Capital One Bank Review
The simplicity of its credit card program earns this bank and credit lender relatively high marks. Learn where the bank falls short and how it can help you with your financial needs.
If you've ever received mail, you're likely familiar with Capital One's offerings. The financial company, a pioneer of mass marketing credit cards back in the 1990s, spends nearly two-billion dollars a year on advertising.
And, as Samuel L. Jackson or any of the company's other celebrity partners has asked "What's In Your Wallet?," you may have similarly wondered if Capital One would work for you.
The overarching trend of all Capital One's product offerings is simplicity.
Don't want to spend your nights figuring out your rewards plan? No problem.
Looking for an easy-to-navigate site? Sure.
Focused on building credit or going for an intuitive bridge card? They have it.
Looking to make your investments automated and easy? Check.
Capital One brands this broad portfolio of banking services with "360," implying that they offer a complete package for your every financial need.
All of this sounds great, but then why is Capital One one of the the most complained-about credit card companies?
Well, it's complicated, and perhaps unfair, given that the company has an A+ rating according to the Better Business Bureau.
We're going to tell you what Capital One offers and what everyone else is saying about the lender so you can decide if it's right for your financial needs.
- If you're looking for credit cards without annual fees or hidden charges, you'll find what you're looking for at Capital One
- The simplicity of Capital One's services make its cards the ideal starter card for someone looking to build up credit
- Generally, Capital One accounts don't require minimums, cap the number of monthly transactions you can make, or charge fees for basic banking services
- While complaints varied from things like how the bank handled fraud, to customers upset about credit card reporting, the common thread was customer service representatives who didn't understand customer needs
- A common customer complaint is that hold times for check deposits are longer than other institutions
- If you're looking for a personal loan, you're going to want to head somewhere else. Capital One doesn't offer them
What People Love
Finance bloggers cite a few main things they love about Capital One.
The first — a miles rewards program that lives up to the company's "no hassles" tagline.
If you're a small business owner, Careful Cents cites Capital One's free business banking accounts as the perfect option for budding business owners or freelancers looking for an online bank.
And many customer reviews cite the ease of getting credit cards with the company as the one of the reasons they love the financial institution.
Beverly Harzog calls it one of the best cardsfor people with bad credit.
What People Dislike
If you want to get to the heart of what average customers dislike about Capital One, it's likely you'll find it in mortgages.
The common theme: stay away!
Here are some examples:
Should a Capital One card be in your wallet?
Overall, if you're looking for a starter credit card company or bank that gets that your credit isn't perfect, you don't want a million fees, and you're doing your banking online, Capital One may be the perfect place to open an account.
Interested in learning more about Capital One as a bank? Here's everything you need to know!
The History of Capital One
To start, you might want to know a bit about the company's history.
Capital One started as a monoline, which means that most of its business was consumer lending (i.e. credit cards).
But in 1999, Capital One wanted to go beyond the credit card, and expanded its offerings to include things like loans and insurance.
Currently, the bank operates 755 branches, including 10 cafe style branches, and approximately 2,000 ATMs.
Its corporate offices are located in Tysons Corner, Virginia and it's one of the of the nation's top 10 largest banks based on deposits.
While the company offers more than credit cards, the plastic still make up the majority of the bank's business (62% in 2015).
Capital One Offerings
Capital One offers both personal and business credit cards, savings and checking accounts, investment products, home equity loans, lines of credit, and auto loans.
We'll go through them each in this review, starting with, well, where it all started: credit cards.
Capital One has three main credit cards
Credit card services are the flagship operation and service for the bank.
- Capital One Venture & VentureOne
- Capital One Platinum
- Capital One Quicksilver
They also offer personal banking
In addition to credit cards, the bank also offers traditional banking services. The credit cards by Capital One do a great job luring consumers in for additional banking services.
- Savings: Capital One 360 offers personal, business, and kid-focused savings accounts.
- Checking: There's a no-fee personal checking account and a teen-friendly checking account.
- CDs: Choose from nine terms ranging from six to 60 months;
- Investment accounts: The Capital One Investing platform lets you build diverse portfolios. You can also open an IRA to help yo meet your retirement savings goals.
