If you've never heard of Capital One before, then kudos; the rock you've been living under must be fantastic.
Their commercials are everywhere, and it's hard to avoid getting pre-approved offers in the mail if your credit score is high enough.
Capital One is one of the major credit card companies out there, and what follows is the most comprehensive guide of their services that you'll find anywhere on the web.
Who is Capital One?
Capital One was founded in 1988 by Richard Fairbank based on the belief that that he could provide customized financial products to his customers.
What started as a small bank division is now a Fortune 500 company with branches in New York, the District of Columbia, Texas, and several other states.
The company has won dozens of awards not only for their workplace, but also for their leadership and community relations.
What kind of cards does Capital One offer?
Capital One offers twelve different types of credit cards:
- Venture Rewards
- VentureOne Rewards
- Quicksilver Rewards
- QuicksilverOne Rewards
- Journey Student Rewards
- Secured Mastercard
- Spark Cash for Business
- Spark Select Cash for Business
- Spark Miles for Business
- Spark Miles Select for Business
- Spark Classic for Business
The company has a credit card to fit every situation and need, whether you are looking for your first credit card, or you're looking for a card to yield the best bonuses.
The Venture Rewards card is only for those with excellent credit.
It's one of the highest rated travel rewards credit cards on the market, providing unlimited rewards and 40,000 bonus miles if you meet the criteria.
Every dollar spent is equal to 2 miles or provides a 1:1 ratio for travel rewards.
Another benefit of the Venture Rewards card is the lack of foreign transaction fees, fraud coverage, and other features like concierge services.
94% of customers recommend the Venture Rewards card.
While the VentureOne Rewards card requires excellent credit, it provides less rewards than the Venture Reward card.
The VentureOne card gives 1.25 miles for every dollar spent, or $1 in travel rewards for every dollar spent.
There is a 20,000 mile sign-up bonus, provided you spend $1,000 within the first three months of having the card.
A major benefit of this card is the $0 annual fee.
Like the Venture Rewards card, the VentureOne card has no foreign transaction fees, fraud protection, and additional features like concierge services, emergency card replacement, and more.
Like the other high-value rewards cards offered by Capital One, the Quicksilver requires an excellent credit rating in order to qualify.
The Quicksilver provides cash back rewards on every purchase with no upper limit.
You earn 1.5% for every dollar spent, as well as a one-time $100 cash bonus if you spend $500 within the first three months of receiving the card.
There is no annual fee to continue using the card.
This card provides cardholders with up to $1,500 in travel protection, complimentary concierge services, and price protection within 120 days of purchase.
The QuicksilverOne Rewards card is a great choice for those with middling credit, as it only requires an average credit score for approval.
There is no signup bonus, but you receive 1.5% cash back on all purchases.
The QuicksilverOne has an annual fee of $39 and starts off at a lower credit limit, but increases if you make your first five payments on time.
95% of customers recommend the card, and it includes bonus features like auto rental insurance, travel accident insurance, and 24/7 roadside assistance.
Capital One's Platinum card is the perfect option for people trying to build their credit.
It requires only average credit to qualify and grants access to a higher credit line if you make the first five payments on-time
The card also has no annual fees, and the CreditWise program available to all Capital One customers is a useful tool for tracking and improving your credit score.
The Platinum card is recommended by 93% of customers.
Journey Student Rewards
The Journey Student Rewards card is great for students.
A low starting credit limit and repayment incentives teach cardholders how to be financially responsible.
While cardholders earn 1% cash back on all purchases, if they pay on time that month then the cash back bonus increases to 1.25%.
There are no foreign transaction fees, which makes this a solid choice for any student studying abroad.
The $0 annual fee removes any burdens that come as a result of card ownership, and if a cardholder continues to make payments on time, their credit limit will increase.
The included benefits aren't as extensive as some of the other cards, but still provides access to 24/7 travel assistance, travel insurance, and auto rental insurance.
The Secured Mastercard is a bit different than the other cards on the list in that it is designed for people with poor credit.
It requires a refundable security deposit of $49, $99, or $200 based on your credit rating.
The initial credit line is just $200, but the line can be increased if you make a larger deposit amount or if you make your first five payments on time.
There is no annual fee to use this card, and like every other Capital One card, it grants access to the CreditWise system to help you monitor and improve your overall credit score.
Spark Business Rewards Cards
The Spark Business Reward cards are similar to those offered above, but are all aimed at business expenses.
These cards don't apply to the majority of readers, but the cards are almost identical to the consumer cards with the exception of the eligible expenses.
Who is eligible?
Eligibility differs depending on the specific card you apply for. High-yield reward cards often require excellent credit, limiting eligibility only to those with a score of 720 or higher.
However, other cards only require average credit—a range of 630-689 or higher.
Capital One also offers its Secured Mastercard for those with poor credit that need to rebuild their rating.
How are Capital One cards different from others?
Capital One sets itself apart by offering a variety of card types so that nearly anyone, regardless of income or credit rating, has a chance of approval.
Capital One also has some of the best reward cards of any on the market.
Their Venture Rewards card has the best rewards of any travel card out there: 2 miles for every dollar spent and a 40,000 mile bonus.
Capital One's dedication to excellence is one of the factors that sets the company apart from its competition.
Capital One as a company also differs in that they offer traditional checking and savings accounts with no overhead and no fees.
The Capital One 360 checking account has a 0.75% APY and no foreign transaction fees.
What kind of consumer would benefit most from Capital One?
While Capital One has a card for every type of consumer, those that benefit most are people who travel often for business, especially internationally.
The lack of foreign transaction fees is a benefit, as are the layers of fraud protection.
Capital One provides interactive alerts, and if the card does get stolen, the $0 fraud liability protects you from any expenses.
Capital One also contacts customers when suspicious activity is detected on their account (when I traveled to Vietnam, Capital One locked my account and contacted me to verify the activity was legitimate.)
What are the risks of a Capital One card?
The risks of owning a Capital One credit card are the same as with any other card.
Interest rates can be high, and a lack of discipline can result in overspending and burying yourself in credit card debt.
However, as long as you are careful to make your payments on time and only spend as much as you can afford to repay, there is little risk to owning a card—and quite a bit of reward.
The cash back and miles can be redeemed, and regular on time payments build your credit.
What fees are associated with Capital One?
Depending on the card, there may or may not be an annual fee.
If you miss a payment, you may have to pay late fees.
There are also fees such as interest payments (and overdraft payments if you have a Capital One 360 account.)
How do I apply?
The easiest and most common way to apply for a Capital One card is via their secure signup form.
The form asks you to fill in your first and last name, date of birth, social security number, whether you are a US citizen or not, your contact information, email address, phone number, and financial information.
How long will it take to receive the card?
After you successfully sign up, Capital One will reach out to you within seven to ten days with your card, or information on why you were denied approval.
Capital One: The Card for You?
There are a number of different credit card companies out there, but Capital One is one of the most well-known and varied companies.
Whether you're just applying for the first credit card or you're looking for something to make the most of your expenditure, Capital One is a great choice.
More About Capital One Cards