club MasterCard offers simple yet substantial cash back rewards for their customers. First, you will earn 5% cash back for all spending at gas stations, up to $6,000 per year. After you spend the first $6,000, you will continue to earn 1% cash back on gas station purchases. Here’s one catch—you will earn 5% cash back at Sam’s Club gas stations and other major gas retailers, but there are no cash back rewards for spending at other warehouse store gas stations.

You can earn 3% cash back on all dining purchases and any travel purchases that you make, with no spending cap. Earn 1% cash back on all other purchases using the Sam’s Club MasterCard.

With the Sam’s Club MasterCard, you can earn up to $5,000 cash back per year. The cash back rewards are paid to you in the form of a check, delivered to you once per year. The only place that you can cash the check is at a Sam’s Club store (but you don’t have to spend the entire reward there).

Great Security Options

With so many credit card breaches in the news lately, people are paying more attention to getting credit cards with higher level security features. The Sam’s Club MasterCard is chip-enabled, which gives you a better layer of security. Plus, they offer quick and simple identity theft solutions through their customer service center.

Sam’s Club MasterCard is the first major retail card to offer this level of technology. Since many of the credit card breaches have come from major retailers, this is something that may make customers more comfortable and secure when using the credit card. Also, extended warranty coverage is available, so you can be more confident in protecting your purchases.

No Annual Fee

The Sam’s Club MasterCard does not have an annual fee, but you do have to be a Sam’s Club member to apply. Membership to Sam’s Club is $45 per year.

More Benefits for Sam’s Plus Members

For those cardholders who are also members of the Sam’s Plus program, you can receive several additional benefits. These include early morning admission to the store, discounts on pharmacy and optical services, and exclusive offers within the store. Sam’s Plus members will earn an additional $10 every time they spend $500 in the store on qualifying purchases and earn up to $500 cash back annually. These rewards can be combined with the other cash back rewards to boost your annual return, or used separately throughout the year.

The Nitty Gritty

Again, the Sam’s Club MasterCard has no annual fee, but you must be a member of Sam’s Club to apply ($45 yearly membership fee). The APR is 14.99% or 22.90%, depending on your credit history. If you make a single purchase of $50 or more on the first day you use the card, you will get a $20 statement credit within the next two billing cycles. Foreign transaction fees are 3%.

Any Downsides?

Although the Sam’s Club MasterCard offers some great cash back options, you will only receive that cash back reward once per year. If you are the kind of person who likes to get one lump sum, this might be great for you, but the redemption options are not very flexible otherwise. Remember, you can only cash this check at Sam’s Club. If you regularly shop at the store, this may be convenient.

You must be a Sam’s Club member to cash the check, so don’t consider closing this account if you have any cash back rewards due to you. There is a small sign up bonus of $20 if you spend $50 on your first purchase. Other cards offer greater cash back rewards for sign up bonuses.

Other Options

While the Sam’s Club MasterCard can compete on some levels, especially with Sam’s Club devotees, there are other great cards out there that offer significant rewards for those who spend a lot of money on gas, dining, and travel. Other cards offer much more convenient redemption options when it comes to getting the cash back.

Barclaycard Arrival Plus

The Barclaycard Arrival Plus is a great option for those travelers who like to earn big cash back rewards on every purchase, and have flexible redemption options available to them. With the Barclaycard Arrival Plus, you will earn 2 points for every dollar spent, on all purchases. You will earn 40,000 points as a sign-up bonus when you spend $3,000 within the first three months.

Redeem your miles for travel credits or statement credits, at any time. Earn an additional 10% bonus miles when you redeem your miles for travel rewards. There is an $89 annual fee, but this is waived for the first year. Barclaycard Arrival Plus offers great security, with EMV-chip technology.

There is also a 0% introductory APR on all purchases made during the first 12 months. Frequent travelers may find this option very appealing because of the high earning power and flexible redemption opportunities.

Discover it

For those shoppers who like to earn great cash back rewards and have very flexible redemption options, the Discover it has some terrific perks. Earn 1% cash back on all purchases, in all categories. Earn 5% cash back on rotating bonus categories, which change quarterly and are generally the most popular shopping options. Currently, Discover it is offering 5% cash back on online shopping and department store purchases for this quarter.

There is no annual fee for the Discover it card, so you have nothing to lose. Redeem your cash back rewards at any time, either earning a check, using the cash at the online shopping portal, getting gift cards, or getting statement credits.

Final Thoughts

For those who really love shopping at Sam’s Club and spend most of their money at gas stations, the Sam’s Club MasterCard is a good option. But, if you want a little more flexibility in terms of cash back earnings and redemption options, you might want to consider either the Barclaycard Arrival Plus or the Discover it as alternatives.

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Cards That Earn Bonus Rewards On Every Dollar Spent

There are plenty of options for cards that earn bonus rewards for spending. These are cards that offer you either cash back or points on each purchase you make. Some of the most popular rewards credit cards will give you bonus points or bonus cash back. The Discover It, for example, offers bonus cash back on rotating categories. The idea of rotating categories is that the categories will switch quarterly. You will earn 5% cash back (or 5% points, depending on the card) for that quarter.

Popular categories for the bonus rotating categories include purchases made at gas stations, grocery stores, dining, online shopping, home improvement stores, and department stores. They can be anything that the credit card company chooses and thinks that their customers will enjoy. Typically there is a cap on the spending in the bonus categories. Going back to the Discover It example, it has a $1,500 spending cap for their rotating bonus categories.