And business banking
Capital One wouldn't be a multi-service lender if didn't offer business services, too. The bank's simplicity can infuriate or impress its business customers, based on consumer reviews. Capital One calls many of their business products, Spark Business. As a result, when you see, Spark Credit Cards, you know you're looking at business credit cards offered by Capital One.
- Savings: Capital One offers savings accounts with promotional interest rate guaranteed for the first 12 months.
- Checking: Spark Business Checking comes with no limit on transactions, fees, or minimum balances. Nice.
- Merchant Services: Accept payments anywhere with Spark Pay.
- Loans and Lines of Credit: Manage cash flow with working capital.
- Credit Cards: Spark Business Miles and Spark Business Cash Back Rewards.
- Spark 401(k): Where you can set up investment accounts for your employees.
Plus, commercial and other banking services
Though less known, Capital One also offers commercial banking services i.e. if you're a financial services firm or institutional investor then this bank has some services for you.
- Commercial Lending: Tax-credit, sponsor and equipment financing, as well as asset-backed and asset-based lending are available.
- Loan Syndications: Capital One will structure and arrange syndicated bank loan transactions.
- Capital Markets Services: Interest rate and commodity derivatives, foreign exchange services, institutional sales, and trading.
- Corporate Card: Capital One has a commercial card program.
An Overview of Capital One Credit Cards
Plan your next venture with Capital One Venture
Capital One has two travel cards, one with an annual fee and one without.
The Capital One Venture card lets you earn unlimited 2x miles on every dollar for every purchase you make.
There's also a sign-on bonus — you'll earn 40,000 bonus miles if you spend $3,000 on purchases within the first three months. It's free the first year, but has a $59 annual fee after that.
On the other hand, the Capital One VentureOne card has no annual fee and pays 1.25 miles per $1 spent.
You can also earn a bonus of 20,000 miles if you spend $1,000 on purchases within the first three months.
The VentureOne Rewards card offers a slightly lower regular APR and a 0% introductory APR on purchases.
Capital One goes the mile
You can redeem any miles earned with Capital One Venture and VentureOne cards for travel related expenses like airlines, hotels, cruise lines, and rental cars.
You can also book on any airline at any time (no blackout dates, advanced booking, nor expiration).
Since no transaction type or travel-related brand is prioritized over any other, it's difficult to use this card as a "travel hack" to lower your overall travel costs or earn free flights quickly.
David Weliver of Money Under 30 notes that the Venture and VentureOne cards are "attractive for their simplicity," and adds that "If you have available miles, you can simply check boxes on your credit card statement next to travel transactions you want to pay for."
While Capital One Venture cards have a lot of attractive features, Brian Martucci says that if you're in the market for a card that offers luxurious perks, look elsewhere because you isn't going to get them with Capital One.
This is a simple card for people looking for rewards points without complication.
Go simple with Quicksilver
There aren't many bells and whistles associated with understanding how the rewards of this card work.
You get 1.5% cash back on all purchases, so no matter whether you're buying a new flatscreen, the bi-monthly bag of dog food, or a latte on your way to work, the more you use it, the more cash you're going to get back.
You'll also get a $100 sign-on bonus if you spend $500 in the first three months. The card also offers a 0% introductory APR for the first 9 months.
The Quicksilver Rewards card also has cash back benefits for Uber riders. Cardholders who use the card to pay for fares get 20% of each fare back as a statement credit. That's a great perk if you frequently use Uber's services.
There are some other nice perks found in the fine print. J. William Carpenter of Investopedia says it's important to note that travelers do not pay foreign transaction fees for purchases made outside the US, so if you're traveling a lot, you might want to use this card.
Many cash back cards can charge fees of 2.7 to 3% on every foreign transaction.
Cardholders can also redeem any amount of accumulated cash back rewards at any time.
In contrast, some cash back cards require a minimum rewards balance of $25 before funds are released. Best of all, Beverly Harzog says it's one of the best cards for people with fair credit.
Go Platinum… for a price
If you're still working on getting that FICO score above 700, the Capital One Platinum card may be appealing to you, as you'll likely be able to score a card with an average to low FICO score.
