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Best Capital One Credit Cards of October 2020

The best Capital One credit cards offer valuable and easy-to-earn rewards, reasonable or no annual fees, solid bonuses for new cardholders, and competitive interest rates, among other things. 

Which one of the popular issuer’s cards is right for you? Some are geared to travelers, students, or small businesses, others are broadly appealing if you want a little something back on each purchase. We analyzed the latest offers to help you determine which might work best for you.

Best Capital One Credit Cards

  • Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit Card
    Best Overall, Best for Cash-Back Rewards
  • Journey Student Rewards from Capital One
    Best for Students
  • Capital One SavorOne Cash Rewards Credit Card
    Best for Dining
  • Capital One QuicksilverOne Cash Rewards Credit Card
    Best for Fair Credit
  • Capital One Spark Cash for Business
    Best for Businesses
  • Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card
    Best for Travelers

For more details on how we evaluate credit cards for this list, see our methodology.

Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit Card

Best Overall

Best for Cash-Back Rewards

Our Rating Among Capital One Cards4.1

Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit Card

CURRENT OFFER

Earn a one-time $200 cash bonus once you spend $500 on purchases within 3 months from account opening.RECOMMENDED CREDIT SCORE 670850Good – Excellent

REGULAR APR (%)15.49% – 25.49% variable
ANNUAL FEE$0
REWARDS EARNING RATE1.5% cash back on every purchase, every day.
INTRO PURCHASE APR0% for 15 Months
FOREIGN TRANSACTION FEE (%)0%
  • WHY WE CHOSE THIS CARDWe ranked this card No. 1 because of its tried and true value: simple but solid cash-back rewards, no annual fee, and a decent, easy-to-earn welcome bonus: $200 when you make $500 in purchases within three months of account opening. You’ll earn the same reliable 1.5% cash back on every dollar you spend, with no limits, and you can redeem your cash back in any increments you want, whenever you want. Plus, there’s no interest on purchases for your first 15 months—which gives you a reasonable amount of breathing room if you need to spread out some bigger bills.
  • PROS & CONSPros
    • Solid cash-back rate on every dollar you spend
    • Simple, no-fuss cash back is easy to earn and redeem
    • Competitive welcome bonus
    Cons
    • No interest-free promotion on balance transfers
  • HIGHLIGHTS

    Journey® Student Rewards from Capital One®

    Best for Students

    Our Rating Among Capital One Cards3.7

    Journey® Student Rewards from Capital One®

    RECOMMENDED CREDIT SCORE 350850Poor – Excellent

    REGULAR APR (%)26.99% variable
    ANNUAL FEE$0
    REWARDS EARNING RATEEarn 1% Cash Back on all purchases. 0.25% Cash Back bonus on the cash back you earn each month you pay on time. Earn $5 per month for 12 months on Select Streaming Subscriptions when you pay on time. *Exclusions Apply
    FOREIGN TRANSACTION FEE (%)0%
    • WHY WE CHOSE THIS CARDThis card is an excellent stepping stone for students looking to earn some cash back while they build their credit score, and it may even be more rewarding for parents eager to instill good credit management habits. Not only will Capital One give you a little rewards boost each month you pay your bill on time, but you’ll automatically be considered for a higher credit limit in as few as six months.
    • PROS & CONSPros
      • Higher rewards rate and credit limit available if you make on-time payments
      • Few fees, which helps keep costs low
      • Rewards that are easy to earn and redeem
      Cons
      • No bonus or 0% introductory APR offer for new cardholders
      • High APR if you carry a balance
    • HIGHLIGHTS

      Capital One® SavorOne® Cash Rewards Credit Card

      Best for Dining

      Our Rating Among Capital One Cards3.7

      Capital One® SavorOne® Cash Rewards Credit Card

      CURRENT OFFER

      Earn a one-time $200 cash bonus once you spend $500 on purchases within the first 3 months from account opening.RECOMMENDED CREDIT SCORE 670850Good – Excellent