Fixed bonus categories would refer to cards that offer bigger bonuses on certain categories all the time. For example, the Barclaycard Rewards MasterCard offers two points per dollar spent on all gas station, grocery store and utility purchases. This is offered year round with no spending cap. With no annual fee, cardholders get great rewards at a fixed rate all year long.

What if I don’t like rotating categories?

If rotating categories are not for you and you would prefer to get great rewards all year long on all purchases, you are in luck. We have put together a great list of options for you. Each of these cards offers greater than 1% cash back on all purchases. Take a look and see if any of them are right for you!

Citi Double Cash

Want to earn cash back—twice? The Citi Double Cash card lets you do just that. Earn 1% cash back on every purchase, plus earn another 1% cash back for every payment that you make. In addition to the great cash back offer, the Citi Double Cash card offers a 0% introductory rate for the first 15 months that you have the card.

After that, the card offers a competitive APR of 12.99-22.99%, based on your creditworthiness. There is no annual fee for the Citi Double Cash card, so you have nothing to lose with this gem. No worries about spending in certain categories, or registering for rotating rewards. You get the same rewards year round, with no spending cap other than your credit limit. There is no limit to the cash back that you can earn with this card.

Capital One Quicksilver Card

Unlimited cash back is the name of the game with the Capital One Quicksilver Card. You will earn 1.5% cash back on every purchase you make using this card with no limit to the cash back you can earn. There are no specific spending categories or bonus categories to think about. Just use this card for any purchase and get the full reward. Capital One Quicksilver also offers you a $100 cash back reward after you spend $500 in the first three months that you have the card. This is a substantial bonus right off the bat for new cardholders, at 20% cash back!

The cash back rewards are easy and flexible to redeem. You can redeem them at any time for a check, gift card(s), statement credit, or even merchandise. There is no annual fee for this card. You can also enjoy a 0% introductory APR for a limited time on all purchases and balance transfers made using the Capital One Quicksilver card. After the introductory period, the APR will be 12.9-22.9% on purchases and all balance transfers. Another great perk is being able to track your credit score for free so that you can stay on top of any changes right as they occur.

Capital One BuyPower Card

Are you in the market for a new vehicle? The Capital One BuyPower Card might be just the answer. This card offers you 5% cash back rewards on the first $5,000 you spend each year, and 2% on all purchases you make after that. This is a huge reward. You can use the cash back rewards toward the purchase of a new Chevrolet, Buick, GMC, or Cadillac.

The earnings never expire, as long as you have the card. You can really rack up a lot of cash back toward your next vehicle with this card. Because there are no rotating categories, you can use this card for any and all purchases, and watch your cash back rewards add up. Also, Capital One BuyPower card offers an introductory 0% APR for the first 12 months that you have the card, for all purchases and balance transfers. When the introductory period ends, you will pay 11.90, 15.90, or 19.90% variable APR, depending on your creditworthiness.

Looking For Travel Rewards?

Rewards cards come in many shapes and forms. Some offer cash back or credit toward a new vehicle, like the cards listed above. Others will offer some pretty tremendous travel rewards for those who really want to maximize their rewards. Travel rewards are some of the best in the credit card world, since you can often get more than $1 for each point or mile earned. Here are a few of the best ones we can find for you.

Barclaycard Arrival Plus

Super value can be found for travelers when they have the Barclaycard Arrival Plus card. You can earn 40,000 bonus points after spending $3,000 in the first 90 days that you have the card. Earn 2 points for every dollar spent on travel purchases or earn one point for every dollar spent on every other purchase. One of the biggest perks of this card is that cardholders get an extra 10% rewards when booking their travel through Barclaycard or anytime they redeem their miles for statement credits.

The Barclaycard Arrival Plus also offers a 0% introductory APR for the first 12 months on purchases and balance transfers. After that, the APR will be either 14.99% or 18.99%, depending on your creditworthiness. There is an $89 annual fee for this card, but that is waived for the first year.

Capital One Venture Rewards Card

Earn travel rewards fast at a rate of 2 points per dollar spent on every purchase you make with the Capital One Venture Rewards Card. Earn an additional 40,000 points when you spend $3,000 in the first three months of having the card. Cardholders will get a 0% introductory APR rate for the first 12 months after approval on purchases and balance transfers, with a 13.9-20.9% APR after that period ends.

The miles that you earn using the Capital One Venture Rewards card can be flexibly redeemed for flights, hotel, rental cars, and other travel benefits. There are no blackout dates or restrictions on airlines if you book through Capital One. If you prefer to book through your travel agent, the Purchase Eraser feature will allow you to redeem your miles and get credit within 90 days of making a travel purchase using your Capital One Venture Rewards card. Track your credit simply, with your credit score being available every month on your statement or through the online access. There is a $59 annual fee, which is waived for the first year.

BankAmericard Travel Rewards Card

With the BankAmericard Travel Rewards Card, you will earn 1.5 points per dollar spent on all purchases made with the card. There is no limit to the number of points that you can earn. Apply online and earn an additional 10,000 points by spending $500 within the first three months. This adds up to a $100 statement credit when you book any travel rewards.

Conveniently, there are no blackout dates and no restrictions on your travel rewards. There is no annual fee for the BankAmericard Travel Rewards card. Cardholders will enjoy a 0% introductory APR for the first 12 months on purchases and balance transfers when they are approved for the card. After that, an APR of 14.99-22.99% will apply. There are no foreign transaction fees for this card.