But, you've been warned, the APR is 24.99%, which is certainly higher than competitors we've reviewed.
If you're looking to build up your credit score, or you want to eventually transfer over to a different product, you may want to start here.
We wouldn't call this a platinum card in the way an American Express is a platinum card. You're not getting the prestige, but if you're responsible with your card, you'll establish the building blocks to eventually land you that prestigious card.
This card is part of Capital One's Credit Steps program, which promises to increase your credit limit as long as you make your first five monthly payments on time.
The exact amount your credit limit will be increased by is unknown, and individuals have reported mixed results. Even with high spending, and timely payments, some users only saw an increase of $500 to their credit line.
Another feature that's worth mentioning is that this card doesn't carry a penalty APR, which is an excellent benefit if you're one of those people who might occasionally miss a payment.
Again, it's a good place to start your credit journey or to rebuild after what may have been some bad credit decisions.
And, yes, even though the card is called "platinum," the benefits are anything but.
No loyalty program, no luxury benefits, no status symbol, just a good bridge card to help you start using credit cards responsibly.
Capital One 360 savings accounts
There's no minimum balance needed to open a Capital One 360 savings account. There's also no minimum balance to keep the account open, which is good to know in case you need to dip into your emergency funds. All deposits are FDIC insured up to $250,000 per depositor.
It's important to remember that due to federal regulations, the 360 Savings and 360 Money Market each have a limit of six withdrawals per calendar month.
Withdrawals include transfers to your linked checking account or between other Capital One 360 accounts and external withdrawals.
So, for example, if you transfer money from one 360 Savings to another 360 Savings, 360 Money Market, 360 Checking, etc., it still counts as a withdrawal.
Keep in mind, the six withdrawal limit is per each 360 Savings account. If you exceed the limit multiple times, your account may be closed.
Kids savings accounts
Kids get their own sign in, but parents are in charge of all deposits and withdrawals. The accounts come with a card, and the ability to deposit via mobile. They do not come with bill pay and checks. There are no fees or minimums on these accounts. And the APY is 0.75%. A great feature is the Automatic Savings Plan, which is kid friendly and makes it easier to save.
Capital One 360 checking account
What's likely most appealing about Capital One 360 Checking is that it lets you tap more than 38,000 fee-free Allpoint ATMs and 2,000 Capital One ATMs. But let's check out some of the other perks of picking capital one:
- No monthly fees: You won't get stuck with some sort of random "service charge."
- Say bye to minimum balances: There's no minimum to open or earn interest. Rates are variable and ranges from 0.20% to 0.90% depending on your balance.
- Pay your bills: And do it from your checking account for free. You can also set up eBills to receive electronic bills from participating merchants.
- Go Person2Person: . Send money free of charge to people who bank with Capital One 360 and elsewhere. Transfers to Capital One 360 accounts happen immediately. Transfers outside of the bank take up to two business days to authorize once the recipient approves it.
- Deposit on your phone: Take photos of your checks from your mobile phone to make deposits. No standing in line or locating an ATM necessary.
- No overdraft fees: This is a big one. Instead of a fee they offer an Overdraft Line of Credit. Just check out this customer comment from Reddit. "$0.04 instead of $250? We'll take it!"
Because overdrafts are such a big deal, and the source of most peoples' bank fees, we went to Capital One to find out exactly how overdraft services work.
- Auto-Decline: Capital One will generally decline transactions that will cause you to overdraw your account.
- Free savings transfer: Capital One lets you transfer money from your 360 savings or money market account.
- Overdraft line of credit: You can use a small line of credit to cover overdrafts. The rate for overdraft is currently 11.46% APR.
- Next day grace: Capital One will consider paying your transactions. And, if you bring your balance back up by the next day, it will waive the $35 fee for each transaction. This usually applies to checks, electronic payments, or recurring charges. Capital One will consider a bunch of factors in this, including whether your account is in good standing and if you have had too many overdrafts.
Investing with Capital One
The trend with Capital One, simply put, is simplicity. If you're looking for a no-frills, easy way to invest, this may be the financial institution for you. Its investment options are best for beginners, or current Capital One customers, as the lack of an actual trading platform may discourage more experienced investors.
