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The Capital One Platinum Credit Card is specifically designed for people with fair or average credit, to help build a positive credit history.
If you imagine a plain credit card, this is probably the kind of card you’re thinking about. There are no rewards to earn, no introductory interest rates, and no impressive benefits.
However, there’s also no annual fee, making it a potentially free way to improve your credit to the point where you can qualify for a more rewarding card. You’ll be able to monitor one of your VantageScore 3.0 credit scores, getting advice to improve it as you go.
There’s nothing particularly bad about this card, but nothing too special about it either. Being made for average credit, it just lacks the nice rewards and benefits that some other cards have. But if you don’t have the best credit this could be the right card for you.
Our Rating: 3 out of 5 Stars
Why we like this card
We give the Capital One Platinum Card 3 out of 5 Stars because it’s not a bad option if you have average credit and are looking to improve it for free. But it’s very bare-bones, and there are some more rewarding offers out there.
- Designed for average credit scores, giving people a non-secured option to improve their credit
- No annual fee, so no cost overall if you avoid paying interest and are responsible with the card
- No foreign transaction fee
- A higher credit limit after making the first 5 payments on time
- Track one of your VantageScores
- View your TransUnion credit report for free
Why this card could be better
- No rewards (the Capital One Journey Student is very similar but does have rewards, and is available to everyone)
- Benefits are very basic
- You get one of your VantageScores rather than a FICO score, like some other cards offer (but this still lets you monitor your credit)
Credit cards for average credit are often quite simple, like this one is, but not always. Check the bottom of the page for other cards for average credit that offer some rewards for your spending too.
Insider Advice: Using This Card as Part of Your Credit Card Strategy
- Make your first 5 payments on time and you’ll get an automatic credit limit increase. You should always be paying on time, of course, but it’s a nice perk.
- Build your credit with this card by using it responsibly. Eventually you’ll be able to qualify for a card with a valuable rewards program.
- Aim to pay your entire balance in full every billing period. This will prevent interest from accruing on purchases and it will be good for your credit too.
- Use this card outside the country because there are no foreign transaction fees (unless you have a rewards card without foreign transaction fees to use instead).
- Check the CreditWise tool to monitor one of your VantageScores, and view your TransUnion credit report.
- Don’t close out this card if you end up getting a more rewarding one — keep it but don’t use it, if possible. Having more open credit is good for your credit scores.
There are no rewards for using this card, like points or cash back. Instead, its main function is to help you manage your spending and build credit. It also has a few protection benefits that could come in useful.
This card has most of the basic benefits that you get with every card. However, it lacks purchase protection, a common benefit found on many cards. But this isn’t a very big deal either way.
Higher Credit Line
You’ll have access to a higher credit line, or credit limit, after making your first 5 payments on time.
Credit cards for average credit typically come with credit limits on the small side, like $1,000 or less at first, so this is a nice feature to have. You can usually request a credit line increase periodically, as long as your credit history warrants it, but most card issuers don’t have an automatic increase feature like this.
Capital One CreditWise
The CreditWise service provides free access to one of your VantageScore 3.0 credit scores, based on your TransUnion credit report. You can monitor your score over time and get alerts about any changes.
Users can see data from their actual TransUnion credit reports for free, which is a more interesting feature that most credit card issuers don’t offer. There’s also a credit simulator which will show how certain decisions would impact your credit, for better or worse.
Anyone can enroll in the CreditWise service, cardholder or not. Although the VantageScore credit scoring models aren’t as popular as the FICO scoring models, this is still a good way to track your credit over time and see how it changes based on your financial activity. See some alternatives below for other cards that provide free access to a FICO score.
This benefit provides reimbursement for eligible purchases you make entirely with your card if you find the same item being advertised for a lesser price. This coverage applies for 60 days after the date of purchase.
Reimbursement is available for the difference between what you paid and the price for which you find the item being advertised. Up to $250 in reimbursement is available per claim. You must see either a printed advertisement or a non-auction internet advertisement.
Many purchases will be eligible for this benefit, but many others will not be eligible. Here’s a partial list of purchases that will not be covered by price protection.
Purchases and Situations That Are Not Covered (Partial List)
- Any items purchased from an internet site whose primary purpose is not the sale of the item or related items
- Items purchased for resale, rental, professional, or commercial use
- Items advertised in or as a result of “limited quantity,” “going-out-of-business sales,” “close out,” or as “discontinued”
- Items purchased from auctions
- Jewelry and art
- Used or antique items
- Layaway items
- Items returned to any store
So quite a few cases aren’t covered, including some that you might hope would be eligible. In particular, the “limited quantity” and other sales would’ve been a good target for this benefit.