      REGULAR APR (%)15.49% – 25.49% variable
      ANNUAL FEE$0
      REWARDS EARNING RATEEarn 3% cash back on dining, 3% on entertainment, 2% at grocery stores, and 1% on all other purchases.
      INTRO PURCHASE APR0% for 15 Months
      FOREIGN TRANSACTION FEE (%)0%
      • WHY WE CHOSE THIS CARDWe like that you don’t need to pay an annual fee to earn a very respectable 3% cash back on dining and entertainment, plus 2% back on grocery spending. There are no limits on what you can earn on these common expenses, so your rewards can really rack up. Plus, there’s an easy-to-earn $150 cash bonus when you spend just $500 on your card within your first three months. Depending on your spending habits, the Capital One Savor Rewards may be a better bang for your buck, though. Dining and entertainment purchases get 4% cash back, but there is a $95 annual fee after the first year.
      • PROS & CONSPros
        • Good cash-back rate on both dining and entertainment, an unusual combination, especially for a card without an annual fee
        • No limit on how much cash back you can earn in bonus categories
        • Travel insurance benefits and lack of foreign transaction fee cater to travelers
        Cons
        • Exclusions on purchase categories may impact your reward-earning potential
        • Some benefits will depend on which type of Mastercard you’re approved for
      • HIGHLIGHTS

        Capital One® QuicksilverOne® Cash Rewards Credit Card

        Best for Fair Credit

        Our Rating Among Capital One Cards3.7

        Capital One® QuicksilverOne® Cash Rewards Credit Card
        REGULAR APR (%)26.99% variable
        ANNUAL FEE$39
        REWARDS EARNING RATE1.5% cash back on every purchase, every day.
        FOREIGN TRANSACTION FEE (%)0%
        • WHY WE CHOSE THIS CARDAs with the Quicksilver, you’ll earn 1.5% cash back for each dollar you spend. The difference? Qualified applicants probably only need a fair credit score. While you may start out with a credit limit as low as $300, Capital One will automatically consider you for a higher limit after you make your first six payments on-time. You’ll pay a $39 annual fee, and the variable APR is steeper than on the Quicksilver, but if you pay your balance in full each month, interest charges won’t eat into your rewards and you’ll build a track record that can improve your credit profile.
        • PROS & CONSPros
          • Available to qualified applicants with fair credit, unlike many rewards cards
          • No limit on how much cash back you can earn, and redemptions are simple
          • Capital One will automatically consider you for a higher credit line in as little as six months
          Cons
          • An annual fee, which is rare among cash-back cards
          • Very high interest rate on purchases and balance transfers
          • No bonus or interest-free period for new cardholders, unlike cards catering to borrowers with good credit scores
        • HIGHLIGHTS

          Capital One® Spark® Cash for Business

          Best for Businesses

          Our Rating Among Capital One Cards3.7

          Capital One® Spark® Cash for Business

          CURRENT OFFER

          Earn $500 when you spend $4,500 in the first 3 months of account opening.RECOMMENDED CREDIT SCORE 670850Good – Excellent

          REGULAR APR (%)20.99% variable
          ANNUAL FEE$0 for the first year, then $95
          REWARDS EARNING RATEEarn 2% cash back for your business on every purchase, everywhere.
          CASH ADVANCE APR (%)26.99%
          CASH ADVANCE FEEEither $10 or 3% of the amount of each cash advance, whichever is greater.
          • WHY WE CHOSE THIS CARDThis card is a good fit for business owners who want dependable, easy rewards on purchases without a high annual fee. Getting 2% cash back on all purchases, no matter your budget, is as good or better than competitors offer and these rewards can be redeemed in any amount at any time. Plus, you’ll get some valuable perks (like travel accident and lost baggage insurance), and unlike many cards, there’s no fee on balance transfers.
          • PROS & CONSPros
            • Stellar cash-back earning rate on all purchases, with no limits
            • Redeeming rewards is as easy as earning them
            Cons
            • Annual fee after the first year
            • No chance for more than 2% cash back on any spending category
          • HIGHLIGHTS

            Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card

            Best for Travelers

            Our Rating Among Capital One Cards3.9

            Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card

            FULL REVIEWNEXT STEPSCURRENT OFFER

            Earn 100,000 bonus miles when you spend $20,000 on purchases in the first 12 months from account opening, or still earn 50,000 miles if you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months.RECOMMENDED CREDIT SCORE 670850Good – Excellent

            REGULAR APR (%)17.24% – 24.49% variable
            ANNUAL FEE$95
            REWARDS EARNING RATEEarn 2 miles per dollar on every purchase. Redeem on travel-from vacation rentals to car rentals and more. Plus transfer your miles to over 10+ travel loyalty programs.
            FOREIGN TRANSACTION FEE (%)0%
            • WHY WE CHOSE THIS CARDThe opportunity to earn 2 miles per $1 is just one of the standout features of this card. There’s a $95 annual fee, but if you travel enough, the rewards and travel benefits more than make up for it. (For one, you’ll be reimbursed on the application fee for either the Global Entry or TSA Precheck airport clearance program.) Plus, there are redemption options: You can use your miles as a credit against travel charges or toward travel booked through Capital One’s online portal. You can even transfer miles to more than a dozen airline and hotel rewards programs.
            • PROS & CONSPros
              • Very respectable rewards rate on every dollar spent
              • Statement credit reimbursing TSA Precheck or Global Entry application fee
              • Option to transfer miles to other eligible rewards programs may offer a better value in some cases, according to The Balance calculations
              Cons
              • Very few airline travel partners are based in the U.S.
              • Miles are worth half as much when redeemed for cash back instead of travel
              • You won’t know exactly which travel insurance benefits the card will come with until you apply
            • HIGHLIGHTS

              What Is Capital One?

              Founded as part of Signet Bank, Capital One spun off in the 1990s and gained popularity through the mass marketing of its credit cards.1 It’s now the fifth-largest U.S. credit card issuer, with $89.94 billion in outstanding balances—13.8% of the market—as of Sept. 2020, according to the Nilson Report. In addition to its mainstay of credit cards, it’s grown to offer a range of popular banking products including checking accounts, savings accounts, and auto loans.

              Capital One’s flagship cards target everyday consumers, travelers, small business owners, students, and other audiences. It also issues co-branded store cards, including with Walmart, Kohl’s and Cabela’s Club.2 

              The company issues both Visa and Mastercard credit cards, and the cardholder benefits you receive will vary depending on the type of card you apply for and ultimately receive. For example, Capital One credit cards come in the form of World Mastercards and World Elite Mastercards, and Visa Platinum and Visa Signature, among other options.3

              While Capital One tends to target consumers with good to excellent credit for its rewards cards, there are cards for people with average credit as well as a secured card option for people who are rebuilding their credit profile. 

              How Does Capital One’s Rewards Program Work?

              If you’re considering a Capital One credit card that earns rewards, you’ll need to decide between one that lets you earn cash back and one best for travel rewards. 

              Cash-Back Cards

              The following cards are considered cash-back credit cards because you can redeem rewards for a statement credit or check in any amount:

              • Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit Card
              • Journey Student Rewards from Capital One
              • Capital One Spark Cash for Business
              • Capital One Savor Rewards Credit Card
              • Capital One SavorOne Rewards Credit Card
              • Capital One QuicksilverOne Cash Rewards Credit Card

              You can also use your cash to pay directly at the Amazon checkout or buy gift cards, but redemption values may vary.

