Compared: Credit One Unsecured Visa and Capital One Platinum

Learn all about two credit cards designed to increase your credit score. We compare the Capital One Platinum card and the Credit One Bank Unsecured Visa. If you want to build your credit score but don't want to pay an annual fee, we recommend the Capital One Platinum card.

The Winner

Capital One Platinum is a better pick because you don't have to pay a fee to rebuild your credit

When you need to rebuild your credit, there aren't a lot of credit card options out there.

One of the best ways to get your score up is to get a low-limit credit card and use it responsibly.

To get one, you save up for a security deposit and get a secured credit card.

Another option is to look at the Credit One Bank Unsecured Visa.

Sure, you can get approved with a low credit score but the catch is: you'll pay a $99 annual fee for the privilege of having the card, which isn't cheap (it's "only" $75 in year one).

TheCapital One Platinum card gives people who want to build their so-so credit (you'll need a credit score of about 640 to qualify) up to an unsecured credit card with no annual fee.

It gets the job done much better than the Credit One Bank card.

And best of all, you don't have to pay to use it.

The Best Part

Both cards help you rebuild credit

If you have a terrible credit score one of the strategies you can use is to get a credit card with a low limit and use it responsibly.

When you use your available credit and pay your bill on time and in full, it is reported to the three major credit bureaus.

Then your score increases.

Both the Capital One Platinum card and Credit One Bank Unsecured Visa are meant for people who are going through the process of rebuilding their credit scores.

People Who Prefer to Pay With Credit Cards (2016)

About the Cards

Capital One Platinum credit card

Capital One Platinum card is one of the 12 credit cards provided by Capital One.

For people with super-low credit scores, the starter card will probably be the Capital One Secured Mastercard.

But if you are ready to graduate to an unsecured card, or if you're starting to rebuild an average or fair credit score, the Capital One Platinum credit card will give you the credit you need with no annual fee.

You're the ideal customer if you have an average credit score

The Capital One Platinum card is designed to help people with unimpressive (but not terrible) credit scores build up their scores from "Fair" to "Good" (670-739) to "Very Good" (740-799) to "Excellent" (800-850).

You do that by paying off your card responsibly every month on time.

Credit One Bank Unsecured Visa

Credit One is one of the fastest growing credit card companies out there.

Its millions of cardholders all have one thing in common: a low credit score.

You're the ideal customer if you have a low credit score

Even if you have a low credit score you can still get approved for a Credit One Bank Unsecured Visa.

Then you should use some (but not all) of the available credit and pay it off in full and on time every month.

Slowly, your credit score will increase.

When your score has risen enough for you to qualify for a card that has no annual fee (like Capital One Platinum card) you might want to cancel your Credit One Bank Unsecured Visa.

Just note that your credit score will take a hit for canceling, so only do it after you have your new and better card in action.

Go for Capital One Platinum credit card if you can get approved

If your credit score is high enough (640) to get approved for a Capital One Platinum card, you should choose it over a Credit One Bank Unsecured Visa.

But if the only unsecured card you can qualify for is Credit One Bank Unsecured Visa, then you might be stuck with it.

Don't feel bad though.

It's a decent secured card, given how many horrible ones are out there.

Why People Love Them

The Capital One Platinum card is stronger because it lets you rebuild your credit without paying an annual fee

An affordable option. A lot of people figure they're going to have to either put down a deposit or pay an annual fee if they want access to credit with a less-than-perfect credit score.

But if your credit score is hurting, you probably don't have a lot of extra funds sitting around at your fingertips for fees and a security deposit.

That's where the Capital One Platinum card comes in — you can use it to build your score and you don't have to pay a fee or put down a security deposit.

People love it because they increase their credit limit after only five easy months

The Capital One Platinum card rewards good credit behavior quickly. One of the things people love most about the Capital One Platinum card is that after the months of paying your bill in full and on time you get a credit line increase.

A higher credit limit is great for two reasons. A higher credit limit means that you have access to more funds.

It also means that your credit score will increase even more because you have more available credit to manage.

Bad Habits of Credit Card Holders

The biggest customer complaint about Capital One Platinum card is you can't earn rewards

We want our rewards! More than ever before, credit card customers are looking for cards that reward their spending.

Unfortunately, they don't earn cashback rewards with the Capital One Platinum card.

The takeaway: the Platinum card builds your credit score as well as your available credit

The Capital One Platinum card is committed to helping its customers build up their credit score.

But it doesn't just do it by giving them a credit card to use.

