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MBNA vs. Capital One: May the Best Rewards Credit Card Win

June 5, 2012
3 mins
A young couple shop online using their credit card while sitting on the couch

Here's the first round of our credit card comparison series!  In the ring are MBNA and Capital One. The winner? Ultimately you - once you see the great reward features offered by each of these credit cards.

In one corner…


The lender has a long list of great cards, but leading the pack are its cash back offerings the Smart Cash MasterCard credit card and the mbna rewards credit card. Both have no annual fee and while Smart Cash is all about cash back (up to 5% back for groceries and gas, which goes down to 3% after six months and then 1% back on other purchases), mbna rewards lets you build up points to reimburse for cash or stuff. Both cards have hefty interest rates of 19.99%.

And in the other corner…

Capital One

The Aspire Cash Platinum MasterCard is the flagship card for this lender. It features no annual fee, 1% cash back on all purchases and a neat 25% anniversary top up on all the cash-back points you’ve gathered for the year. Plus, your cash back points don’t expire.

Comparing the Payoff

As with most aspects of personal finance, determining whether a card is right for you means taking a good look at the basics - your budget.

For instance, let's say you spend:

$1000 a month on groceries

$500 on gas

$1000 on other purchases.

The beauty of MBNA's Smart Cash card is the lovely payoff you'll be seeing. You'll have $85 in cold, hard cash coming your way per month within your first 6 months of card use. After the grace period ends, you'll be seeing $55 per month.

If you make the same purchases as above with the Capital One Aspire Cash cash  ($2500 a month on your card in gas, groceries and other purchases), you’ll pocket $25. And if you get that cash back every single month of the year, adding up to $300, you’ll get back in additional $75 in anniversary cash back.

The Winner: MBNA

These are both solid cards with great cash back programs with no annual fee. They’re both an ideal choice for someone seeking cash rewards who won’t carry a balance and get dinged by high interest rates. But when it comes to choosing just one, we’re leaning towards MBNA’s Smart Cash. Particularly if you’re feeding a family or you have a commuter in the house, the additional percentages on gas and groceries are a major plus.

DISCLAIMER: “The interest rates, fees, rewards details, benefits and other details of the Capital One product(s) described in the article may have changed since the time of publication. Please consult the product information pages on the Capital One website for accurate product details. In the event of any conflict between the product details in this article and the Capital One website, the details on the Capital One website shall prevail.”

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