Eligible purchases will have their manufacturer’s warranty doubled by up to one additional year. This benefit applies to warranties of one year or less.
The purchase must be made entirely with the Platinum card. Be sure to keep all records related to the purchase, like receipts, card statements, the warranty information, and any other documentation. Reimbursement is available up to the amount charged to your card, with a maximum of $10,000.
You must file a claim within 60 days of the failure of the product, or your claim might not be honored. To file a claim, call 1-800-MC-ASSIST and request a claim form. Then follow the instructions you’re given.
There are quite a few types of purchases that won’t be covered by this benefit. Here’s a partial list.
Purchases and Situations That Are Not Covered (Partial List)
- Used or antique items
- Items purchased for resale, or commercial or professional use
- Physical damage to the item
- Collectibles of any kind
- Motorized vehicles, including their equipment and accessories
- Plants, shrubs, animals, pets, consumables, and perishables
- Buildings, including homes, permanently installed items, fixtures, and structures
- Software of any kind
- All types of media with stored data or music
- Any shipping or transportation charges, or promised delivery time frames
- Direct or indirect losses resulting from Acts of God (including flood, hurricane, lightning, and earthquake)
- Illegal activity
There are obviously a lot of purchases that won’t be included by this benefit, unfortunately. Monty Python’s dead parrot wouldn’t be covered. If you’re making a purchase and wondering if it will be covered, we recommend you call customer support to ask.
Travel and Emergency Assistance
Provides help in case of an emergency while traveling. Call the number on the back of the card or 1-800-992-6029 for help getting connected to local emergency services. The cardholder will be responsible for any third-party charges.
This benefit is available when traveling 50 miles or more from home. But if you live in New York there is no distance requirement.
Included Emergency Services
- An emergency message service to relay messages to travelers, family, or business associates
- Transfers of up to $5,000 from family members, friends, or businesses, to cover legal fees or post bail
- A medical referral service to help you find local doctors, dentists, hospitals, etc.
- A legal referral service to help you find English-speaking attorneys or U.S. embassies in your area
- A lost luggage locator service to help find your bags if they’re lost by a common carrier
- Pre-trip assistance to inform you about weather conditions, health precautions, the passport visas needed, and ATM locations
Travel Accident Insurance
Provides coverage for you, your spouse, and unmarried dependent children while traveling by common carrier. This benefit covers accidental loss of life, limb, sight, speech, or hearing, and up to $100,000 is available.
The entire cost of the passenger fares must be charged to the Platinum card. This benefit will take effect automatically.
A written claim notice must be sent to the Benefit Administrator within 20 days after the occurrence, or as soon as reasonably possible. Then, you’ll receive some forms to provide proof of the loss. Contact customer support for help during this process.
There are some other terms and limitations involved. For example:
- The full $100,000 is available for accidental loss of life, two or more hands and/or feet, sight of both eyes, or speech and hearing
- $500,000 is available for the accidental loss of one hand or foot, sight of one eye, speech, or hearing.
- $250,000 is available for the accidental loss of the thumb and index finger of the same hand
- Severed hands or feet will still count as lost even if they’re later reattached
Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver
Also called MasterRental assistance, this benefit provides coverage for rented vehicles against damage and theft. You must charge the entire cost to your card, and decline the rental company’s own insurance.
Coverage is provided for vehicles rented for 15 days or less. This benefit is supplemental to your primary auto insurance.
Quite a few vehicles are excluded from this benefit, including some you might hope would be included.
Excluded Rental Vehicles
- Expensive, exotic, or antique automobiles
- All trucks, sport utility trucks, pickups, and full-size vans
- Motorcycles, motorbikes, and any other vehicle having fewer than four wheels
- Recreational vehicles and campers
- Any rental vehicle with an MSRP above $50,000
So you won’t be able to use this to cover rental trucks when you’re moving, for example, which is what I personally wish would be included.
There are a few other minor benefits we didn’t list describe above as well, like:
- Master RoadAssist Service in case you break down while driving
- Fraud Protection
- Account Alerts
- Capital One Second Look account monitoring
- Identity Theft Resolution Services
See the full set of benefits for the Capital One® Platinum Card, and check your Guide to Benefits to learn the details of any specific benefit.