Key features of Capital One investment services
Build your portfolio easily: If you need a simple process, use Capital One's portfolio builder, which lets you select your investing style, investment amount, and fund family. It then builds a portfolio of ETFs, and you're charged a flat fee for every order processed.
A pro tip from Jonathan Walden of The Motley Fool:
"Capital One's no-transaction-fee mutual funds can be used with PortfolioBuilder, thus allowing you to make routine investments in a mutual fund without paying a fee on each transaction. This can be a very cost-effective way to build up an account over time with small investments on a recurring schedule."
Don't worry about minimums or high fees: There are no minimum deposits on brokerage accounts, no flat rate commissions, no inactivity fee charges, and broker-assisted trades are only $19.95, which is less than other online brokers.
Invest automatically: If you're a beginner, putting money aside isn't always easy. With Capital One Investing's ShareBuilder Plan, you can schedule investments on a weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly basis, and choose from more than 7,000 stocks and ETFs. Each order processed carries a fee of $3.95. You can also turn the plan on or off at any time.
Use your toolset: Ok, so you won't find a trading platform, but there are other tools you can use to help you invest, like a What if I Had Invested tool, which shows you what a stock would be worth if you invested a certain amount on a past date. You can also chart, create tracking alerts, heat map to show investment performance, and access Morningstar ratings.
Capital One Auto Loans
When you're making a big purchase, it's important to find a lender you can trust. Capital One offers Auto financing.
Capital One auto financing
Capital One auto loan rates start at 2.49% with no origination fee and financing up to $40,000. Capital One also offers online pre approval. You'll need proof of your residence, phone number, Social Security number, and email address, as well as employment and income information.
After you are pre-approved, you can take your offer to any one of 12,000 dealers and shop for new or used cars. You can also check out cars you want on Capital One's site and see the specific amount you are approved to finance for that specific vehicle. Capital One does not finance purchases from auto brokers or private parties.
Cars financed through Capital One must be nine years old or newer and have less than 100,000 miles. The bank also does not finance recreational or commercial vehicles like limousines, motor homes, ATVs, or boats. Capital One requires a loan-to-value ratio of 90% or less for new vehicles, so you may be required to make a down payment on your new auto purchase.
Got fair or poor credit?
Capital One is regarded as one of the best picks for auto financing when you have less than perfect credit.
Capital One mortgages
Capital One offers to purchase and refinance options. You can expect all your traditional mortgage products here, 15- and 30-year fixed rates, 5/1 and 7/1 adjustable-rate mortgages, or ARMs, and FHA Loans (in Connecticut, Delaware, Louisiana, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Texas and Virginia and Washington, D.C.). Capital One doesn't offer Veterans Affairs loans or U.S. Department of Agriculture loans.
Applicants can expect their credit score, history, income and down payment to be evaluated as part of the approval process. Capital One prides itself on customer service, but it's important to note that customer reviews on mortgages are mostly negative.
Capital One home equity loans
Capital One offered both home equity loans and home equity lines of credit (HELOCs).
Home equity loans are typically used for when you need money for a large purchase like a student loan or major home renovation. It's considered a second mortgage, so your interest may be tax deductible. The minimum loan amount is $10,000 and is repaid as a fixed-rate loan.
An HELOC is a line of credit secured by the equity in your home. Interest rates are lower than a home equity loan, and there's a small discount for borrowers who have payments withdrawn from a Capital One bank account.
And while a home equity loan may seem appealing, the reviews tell a different story. The common theme with both home equity loans and mortgages: stay away!
Here are some examples:
Business Products and Services
A bright spot in Capital One's product offerings? Business banking. Capital One was ranked highest in customer satisfaction with small business banking in the northeast region in J.D. Power's 2016 Small Business Banking Satisfaction Study.
Capital One offers banking, loan, and credit card services for businesses, as well as other services like the ability to accept credit card payments, wires, and remote deposit.
