Capital One vs. Credit One: Which Is Better for Your Credit?

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Capital One and Credit One are financial companies that provide a selection of credit cards to consumers. Capital One is one of the top 10 largest banks in America, based on deposits*, and offers loans, bank accounts and investment products. Meanwhile, Credit One issues only credit cards. You’ll notice that besides a similar name, Capital One and Credit One have eerily similar logos, which often creates confusion among credit card applicants. Capital One cards are backed by either the Mastercard or Visa network, while all Credit One cards are backed by Visa. Both Visa and Mastercard networks have worldwide acceptance.

Differences

  • Credit One does not have branches — in some states, Capital One does. Credit One is an online-only company, meaning there are no locations to visit. Capital One has branches in Connecticut, Delaware, Louisiana, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Texas, Virginia and Washington, D.C.
  • Credit One specializes in people with bad credit. Credit One may approve applicants with bad credit for unsecured cards while Capital One may only approve people with bad credit for a secured card. Credit One approves risky applicants — people more likely to miss payments and, as a result, incur a lot of fees. Capital One takes a different approach by starting bad credit customers with a secured card, meaning they have to put down a deposit before using the credit card.
  • Terms and conditions. Capital One has straightforward terms and conditions for its credit cards that are clearly stated in the cardholder agreement prior to approval. Credit One has more complicated terms with numerous fees and conditions that vary based on your creditworthiness. With Credit One, you will not know your terms until after you’re approved; however, you can check if you prequalify and review your terms before accepting an offer.

What cards does each issuer carry?

Capital One and Credit One both provide multiple credit cards that offer varying benefits for consumers. We have organized our recommendations based upon how you plan on using the card. Note: Each issuer may have multiple cards in the following categories; we listed our top picks.

Category Capital One Credit One
New to credit/rebuilding credit Capital One® Secured Mastercard® Credit One Bank® Platinum Visa® for Building Credit
Cash Back Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit Card Credit One Bank® Cash Back Rewards Credit Card
0% Intro Options Capital One® VentureOne® Rewards Credit Card None Available
Student Journey® Student Rewards from Capital One® None Available
Small Business Capital One® Spark® Cash for Business None Available
Travel Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card None Available

Cards for building or rebuilding credit

The Capital One® Secured Mastercard® allows you to monitor your credit score via the credit management tool CreditWise, which is helpful when you’re working on your credit. This is the only card from Capital One that you may qualify for with a bad credit score, and that’s because this card requires a security deposit that acts as collateral in case you don’t pay your bill. That deposit also sets your line of credit (a $200 deposit equals a $200 credit limit). You may be able to qualify for a lower deposit amount ($49 or $99) based on your credit standing, and if you make your first five monthly payments on time, you may be able to access a higher credit limit without making an additional deposit. To upgrade from a secured card to an unsecured card at Capital One, you will have to apply for a new credit card and close the secured credit card to get your deposit back. There is no automatic review process offered.

On the other hand, Credit One offers several cards for people with bad credit, including the Credit One Bank® Platinum Visa® for Building Credit. This is an unsecured card that doesn’t require a security deposit. Credit One also offers free credit-tracking tools to help monitor your credit score. Similar to all Credit One cards, this card comes with an annual fee ranging from $0-$99, a variable APR, and the possibility of rewards — what you get depends on your credit profile. As your credit score improves, you may qualify for a lower annual fee, but there are no guarantees.

Cards with cash back rewards

The Capital One® QuicksilverOne® Cash Rewards Credit Card is for those with average credit or better, and the Credit One Bank® Cash Back Rewards Credit Card is for those with bad credit or better. Capital One offers a good 1.5% Cash Back on every purchase, every day, which is better than Credit One’s 1% cash back on purchases for qualified applicants, terms apply. The Capital One® QuicksilverOne® Cash Rewards Credit Card has an annual fee of $39, and Credit One cards have an annual fee of $0-$99 (you won’t know your annual fee until you’re approved).

