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Capital One Credit Cards8 min read
Capital One issues a set of low-cost credit cards, designed for everything from travel to building credit. You won’t find too many extravagant perks, but most Capital One cards offer solid rewards and benefits for a reasonable annual fee (and many have no annual fees).
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The information related to Bass Pro Shops CLUB Card, Cabela's CLUB Mastercard, Capital One BuyPower Card, BuyPower Business Card, Kohl's Charge Card, Lord & Taylor Card, SaksFirst Store Card, SaksFirst Mastercard, Walmart Rewards Card, and Walmart Rewards Mastercard have been collected by Credit Card Insider and have not been reviewed or provided by the issuer or provider of these products.
Capital One has positioned itself as a recognized financial brand in America, celebrated as one of the nation’s top 10 largest banks. Its identity as a banking authority doesn’t come without a considerably large product backing.
Whether you’re looking to build credit, take advantage of cash back bonuses, or need a card to support your travel expenses, Capital One (not to be confused with the less-respected Credit One) offers consumers a selection of cards designed to support a variety of lifestyle habits and necessities.
Capital One also has a line of credit cards designed for small businesses, the Capital One Spark Business Credit Cards.
Cash Back Rewards
|Card & Rewards||Annual Fee||Credit Level|
Capital One Savor Cash Rewards Credit Card
Capital One SavorOne Cash Rewards Credit Card
Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit Card
Capital One QuicksilverOne Cash Rewards Credit Card
Although Capital One labels some of its cards as being for excellent credit, that’s a fairly loose requirement and it doesn’t necessarily mean you need credit scores above 800. In most of those cases good credit history should suffice, although there’s more to the application decision than just credit scores.
The Capital One Savor Cash Rewards Credit Card is made for foodies, with a focus on dining out. If your typical habits include the daily coffee trip or frequent nights out on the town you could find a good value here, but check out the SavorOne below for a similar no-fee option.
The Capital One SavorOne Cash Rewards Credit Card is a lesser version of the Savor, but that doesn’t make it a worse card. Its (slightly) lower rewards are compensated by no annual fee and an intro APR, and depending on how much you’ll spend on dining and entertainment, it could easily be a better pick than the Savor.
The Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit Card is a solid flat-rate card, without any category restrictions to consider. This makes it ideal to fill in the gaps between the bonus categories of your other cards. If you can’t qualify for this card you may qualify for the QuicksilverOne below, which is similar but with an annual fee.
The Capital One QuicksilverOne Cash Rewards Credit Card could be a good choice if your credit isn’t the best. This credit card offers decent flat-rate rewards with no limit but lacks a one-time bonus, and comes with a small fee.
Capital One cash back has no expiration date, and, unlike cash back earned with many issuers, can be redeemed in any amount. This allows you to redeem whenever and in whatever increment you’d like for the life of the account.
|Card & Rewards||Annual Fee||Credit Level|
Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card
Capital One VentureOne Rewards Credit Card
The Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card was created for travelers of all kinds. You can transfer miles to participating airline partners, and you’ll even get an expedited airport security statement credit — a rare find on a card at this fee level.
When you redeem for travel with Capital One, there are no blackout dates or seat restrictions whatsoever, and your miles will never expire.
If you like the Venture card but you’d rather not pay an annual fee, the Capital One VentureOne Rewards Credit Card might suit you better. You’ll earn rewards at a lesser rate, and the welcome bonus is smaller, but you’ll also get a 0% intro interest rate.
In addition to your usual redemption options, Capital One travel rewards cards offer an interesting feature known as the Purchase Eraser. It allows you to redeem your rewards to cover past travel purchases.
Building Credit: Unsecured and Secured Credit Cards
The Capital One Platinum Credit Card is a simple card made for people with average or limited credit, and could make a good stepping stone up to more rewarding credit cards. Consider it if you’re still navigating the credit-building process and are having trouble qualifying for better cards, but also check out the Journey Student card below, a similar option but with cash back rewards (it doesn’t require you to be a student).
If your credit is poor and you’re ready to work your way back up, the Capital One Platinum Secured Credit Card can help you do just that.
As a secured card it requires a security deposit to fund your credit line, but in this case you’ll be asked to make a starting deposit of $49, $99, or $200, depending on your creditworthiness. No matter which amount you’re required to deposit, you’ll get an initial credit line of $200 (you can deposit more for a higher credit line).
