Capital One Platinum Credit Card review: Best unsecured credit-building card?

Bankrate Logo

Why you can trust Bankrate

At Bankrate we strive to help you make smarter financial decisions. While we adhere to strict , this post may contain references to products from our partners. Here's an explanation for . The content on this page is accurate as of the posting date; however, some of the offers mentioned may have expired. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any card issuer.

ON THIS PAGE Jump to Open page navigation

Snapshot

5.0

Bankrate rating
  • star icon
  • star icon
  • star icon
  • star icon
  • star icon
  • star icon
  • star icon
  • star icon
  • star icon
  • star icon

Bottom line

The Capital One Platinum Credit Card is a solid choice for people looking to build credit. You won’t earn rewards or have access to other perks, but it will help you learn to manage your credit effectively. Beyond helping you to build your credit, this card doesn’t have much to offer.

Capital One Image
Apply now

on Capital One's secure site

Best for free credit monitoring

Capital One Platinum Credit Card

Rewards rate

N/A

Annual fee

$0

Intro offer

N/A

Regular APR

26.99% (Variable)

Recommended Credit Score

Fair to Good  (580 - 740)

Capital One Platinum Credit Card Overview

The Capital One Platinum Credit Card doesn’t let you earn rewards or score any meaningful cardholder perks, but it is available for consumers with fair credit who may not be eligible for the best rewards cards on the market today.

Keep in mind that a “fair” credit score is any FICO score that falls between 580 and 669, which puts consumers in a range where they can get approved for a limited number of unsecured credit cards. The Capital One Platinum gives those pursuing a credit card for fair credit the chance to improve their credit and prove their creditworthiness so they can move up to a better credit card later on.

Best of all, the card is available with no annual fee and does not require you to tie up money in a security deposit just to get started. With a low entry barrier and low ongoing cost, the Capital One Platinum card is no doubt one of the best unsecured credit-building card options on the market.

What are the advantages and disadvantages?

Pros

  • Good chance at approval with only “fair” credit, or a FICO score as low as 580.
  • Automatic account overview after six months to see if you qualify for a higher credit limit.
  • Cardholders will see some savings with this no annual fee card.

Cons

  • This card has no rewards structure, so you won’t be rewarded for your spending.
  • Some of the perks and benefits one might expect from a card for fair credit are missing from this card.

A deeper look into the current card offer

Quick highlights

  • Rewards rate: None
  • Welcome offer: None
  • Annual fee: $0
  • Purchase intro APR: N/A
  • Balance transfer intro APR: N/A
  • Regular APR: 26.99 percent variable APR

Current welcome bonus and rewards

The Capital One Platinum doesn’t offer a sign-up bonus or any rewards for your regular spending, which is typical among credit cards for fair credit.

Other cardholder perks

You’ll likely notice that the Capital One Platinum is fairly light on benefits, but you do get some perks that can help you improve your credit standing over time. This card also comes with a surprising number of insurance protections and travel perks considering there’s no annual fee.

Credit-related benefits

Even though the Capital One Platinum’s initial credit limit can be as low as $300, Capital One also says it’ll automatically review your account after six months to see if you qualify for a higher credit limit. You’ll also enjoy unlimited access to CreditWise from Capital One, which lets your monitor your credit score and track it over time.

Travel perks

This card comes with $0 fraud liability, emergency card replacement, security alerts, virtual card numbers from Eno and no foreign transaction fees.

Consumer protections

You’ll also get extended warranties on eligible items that come with a manufacturer’s warranty when you pay with your credit card.

Rates and fees

The Capital One Platinum doesn’t charge an annual fee, but watch out for the 26.99 percent variable APR rate you’ll pay on purchases if you choose to carry a balance. A 3 percent cash advance fee (minimum $10) can also apply if you use your credit card to get cash out, and you could also be liable for a late payment fee up to $40 if you pay your bill beyond its due date.