The Costs & Fees
|Purchase APR||Balance Transfer APR||Cash Advance APR|
|26.96% (Variable)||26.96% (Variable)||26.96% (Variable)|
|Annual Fee||Foreign Transaction Fee||Balance Transfer Fee||Cash Advance Fee|
|$0||None||$0||3% of the amount of the cash advance, but not less than $10|
|Penalty APR||Late Fee||Returned Payment Fee|
|None||Up to $39||None|
All very simple and easy to understand here. You’ll have no annual fee, and no foreign transaction fee.
If you carry a balance from month to month you’ll be charged interest at the rate above. But if you pay off your balance in full each month, you’ll never be charged interest on purchases. You can use this strategy to make this card completely free to use, and it will be good for your credit utilization too.
|Customer Support for Existing Accounts||1-800-CAPITAL (1-800-227-4825)|
|Apply for a credit card||1-800-695-5500|
Capital One is known to have pretty good customer support, overall. They recently came in third in J.D. Power’s Credit Card Satisfaction Survey 2017, a yearly study of how consumers feel about the various credit card issuers. This is about where they usually fall.
Based on our experience, this rating seems about right. We’ve spoken to them a few times on the phone, and have usually had a good experience. If you have a question about your card account or when applying for a card, give them a call at the number above for some assistance.
The Platinum card is very simple, so you’ll be able to get a pretty complete description of it from Capital One’s card page. It includes a link to the basic benefits that come with every Capital One card. You may find yourself looking for more features, but nope, there’s not much to find.
Capital One takes the extra step of providing a link to the card’s Guide to Benefits, which most credit card companies don’t do. This is a great move on their part because it shows you the full details of all the Mastercard benefits you’ll get with the card. If you’re trying to do thorough research about a card before you apply, this kind of information is very useful.
The Bottom Line
The Capital One Platinum Card is designed for people who are looking to improve their credit scores. It’s a card for average or fair credit, so if you’ve had trouble qualifying for other cards this one could be a good option for you.
There are no rewards, but you’ll be able to keep an eye on your TransUnion credit report, and the VantageScore 3.0 that’s based on it. Some basic shopping and travel protections are there if you need them, though they have quite a few restrictions.
Overall, it’s not a bad option if you have fair or average credit and are looking to improve it with a credit card. For no annual fee, it can be completely free as long as you avoid interest. But there are some other cards made for the same level of credit which do offer some cash back. Check out some of those alternatives below.
How to Apply for the Capital One Platinum Card
You can apply for this card securely on Capital One’s website. Capital One will check your credit with one or all three major credit bureaus when you apply.
Many applicants will get an instant decision in just a few seconds. But in some cases it may take longer, and Capital One may request more information from you.
Qualifications and Requirements
- Must be 18 to apply
- Personal identifying information, including SSN, email address, residential address, and phone number
- Total annual income, monthly rent/mortgage
- Employment status
Alternatives to the Capital One Platinum Card
There’s a decent assortment of other cards available for people with fair or average credit. Here are some of the best, including a secured card that could be a good option.
- Capital One® QuicksilverOne® Cash Rewards (Review): Also designed for average credit, $39 annual fee, 1.5% cash back on all purchases
- Capital One® Journey Student® Credit Card (Review): Don’t need to be a student to apply, similar to the Platinum except 1.25% cash back when paid on time
- Deserve Pro Mastercard (Review): No annual fee, looks at expanded criteria when applying, 3% back on travel and entertainment, 2% back at restaurants
- Discover it® Secured (Review): Also no annual fee but requires a security deposit, 2% cash back at restaurants and gas stations
The QuicksilverOne Cash Rewards is another card built for average credit. It’s very similar, except in one way: basically, you’ll get some rewards for paying a $39 annual fee.
- 1.5% cash back on all purchases, with no limit
And that’s about it. Pretty simple.
The QuicksilverOne comes with all the benefits mentioned above for the Platinum card. That includes accessing a higher credit line after paying your first five payments on time.
Costs & Fees
This card has a $39 annual fee, which is the only difference in costs between these two cards. You could offset that fee by spending $2,600 per year with the card, which would provide $39 in rewards. Any cash back you earn after that would be profit.
If you’re trying to decide between these two cards, ask yourself if you’ll spend more than $2,600 per year with it. If you will, go with the QuicksilverOne because you’ll end up with a net profit at the end of the year. If not, the QuicksilverOne will cost you money when you pay the annual fee. In that case you should go with the Platinum.
This card is also designed for average credit, which would be typical for a student who is just starting to establish a credit history. But you can use it to improve your credit whether you’re a student or not.
