2014 update: These card offer are no longer available. For a good alternative, check out these top cash back cards of 2014
The old Capital One® No Hassle Cash Rewards cards have been discontinued and the review (below) is now outdated and for historical reference only. Those card offers are no longer available
The “No Hassle” line of Capital One cards have been overshadowed by some of their newer offers lately. But [for the right person] these oldies are still goodies. However you will want to review them closely before applying because they are not the best choice for everyone.
There are two versions of the Capital One No Hassle Cash Rewards card. Both are for average credit, but the “newcomers” version is specifically marketed towards people who are new to the U.S. and are looking to build credit here.
No Hassle Cash Rewards
Annual Fee: $39
Rewards: 1% cash back on everything except for major grocery stores and gas stations, which earn 2%. I’m not sure if more specialized stores like Trader Joes and Whole Foods count as “major” grocery stores, but my big supermarket chains like Kroger, Meijers, Ralphs, etc. will probably qualify. Please understand that warehouse stores that sell groceries (such as Costco, Sam’s Club, BJ’s) will never count as a grocery store on any credit card, including this No Hassle Cash Rewards MasterCard.
No Hassle Cash Rewards for Newcomers
Annual Fee: $0
Rewards: 1% on everything, but travel earns 2% cash back. I couldn’t find any mention on the Capital One website as to what counts for the travel category, but I asked on their chat feature and this is what they told me: airlines, hotels, trains, car rentals, cruise lines, cabs/limos, buses, travel agents, timeshares.
When it comes to benefits, both of the No Hassle Cash Rewards credit cards offer the following: travel accident insurance, extended warranty program, and rental car insurance. To review these in detail, here is the PDF benefits guide.
Is the cash back really “no hassle” as claimed?
With Capital One naming these cards “No Hassle Rewards” you probably have high expectations, right? Well as it turns out, they’re not fibbing – the cash rebates are pretty straightforward. I say this for 3 reasons:
- There are no limits to the amount that can be earned
- There are no minimums required for cashing out. You can request statement credits or a check whenever.
- There’s no expiration date on them.
No Hassle Cash Rewards vs. the other guys?
With the standard version of the No Hassle Cash Rewards card, the main drawback is the $39 annual fee. When you do the math, that means you have to spend $3,900 per year on gas and groceries just to breakeven (that’s the amount where you will have earned $39 from the extra 1% on those categories).
However at the end of the day, the 2% is still a good deal if you spend enough in those categories to more than offset the annual fee. However if you have good credit, you may want to consider these which are close competitors to the No Hassle Cash Rewards from Capital One.
This card gives 3% on US stand-alone supermarkets (on the first $6,000 spent per year), 2% on gas at US stand-alone gas stations and select major dept. stores, along with 1% everywhere else. The cash back is credited automatically to your statement each month and since there are no reward caps, it’s a very straightforward reward program. Surprisingly there is no annual fee.
#2. Chase Freedom
With this card you get 5% cash back on various categories that change every 3 months. At least once per year gas and groceries are among them. Even though this has the potential to give higher payouts than the Capital One No Hassle Cash Rewards, there are a couple drawbacks (a) it’s possible to max out the 5%, and (b) enrollment in the 5% is required. Regardless it’s an enticing value if you play the game right.
Last on the list is another card that gives 2% at grocery stores and 3% at gas stations. While it’s probably Bank of America’s best rewards card, it’s disadvantage is that there is a quarterly cap on the bonus categories. It probably makes more sense to go either either the Freedom (which has a cap, but the 5% makes it worth it) or the Blue Cash from American Express.