It’s important to note that the Credit One cash back rewards you receive depend on your creditworthiness. If you have average credit, Capital One is a better choice for a cash back card, but if you have bad credit, you may consider Credit One or the Discover it® Secured Card - No Annual Fee. Discover it® Secured Card offers2% cash back at restaurants & gas stations on up to $1,000 in combined purchases each quarter. Plus, 1% cash back on all your other purchases.

Cards with 0% APR introductory offers

Only Capital One credit cards offer intro rates, Credit One does not have any intro rate offers. The Capital One® VentureOne® Rewards Credit Card has 0% intro on purchases for 12 months — but you need Excellent/Good to qualify for the card. The intro period is helpful if you plan on financing a large purchase after you’re approved for this card. It’s not recommended to do a balance transfer with this card as there is no intro rate offered for balance transfers.

Cards for students

The Journey® Student Rewards from Capital One® offers 1% Cash Back on all purchases; 0.25% Cash Back bonus on the cash back you earn each month you pay on time. If you are a student and have Average/Fair/Limited credit, you may qualify for this card. There is a $0 annual fee and, coupled with responsible credit behavior like on-time payments and low credit card balances, this card can help students build credit. Students are also able to monitor their credit score using CreditWise, which is great for students to keep an eye on their credit score and practice good credit behavior.

Cards for small businesses

Applicants with average or higher credit may qualify for a small business card from Capital One. The Capital One® Spark® Cash for Business card offers 2% Cash Back on every purchase, every day. There is a $0 intro for first year; $95 after that, but if you spend $4,750 a year, you will earn enough cash back to pay it off. This card requires Excellent/Good credit, but there are two other credit cards in the Spark line with no annual fee and lower cash rewards rates. One of those cards (Capital One® Spark® Classic for Business) is for applicants with Average/Fair/Limited credit.

Cards with travel rewards

The Capital One® VentureOne® Rewards Credit Card offers unlimited 1.25 Miles per dollar on every purchase, every day with a $0 annual fee and no blackout dates. There is also a good intro bonus for this card — One-time bonus of 20,000 miles once you spend $1,000 on purchases within 3 months of account opening, equal to $200 in travel. There is no foreign transaction fee for this card, which is key for a travel credit card. This card offers Visa Signature benefits with essential perks for travelers, including: 24/7 Visa Signature concierge, travel upgrades and savings, auto rental collision damage waiver, shopping discounts, and extended warranty. This is a good travel rewards card for those with Excellent/Good. If you want a higher rewards rate, and don’t mind an annual fee (waived the first year), then the Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card is a good alternative with an earnings rate of 2 Miles per dollar on every purchase, every day.

How to apply

Both Capital One and Credit One offer convenient online applications that you can complete in minutes. When you apply be sure to know your Social Security number and key financial information, including your annual income and monthly rent or mortgage payment. This will allow the issuer to access your credit history and make a decision.

Questions to consider about Capital One and Credit One

Can you prequalify without hurting your score?

Both Capital One and Credit One allow you to prequalify for their credit cards. They perform a soft pull on your credit that does not hurt your score. This is a great way to see if you may qualify for a credit card without the hard credit inquiry and damage to your score. Take advantage of this feature to compare offers.

Who has the better customer service reputation?

Capital One offers 24/7 customer service by phone, as well as email responses in one to two business days. There is no online chat feature available. Capital One representatives are knowledgeable about their products and provide detailed answers.

Credit One has automated customer service available by phone 24/7, but that only covers account information and lost or stolen card services. The automated phone system has few options to direct you to a representative. Other customer service lines are staffed at various times, generally during business hours and daytime on the weekends.

As is the case with many (if not most) banks, both Capital One and Credit One are the subject of many complaints in consumer forums. In terms of customer service availability, Capital One beats out Credit One. In general, it helps that Capital One’s card terms and payment options are clearer than Credit One’s.

What happens if you make a late payment?