It also rewards credit-building behavior by increasing the available credit limit after five months of perfect payment history.

Then again, the Credit One Bank Unsecured Visa gives cashback rewards

Cashback is hard to turn down. Finding a credit building card like the Capital One Platinum card that has no fee is a rarity.

But it is equally rare to see a card for people with low credit scores that offers cashback rewards.

The Credit One Bank Unsecured Visa gives back 1% on many popular spending categories.

So, you can at least start earning some cashback to pay off the annual fee!

People love it because they can get approved even with a low credit score

Good for bad credit scores. Even if you have "Bad" credit score (under 580) you can get approved for the Credit One Bank Unsecured Visa.

You can find out if you qualify by applying for pre-approval, and it doesn't hurt your credit score.

People hate the annual fee

You'll get stung for a fee every year. The biggest problem with the Credit One Bank Unsecured Visa is that you pay an annual fee.

It's $75 in year one and $99 every year after that.

That means you'll eventually want to cancel it when your score increases. But canceling hurts your score.

The takeaway: cashback points aren't worth much if fees eat them up

While it's great to be able to score cashback reward points with a credit-building card, you'd have to spend a lot on it to earn enough cashback points just to cover the annual fee.

How They Compare

Capital One Platinum card Credit One Bank Unsecured Visa
How high of a credit score do you need?

>640

<580

Average APR?

24.99%

20.99%

Annual fee?

$0

$75 first year

$99 thereafter

How big of sign-up bonus do you get?

No sign-up bonus

No sign-up bonus

How much do you need to spend to get the bonus?

NA

NA

How many points do you get for every dollar?

NA

1% for eligible purchases

Any restrictions?

NA

Eligible purchases are: gas, groceries, mobile phone service, internet service, cable and satellite

If you spent $100 on the card, then how much would the points be worth in dollars?

NA

$1 for eligible purchases

How much would you need to spend on the card to make up for the fees (excluding APR/rates)?

NA

$7,500 first year

$9,500

Both cards give you a low credit limit and then give you the chance to increase it

Just enough to get you going. For both cards, your initial credit limit is going to be low.

The lowest credit limit for the Credit One Bank Unsecured Visa is $300, and the maximum initial limit is $500.

Rewarded for pristine payments. Both give you the chance to prove your creditworthiness by staying on top of your payments.

Then you get the opportunity for a credit line increase.

The good and the bad about the Capital One Platinum card's services

Modest beginning. Getting access to a credit card with a less than spotless credit history is challenging.

So, it's not surprising that a card that does approve people with "Fair" credit doesn't provide a high credit limit right off the bat.

It gets better quickly. It's fantastic that the Capital One Platinum card automatically gives you a credit line increase after five months of good behavior.

The good and the bad about the Credit One Bank Unsecured Visa's services

Tiny credit lines. The credit limit the Credit One Bank Unsecured Visa could give you at first can be as minuscule as $300.

The company monitors your behavior and is known to offer a credit line increase over time.

This possible increase is not as cut-and-dry as Capital One Platinum card's automatic increase after five solid months.

You don't know if or when you'll be offered a credit line increase.

The takeaway: don't wait around for an increase

Both cards are going to start you off with a low credit limit.

The Capital One Platinum card will increase your limit in five months, provided you pay your balance on time, which isn't that long to wait.

Let's Talk About APR

Both cards have high APRs

You're not going to want either of these if you need to carry a balance.

There are cards out there designed with low APRs for people who need to carry a balance.

Neither of these cards is one of those.

Capital One Platinum card's APR and interest rates

The same high rate for everyone. The APR for Capital One Platinum card is 24.99%.

There is no lowest or highest APR.

No matter what your creditworthiness is, you're going to get charged 24.99%.

That's a very high rate of interest.

Credit One Bank Unsecured Visa's APR and interest rates

It also charges a very high APR. The Credit One Bank Unsecured Visa sets its APR between 16.99-24.99% based on the customer's creditworthiness.

But when we consider that almost everyone who applies for this card does so to repair their poor credit, it might as well just be 24.99%.

The takeaway: Keep both cards paid off due to high-interest rates

Both cards essentially charge a 24.99% APR.

Use them to repair your credit by paying off your credit card bill every month on time and in full.

Or else you will pay dearly for carrying a balance.

Which Everyday Spending Gets in the Way of Paying off Credit Card Balances (2017)

Now Let's Talk Rewards

The Credit One Bank Unsecured Visa is the only one that provides cashback rewards

This is one category where Credit One Bank Unsecured Visa easily defeats Capital One Platinum card.