It’s a small credit limit, but most secured cards give you a limit that simply matches your deposit. The Capital One Secured card also automatically considers you for a higher credit line after six months, another feature that sets it apart from other cards of this type.
Student Credit Cards
|Card & Rewards||Annual Fee||Credit Level|
Capital One SavorOne Student Cash Rewards Credit Card
||$0||Limited Credit History|
Capital One Quicksilver Student Cash Rewards Credit Card
||$0||Limited Credit History|
Journey Student Rewards from Capital One
||$0||Limited Credit History|
You might feel like you’re settling for a student card, but the Capital One SavorOne Student Cash Rewards Credit Card (Review) earns the same rewards as its non-student cousin, the Capital One SavorOne Cash Rewards Credit Card (Review). With solid cash back rates and a chance to earn a higher credit line rather quickly, the SavorOne Student is one of the best student credit cards on the market.
Bonus categories got you down? Some credit cards are a bit too complicated. The Capital One Quicksilver Student Cash Rewards Credit Card (Review) simplifies the reward equation, with a solid flat rate for everything you buy. Where most cards give only 1% for non-category purchases, you’ll earn a bit more; and that could add up over time.
The Journey Student Rewards from Capital One is great for building credit and learning the ropes of responsible card use, all while earning a bit of cash back. Despite the name, and unlike Capital One’s other student cards, you don’t actually have to be a student to qualify for this card; anyone is welcome to apply.
Co-Branded & Store Credit Cards
In addition to its personal lineup of cards, Capital One partners with a handful of retailers and organizations to offer cards with perks specific to each company.
|Bass Pro Shops||Bass Pro Shops CLUB Card|
|Cabela’s||Cabela’s CLUB Mastercard|
|GM||Capital One BuyPower Card|
|Helzberg Diamonds||Helzberg Diamonds Credit Card|
|Kohl’s||Kohl’s Charge Card (Review)|
|Lord & Taylor||Lord & Taylor Card|
|Neiman Marcus/Bergdorf Goodman|
|Saks||SaksFirst Store Card (Review)|
|Teamsters||Teamster Privilege Credit Card|
|Union Plus||Union Plus Credit Card|
|Walmart||Walmart Rewards Card (Review)|
Capital One Credit Card Features
Capital One provides a number of standard features to cardholders, in addition to any specific card perks. These benefits may vary slightly depending on the category of card you’ve chosen (e.g. secured vs. travel), so be sure to read up on the features of your particular card to make the most out of it.
Cardholder benefits may include:
- Account management and support: Capital One offers online access to your account from your smartphone and computer alike. You can choose your monthly due date and preferred payment method. You’ll have access to a mobile app and the Eno online assistant, to help keep an eye on your accounts and alert you when something is wrong, as well as 24/7 customer service if you have immediate questions.
- Fraud coverage and protections: All Capital One cards come with zero-risk fraud liability to cover you against fraudulent purchases in the case of a stolen or lost card. You can create virtual card numbers to make online purchases safer, or easily place a lock on your card should you find that you’ve misplaced it (or if it might be stolen).
- Capital One CreditWise: The CreditWise service provides access to your VantageScore 3.0 credit score, based on your TransUnion credit report. You can also explore various aspects of your TransUnion report, like account and credit utilization details.
- Mastercard or Visa benefits: Your card will come with a number of benefits and/or shopping and travel protections, depending on the tier at which you’re approved (World Mastercard, World Elite Mastercard, etc.). These may include a personal concierge service, price protection, travel accident insurance, rental car insurance, and many more.
- Miles Transfer: Capital One miles can be transferred to a number of travel loyalty programs, where you can use them to help fuel your travel plans.
- No foreign transaction fees: All Capital One cards come with no foreign transaction fees, making them good picks for traveling abroad or making purchases in foreign currency.
A Brief History of Capital One
Capital One’s journey to the seventh-largest bank in the U.S. (based on total assets) was one accomplished relatively quickly — the credit card issuer was founded in 1988 by Richard Fairbank, who currently serves as the Chairman and CEO.
He believed that information, technology, and analytics could be brought together to provide customers with powerful financial tools to support their personal economic development. This belief propelled the company’s reliance on analytics as its primary strategy for creating credit cards for a variety of customers.
Advertised as a “monoline” company, meaning virtually all revenue comes from a single product, its profits soared off of credit cards alone. During strong economic times, the bank was able to compete with more diverse competitors offering products beyond credit cards. However, during harder periods of financial inconsistencies, the company struggled to keep up.