Wyndham Rewards Visa

The Wyndham Rewards Visa is a great card for those who love to travel and want to earn free nights at Wyndham hotels and participating partners. Earn 5 points for every dollar spent on participating hotel stays, and earn 2 points for every dollar spent on all other purchases.

You can earn an additional 30,000 points after making your first purchase using the Wyndham Reward Visa card, and another 5,500 bonus points each year. That is enough for a one night stay at any participating hotel. This card has a $69 annual fee, which is not waived for the first year. The APR is 15.24% or 19.99%, depending on your credit history.

Citi Hilton HHonors Reserve

With the Citi Hilton HHonors Reserve card, you will quickly build up plenty of points toward your next vacation at any Hilton hotel or participating partner. You can earn 10 HHonors points for every dollar spent on hotel stays at participating hotels. Or earn 5 HHonors points for other travel purchases, including flights and rental cars. Earn 3 HHonors points on all other purchases made using the card.

Cardholders will enjoy Gold Elite status with HHonors, which will be upgraded to Platinum status if you spend $40,000 in one calendar year. Spend $10,000 per year and earn a free weekend night each year on your anniversary. Earn two free weekend night certificates after spending $2,500 within the first 4 months after being approved for the card. This card has a $95 annual fee. There is a variable 15.24% APR for this card.

Final Thoughts

As you can see, there are a variety of rewards cards available right now, with more being added frequently. One of them is right for you. Some people prefer rewards cards with straight cash back rewards options, but if you are not a fan of rotating categories and just want to earn tons of points, or you are a frequent traveler (or want to become one), then choosing one of the awesome travel rewards cards that are available will help you quickly earn points toward your next travel adventure!

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Comparing the Discover it Miles vs. The Barclaycard Arrival Plus

A number of varied travel credit cards are available to individuals with the wanderlust bug. Utilizing rewards credit cards with extensive travel benefits, from frequent flyer points bonuses or statement credits on travel related purchases, can have a major impact on the total cost of your next big trip. But, it can be a challenge to determine which travel credit card is truly the best in terms of rewards, extra perks, and costs. Let’s take a look at two heavy hitters in the travel rewards card genre: the Discover it Miles credit card and the Barclaycard Arrival Plus credit card.
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It’s all about the Points

The Discover it Miles card is specifically designed for the traveler with a penchant for simplicity. As a flat rate rewards card, the Discover it Miles program allows card members the opportunity to earn 1.5 miles on each dollar spent, regardless of category or amount. There are no bonus categories to track on a quarterly basis, and no reduction in rewards earnings once points reach a certain level, making this card a smart choice. As an additional bonus for new card members, Discover is offering to automatically match all miles earned at the end of the first account year with a limit and without having to make a minimum dollar amount of purchases.

The Barclaycard Arrival Plus is also considered a flat rate rewards card, but offers 2 points for each dollar spent. There are no rotating categories that increase rewards potential, and no limit on how many miles can be earned in any given time period. Compared to the Discover it Miles credit card, the Barclaycard Arrival Plus program offers a bonus for new card members as well. After a minimum of $3,000 are spent in the first 90 days after account opening, card members with Barclaycard Arrival Plus earn 40,000 bonus miles.

The Discover it Miles credit card and the Barclaycard Arrival Plus credit card differ in terms of miles redemption, despite being similar in terms of flat rate rewards. Discover it card members can redeem accumulated miles in any value, at any time, and miles never expire as long as the account remains in good standing. Redemption can be taken as a statement credit for travel related purchases, or as a cash back deposit into a checking or savings account. In addition, Discover it Miles members can receive up to $30 back each year for in-flight Wi-Fi purchases.

The Barclaycard Arrival Plus credit card requires a minimum of 10,000 miles to accumulate prior to card members having the opportunity to redeem. Barclaycard miles can only be redeemed for qualifying travel purchases made with the card, as a statement credit, which means only purchases of $100 or more that took place within the last 120 days. For new card members who do not end up qualifying for the bonus mile promotion, reaching the required minimum for miles redemption with the Barclaycard Arrival Plus credit card could present some challenges. However, Barclaycard Arrival Plus card members earn 5% in miles back that can be used for their next redemption, each and every time miles are redeemed.

Added Value through Member Benefits

Both Discover and Barclaycard offer attractive benefits for card members. First, both Discover and Barclaycard provide card members with free access to their individual FICO scores either through the respective mobile app or the desktop log-in. That’s where the benefit similarities end, as the travel credit cards differ in most other value-added aspects.

Discover it Miles card members have a variety of security features inherent to the card that make it appealing for those concerned about ongoing control. The Freeze It feature allows card members to prevent new purchases, cash advances or balance transfers on the card if it is temporarily lost or stolen, simply by selecting the option in the mobile app or online. Additionally, free overnight card replacement is available for all card members when needed. Discover also provides 24/7 monitoring of accounts to ensure no suspicious activity is taking place.

Barclaycard Arrival Plus card members also have access to a number of added benefits, including travel accident and trip cancellation insurance. Baggage delay insurance as well as auto rental collision damage waivers are also available to card members on the go. Barclaycard also provides $0 fraud liability on any unauthorized charges made with the card, providing added peace of mind for card members. Not found with Discover it Miles card members is the direct access to MasterCard World Elite Concierge and Luxury Travel Benefits that Barclaycard Arrival Plus members have automatically. This enhanced benefit is incredibly valuable to those who travel often or are seeking a unique experience while away.

