By Adam Jusko, ProudMoney.com, adam@proudmoney.com

Capital One offers a range of consumer credit cards that target different consumer groups based on rewards preferences and credit history. Below we offer our ranking of the five “best” Capital One credit cards for those with good credit, followed by a summary list of other Capital One cards for those with limited credit histories or bad credit histories who may not qualify for one of the “best” cards described:

Capital One SavorOne Rewards Card – Our favorite Capital One credit card focuses its rewards most strongly on dining and entertainment purchases, giving you 3% cash back on eating out and entertainment such as movies, concerts, sporting events and more. You’ll also get a 2% rebate on grocery store purchases and a 1% rebate on any other purchases made with the card. You can earn a $150 bonus if you use the card for at least $500 in purchases within the first 3 months of opening the account. No annual fee.

Capital One Quicksilver – Cash back credit card offer a flat 1.5% rebate on every purchase you make with it, regardless of the type of purchase. You can also earn a $150 bonus if you use the card for at least $500 in purchases within the first 90 days of getting it. This card was innovative when first introduced, but these days there are a number of flat-rate cash back credit cards that offer better than 1.5%. No annual fee.

Capital One Savor Rewards – No, your eyes are not deceiving you — there are two Capital One Savor credit cards, each with a different rewards structure and fee structure. This Savor card has a $95 annual fee, but that is waived for the first year. It offers a slightly more generous rewards structure than the no-annual-fee SavorOne card, including 4% cash back on dining and entertainment, 2% back at grocery stores, and 1% back everywhere else. It has a bigger bonus opportunity, too, and it’s a good one — you’ll get a $500 bonus if you use this card for at least $3000 in purchases within the first 3 months of opening the account. After that first year, though, it is hard to justify the $95 annual fee unless dining and entertainment is a very large part of your personal expenses.

Capital One Venture Rewards – This travel credit card has no annual fee for the first year, but then a $95 annual fee every year after that. It offers points (which it calls “miles” though they really aren’t) that you can use to offset your travel expenses on a 1 mile = 1 penny basis. (For example, 10,000 “miles” could be redeemed for a $100 credit toward travel expenses charged to the card.) You’ll earn 2 “miles” for every dollar you charge to the card, except you can earn 10 “miles” per dollar on purchases at Hotels.com. You can also earn a whopping 75,000-mile bonus if you spend at $5000 with the card in the first 3 months of having it — a big bonus but a big required spend. You will soon be able to transfer miles earned on this card to any of 12 airline frequent flyer programs, though all 12 airlines are international airlines (Air Canada, Air France, Avianca, Etihad, etc.) and the transfer rate is 2 Capital One miles to 1.5 miles from any of the airline transfer partners. Between the bonus and the new transfer partners, this card has gotten better than it was in the past, but it still falters once that $95 annual fee kicks in — there are simply better rewards options on the market.

Capital One VentureOne Card – This no annual fee credit card offers just 1.25 “miles” per dollar on all of your purchases. As mentioned above, Capital One’s “miles” are generally the same as points worth a penny each, so this card is essentially the same as a 1.25% cash-back credit card, which is a pretty dismal rewards rate in today’s market. (Even if you transfer these points to one of Capital One’s airline partners, you can’t expect to get significantly more value from them.) You can earn a 20,000-mile bonus on the card if you spend at least $1000 with it in the first 3 months. Overall, we give this card a thumbs-down, which is why it is ranked as the worst of the “good credit history” cards offered by Capital One. You can easily find better rewards on a no-annual-fee credit card in today’s market than you’d get with this card.

 

Other Capital One Credit Cards For Limited Credit History or Bad Credit History

  • Capital One Platinum Credit Card – This credit card has no annual fee but a high interest rate (22.97% at best but you could be approved at a rate as high as 26.97%) and no rewards. While the terms aren’t great, it is geared to people with lower credit scores who may have trouble getting an unsecured credit card otherwise.
  • Capital One QuicksilverOne Card – While this card has the same 1.5% cash back rate as the Quicksilver card described above, it also has a $39 annual fee and no bonus offer for new cardholders. Still, not a bad card if your credit score is a bit too low to qualify for the best rewards cards.
  • Capital One Journey Student Credit Card – It is often easier to build a credit history if you start in college, when certain card issuers like Capital One will approve you for decent cards even though you have no credit history and little income (if any). This card offers you 1.25% cash back provided you always pay your bills on time. (The rebate falls to 1% if you are late on a payment.) No annual fee.
  • Capital One Secured Card – Secured credit cards can be a good way to build or rebuild your credit history, and Capital One’s secured card is a decent one. Secured credit cards require a refundable security deposit, but you then use the card like any other credit card. When you establish a history of paying your bills on time, it can raise your credit score and make you eligible for one of the better cards on this list. This card has no annual fee but a high 24.99% interest rate. After five months of paying the card on time, you may be eligible for a larger credit line. (When you no longer want this card, you’ll get that security deposit back, provided you’ve paid all your bills.