That's because the Capital One Platinum card doesn't come with any rewards.

The good and the bad about Capital One Platinum card's rewards and bonuses

There are none. There are no cashback rewards or travel rewards offered by the Capital One Platinum card.

When your score has increased enough you can upgrade to a Capital One rewards card like the Capital One Quicksilver Rewards.

The good and the bad about the Credit One Bank Unsecured Visa's rewards and bonuses

Earn some cashback towards your annual fee. With a $99 annual fee after year one, it's good to know that you'll earn a bit of cashback on what you spend.

But you can't earn on everything. TheCredit One Bank Unsecured Visa gives you the chance to earn 1% cashback on all eligible expenses.

The eligible spending categories are gas, groceries, mobile phone service, internet service, and cable and satellite TV service.

The takeaway: something is better than nothing

Although there are restrictions on the expenses you can earn cashback on with the Credit One Bank Unsecured Visa, at least you can earn them.

You can't with the Capital One Platinum card.

Cards with Benefits?

When it comes to benefits, both cards are pretty bare-bones

Neither of these cards is going to blow you away with benefits. But the Capital One Platinum card does have some good features for travelers.

Capital One Platinum card's benefits

The Capital One Platinum card has great features for people who travel. Auto rental and travel accident insurance are included. 24-hour travel assistance is available for cardholders.

And if your car breaks down there is 24-hour roadside assistance.

The card is also great for travelers because it doesn't charge a foreign transaction fee.

Protection for your purchases. An extended warranty service doubles it up to 12 months.

And you get price protection, which means that if you find a better advertised price for something you bought, you'll get reimbursed the difference.

Credit One Bank Unsecured Visa's benefits

Free credit score access helps you measure your progress. One benefit of the Credit One Bank Unsecured Visa is access to your free monthly credit score.

Since you're using this card to increase your score that's a handy feature.

Benefits also include picking your payment due date.

Zero fraud liability is also included with the card.

The takeaway: Not a lot of frills

Both cards have limited benefits beyond the standard Visa and Mastercard features.

The Capital One Platinum card has better features for travelers.

If that's a priority for you, then that might influence your decision.

About those Fees

The annual fee for the Credit One Bank Unsecured Visa makes it hardly worth it

Annual fees don't go away. You might feel like it's worth it to pay a fee to get a credit card when your score is low.

But the Credit One Bank Unsecured Visa's annual fee is never going to go away, even when your score increases.

The good and the bad about the Capital One Platinum card's costs and fees

No annual fee is a big plus. TheCapital One Platinum card doesn't charge an annual fee. That's one of its strongest features.

It also doesn't charge a balance transfer fee.

Cash advance fee is $10 or 3%, whichever is greater. You'll be charged a $35 fee for a late payment.

The good and the bad about the Credit One Bank Unsecured Visa's costs and fees

The fee is the biggest problem. In year one the $75 annual fee is immediately taken right off the credit card balance.

So, if you can't pay it right away you'll be charged interest.

And your available credit limit will be $75 less than what you were approved for.

Every year after that the $99 annual fee comes off your balance in $12 installments every month.

The takeaway: Don't even bother with Credit One's card due to the fees

You're better off putting a refundable security deposit down on a secured card to build your credit than getting stuck with the Credit One Bank Unsecured Visa's annual fee.

Survey of Common Card Fees (2017)

How's the Customer Service?

When it comes to customer service the Capital One Platinum card has far fewer online complaints

One gets recommendations, the other gets complaints. It's always a good idea to go online and see what customers are saying about the companies you're deciding on.

The customer reviews for the Capital One Platinum card are much more positive than the complaints that people have posted about the Credit One Bank Unsecured Visa.

Capital One's Customer Service

It's highly recommended. 93% of customers who sign up for the Capital One Platinum card say they would recommend it.

A lot of the customer reviews focus on how easy and convenient it is to serve yourself with the banking app.

However, there are a few complaints that the customer service reps.

"The company clearly doesn't teach agents the importance of why they should actively listen."

Credit One's Customer Service

No branches, strictly online. The Credit One Bank Unsecured Visa doesn't have bank branches or offices you can visit in person.

It is a 100% online company.

For people who aren't web-savvy, that presents a problem. Capital One does have branches in nine states.

The majority of customer reviews on the Better Business Bureau website are negative.