The Dollars and Cents

The main difference between the Discover it Miles card and the Barclaycard Arrival Plus card is the cost. Barclaycard members are subject to an annual fee of $89, although it is waived for the first year the account is open; Discover it Miles card members do not pay an annual fee at all. Both card options offer no foreign transaction fees on purchases made outside the United States – a lifesaver for those who travel abroad often.

Barclaycard Arrival Plus credit card members are subject to an APR for purchases and balance transfers of either 16.24% or 20.24%, based on creditworthiness. Discover it Miles card members start as low as 11.24% for purchase APRs, and can go as high as 23.24%, again based on credit history and score. The Discover it Miles credit card comes with a 0% introductory rate on purchases for the first 12 months, while the Barclaycard Arrival Plus card comes with a 0% balance transfer offer, also for the first 12 months.

Which is Right for You?

Both the Discover it Miles card and the Barclaycard Arrival Plus card are top contenders in the world of travel credit cards, but it is important to know what you want out of a card prior to applying. Although the Discover it Miles card comes with a lower rewards earning rate (1.5), the flexibility to redeem for statement credits or cash back is an attractive perk, as is the lack of an annual fee. For those who are strictly seeking out a travel rewards card and spend enough to justify the annual fee and high redemption barrier, the Barclaycard Arrival Plus credit card may be the better option.

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Comparing the Discover it and Chase Freedom 5x Categories

There’s nothing like getting paid to pay. It some ways, the now popular cash back cards feel like they’re providing free money. As folks say, ‘if it seems too good to be true, it probably is’. Yes, cash-back cards are not the gravy train. As with any credit card balance, the 5% cash-back is quickly outweighed by the much more significant Annual Percentage Rate. However, a well-chosen cash-back card can be a valuable tool to keep in your wallet.

Two of the favorited cash-back cards are the Discover It and the Chase Freedom cards. They have reached this popularity because of their appealing 5% cash-back feature. In both cases, this attractive percentage is accessible to purchases that fall within certain categories. In order to choose one card over the other, the long-term factor that will affect your cash-back are these categories.

Discover ItChase Freedom

The Similarities

For both cards, the categories that earn 5% change quarterly. Every three months, you need to shift your mental spending to take advantage of the increased percentage. If you purchase outside of the categories, you’ll receive 1% cash-back. The price is right for this card, as neither one has an annual fee. Both cards have the same spending limit on which you can earn the prized 5%. You can spend up to $1500 in the quarterly categories and therefore receive up to $75 in cash-back.

Category Authorization

Both cards also use a category activation system that requires the cardholder to activate their access to these categories. This activation means that you have to log in to your account online or call to confirm that you will be purchasing in these categories and want to earn 5% instead of that measly 1%. This extra step is seemingly unnecessary and a pitfall for those who forget to activate. You’d think that it’s straightforward that people who are using the card would want to access the better cash-back rate.

For the category authentication, both cards have their strengths within this system. Discover It has no end date for when you can authorize your card to access these categories. The Chase Freedom card authorization period ends about two weeks before the quarter closes, which could leave some people out in the cold. The Chase Freedom card , however, has a clear email and text reminder system to make sure that you don’t miss your window (and have the widest window possible). And once you activate it, it provides the 5% on all combined purchases made within the quarter.

Current Quarter

To begin, let’s look at this quarter: July to September 2016. The Discover It card will give you 5% back for purchases at home improvement stores and on Amazon.com. If you’re planning some small home renovations, this category could provide a big benefit. You could easily earn 5% ‘off’ of your reno, as the category is quite open as to the range of business it allows. Instead of providing a list of authorized establishments, Discover provides a description of the type of business. However, if you’re not planning renovations, the category isn’t that useful. Some Amazon.com purchases could provide certain cash-back opportunities, but likely you won’t near the same benefit.

The Chase Freedom card offers the 5% for restaurant tabs and purchases at wholesale clubs. Chase provides a lengthy list of the eligible restaurants, which they describe as places where their primary business is eat-in or sit-down dining. For example, almost every fast-food restaurant you can imagine is listed. However, hotel and casino restaurants, as well as grocery store cafes and bakeries are not eligible. However, you can earn 5% back at the grocery section of wholesale clubs, like Costco. This category is more useful to the average consumer, as food purchases, whether at restaurants or bulk groceries, are a common expense.

In the current quarter, you could be a big winner with Discover It’s home renovation plans and the more significant purchases that come along with that. However, most consumers will have better luck earning 5% back within the Chase Freedom restaurant and wholesale club category. You may not max out your $1500 allowance, but the category is still more accessible.

Next Quarter

Looking forward, we head to the last quarter of the year: October to December. Of course, this quarter holds the holiday shopping season. Both cards are holding out on the final category details. Perhaps the suspense adds to the end of year cheer, but it can make it difficult to pick the better holiday shopping companion.

We do know that the Discover It card will provide you with 5% on all your Amazon.com purchases. For those who don’t want to leave their home for the mall, this cash-back category could be a boon. The Chase Freedom card will continue to offer the 5% on wholesale club purchases. Looking towards the hearty eating season that it is, you could get all your holiday groceries at a great cash-back rate. However, the biggest winners of the quarter are yet to be announced.