The Move From Monoline
Although Capital One is still most notable for its expansive line of cards, it began to understand the need for diversity as it neared the 21st century. In the late 1990s and early 2000s, it entered retail banking to minimize the risk of limited revenue streams under a monoline business approach. This marked the time in which Capital One began applying its analytical data, previously utilized to construct customer profiles to propel its credit card business, to the sector of auto financing.
Throughout the early 2000s, the company made several key acquisitions to help support its transition into retail banking. It bought out Hibernia Nation Bank in 2006, followed by North Fork Bank and Chevy Chase Bank in 2008 in order to boost its market share in the New York and Washington D.C metropolitan areas.
One of the most important acquisitions, which finalized a transition from a monoline business layout to a diverse model that focused on providing retail banking services, was of ING Direct in 2012. This particular acquisition allowed Capital One to begin exploring online banking as a strategic tool in the customer’s financial experience.
One advantage Capital One had over competitors, even during its monoline days, was the ability to deep-dive into analytical reporting in order to understand its customer’s spending patterns. This level of intelligence allowed it to design cards according to the specific needs of its customers.
Analytics helped Capital One produce quality products that allowed it to stay afloat during harsher economic periods, despite only having credit cards as its sole stream of revenue. Its dedication to quality customer support and personal attention helped its customer base grow organically, so when it began acquiring larger banks in the early 2000s, its following naturally ventured into the expanded line of products and services.
A Small Period of Tremendous Growth
Capital One’s analytical abilities further complemented the growth experienced by the additional acquisitions. Like many big banks before it, Capital One strategically acquired companies based on their expertise in order to boost its own capabilities.
When Rob Alexander was appointed as the company’s Chief Information Officer in 2007, he placed a focus on acquisitions as a means of growing its reach and expanding its financial offerings.
This included additional lenders to increase its own credibility within the loan space, and technology companies to expand its digital and analytic operations. Its acquisition of ING in 2011 was key in pushing the company into the online banking sphere.
Alexander recognized the significant role mobile banking would have in the years to come. He began actively adopting a more agile business management style from 2011 onward, building a software development team to deliver better online banking to customers.
Expanding and Making Finance More Accessible
Headquartered in McLean Virginia, Capital One has progressed significantly from its monoline days. Despite its now-diversified offering of products and services, it remained true to its credit card roots and demonstrates unwavering dedication to providing a high-quality customer experience.
It currently has 123 offices across the U.S as well as locations in Canada, Germany, France, the Philippines, and the U.K. Capital One is beginning a new endeavor to revamp the way customers experience banking through the development of trendy financial cafes to complement its traditional local branches.
Through the lure of freshly roasted coffee and innovative workspaces, these cafes are intended to provide a welcoming space for customers to take control of their finances. They offer one-on-one money coaching as well.
The Name You Know Today
As of 2018, Capital One earned $32.38 billion in revenue, and continues to help fund charitable endeavors such as its Future Edge initiative to support affordable housing and increase financial literacy. To accomplish this, the program has invested $150 million over the course of a five-year plan, focused on low-opportunity areas.
In addition to funding financial literacy programs that teach financial independence, Capital One also has committed itself to sponsoring college-based athletic programs to help students succeed academically and in its communities, as well as furthering financial and professional opportunities for minority- and women-owned businesses.
Capital One’s 2019 Data Breach
In July 2019, Capital One hit a bit of a speedbump.
A hacker managed to access a variety of personal information, ranging from Social Security numbers and linked bank account numbers to names and addresses, belonging to millions of Capital One customers in both the U.S. and Canada.
The good news? The suspect has since been apprehended, and Capital One’s rundown of the incident suggests that none of the information accessed seems to have been disseminated.
Nevertheless, the situation is an important reminder that even the modern security technology employed by global businesses has its weaknesses. If you think you may have been impacted by this breach, or any other data breach, make sure you understand how to deal with identity theft, and monitor your credit reports to keep an eye out for fraudulent activity.
Capital One has stated that it will notify customers that may have been impacted via traditional mail. Free credit monitoring and identity protection services are being offered to those affected.
Brendan has been writing about personal finance for over eight years, and is now taking on the challenge of bringing high-quality credit education to the masses. He makes sure that Credit Card Insider is covering the most important credit topics transparently and precisely, and that we have up-to-date reviews of credit cards so you can find cards that are right for you.
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