Key takeaways

  • The Capital One Platinum Credit Card is a no-frills card designed for subprime borrowers looking to build or rebuild their credit.
  • This unsecured card comes with no fees but also no rewards to distract you from your goal of repairing your credit score.
  • If you don’t have fair to good credit, you may need to look for a secured credit card with a refundable security deposit that can help repair your credit and lead you to a stronger card in the future.

If you’ve struggled with credit in the past, then you understand how difficult it can be to rebuild your credit. Opening a new credit card could be key to improving your credit with responsible, on-time payments.

Enter the ​​Capital One Platinum Credit Card. This unsecured Capital One credit card has higher approval odds for those with a fair to good credit score and could be worth it for the right customer. Here’s what to know before applying for the Capital One Platinum Credit Card.

When is the Capital One Platinum Card worth it?

Here are some scenarios where the Capital One Platinum could be the card you need right now:

When your credit score is less than ideal

A main draw of this card is that you can see approval with a fair to good credit score of 580 to 739. What’s more is that the Capital One Platinum Credit Card offers potential customers preapproval without a hard inquiry on your credit report.

Though you’ll likely start out with a credit limit on the lower side, Capital One offers automatic credit line reviews with a minimum of six months of on-time payments. A higher credit limit can help you reduce your credit utilization ratio, which positively affects your credit score.

The Capital One Platinum Card also allows you to track your progress when rebuilding your credit. Through Capital One’s free CreditWise program, you can monitor your credit score and receive alerts when your credit report changes.

When your funds are tight

Has a financial crisis, job loss or a major debt left you with little money to pay on upfront costs? Here is the good news: The Capital One Platinum Credit Card comes with few fees, unlike other credit-builder products.

There’s no annual fee, foreign transaction fees or — since it’s an unsecured credit card — security deposit requirements. The 29.99 percent variable APR for this card can lead to quickly mounting interest, however, so you’ll want to prioritize paying off your balance each month to keep the cost of card ownership low. As long as you don’t carry a balance, you can avoid steep interest charges.

When is the Capital One Platinum Card not worth it?

The Capital One Platinum isn’t for everyone. You might be better off with another card in the following situations:

When you have a poor credit score

You may not be eligible for this card if your credit score is lower than 580. In this case, you might want to look instead at a secured credit card like the Capital One Platinum Secured Credit Card. With this card, you can put down a minimum security deposit of $49, $99 or $200 depending on your creditworthiness to secure an initial credit limit of $200.

Secured cards may not sound as glamorous as unsecured cards, but they are a solid way for you to get into the habit of paying your credit card bill on time and in full. After six months of paying on time, Capital One reviews your account to determine whether you’re eligible for an increase to your credit limit. By making on-time payments for several months in a row, you may also have the opportunity to earn back your deposit — effectively upgrading you to an unsecured card.

When you have a very good credit score

If your credit score is 740 or above, you’re in a good position to qualify for stronger cards with more robust benefits — including cards that earn rewards on your spending. Within the Capital One family, you may be eligible for travel cards like the popular Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card or cash back cards such as the Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit Card.

Should you get the Capital One Platinum Card?

This card is designed with a particular customer in mind: Those looking for an unsecured credit card that can help build or rebuild their credit. If you’re looking for a card that can help you springboard your credit in as little as six months, the Capital One Platinum Card is a good contender.

The card features plenty of forgiving standards in the application process and makes it easier to build credit with automatic account reviews and credit-monitoring perks.

But if you’re worried your score could affect approval, compare the top secured credit cards instead. These cards help you repair your credit with a refundable security deposit, with the best cards even offering limited rewards without an annual fee.

The bottom line

The Capital One Platinum is a great example of a card that not only makes it easier for “thin file” applicants to get a credit card but also helps them on the way to better credit and financial habits overall.

No, this card’s benefits aren’t as glamorous as a travel credit card or a profitable cash back card. However, it performs well for the demographic it was designed for: subprime borrowers. Although this market segment has been stigmatized in the past, more and more issuers are offering solid cards for people with fair credit to help people progress toward better credit scores.