Which Capital One credit card is right for you?

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Written by
Les Masterson
Terms apply; see the online credit card application for full terms and conditions of offers and rewards.

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Capital One is one of the most widely known credit card brands with its celebrity pitch people asking “What’s in Your Wallet?”

It’s also one of the nation’s top 10 banks in terms of deposits and offers a portfolio of products and services to consumers, small businesses and commercial clients.

Capital One has many credit cards that sound so similar that it might be difficult to know which one to choose. Here’s a head-to-head comparison of several Capital One credit cards that boils down the differences.

Which Capital One credit card is best?

CardName vs. CardName

The CardName discontinued and its lesser-known sibling, the CardNamediscontinued, are both geared toward travelers, but which card is best depends on how much you travel.

The CardName continuously ranks as a top pick on our list of the best travel credit cards, and for good reason. It offers:

  • One-time bonus of 75,000 miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months from account opening – this bonus is worth $750 towards travel
  • Unlimited 2x miles on every purchase; that’s two miles for every dollar spent
  • Fly any airline, stay at any hotel, anytime, or transfer your miles to numerous leading travel loyalty programs
  • Up to a $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck
  • Annual fee: AnnualFees

The CardName offers:

  • One-time bonus of 20,000 miles ($200 in travel) once you spend $500 on purchases within the first three months
  • Unlimited 1.25x miles on every purchase; that’s 1.25 miles for every dollar you spend
  • Transfer your miles to numerous leading travel loyalty programs
  • Intro 0% APR on purchases and balance transfers for 15 months (then, RegAPR; balance transfer fee applies)
  • No annual fee

You can use the miles on either card for travel expenses, including plane tickets, hotel accommodations and auto rentals. There are no restrictions so you don’t have to purchase through a specific airline or hotel unlike some other cards. Instead you can cover travel purchases made with your card, with the miles you’ve earned.

Neither card charges foreign transaction fees (typical foreign transaction fees on other cards are 3%), and both offer fraud coverage and security alerts as well as 24/7 emergency travel assistance. 

Which one is best for you? Well, that really comes down to whether you spend enough on your credit card to earn enough miles to offset the annual fee of the CardName. If you do the math and find that earning two-times the miles on all your purchases means that you earn enough rewards to cover your annual travel expenses, the card is probably right for you. There’s also that Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application reimbursement credit, which is a valuable perk for anyone who spends a lot of time in airports.

If, on the other hand, you are just an occasional credit card user who wants to know you’re earning SOMETHING for the times you do swipe your card, then the CardName is likely a better choice. It also offers a 0% intro APR period which could come in handy for someone looking for extra time to pay off a balance interest free.

See a full side-by-side breakdown of these two cards here.

CardName vs. CardName

Whether the CardName discontinued or the CardName discontinued is better for you depends largely on your credit history.

Both cards offer 1.5% cash back on purchases, no foreign transaction fees, fraud protection and security alerts and neither has restrictions on eligible purchases. In other words, you’re not limited to spend in specific product or service areas or companies, and you don’t have to worry about a cap that affects your rewards earning.

Here’s the main difference – the CardName is for people with excellent/good credit; the CardName is for those with average/fair/limited credit.

The CardName offers:

  • A AnnualFees annual fee
  • Access to a higher credit limit in as little as six months
  • Access to tools that will help you monitor your credit and credit score

The CardName offers:

  • No annual fee
  • One-time $200 bonus after spending $500 on purchases within the first three months
  • Intro period of 15 months of no interest on purchases and balance transfers (then, RegAPR; balance transfer fee applies)

Both cards are great options for those who want to gain cash back, but which card to choose depends on your credit history. If your history is solid enough to avoid the annual fee, then do it! If you need to build up some credit first, the AnnualFees annual fee the CardName charges could very well be worth it as there aren’t many cash-back rewards cards out there available to folks with average/fair/limited credit.

We compare these two cards in further detail here.

CardName vs. CardName

Choosing between the CardName discontinued and CardName discontinued could once again come down to credit history as well as whether you have the funds to put forward up front for a secured credit card.

The CardName is geared toward people with an average/fair/limited credit history; this could be someone who has defaulted on a loan in the past five years or who has limited credit history, but who otherwise has been consistent with payments and it seeing their credit score on the upward trend.

The CardName, on the other hand, is designed for those looking to build or rebuild their credit.

Both offer fraud coverage; the possibility of a higher credit limit in as little as six months; and CreditWise, which lets members access their credit score and monitor their credit. They both offer Platinum Mastercard® benefits as well. Additionally, neither card has an annual fee and neither is a rewards card.