Past Categories

Looking back to the fourth quarter of 2015, we can see what kinds of categories could appear. Of course, the categories change and are rarely the same year to year, but it provides some context. The Discover It card provided 5% at Amazon.com, department stores, and clothing stores. The Chase Freedom card provided the great rate at Amazon.com, zappos.com, audible.com and diapers.com. Here, the Discover It card seems to come out the better option based on the wide range of store types, rather than specific websites. However, the preference really depends on whether you like to shop online or in person.

Conclusion

For this year, the Chase Freedom cash-back card is the best card to earn higher cash-back on everyday purchases. Everyone needs to eat, and you could earn on food bills or restaurant tabs. Home renovation and online shopping at Amazon.com is more niche, though highly useful for those consumers who fall into that niche. However, the release of the fourth quarter categories will be a key comparison point. Keep an eye out for the announcement, as it will likely come out in mid-September.

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Is Becoming Self-Employed the Best Idea for You?

For workers who toil all day in an office at the bottom of an endless river of in-office memos and all-caps-filled emails from their bosses, the idea of being self-employed and being your own boss working on your own schedule is nothing more than a day dream, like the kind you get when staring at the Hawaiian sunset calendar hanging on your cubicle wall. A lie many tell themselves is that becoming self-employed just doesn’t sound doable, and is probably not as safe or reliable as a regular office job could be.

With a huge portion of our working population providing services for individual gigs and contracts whenever they feel is needed, being self-employed in 2016 has become a norm that is as widely accepted as it has become popular. Becoming self-employed is no picnic, but the pros and cons that follow are definitely worth considering if you are looking for a paradigm shift for how you work.

Here are some points to consider for those of you who are looking into becoming a full time self-employed worker and freelancer.

 

Test the waters first.

The idea of moving from a safe and employed position into a self-employment role can be a terrifying thought, but shifting via a gradual transition is proven to be the best route to calming any fears. By working a day job and taking on side gigs (also called “Moonlighting”), you can test the waters to see how successful you just might be at taking gigs, as well as gaining more and more practice at whatever it is you are looking to move over into full time with.

Making the shift from “full time day job” into “full time self-employed” freelance can be a liberating and confidence affirming move, but feeling out the extent and range of your abilities is key:

  • Can your skill at the gigs at hand be enough to help you keep work flowing enough to equal if not eventually surpass your income being earned in your day job?
  • Do you think your skills at providing gig and contract work will be in enough demand if you were to move into full time self-employment rather than at the hands of another employer?

These questions and more are put into a kind of test run when they are started while still continuing a day job, that way if you change your mind and want to keep your day job and keep your gigs just on the side, no harm no foul.

 

You really are your own boss.

There is a vast amount of freedoms that come with being self-employed, with the biggest and most popular detail being that you are your own boss. Not having your own boss is one of the biggest selling points when it comes to being self-employed, but little is said about what it means to really be your own boss and supervisor.

The role of a “boss” is to provide work, set deadlines, and keep production moving at an even and steady pace. Only when that enforcement is taken away do we realize just how big of an asset and tool a boss and supervisor actually is when it comes to keeping things done on time and correctly.

As a self-employed worker, you no longer have a boss because that boss is now you. Keeping focused and self-motivated can be a stretch for people who are otherwise used to having the figurative whip cracked on them, but keeping yourself focused and dialed in on your own is a skill that can be acquired and refined with enough practice, and enough reason to do so.

 

“Work whenever you want”.

Another big selling point is that you can work whenever you want, and that you can set your own schedule when it suits you best. While this is very true, it should also be said that when you don’t work, that is time that you are not being payed, so keep that in mind when you want to take a week vacation without so much as looking at your email once.

If you are self-employed, gone are the days of the paid vacation. While you do have the power to take a day off at will, you must consider the tradeoff that comes with taking a day versus taking on gigs, contracts and assignments.

A possible solution: Being self-employed, you more than likely work via telecommute, which means that you can work from absolutely anywhere with an internet connection. Looking to travel? Just work during pockets of time during your vacation. It may not be ideal, but it will quell any fears of losing too much time.

 

You’re always on call.

Although being your own boss means that you get to set your own hours, be aware that you will not always have this privilege, even when you are self-employed. Depending on the kind of contracts, gigs, and assignments your work allows you to take on, there are often deadlines and communicational situations that force you to have to be on call for whenever your client needs you to take on work.

For example, if you are self-employed and you pick up a client that will provide you with contracts and gigs, but they are in another international time zone, that means that the principle time that you will communicate with them will be at what their convenience is, be that in the middle of the night your time, or the early morning. Depending on the kind of work that you are looking to procure that will establish and allow you to work full time as a self-employed worker, let it be known that you will be most likely placed in a mindset of always being on-call. So keep that smartphone close to check emails and other chat platforms on the go.

 

Dry spells, droughts, and possible work famines.

A panic that often sets in and deters employees seeking other options that could eventually lead to full time self-employment is that of the unsecured income. A misconception is that you never will have a stable and promised workload that pays as a self-employed worker. While this is half-true, you work as much as you can receive work, and if you are established and put in the time to build yourself up, then finding that much work to fill your work hours with should not be a problem.

Even though you can easily find work, there will be periods of time that you may not have that phone ring. When that happens, it is easy to have self-employed workers enter into a period of panic, and reconsider if it really was so bad having a boss constantly send emails in all caps about a report that was already filed a month ago.