According to blogger and entrepreneur Christine Renee of Careful Cents, the best services of Capital One business banking are:
- Business checking account with no minimums or deposit requirements
- Business savings account with no minimum balance or deposit deadlines
- Spark Business credit cards that allow you to earn cash back
- Free merchant services, including invoicing and Spark Pay
- Cash flow projection tools and financial reports
- An extensive business resource library
- A 401k plan for small business owners
- A mobile app to access all of your accounts on the go
Capital One Spark Business credit card: a card that gets down to business
In additional to personal cards, Capital One also offers the Spark card for business owners. The card lets you earn cash back for all purchases made for your company.
There's a sign-on bonus of $500 if you spend $4,500 on purchases within the first three months. There's no annual fee the first year ($59 per year after that). And if you make a lot of purchases overseas, you'll be happy to know that there are foreign transaction fees.
"Since this card offers a standard two points per dollar spent, you won't have to navigate different earning tiers or keep track of rotating bonus categories. With the Capital One Spark Cash for Business, you will earn two points for each dollar spent no matter what. In a complicated world, this simple earning structure could provide a welcome relief."
Commercial and Other Products
Capital One offers a range of financial products and advisory solutions for middle
Capital One foreign exchange products
Capital One offers an array of foreign exchange products and services including:
Spot FX / international outgoing and incoming wires
Get competitive conversion rates on euro, Canadian dollar, British pound, Swiss franc, Japanese yen and Australian dollar. Foreign funds are converted and credited to your USD account by the next day. Capital One has access to all tradable currencies.
Buy the right and not the requirement, to buy or sell currency at a specified exchange rate at a specified time in the future.
How to Get Started With Capital One Bank
Getting set up with Capital One is relatively simple if you're looking for personal banking or credit cards or an auto loan.
Get set up with Capital One personal banking
Again, you don't have to head into a Capital One location to open a Capital One account. You can open both a savings and a checking account online.
You can also add people to your Capital One accounts online, taking the hassle away from having to go into a branch to add people to help you manage your account.
This is a nice feature for married couples or parents.
Just follow these four easy steps:
- Sign in to capitalone360.com
- Click on your 360 Checking
- Go to the 'Account Details' tab
- Next to 'Secondary Account Holder', click 'Add' and follow the steps
Apply for Capital One credit cards
Applying for a Capital One credit card is a quick and easy process. You can do so online if you have your social security number and personal information handy, and you'll get a response back instantly.
Want to stop banking with Capital One? Here's how
Sometimes, well, you just want to move on. Here's how you can stop using Capital One saving and checking services and get your card deactivated.
Close your checking or saving account
To close your accounts online, and assuming you have a balance, you'll have to own a new bank account. Otherwise, where will you put your money?
If you have a savings account, be sure to drain it to $0 before you close the account (transfer it to a new savings account; don't spend it!).
You may have accrued interest pending to be deposited to that savings account and you don't want to shut it down and not designate a new place for that money in advance.
If you're going in person to close your checking or saving accounts, then you can take out cash, though this is not recommended for the sake of your personal security.
How to close your checking or savings accounts online
- Log in to your checking or saving account at www.capitalone360.com
- Choose the account you want to close
- Be sure that you look to make sure that you have no scheduled transactions ahead. If so, cancel them and set up new payments (so you don't get dinged for late fees or non-payment)
- Click the 'Transfers & Deposits' tab
- Enter the entire balance of the account as the amount you'd like to transfer
- Select your savings to account as the "from" account and the account you'd like the money transferred to (again, be mindful that you don't have any accrued interest in your savings account waiting to be deposited when you close down your accounts)
- Click the 'Transfer' button and finally the 'Close Account' button
As Capital One explains:
"Once you do this, your account will be closed. If you're consolidating funds into another Capital One 360 account, the transfer is immediate. If you're transferring the funds to your external linked checking, the funds will arrive in 2 business days."
How to close your credit card accounts with Capital One
According to Capital One, "to close your account, you must give Capital One a call at 1-800-CAPITAL (1-800-227-4825) and speak to a representative. Once you've requested that your account be closed, you should:
- Stop using your card.
- Stop any monthly automatic payments or pre-authorized charges you may have set up on your account.
- Pay the entire remaining account balance in full within 90 days after making your request to close your account."
There is no fee to close your checking or saving accounts at Capital One. You and the bank have the right to close your saving or checking account for any reason at any time.