Of the 13 complaints posted to that site, 10 of them are about billing and collection issues.

The takeaway: The Capital One Platinum card gets higher marks for customer service

If you're not comfortable doing your banking online, then you're not going to want to go with the Credit One Bank Unsecured Visa.

Overall, the online customer reviews for the Capital One Platinum card are far more positive than the ones posted for the Credit One Bank Unsecured Visa.

Key Digital Services

Both have phone apps for managing your account, but only the Capital One Platinum card has CreditWise for credit score builders

Phone apps are standard. These days it has become standard for banks and credit card companies to offer apps for managing your accounts.

Both the Capital One Platinum card and Credit One Bank Unsecured Visa offer phone apps to their customers.

A digital service that supports credit score building. Customers have picked these cards to build their credit, which is why the CreditWise app from the Capital One Platinum card puts it over the top for digital services.

Capital One Platinum card's digital services

An app to help you get wise with your credit score. We know that there areapps out there that can help you improve your credit score.

Capital One offers a credit score tracking app called CreditWise.

It offers useful information on how credit scores work and gives you access to the details of your credit report.

Email alerts come to you whenever your score changes.

The app is available to anyone (whether you have an account with Capital One or not).

Credit One Bank Unsecured Visa's digital services

Nothing special here. Credit One bank has a mobile app for its customers to manage their accounts via tablet or smartphone.

You can also link your credit card account to Apple Pay.

But that's not groundbreaking, most banks and cards offer apps.

The takeaway: the Platinum card is more helpful for the target audience with its app

Considering the reason people sign up for these two cards is to build their credit scores, the CreditWise app offered with the Capital One Platinum card is a big plus.

Customers Satisfaction With Apps for Financial Services (2017)

FAQ

How does someone get started with the Capital One Platinum card?

If you apply using the online application for the Capital One Platinum card, you should get a decision within 60 seconds.

You can also visit one of Capital One's branches if you live in Connecticut, Delaware, Louisiana, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Texas, Virginia, or Washington, D.C.

How does someone get started with the Credit One Bank Unsecured Visa?

A lot of applicants receive pre-approval through the mail.

It comes with a code that you can input on Credit One's "Accept Now" page.

If you didn't get a mail offer you can apply to get prequalified through Credit One's website.

Your credit score won't get hit with a credit check for applying to get prequalified.

But it will if you go forward with the full application.

How do you cancel your Capital One Platinum card?

The best place to start would be its customer service line at 1-800-695-5500.

Or you can go into a branch if you are in Connecticut, Delaware, Louisiana, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Texas, Virginia, or Washington, D.C.

How do you cancel your Credit One Bank Unsecured Visa?

Since the annual fee is paid in monthly installments starting in month 13, you don't have to worry about timing your account cancellation to make sure you don't pay an unnecessary fee.

It's disturbing that a company that is 100% online doesn't have an "email us" option, which would be good for canceling considering how hard it is to talk to someone on the phone.

You might be best off sending a cancellation letter to:

Credit One Bank

P.O. Box 98873

Las Vegas, NV 89193-8873

How can I contact a human for the Capital One Platinum card?

The number to call if you would like to talk to a representative about applying for the Capital One Platinum card is 1-800-695-5500.

You can also visit one of Capital One's branches in Connecticut, Delaware, Louisiana, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Texas, Virginia, or Washington, D.C.

How can I contact a human for the Credit One Bank Unsecured Visa?

Because Credit One Bank Unsecured Visa is completely online it could be hard to talk to a human being.

The account information phone number is automated.

However, you might get someone on the line if you call about application information at 1-800-752-5493.

Is either of these cards good for transferring a balance?

Because these cards both have such a high APR, it's probably not a good choice to transfer a balance to them.

Neither card offers an intro APR period with a lower APR for balance transfers.

But if you must transfer a balance, the Capital One Platinum card has no balance transfer fee.

The Platinum card has the edge

Almost all the takeaways we listed here favor the Capital One Platinum card over the Credit One Bank Unsecured Visa.

We recommended the Capital One Platinum card over the Credit One Bank Unsecured Visa, if you can get approved.

While the Credit One Bank Unsecured Visa is one of the few secured cards that offers cashback rewards, you'd have to spend a $10,000 per year to cover your annual fee.

That kind of math doesn't make much sense to us.

Do you use Capital One Platinum card or Credit One Bank Unsecured Visa?

How has either card worked out for you?

Any great tips (or nightmares) to share with the rest of us?

Let us know in the comments below.


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