In periods of drought, don’t panic, but remember what you did to receive the assignments you needed in the past and try to duplicate them. Work comes in waves, and isn’t always steady, but it always bounces back again. Even the most successful self-employed workers and freelancers have dry spells. How do they combat this? Stay calm, tighten your financial belt until more work rolls in, and keep those thoughts of self-doubt at bay. Nothing good comes from you beginning to panic and doubt your abilities. You’ve come this far, don’t stop now just because of a dry spell.

 

Being self-employed is not a matter that needs to be feared, just shared about and made transparent about to expect. For many, it can be liberating and confidence boosting to know that what you really desire to have fill your time and thoughts is something you can make a living doing. For others, phasing out a day job in favor for being self-employed can cause panic, anxiety, and nervousness due to the risk of insecurity of not having a promised income and set workload. This kind of life certainly not for everyone, but for some, it’s just the challenge that they have always wanted.

Would you ever consider becoming self-employed in favor of your day job? Sound off in the comments below!

 

 

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Comparing the Benefits of the Discover it and Discover it Chrome

Discover is one of the largest issuers of cash back credit cards, and there is an option under the Discover brand for just about every type of spender. Cash back rewards through Discover are simple to understand and each card provides additional card member benefits at no cost. The Discover it and the Discover it Chrome are two of the most popular additions to the Discover line of cash back rewards cards. Each card option has its advantages and disadvantages, and each is best suited for a specific type of card holder. Let’s review the difference in card basics first.

cards-stack-discover-it-cash-card

Discover it Basics

The Discover it credit card is a combination bonus cash back and flat rate cash back credit card that provides card members the ability to earn points in various ways. First, card members can ramp up cash back earnings by spending in certain categories throughout the year, up to a maximum earning limit. Discover it card members earn 5% cash back on quarterly bonus categories, such as gas, entertainment, and online shopping, up to $1,500 in purchases. Every other purchase made with the Discover it credit card earns 1% flat rate cash back which is unlimited. Regardless of the category in which cash back points are earned, rewards do not expire and they can be redeemed in any amount at any time.

 

Discover it Chrome Basics

Discover it Chrome was designed with students in mind, specifically for the card member who does not want to activate or track quarterly bonus categories to maximize cash back earnings. Instead, card members earn a flat rate of 2% cash back on purchases made at gas stations and restaurants; all other purchases earn the standard 1% rate. The enhanced cash back on gas stations and restaurants are capped at $1,000 in purchases, combined, but all other cash back earnings are unlimited. Similar to the Discover it credit card, Chrome card members can redeem rewards at any time and in any amount.

Card Member Benefits

Both the Discover it and the Discover it Chrome cards offer a variety of ways to cash in on rewards points. Card members can redeem rewards for cash, either as a statement credit or as a direct deposit into a bank account, or to check out at Amazon.com. Additionally, gift cards may be purchased with accumulated cash rewards through Discover’s rewards site. Card members may also donate cash back rewards to charity – a unique feature not found with many rewards card issuers.

In addition to flexibility in rewards redemption, card members of both the Discover it and the Discover it Chrome credit cards have a variety of other benefits that come with membership. One of the current promotions automatically built in to both card options is the cash back matching where Discover matches any cash back earned within the first year of membership, dollar for dollar. Additionally, Discover offers a free credit FICO credit score on each monthly statement for all card members, making it a breeze to track credit changes over time. Account holders also have the benefit of being able to temporarily freeze a Discover credit card through the Freeze It feature. This is incredibly helpful in preventing new purchases, cash advances or balance transfer if a card is misplaced.

Both the Discover it and the Discover it Chrome cards come with free purchase monitoring as well, which provides a text, e-mail or phone call when suspicious activity takes place on a card member’s account. Discover does not hold card members responsible for fraudulent or unauthorized purchases creating an additional level of protection. Finally, all Discover card members have the ability to reach the U.S.-based customer service line at any time, day or night.

Card Differences

While the aforementioned benefits are inherent to each Discover card member, the two cards differ slightly in promotional offers. As a card designed specifically for students, The Discover it Chrome credit card also offers an additional $20 cash back reward for card members with a GPA of 3.0 or higher throughout the school year. This additional benefit can be earned for a maximum of five consecutive years from the time the account is opened. The Discover it credit card does not currently make available additional cash back promotions aside from the matching program referenced earlier.

The Discover it credit card currently offers a 12-month zero interest promotional period for purchases and balance transfers, which is a significant bonus for card members who plan to carry a balance for the first year of ownership. The standard APR after the promotional period ends ranges from 11.24 up to 23.24% depending on the applicant’s credit score and history. For card members who select the balance transfer option, a fee of 3% for each transfer is assessed.

The Discover it Chrome credit card also offers a promotional 0% APR on purchases, but only for the first six months after an account is opened. Currently, no balance transfer offers are available for Discover it Chrome card members. The purchase APR reverts to the standard 13.24 to 22.24% after the promotional period ends. Both the Discover it and the Discover it Chrome credit cards have no annual fee and no foreign transaction fees, making both smart choices for the cost-conscious card member. Cash advances rates for both the Discover it and Discover it Chrome cards are a variable 25.24%, and the greater of a $10 or 5% fee is assessed for each cash advance transaction.

Which Card is Right for You?