Because sign-up offers for credit cards can change over time, it's recommended that you call your credit card issuer (see back of the card of the number below) to make sure that you're not missing out on any perks before closing down the account.
Depending on any fees, it may be best to leave the account open, but not maintain a balance. Having more than one credit card in good standing can help your credit score.
If you have any questions about closing your saving, checking, or credit card accounts, you can always call: 1-800-CAPITAL (1-800-227-4825).
How to Find a Branch Near You
Capital One Bank Routing Number
Routing number: 31176110
Frequently Asked Questions
What is Capital One's BBB rating?
That's because the BBB is looking for more than just customer complaints (there are more than 4,000 on the site).
Which credit bureaus does Capital One report to?
Capital One reports to all three major credit bureaus — Equifax, Experian, and Transunion. If your accounts are in good standing, you may be eligible for a credit line increase. To request an upgrade or credit increase, contact a customer service representative. Your credit limit is determined by your credit score, so be sure to make sure you're in good standing before applying for a card or requesting an upgrade
Is there an account maintenance fee or a transaction fee that is applied to my account?
An $8.95 monthly fee may be applied if your average daily balance is below $300.
Can you get foreign currency at a Capital One?
You can't. But Capital One waives exchange fees when you use your card abroad.
Can you transfer money from Capital One to another bank?
Yes, you can transfer money from Capital One to another bank.
How is my credit limit determined?
There is two main factors most lenders review when they determine your credit limit: your credit score and income level. When you apply for a Capital One card, the lender will review your credit score and income level to determine a credit limit that it deems you can afford.
How can I request a credit upgrade?
To request an upgrade, call Capital One customer service, who can then review your account to see if you are eligible. Capital One has a list of a few things to keep in mind before requesting an increase.
How much can you overdraft with Capital One?
Capital One uses its discretion when deciding when or how often to overdraft in a Capital One Account. Capital One will charge you a fee of up to $35 each time they pay an overdraft. They don't charge more than four feet per day for overdrawing your account.
How to add someone to my Capital One account?
You can add users to your Capital One accounts online, taking the hassle away from having to go into a branch.
- Sign in to capitalone360.com
- Click on your 360 Checking
- Go to the 'Account Details' tab
- Next to 'Secondary Account Holder', click 'Add' and follow the steps
Can I withdraw money if I am abroad?
Yes, you can withdraw money or use your card anywhere you see the MasterCard logo. If you have any questions or problems when you're traveling you can give Capital One a call at its collect international number 302-658-9593. If you use your Card for a foreign transaction (any transaction made in a foreign currency or that MasterCard classifies as a cross-border transaction), Capital One won't charge you anything.
What does What's In Your Wallet mean?
What's in your wallet is Capital One's marketing campaign catchphrase.
Is Capital One insured by the FDIC?
Deposits are insured by the FDIC for up to $250,000 per depositor. A single account is insured up to $250,000. Joint accounts are 50/50 ownership and insured up to $250,000 for each individual on the account, equaling $500,000 in total. IRA deposits at Capital One 360 are FDIC insured up to $250,000 per depositor.
Is my account insured against fraud or theft?
You're covered by $0 Fraud Liability if your card is ever lost or stolen.
What is the charge on online transfers from my account to other accounts?
There is no fee to transfer funds between your Capital One Accounts. You may be charged a $30 wire transfer fee to transfer to other accounts outside of Capital One. You may only transfer funds out of your account(s) up to six times per monthly statement cycle using any combination of our electronic fund transfer services; no more than three of these transfers may be made by debit card. These transfer limitations are imposed to comply with federal law.
How can I sign up for overdraft protection and what does it cost?
Capital One overdraft protection is free and automatically is set up when you open an account. Capital One will charge you a fee of up to $35 each time they pay an overdraft. It doesn't charge more than four fees per day for overdrawing your account.
Interested in choosing a new bank or want to learn more about how they work? Check out these other reviews and articles.
- PNC Review 2017
- Chase Bank Review 2017
- 8 reasons why credit unions are better than big banks
Do you use any Capital One services? Tell us what you think "What's in Your Wallet?"