              Travel Cards

              Capital One’s travel rewards cards give you various travel redemption options. Cards that fall into this category include: 

              • Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card
              • Capital One VentureOne Rewards Credit Card
              • Capital One Spark Miles for Business
              • Capital One Spark Miles Select for Business

              With each of these cards, you earn miles, rather than cash back, and each mile is worth 1 cent when redeemed for any travel purchase. You can either use the Capital One Purchase Eraser feature or book travel through Capital One’s Rewards center. With the Purchase Eraser feature, you simply log into your account or call into Capital One to redeem your miles for a credit that covers all or part of your travel purchase. Airfare, a rental car, a bus ticket or even cab fare count, and you can use any travel agent or website to book your trip.

              Purchase Eraser redemptions must be made within 90 days of the travel purchase posting to your account. You should see the credit posted within a few business days. 

              You can also redeem your points toward travel you book through Capital One’s Rewards center. Just use the card’s website or call into the card issuer to book your flight, car rental, or hotel room. 

              Travel rewards are the best bang for your buck with these cards. Yes, you can redeem your miles for statement credits, Amazon purchases, or gift cards, but you’re not likely to get the same value. Each mile is only worth 0.5 cent if you choose a statement credit, and could be worth just 0.8 cent if you choose a gift card. 

              One standout feature of Capital One’s travel program is that you can transfer your miles to various airline and hotel rewards programs that partner with Capital One. These include:

              • Aeromexico
              • Air France/KLM
              • Air Canada
              • Alitalia
              • Asia Miles
              • Avianca
              • Emirates
              • Etihad Airways
              • EVA Air
              • Finnair
              • JetBlue
              • Qantas
              • Singapore Airlines
              • Accor hotels
              • Wyndham hotels

              While having the option to transfer points to airlines and hotels gives cardholders lots of flexibility, keep in mind that the transfer ratios aren’t as good as those offered through Chase Ultimate Rewards or American Express Membership Rewards. Most, if not all, of the transfers through Chase Ultimate Rewards and Membership Rewards are one-for-one.

              All but three Capital One partners give you 1.5 airline miles or hotel points for every 2 Capital One miles. Accor, Emirates, and Singapore Airlines give you just 1 of their currency for every 2 Capital One miles.

              How Good Is Capital One Customer Service?

              Capital One got an “about average” rating in J.D. Power’s 2020 U.S. Credit Card Satisfaction Study, which gauged satisfaction among more than 28,000 credit card customers nationwide.4

              Here are some of the most noteworthy features of its cards: 

              • Eno, a virtual assistant, will alert you to potential fraud, track spending, and answer your text questions5
              • To help prevent misuse, you can use a virtual card number when shopping online
              • If your card is lost or stolen, you can use the Capital One app to lock your account
              • Customer service agents are available 24 hours a day
              • Capital One’s app lets you track your spending and pay your bill using your mobile device

              Methodology

              We collect data on hundreds of cards and score more than 55 features that affect your finances. We do this because it’s our mission to give you unbiased, comprehensive credit card reviews.

              Our reviews are always impartial. No one can influence which cards we review, the way we present them to you, or the ratings they receive.

              Here’s another summary of the top Capital One credit cards, based on our research:

              Best Capital One Credit Cards
              Credit CardCategoryAnnual Fee
              Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit CardBest Overall$0
              Journey Student Rewards from Capital OneBest for Students$0
              Capital One SavorOne Cash Rewards Credit CardBest for Dining$0
              Capital One QuicksilverOne Cash Rewards Credit CardBest for Fair Credit$39
              Capital One Spark Cash for BusinessBest for Businesses$0 for the first year, then $95
              Capital One Venture Rewards Credit CardBest for Travelers$95
              Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit CardBest for Cash-Back Rewards$0

              About This List

              The Balance team created this best card list using the same evaluation process used to score our best overall card rankings, but focused solely on cards issued by Capital One, excluding co-branded cards. We re-evaluate this list on a monthly basis, or when there are major changes to Capital One’s credit card offerings.

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