The Discover it credit card is a strong option for individuals who spend heavily in the bonus categories each quarter and those who don’t mind activating each bonus category when the time comes. With no annual fee, an introductory 0% APR on balance transfers and purchases, and the additional card member benefits, the Discover it card can be a great addition to your wallet.

For students, the Discover it Chrome credit card is a sound alternative. The additional 1% flat rate cash back rewards earned for gas station and restaurant purchases is an attractive feature which eliminates the need to track categories every few months. The high GPA cash back bonus is also beneficial to card members who perform well in school. However, with a shorter time frame for the 0% purchase APR offer and no balance transfer availability, the Discover it Chrome card is not the best choice for card members who are not students.

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Discover it vs. Chase Freedom Card

In the universe of rewards credit cards, both Discover it and Chase Freedom stand out as top card options. Account holders not only have seemingly endless benefits with each card, the cash-back rewards are some of the best in the business. However, for newcomers to the credit card rewards playground, there are some nuances that make determining which card is the best a difficult task. Let’s take a closer look at both the Discover it and the Chase Freedom credit cards in terms of rewards potential, introductory bonuses and fees.

DISCOVER-IT-AND-FREEDOM-360x270

Rewards Showdown

Both the Discover it and Chase Freedom credit cards offer robust rewards programs, but slight differences exist. First, the Discover it credit card offers 1% cash back on every dollar spent on purchases outside bonus categories that rotate on a quarterly basis. Purchases made within the bonus categories earn cardholders 5% cash back, up to a limit of $1,500 in total spending each quarter. Card members must sign up for the bonus categories as they rotate to ensure points are earned on applicable purchases, but the process is simply and free. Discover it bonus categories for cash back earnings are as follows for 2016:

  • January through March: Gas stations and ground transportation
  • April through June: Restaurants and movies
  • July through September: Home improvement stores and Amazon.com
  • October through December: Amazon.com (and others to be determined)

The Chase Freedom credit card also earns card members 1% on all purchases, with similar quarterly cash back bonuses of 5%. The bonus cash back categories do not require activation each quarter, but like the Discover it card, earnings are capped at $1,500 worth of spending. The cash back categories through Chase Freedom rotate each quarter, and for 2016 include:

  • January through March: Gas stations and local commuter transportation (not including Amtrak, tools or parking)
  • April through June: Grocery stores (not including warehouse clubs, Walmart or Target)
  • July through September: Restaurants
  • October through December: Holiday shopping with partner retailers to be determined

The fact that no additional step is needed to activate the bonus cash back rewards each quarter for the Chase Freedom card is certainly a bonus, but the category restrictions make the program slightly less attractive than Discover it. However, Discover it does not require a minimum number of points to accumulate prior to redemption; Chase Freedom card members must have earned at least $20 in cash back rewards prior to redeeming.

Upfront Bonuses

Only Chase Freedom offers an upfront cash back bonus for new card members within the first few months. Cardholders have the potential to earn $150 in cash after a minimum of $500 is spent on purchases within the first three months of account opening. The Discover it credit card offers a matching program for cash back earned, up to $200 additional cash, but the bonus is not immediate. Card members receive the matching cash back credit at the end of the first year after account opening, opposed to the first three months for Chase Freedom.

Comparison of Card Member Fees

For applicants seeking out low-cost rewards credit cards, both the Discover it and the Chase Freedom cards fit the bill. Both credit card options come with no annual fee, and no redemption fees for cash back earned. However, differences come into play as it relates to other costs associated with each credit card.

Discover it has an introductory interest rate of 0%, not just for purchases but for balance transfers as well. The promotional APR is honored for the first 12 months after account opening, after which time the standard rate and balance transfer ranges from 11.24% up to 23.24%. These interest rates are based on each applicant’s creditworthiness at the time of account opening, and rates may fluctuate over time based on broad market movements.

The Chase Freedom credit card also offers an attractive introductory interest rate for well-qualified borrowers. A 0% APR is in place for the first 15 months after account opening for both purchases and balance transfers. After the promotional period ends, card members are assessed interest on remaining balances as low as 14.24% up to 23.24%. All rates for purchases and balance transfers after the introductory rates expire are variable. Account holders looking for potentially lower interest after the promotional rate may find the Discover it card more attractive, while those looking for extended terms for 0% APR purchases or transfers may lean more toward the Chase Freedom card.

One of the other aspects that differentiates the Discover it card from the Chase Freedom card is the foreign transaction fee. Chase Freedom card members are assessed a 3% transaction fee for all purchases made outside the U.S., while Discover it cardholders are not assessed an additional fee for foreign transactions.

Additional Perks

One of the more helpful perks associated with the Discover it credit card is the free access to individualized credit scores through FICO reporting tools. Card members can view their FICO score for free through the Discover portal online, at any time. Additionally, Discover it card members have the benefit of a waived late payment fee for the first occurrence, and a single late payment does not mean a higher APR. These extra benefits are attractive to credit card users concerned about their credit health and status.

The Chase Freedom credit card does not currently provide access to credit monitoring or scores, but does protect card members who make a payment late. No penalty APR is imposed upon the first occurrence of a late payment, although a late payment fee will be assessed. Chase Freedom also offers superb protection against lost or damaged purchases liability protection against identity theft or fraud.

