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How to Prequalify for a Capital One Card

How to Prequalify for a Capital One Card

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This article was last updated May 29, 2020. Terms and conditions may have changed. For the most accurate information, please consult the issuer website.

Applying for a credit card can spark feelings of uncertainty — will you be approved or did you just allow a hard inquiry to ding your credit score for no reason? Prequalification takes some of the stress out of that by gauging how likely you are to be approved for a card before you apply.

For example, Capital One makes it easy to check for prequalified card offers. We’ll walk you through what information you need, how to choose a card and some important terminology.

Prequalify for a Capital One card online

Capital One has an online form that allows you to see if you’re prequalified for a Capital One card in less than a minute with no impact to your credit score. You’ll need to provide the following information:

  • Name
  • Date of birth
  • Social Security number
  • Residential address

You’ll have an option to select what type of card you’re most interested in or choose “not sure yet.” After acknowledging that this isn’t an actual credit card application, you’ll be able to see if you have any prequalified offers. Know that not all Capital One cards are available in this tool at all times.

Here’s what the interface looks like:

If there are offers available, each offer will have an “apply now” button so consumers can then submit an actual application for the card from the prequalification page.

Best Capital One credit cards

Capital One offers a variety of credit cards, ranging from cash back to travel rewards to business cards or cards for those looking to rebuild their credit. Based on our research of cards available through CompareCards, as well as top Capital One cards, we selected some of the best card deals for a variety of categories.

Best for bad credit: Capital One® Secured Mastercard®

Why we like this card: If you have limited/bad/poor credit and are looking to rebuild your credit score, the Capital One® Secured Mastercard® can help you do that. It’s a secured card, meaning you must submit a security deposit that will serve as your line of credit. Most secured cards require at least a $200 deposit for a $200 credit limit. But after reviewing your application, Capital One will decide whether you must submit a minimum deposit of $49, $99 or $200. In any case, your starting credit line will be $200.

What to watch out for: This card has a 26.99% (variable) APR. That’s in line with the interest rates for most cards designed for applicants with limited/bad/poor credit, but it’s still worth noting. The best practice is to pay off your card in full each month to avoid incurring interest charges.

More card details:

  • Annual fee: $0
  • Foreign transaction fee: None
  • Reports to the credit bureaus: Yes

Read our review of the Capital One® Secured Mastercard®.

Best for limited credit: Capital One® Platinum Credit Card

Why we like this card: If you have fair/limited credit, the Capital One® Platinum Credit Card is a good no-frills starter credit card. It doesn’t earn rewards, but it does provide an opportunity to establish good credit history. And after using it responsibly for a period of time, you can request a product change to a card with more lucrative rewards and benefits.

What to watch out for: This card’s APR is 26.99% (variable), which means carrying a balance can result in expensive interest charges. Paying in full each month should allow you to avoid being charged interest.

More card details:

  • Annual fee: $0
  • Foreign transaction fee: None
  • Reports to the credit bureaus: Yes

Read our review of the Capital One® Platinum Credit Card.

Best for cash back: Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit Card

Why we like this card: For cardholders who are looking for a solid flat-rate cashback card, the Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit Card earns 1.5% cash back on every purchase, every day.

What to watch out for: While the Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit Card is a competitive flat-rate card, there are cards that earn 2% cash back on every purchase. For example, with the Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer, cardholders earn 2% cash back on purchases: 1% when you buy plus 1% as you pay.

More card details:

  • Sign-up bonus: One-time $150 cash bonus after you spend $500 on purchases within 3 months from account opening.
  • Annual fee: $0
  • Foreign transaction fee: None
  • Intro purchase APR: 0% intro on purchases for 15 months. After, a 15.49% - 25.49% (variable) APR applies.
  • Intro balance transfer APR: 0% intro on balance transfers for 15 months. After, a 15.49% - 25.49% (variable) APR applies.
  • Balance transfer fee: 3%

Read our review of the Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit Card.

Best for travel: Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card

Why we like this card: For the occasional traveler who isn’t ready to shell out for a premium travel card with high annual fee, but wants a mid-tier card that provides value without breaking the bank, the Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card earns 2 miles per dollar on every purchase, every day, and charges an annual fee of $0 intro for first year; $95 after that.

Miles can be redeemed to book new travel, as credits toward past travel purchases, as cash back or for gift cards. Cardholders can also transfer miles to 15 travel partners.

Finally, the Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card comes with a fee credit of up to $100 to reimburse you when you pay the application fee for Global Entry or TSA Precheck with this card.

What to watch out for: Cardholders should spend at least $4,750 a year (after year one) on this card in order to recoup the amount of the annual fee. If you anticipate spending less than that, you’d likely get more value from a no-annual-fee rewards card.

More card details:

  • Sign-up bonus: Earn a one-time bonus of 50,000 miles once you spend $3,000 on purchases within 3 months from account opening, equal to $500 in travel.
  • Foreign transaction fee: None
  • Regular purchase APR: 17.24% - 24.49% (variable)

Read our review of the Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card.