- 1% cash back for every purchase (pay on time and that goes up to 1.25% cash back)
So you can earn a bit of cash back with this card, but not a whole lot. Since you should be paying on time every month, you should always expect to earn the 1.25% rate.
This is better than the Platinum card, which has no rewards at all.
You’ll get pretty much the same benefits as the Platinum card, as described above. The Journey Student card is a Visa, however, so some of the details of the benefits may differ slightly.
Costs & Fees
The Journey card has no annual fee, just like the Platinum card. You won’t typically find terms like intro APRs on cards like these.
That means the Journey Student card is a better option overall. Both cards are designed for average credit, they have no annual fees, and they have the same extra benefits. The only difference is that the Journey Student provides cash back for your purchases while the Platinum card does not.
So we can easily recommend going with the Journey Student over the Platinum, whether you’re a student or not.
Rather than just looking at your credit and finances, Deserve will also take into account your education and future earning potential. This gives more people a chance of being accepted.
- 3% cash back on travel and entertainment
- 2% cash back at restaurants (excludes bars)
- 1% cash back on all other purchases
The 3% and 2% cash back categories are available for the first $500 in combined spending each month. After that, 1% cash back will be earned on those purchases.
Cardholders may also get promotional offers of extra, limited-time bonus categories.
The Deserve Pro is also a Mastercard, so it comes with most of the same basic shopping and travel protections as the Platinum card.
You will not automatically get a higher credit line with the Deserve Pro (although you may be able to request a credit limit increase after using the card responsibly for a while).
If you refer friends to get Deserve cards, you’ll get a $30 statement credit for every approval. Your friend gets a $30 statement credit too. If you refer 10 friends you’ll get a $200 bonus, for a total of $500 in statement credits.
Costs & Fees
There’s no annual fee or foreign transaction fee with the Deserve Pro. That’s just like the Capital One Platinum card. The fee for your first late payment will be waived.
You can’t use the Deserve Pro for balance transfers or cash advances. This shouldn’t be a problem, however, unless you’re looking for a card specifically for balance transfers. If that’s the case, it would be better to check out the best balance transfer credit cards.
Overall, the main difference between these cards is the rewards program. Neither card has a fee, but you’ll be able to earn up to 3% cash back with the Deserve card. I know what my first choice would be.
Secured credit cards are designed for the single purpose of building credit. They require a refundable security deposit when you’re approved, which will fund the credit limit. Other than that, they’re pretty much like any other credit card, although they usually have no rewards and few benefits.
The Discover it® Secured Credit Card (Review) is probably the best secured card, one of the few that come with rewards. Before applying, it would be a good idea to check to see if you’re pre-qualified for any unsecured cards, from Discover or other issuers. If you’re not pre-qualified for any cards, the Discover it Secured is a good option.
- 2% cash back at restaurants and on gas (up to $1,000 per quarter, then 1% cash back)
- 1% cash back on all other purchases
- Cashback Match: get double the cash back in your first year
This is a great rewards program to find on a secured card, especially when you factor in the Cashback Match. Most secured cards don’t offer any rewards at all, and neither does the Capital One Platinum card for that matter. The Discover it Secured provides 4% cash back at restaurants and on gas in that first year, which is quite the offer for a card designed for poor credit.
Cardholders can use Discover’s FICO Credit Scorecard feature to check their FICO Score 8 credit scores, based on their TransUnion credit reports. This is a bit different than Capital One’s CreditWise service, which shows your VantageScore 3.0 based on that same TransUnion report. CreditWise also shows your actual TransUnion report too, a rare feature.
Both of these services, Discover’s FICO Credit Scorecard and Capital One’s CreditWise tool, are available to anyone. You don’t need to be a cardholder to use them. So, whether you have either of these cards or not, you could potentially use both of these services to get an even broader view of your credit.
Costs & Fees
The Discover it Secured has basically the same costs and fees as the Platinum card. There’s no annual fee, no foreign transaction fee, and a fairly high APR of 25.24% Variable.
You will need to fund the credit limit with a security deposit, however. This can be from $200 to $2,500.
It’s clear to see that the Discover it Secured is much more rewarding than the Capital One Platinum, despite being a secured card. But if you can’t or don’t want to pay the security deposit to get it, the Platinum card may be a better option, or one of the others on this list. You could use any of these cards to improve your credit, and eventually qualify for a better card.
Are you building credit with the Capital One Platinum Card? How do you like it? Leave your own review, we’d love to hear from you!
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