If you make a late payment with either company, you will be charged a late payment fee. Capital One charges a late payment fee up to $35. Credit One charges a late payment fee up to $37. In addition to a fee, interest will accrue on your unpaid balance.

When does the annual fee get charged?

For Capital One cards that have an annual fee, you will be charged the fee when you activate your card or after your first transaction, whichever comes first. In subsequent years your annual fee will be charged on your card’s anniversary. Many Capital One cards with annual fees do not charge the fee the first year.

The annual fee for Credit One either is billed monthly or yearly. For the first year your annual fee will be billed to your account when it is opened and will reduce the amount of your initial available credit. For example, if your account is established with a credit line of $300 and your first year annual fee is $75, your initial available credit will be $225. In subsequent years, the annual fee will either be divided into 12 equal portions and one portion will be billed each month of the applicable year or the annual fee will be billed annually.

Does it matter whether you choose Capital One or Credit One?

It’s important to consider a range of factors when you apply for a credit card. Not every credit card offers the same benefits or is a right fit for every consumer.

Capital One has a wider product range than Credit One. Both Credit One and Capital One offer cards for building credit and earning cash back rewards. However, with Capital One you can choose from 0% intro periods for purchases and/or balance transfers, travel, student and business cards — all cards that Credit One does not offer. Capital One also has multiple cards in each category, providing a wider selection of cards that suit more consumers. If you’re someone that wants a specialized card, Capital One will provide you with more diverse options.

Depending on your credit score you may lean more toward one company. If you have an excellent credit score, Capital One has superior credit cards with great benefits. However, if you have bad credit and want an unsecured card, Credit One offers cards that you’ll have an easier time being approved for and have the chance to earn rewards. Keep in mind that Credit One doesn’t provide you with your official terms until you’re approved. If you’re OK with this and plan on practicing responsible credit behavior and being cautious about the numerous fees, this card may be a good option.

It’s important to have an understanding of the following common credit card terms prior to applying for a credit card so you’re aware of what the terms and conditions of your card mean.

Can you hold more than one card?

Capital One

Yes, you can have more than one card. There is no minimum amount of time you have to wait before applying for your second card, a company representative told CompareCards. However if you’ve been rejected in the past six months or have another application pending, you will not qualify for an additional card. In addition, if you apply for an additional card that requires excellent credit, you will not be eligible if you have five Capital One credit cards, and if you apply for a card requiring average credit, you won’t be eligible if you have two Capital One cards.

Credit One

Yes, you can have a maximum of two cards, a company representative told CompareCards. There is no minimum amount of time you must wait before applying for a second card.

What online or mobile account options are there?

Capital One Credit One
  • Mobile app
  • Mobile check deposit
  • Text alerts
  • CreditWise: Offers a free monthly VantageScore® 3.0 (also has a stand-alone app)
  • Capital One WalletSM: A mobile app that helps you organize your purchases in real time, with the ability to capture receipts, lock your card if you lose it, and digitize gift cards
  • Mobile App
  • Text alerts
  • Free online credit tracking
  • Credit Protection: waives the minimum payment due for up to six payments if you become unemployed. This is optional and has an additional monthly fee (96 cents per $100 of your balance)


Are there any options for people with bad or fair credit?

Both Capital One and Credit One offer options for people with bad or fair credit. Capital One offers three cards: the Capital One® Platinum Credit Card (Average/Fair/Limited credit), Capital One® Secured Mastercard® (Limited/Bad credit), and Journey® Student Rewards from Capital One® (Average/Fair/Limited credit). Credit One offers four cards, all for people with bad or fair credit: Credit One Bank® Platinum Credit Card with Rewards, Credit One Bank® Unsecured Visa® Credit Card, Credit One Bank® Platinum Visa® for Building Credit, and Official NASCAR® Credit Card from Credit One Bank®. If you have bad or fair credit, you may have a better chance qualifying for these cards compared to others. Remember, both issuers allow you to check if you’re prequalified.

*Disclosure: LendingTree is the parent company of DepositAccounts.com and CompareCards.com

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