Best for dining and entertainment: Capital One® SavorOne® Cash Rewards Credit Card

Why we like this card: Foodies and entertainment buffs alike will enjoy this card, which earns 3% Cash Back on dining; 3% Cash Back on entertainment; 2% Cash Back at grocery stores; 1% Cash Back on all other purchases; plus 3% Cash Back on select streaming services, including Netflix, Hulu and Disney+, through Sept. 30, 2020. The entertainment category is rather robust and includes:

  • Ticket purchases made at movie theaters
  • Sports promoters (professional and semi-professional live events)
  • Theatrical promoters
  • Amusement parks
  • Tourist attractions
  • Aquariums
  • Zoos
  • Dance halls
  • Record stores
  • Pool halls
  • Bowling alleys

What to watch out for: There are exclusions on what purchases earn the higher cashback rates. The following types of spending are excluded from the 3% back on dining category:

  • Golf courses
  • Collegiate sporting events
  • Purchases with non-industry entertainment merchant codes such as cable, digital streaming and membership services

More card details:

  • Sign-up bonus: Earn a one-time $150 cash bonus after you spend $500 on purchases within the first 3 months from account opening.
  • Annual fee: $0
  • Foreign transaction fee: None
  • Intro purchase APR: 0% intro on purchases for 15 months. After, a 15.49% - 25.49% (variable) APR applies.
  • Intro balance transfer APR: 0% intro on balance transfers for 15 months. After, a 15.49% - 25.49% (variable) APR applies.
  • Balance transfer fee: 3%

Read our review of the Capital One® SavorOne® Cash Rewards Credit Card.

Best for Walmart shopping: Capital One® Walmart Rewards™ Card

Why we like this card: Consumers who shop frequently at Walmart will appreciate this card — especially those who are avid users of walmart.com and the mobile app.

For rewards, this card offers: 5% back at Walmart.com & Walmart app, Grocery Pickup and Delivery, 2% at Walmart stores, Walmart & Murphy USA Fuel Stations, Restaurants & travel, 1% Everywhere else Mastercard® is accepted. For the sign-up bonus: Earn 5% back in Walmart stores for the first 12 months when you use your Capital One Walmart Rewards Card with Walmart Pay - the quick and secure way to pay with your phone at Walmart.

What to watch out for: After the sign-up bonus period is over, you’ll only earn 2% for in-store Walmart purchases. For this reason, it will be better to shop online and in the app.

More card details:

  • Annual fee: $0
  • Foreign transaction fee: See terms
  • Regular purchase APR: 17.99% - 26.99% variable

Read our review of the Capital One® Walmart Rewards™ Card.

Is prequalifying for a credit card a guaranteed approval?

Prequalification for a card is not a guaranteed approval, but it does mean you have a good chance of being approved once you actually apply. However, you can still be denied. The issuer will consider factors such as your payment history on existing credit accounts, whether you’ve maxed out any existing credit cards, and how long you’ve had credit.

Before applying, take these steps so your application has the best chance of success:

  • If you’ve applied for a credit card recently, wait. Applying for too much new credit in a short span of time can make you look like a risky prospect, and issuers may deny you.
  • Make sure you’re paying all accounts on time. Paying on time is the most important factor to establishing good credit history, and accounts for 35% of your credit score.
  • Don’t max out existing credit cards. Credit experts typically recommend using less than 30% of your credit limit across all cards. For example, if you have one card with a $500 limit and another card with a $2,500 limit, your total credit limit is $3,000 and you should spend no more than $900 across both cards in any given billing period.
  • Be aware of any issuer-specific rules. Issuers may implement rules to stop people from applying for a card, earning the sign-up bonus, then doing the same thing with another card. For example, Chase has the unwritten 5/24 rule, which means applicants won’t be approved for a Chase card if they’ve been approved for five or more cards from any issuer in the past 24 months. And American Express has the 2/90 rule, which means applicants can be approved for at most two Amex credit cards within a 90-day period.

Does prequalifying for a credit card hurt your credit score?

Checking if you prequalify for a credit card will not affect your credit score, because submitting a prequalification form involves a soft inquiry. By contrast, actually applying for a credit card means the issuer will pull one or more of your credit reports, which generates a hard inquiry.

A hard inquiry can be expected to ding your score by roughly 5 to 10 points, but your score should rebound after a year. The inquiry will fall off your credit report after two years.

Read our article for more details on the difference between hard and soft inquiries.

Is there a difference between being prequalified and preapproved?

With some credit products, there is a difference between the terms “prequalified” and “preapproved.” But with credit cards, they’re used interchangeably.

Some issuers will allow you to check online if you’re prequalified. In addition to Capital One, American Express and Discover also offer online prequalification tools.

Even issuers without online tools may extend prequalification offers by mail. However, as with prequalifying online, receiving a prequalification offer in the mail doesn’t guarantee approval.


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