How the Capital One Platinum compares to other credit cards for fair or average credit

If you’re looking at credit cards available with only a fair credit score, you’ll probably find that you have a decision to make. You can either opt for a bare-bones unsecured credit-building card like the Capital One Platinum card and pay no annual fee, or you can try for a card available with fair credit that also offers rewards on some of your everyday spending but requires you to put up a modest annual fee for the privilege. The latter can make a lot of sense—if you put a decent amount of spend on the card, you can easily cover the annual fee and actually earn money while building your credit just by using the card for your everyday spending. Here are a few of our favorite alternatives to the Capital One Platinum card:

Capital One Image

Capital One Platinum Credit Card

  • star icon
  • star icon
  • star icon
  • star icon
  • star icon
  • star icon
  • star icon
  • star icon
  • star icon
  • star icon
5.0
Apply now

on Capital One's secure site

Annual fee

$0

Intro offer

N/A

Rewards rate

N/A

Recommended credit

Fair to Good(580 - 740)
Capital One Image

Capital One QuicksilverOne Cash Rewards Credit Card

Annual fee

$39

Intro offer

N/A

Rewards rate

1.5%–5%

Recommended credit

Fair to Good(580 - 740)
Petal Image

Petal® 2 "Cash Back, No Fees" Visa® Credit Card

Annual fee

$0

Intro offer

N/A

Rewards rate

1%–1.5%

Recommended credit

No Credit History

Capital One Platinum vs. Capital One QuicksilverOne Cash Reward Credit Card

The Capital One QuicksilverOne is an alternative Capital One credit card to consider if you want rewards. The QuicksilverOne earns 5 percent cash back on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel (terms apply) and a respectable 1.5 percent cash back on every purchase, but if you stick with the Platinum you’ll forgo earning rewards altogether. However, QuicksilverOne cardholders will have to pay an annual fee ($39), where the Capital One Platinum skips the annual fee.

For such a low-cost card, the QuicksilverOne’s rewards rate is generous. A QuicksilverOne cardholder earning rewards can easily cover the cost of the annual fee and even earn some extra cash back. In fact, a cardholder would only need to spend $2,600 in a calendar year to recoup the cost of the Quicksilver One’s annual fee.

Both cards carry similar minimum initial credit limits—$300—which may make it difficult to keep credit utilization low (an important factor to consider when trying to build your credit). Bearing in mind their comparable credit score requirements and interest rates, a cardholder who had a similar budget and could afford the annual fee would likely do better—and have a bit more cash in-hand—with the Capital One QuicksilverOne.

Capital One Platinum vs. Petal 2® 2 “Cash Back, No Fees” Visa® Credit Card

The Petal 2 “Cash Back, No Fees” Visa Credit Card might be a better choice for people with limited credit histories than people with past financial mistakes to correct. As a credit-building tool, the Petal 2 is a great option for establishing credit history for the first time—especially for people who have a solid income and financial history but are still working to build their scores up. That’s because the Petal 2, unlike the Capital One Platinum, considers your credit score and alternative financial data like bill payment history in evaluating your application.

Where the Petal 2 really pulls ahead is in rewards earnings. Petal 2 cardholders will earn 1 percent cash back on purchases to start (up to 1.5 percent back with 12 on-time monthly payments). Platinum cardholders will forgo earning rewards altogether. With its potentially lower APR (13.74 percent to 27.74 percent variable) and no annual fee, the Petal 2 likely comes out ahead for most cardholders.

Best cards to pair with the Capital One Platinum

If you can’t choose between the two, the Capital One QuicksilverOne is a great card to pair with the Capital One Platinum. The QuicksilverOne presents cardholders the opportunity to earn rewards in the form of unlimited 1.5 percent cash back while they build their credit. The combined credit limit of the Capital One QuicksilverOne and the Platinum cards would give a cardholder more flexibility and the opportunity to keep their credit utilization low.

Bankrate’s Take—Is the Capital One Platinum worth it?

The Capital One Platinum is a smart option to consider if you need a card for fair credit but you’re adamant about sticking to a no-annual-fee credit card. If you sign up, you would be smart to use your card responsibly and wisely, keep a low balance and always pay your credit card bill early or on time. If you take those steps, you’ll be on your way to a better credit score and a more lucrative rewards credit card in no time.

Frequently Asked Questions