Basically, the CardName is good for people with a limited credit history or who are looking to get back on track, but certainly haven’t crashed their credit. The CardName, though, is an option for someone who does need a bigger credit boost or who may not have yet built a credit history.

The CardName offers an initial credit line of $200 and requires access to an authorized bank account to make your security deposit amount of $49, $99 or $200. Your security deposit once paid, will secure an initial line of credit for you of $200, but you can increase your initial line of credit up to a maximum of $1,000 by depositing more than your required deposit before your account opens. Assuming your account is in good standing, the security deposit is fully refundable when you close the card (hopefully to graduate to an unsecured card after your credit history has improved).

The secured card offers financial education through its website to helps you understand the ins and outs of building or rebuilding credit. It also has a Credit Simulator that shows you how specific actions can affect your credit score.

Ultimately, the secured card is good for someone who has had issues with their credit and is now looking to rebuild it with responsible credit card use. It could be an option for someone who is currently using a prepaid debit card or no card at all. The CardName, on the other hand, is meant for people who may have had a misstep, but who aren’t at a point at which they need to completely start over with building credit.

CardName vs. CardName

Capital One offers a number of business credit cards in addition to its consumer cards. Let’s take a look at two popular business card options. The CardName discontinued and CardName discontinued are both, as the names imply, cash-back rewards cards, but their differences will matter depending on the nature of your business.

The CardName offers:

  • No annual fee
  • 1.5% cash back on all purchases with no cap on earning
  • A $750 bonus when you spend $6,000 in the first three months of account opening

CardName features:

  • An annual fee of AnnualFees (which is refunded each year you spend at least $150,000 with the card)
  • 2% cash back on all purchases with no cap on earning
  • Earn a one-time cash bonus of $1,200 once you spend $30,000 in the first three months

Both cards offer free employee cards, fraud coverage and alerts, quarterly and year-end summaries to help with budgeting and tax time, and no foreign transaction fees.

Each credit card requires excellent credit, which usually means you’ve never declared bankruptcy or defaulted on a loan, and haven’t been more than 60 days late on any credit card, medical bill or loan in the last year. Other credit conditions may apply.

Which card you decide on really depends on whether you want to pay an annual fee and how much cash back you want. In this case, an annual fee likely only makes sense if your business spends enough each year to earn the rewards that would more than offset that fee. Otherwise, you’re likely better off with the no-annual-fee version even though it has slightly lower rewards.


Like the cash-rewards cards mentioned above, the CardName discontinued is similar except that it’s focused on travel rewards and geared toward businesses that find themselves on the road or taking to the skies on a regular basis.

The CardName offers:

  • AnnualFees annual fee
  • Two miles per $1 on all purchases and five miles per $1 on car rentals and hotels through Capital One TravelSM
  • Earn a one-time 50,000 mile bonus after spending $4,500 in the first three months from account opening – this bonus is worth $500 in travel
  • Receive up to a $100 credit for one Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application fee

It also offers free employee cards, fraud coverage and alerts, quarterly and year-end summaries for budgeting and tax time, and no foreign transaction fees.

What credit score do you need for a Capital One credit card?

Capital One offers credit cards for people with all levels of credit.

As covered above, they offer cards such as the CardName which is designed for people with limited or bad credit, cards for average/fair/limited credit like the CardName, and cards for good or excellent credit such as the CardName.

Your credit score isn’t necessarily the only thing being considered during an application review though. Issuers don’t usually specify the exact number you’ll need to qualify for a card, and additional factors from your application and credit history could also affect your approval chances.

What is the best Capital One credit card?

Capital One offers so many credit cards that it might be difficult to choose the right one for you. When making that decision, think about:

  • Do you want points for travel or cash back?
  • Is your credit excellent, average or do you need to work on it?
  • Do you want a card with no annual fee or are you okay paying a fee if it means added benefits and the chance to rack up rewards at a higher rate?

By asking yourself these questions you can make an educated decision as to which Capital One card is right for you.

This is just a taste of what Capital One has to offer. For the full line up, check out our easy-to-use compare tool where you can compare credit cards from Capital One and many other issuers.

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The information in this article is believed to be accurate as of the date it was written. Please keep in mind that credit card offers change frequently. Therefore, we cannot guarantee the accuracy of the information in this article. Reasonable efforts are made to maintain accurate information. See the online credit card application for full terms and conditions on offers and rewards. Please verify all terms and conditions of any credit card prior to applying.

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