Final Thoughts

Both the Discover it and Chase Freedom credit cards offer smart, low-cost options for individuals looking for rewards programs. The Discover it card is a stronger choice for cardholders who purchase items or utilize their card overseas, or those who do not want to mess with accumulating a substantial number of points prior to redeeming for cash back. The Chase Freedom card is a great choice for individuals who do not want to activate the bonus cash back categories each quarter, or those who are seeking an extended 0% promotional period for purchase or balance transfers.

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Card Comparison: Capital One® QuickSilver and Discover It® Cash Cards

Some credit cards can have a range of bonus points that can be used for flights, hotels, gift cards or the classic pay-with-points kitchen blender. Other credit cards give their rewards as cold hard cash. There is a wave of new credit cards that offer this benefit, and this article will compare two of the longest running and most popular cash-back cards: Capital One® QuickSilver and Discover It®.

 Capital One Quicksilver  Discover It

Getting Paid to Pay

Both credit cards have a cash back rewards system. As you spend money using your credit card, a certain percentage of the total spent is added to your cash back rewards balance. Upon your request or if you set up an automatic payment system, you will receive an account credit, a cheque or an electronic deposit for the money you racked up in your cash back account. The huge benefit is that this money is not tied to any certain online store or type of reward. The cash is yours to use however you like; you can buy boring but important groceries at the market, splurge on sweet new shoes online or even pay down your credit card balance with this cash.

The Capital One QuickSilver cash-back rewards system is simple: you receive 1.5% of everything you put on your card back as cash rewards. No matter what you use your card on, you will always receive 1.5% back. The Discover It card has a two-pronged rewards system. On certain, changing, categories, you can receive 5% cash back for purchases that fall within that category up to $1,500. On everything else, you receive 1% cash back.

If you are willing do your homework and track the categories, the Discover It card can reap big rewards with its 5% cash back rewards. The categories change seasonally, and currently, the 5% cash back is rewarded to purchases in restaurants and movies. The upcoming seasons will be home improvement stores and Amazon.com, followed by Amazon.com and more. Anything else will fall under the 1% reward that still provides a nice reward for your purchases. However, if you have no interest in tracking the categories or shifting your spending habits, the Capital One Quicksilver is a solid bet as you will get the slightly higher overall cash back rate.

First Time Perks

Both cards are offering first-time cardholders an appealing cash reward for your business. The Capital One Quicksilver card is currently offering $100 if you spend $500 on your card in the first three months. The Discover It card is offering to double all the cash back rewards you collect in the first 12 months of using the card. The quick math on these rewards shows that big spenders could fare well with the Discover It sign-up bonus, but a guaranteed bonus for smaller spenders (but who can still spend $500 in three months) is on the Quicksilver card. With the Quicksilver card, by putting your regular monthly spending on your credit card will get you $100 cash. However, for Discover It, you would have to spend $2,000 on the right categories at the 5% rewards level to earn $100 that can be doubled with this sign-up bonus. If you’re a big spender and follow the categories, you could earn lots with Discover It. A safer bet is Quicksilver’s $100 sign-up bonus.

The Fine Print: Annual Percentage Rates

As much fun as cash in the bank can be, the rates on your card are important considerations. Both cards offer the very appealing introductory annual percentage rate (APR) of 0%. Discover It offers this nice rate for the first year of your card contract. Capital One QuickSilver, however, only offers 0% until February 2017. After the 0% period, the Discover It APR can range from 11.24% to 23.24% while the Quicksilver APR can range from 13.24% to 23.24%. To compare APRs is difficult to do effectively as it will vary depending on your credit score. However, Discover It has a slight edge in this competition with its extended 0% APR period and a lower bottom end of the APR range.

Wondering how your credit score is doing? Discover It also provides a nice addition of your FICO® credit score on your account statement and online.

Annual Fees & Balance Transfers

Both cards tie when it comes to the annual fee to use the card: $0. The card pays you to use it, but you don’t have it pay for it, which seems to be a very nice arrangement.

Both cards also tie on a 3% balance transfer fee. If you are transferring a balance to your new card, remember that Discover It offers a longer 0% interest period than Quicksilver. The 0% APR applies to transferred balances, but Quicksilver’s ends in February 2017, but Discover It’s lasts for the first 12 months.

Travel, Card Recovery, and Other Benefits

Capital One Quicksilver comes with Visa Signature® benefits which include travel upgrades and savings, discounts at certain stores both online and offline, and other perks. If your card is lost or stolen, Discover It will overnight you a new one anywhere in the United States. Quicksilver does not provide a timeline other than “quick”, but they do provide the service worldwide. Neither card charges foreign transaction fees, and both include fraudulent activity protection.

This range of benefits is quite wide and someone difficult to compare, but Capital One Quicksilver comes out on top as there’s no equivalent for the Visa Signature benefits on the Discover It card.

Conclusion

 Both the Capital One Quicksilver and the Discover It cards are good options for a cash back card. Overall, the winner depends on what kind of cardholder you are. If you are a keen cardholder who tracks the big percentage categories or if you are someone who will keep a balance on their card for some time, Discover It is the card for you because the categories can provide big cash back rewards and the extended 0% APR period is a relief for a new or transferred balance. If you have no interest in tracking which categories are which season, if you’re not a big spender and you won’t carry a balance on your card, Capital One Quicksilver is a great pick as it provides a consistent 1.5% cash back with a $100 sign up bonus, but its 0% APR period is not as long. Either way, these cards will start paying you once you start paying with them.