Capital One Quicksilver vs. Discover it Balance Transfer

What is better? Earning the most credit rewards or saving money by transferring high-interest debt from one card to another? Ultimately, it will depend on your needs. But in case you’re comparing cards for one or more of these reasons, we’ve put together a breakdown of how the Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit Card compares to Discover it® Balance Transfer.

The TL; DR is that you can earn more in terms of rewards and a first year bonus with the Discover it Balance Transfer card – but to earn those rewards you will need to activate and spend on rotating bonus categories every quarter. The Quicksilver is much simpler; just swipe and earn unlimited cash back, but at a lower overall rate than Discover it balance transfer offers.

Main details

welcome bonus $200 cash bonus after spending $500 on purchases in the first three months Any cash back earned at the end of your first 12 months will be matched.
Reward rate
  • Unlimited 1.5% cash back on all purchases
  • 5% discount on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel
  • 5% cashback after activation on rotating bonus categories each quarter (up to $1,500 in quarterly purchases, then 1%)
  • 1% on all other purchases
Introduction AVR
  • 0% intro APR for 15 months on purchases and balance transfers
  • 0% intro APR for 6 months on purchases
  • 0% intro APR for 18 months on balance transfers
Variable APR 16.49% to 26.49% 13.49% to 24.49%
Annual subscription $0 $0

Capital One Quicksilver vs Discover it Balance Transfer Highlights

Welcome Bonus Winner: Find Out Transferring Balances (in most cases)

If you want a simple, traditional welcome bonus, the Quicksilver offers a $200 cash bonus after spending $500 on purchases in the first three months. However, if you spend strategically, you could get a lot more with the Discover it balance transfer.

Through its First Year Cashback Match program, Discover will match any rewards you earn during your first 12 months as a Discover it Balance Transfer credit cardholder. If you earn $100 in cash back, for example, Discover will award you an additional $100, for a total of $200 in cash back.

If you think you’ll spend enough to exceed the Quicksilver’s $200 welcome bonus, the Discover it balance transfer might be the winner for you.

Reward Rate Winner: Find Out Transferring Balances (With Some Caveats)

We picked the Discover it balance transfer as the winner for this round because of the higher rate you get on your bonus category spend. You’ll get 5% cash back after activation on rotating categories each quarter (up to $1,500 in quarterly purchases, then 1%), plus 1% cash back on all other purchases .

Yes, this card does require a bit of work in terms of tracking the Discover cashback schedule each quarter and activating accordingly. But by doing so, you could get up to 5% back on categories ranging from groceries and restaurants to all of your PayPal transactions.

As noted, the Quicksilver earns 1.5% unlimited cash back on all purchases, and you can also earn 5% cash back on hotel and rental car purchases made through the Capital One Travel portal. Since that 5% rate doesn’t include airfare, we still think the Discover card wins this round.

Introductory APR Winner: Quicksilver for Purchase APR and Discover for Balance Transfer APR

The Quicksilver offers an introductory APR of 0% on purchases and balance transfers for 15 months (followed by a variable APR between 16.49% and 26.49%) – two solid introductory rates no matter how you look at it.

The Discover it balance transfer, on the other hand, offers a 0% introductory APR on balance transfers for 18 months and a much less impressive 0% introductory APR on purchases for six months (13.49% to 24.49% variable after).

As you can see, the Discover card is the clear winner in the balance transfer category, while the Quicksilver wins on the purchase APR front. If you’re looking for a good mix of both offerings instead, the Quicksilver is the obvious choice.

Note that in terms of balance transfer fees, both cards charge 3% – although Discover it balance transfers can go up to 5% on future transactions.

Which card pays the most?

Capital One Quicksilver vs Discover it Balance Transfer Expense Example

In this scenario, we assume that the cardholder spends approximately $7,300 per year. Find out it Balance transfer cardholders, in particular, would specifically maximize each quarter’s bonus categories.

Groceries, fitness clubs and gym memberships $1,500 $22.50 $75
Gas Stations and Target $1,500 $22.50 $75
Restaurants and PayPal $1,500 $22.50 $75 and digital wallets $1,500 $22.50 $75
Various $300 $4.50 $3
Hotels and rental cars (via Capital One Travel) $1,000 $50 $10
Total $7,300 $144.50 $313

As you can see, the Discover card comes out on top with $313 in cash back for the year (and, when you include the welcome bonus, $626 in cash back). The Quicksilver earns you $144.50 for the year ($344.50 including the welcome bonus).

Yet this example doesn’t take into account the out-of-category rewards you’d earn by spending outside of the Discover Card bonus categories – and you still have the option to spend more in either reward category. from Quicksilver.

Why should you get the Capital One Quicksilver?

Additional benefits

This cash back credit card has no annual fee or foreign transaction fee, but there are a few other perks that might make this simple, flat-rate card a good option, including:

  • Travel assistance and breakdown assistance
  • Free concierge service
  • Virtual credit card numbers via Eno assistant app
  • Access to exclusive travel and entertainment opportunities like pre-sale tickets through Capital One Access

For more information on benefits, read our Quicksilver Capital One Card Benefits Guide.

Redemption options

Capital One offers several ways to redeem your cash back:

  • Check
  • Statement credit
  • Previous credit card purchases
  • Gift cards
  • Online purchases at checkout on and PayPal

You can also choose to receive your cash back automatically at a specific time each year or at a certain cash value, so you don’t have to keep track of your rewards balance.

Recommended credit score

Your chances of approval will increase if you have a good to excellent credit score (670 to 850).

Why should you get the Discover it balance transfer?

Like the Capital One Quicksilver, there are no annual fees or foreign transaction fees. Plus, there’s no APR penalty or late fee on your first late payment (after which you’ll be charged up to $41). In addition to the generous rewards structure and first-year Cashback Match welcome bonus, there are a few other reasons to get the Discover it balance transfer.

Additional benefits

You can count on $0 fraud liability for unauthorized purchases and account alerts, plus free access to Discover’s Identity Alerts program (which functions as a credit monitoring service). You also have the ability to freeze and unfreeze your account and prevent all activity directly from the Discover app. You can find more information about the card’s benefits in our Discover it Balance Transfer benefits guide.

Refund options

In terms of cashback, you can receive cash back in the form of:

  • Electronic direct deposit to an eligible bank account
  • Statement credit
  • Gift card
  • Charitable donation
  • Purchase on or

Recommended credit score

Similar to Quicksilver, your chances of approval will increase if you have a good to excellent credit score.

The bottom line

Ultimately, the Capital One Quicksilver is best for those who want to earn a respectable amount of cash back on their daily purchases without hassle. The extra rewards on certain Travel Portal purchases, in particular, may or may not move the dial much when it comes to making the decision to get that card. We think the Quicksilver is really for those who want simple and easy rewards.

The Discover it balance transfer, on the other hand, could offer substantial value to a cardholder looking to get the most out of using their credit card, whether that means saving thousands interest or earn hundreds of rewards every year.

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