Best Overall, Best for Cash Back

Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit Card

Rating as a Capital One Credit Card
4.8
Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit Card
Full Review
Apply Now
On Capital One's Website
Current Offer

Earn a one-time $200 cash bonus once you spend $500 on purchases within 3 months from account opening.

Recommended Credit Score Our recommended ranges are based off of the FICO® Score 8 credit-scoring model. Credit score is one of the many factors lenders review in considering your application.
350 579
580 669
670 739
740 799
800 850
Good - Excellent
Regular APR (%) 15.49% - 25.49% variable
Annual Fee $0
Rewards Earning Rate 1.5% cash back on every purchase, every day.
INTRO PURCHASE APR 0% for 15 Months
Balance Transfer Fee There is no standard balance transfer fee for this card.
Foreign transaction fee (%) 0%
  • WHY WE CHOSE THIS CARD

    The Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards card is our choice for best overall Capital One card as well as best card for cash back rewards because of it scored highest across multiple attributes in our methodology that considers rewards, fees, interest, benefits, customer service and security. It's simple but robust 1.5% cash back structure is among the best in the industry.

  • PROS & CONS

    Pros

    • Simple rewards program with a solid return
    • Decent introductory offers on purchases
    • No annual or foreign transaction fees
    • No penalty APR

    Cons

    • No bonus rewards rates
    • One-time bonus is relatively modest
    • APR can be comparatively high
  • HIGHLIGHTS
    • Earn a one-time $200 cash bonus once you spend $500 on purchases within 3 months from account opening.
    • Every purchase earns 1.5% cash back, and the total cash back you can earn is unlimited.
    • Enjoy 0% intro APR on purchases for 15 months.
    • No foreign transaction fees.

Best for Dining

Capital One® SavorOne® Cash Rewards Credit Card

Rating as a Capital One Credit Card
4.6
Capital One® SavorOne® Cash Rewards Credit Card
Full Review
Apply Now
On Capital One's Website
Current Offer

Earn a one-time $200 cash bonus once you spend $500 on purchases within the first 3 months from account opening.

Recommended Credit Score Our recommended ranges are based off of the FICO® Score 8 credit-scoring model. Credit score is one of the many factors lenders review in considering your application.
350 579
580 669
670 739
740 799
800 850
Good - Excellent
Regular APR (%) 15.49% - 25.49% variable
Annual Fee $0
Rewards Earning Rate Earn 3% cash back on dining, 3% on entertainment, 2% at grocery stores, and 1% on all other purchases.
INTRO PURCHASE APR 0% for 15 Months
Balance Transfer Fee There is no standard balance transfer fee for this card.
Foreign transaction fee (%) 0%
  • WHY WE CHOSE THIS CARD

    We chose the Capital One SavorOne Cash Rewards card as the best dining card from Capital One because of its 3% cash back earnings at restaurants coupled with its no annual fee. While its sibling, the Capital One Savor, has a slightly higher earning rate on dining we like the fact this card has most of the benefit without the yearly cover charge. Like all Capital One cards SavorOne has charges no foreign transaction fees, which can make it an ideal card for dining on vacations as well.

  • PROS & CONS

    Pros

    • Generous cash rewards on dining and entertainment
    • Doesn’t impose some frequent fees

    Cons

    • 0% APR introductory offer is less generous than most
    • Small introductory cash bonus
    • Excellent credit recommended
  • HIGHLIGHTS
    • Earn a one-time $200 cash bonus once you spend $500 on purchases within the first 3 months from account opening.
    • Earn unlimited 3% cash back on dining and entertainment, 2% at grocery stores, and 1% on all other purchases.
    • Rewards don't expire for the life of the account, and you can redeem cash back for any amount.
    • 0% Intro APR on purchases for 15 months.
    • No foreign transaction fees.

Best for Travel

Capital One® VentureOne® Rewards Credit Card

Rating as a Capital One Credit Card
4.4
Capital One® VentureOne® Rewards Credit Card
Full Review
Apply Now
On Capital One's Website
Current Offer

Earn 20,000 miles once you spend $1,000 on purchases within the first 3 months from account opening.

Recommended Credit Score Our recommended ranges are based off of the FICO® Score 8 credit-scoring model. Credit score is one of the many factors lenders review in considering your application.
350 579
580 669
670 739
740 799
800 850
Good - Excellent
Regular APR (%) 15.49% - 25.49% variable
Annual Fee $0
Rewards Earning Rate Earn 1.25 miles per dollar on every purchase.
INTRO PURCHASE APR 0% for 12 Months
Balance Transfer Fee 3% of the amount of each transferred balance that posts to your account at a promotional APR that we may offer you. None for balances transferred at the Transfer APR.
Foreign transaction fee (%) 0%
  • WHY WE CHOSE THIS CARD

    The Capital One VentureOne Rewards card is Investopedia's choice for best Capital One travel card due to its 20,000 mile bonus and 1.25 mile per dollar ongoing earnings structure that rewards all spending. Capital One miles are quite flexible when redeemed for travel through the Capital One Travel Center or transferred through its alliance of airline and travel partners. No annual fee and no foreign transaction fees add to this card's suitability as an ideal travel companion.

  • PROS & CONS

    Pros

    • Earn unlimited rewards
    • Decent one-time offer
    • Flexible redemption options
    • No annual fee
    • No commitment to specific brands or types of travel

    Cons

    • Mediocre rewards rate on every purchase
  • HIGHLIGHTS
    • 1.25X miles on all purchases. Earn unlimited miles with no caps.
    • Earn 20,000 miles once you spend $1,000 on purchases within 3 months from account opening.
    • Use miles as a statement credit against any airline or hotel booking with no blackout dates. Or, transfer miles to eligible travel loyalty programs.
    • Enjoy an introductory APR on purchases for the first 12 months.

Best for Business Rewards

Capital One® Spark® Cash for Business

Rating as a Capital One Credit Card
4.2
Capital One® Spark® Cash for Business
Full Review
Apply Now
On Capital One's Website
Current Offer

Earn $500 when you spend $4,500 in the first 3 months of account opening.

Recommended Credit Score Our recommended ranges are based off of the FICO® Score 8 credit-scoring model. Credit score is one of the many factors lenders review in considering your application.
350 579
580 669
670 739
740 799
800 850
Good - Excellent
Regular APR (%) 20.99% variable
Annual Fee $0 for the first year, then $95
Rewards Earning Rate Earn 2% cash back for your business on every purchase, everywhere.
Balance Transfer Fee There is no standard balance transfer fee for this card.
Cash Advance APR (%) 26.99%
Cash Advance Fee Either $10 or 3% of the amount of each cash advance, whichever is greater.
  • WHY WE CHOSE THIS CARD

    Our pick for best Capital One card for business rewards is the Capital One Spark Cash for Business card, as it offers an enhanced earning rate of 2% cash back on all purchases and not just certain business-related categories. Capital One offers many card options for small business owners but we feel like this is the best among those in terms of solid return on spending offered with no annual fee the first year, then $95.

  • PROS & CONS

    Pros

    • Decent bonus, albeit for commensurate spending
    • Simple rewards program

    Cons

    • Your personal credit history could be affected
  • HIGHLIGHTS
    • Earn a one-time $500 bonus when you spend $4,500 in the first 3 months from account opening.
    • Get unlimited 2% cash rewards.
    • Add employee cards for free and earn all the rewards from their purchases.
    • Get a custom, itemized spending report to simplify planning, budgeting, and taxes.
    • Make purchases outside of the U.S. with zero transaction fees.

Best for Fair Credit

Capital One® QuicksilverOne® Cash Rewards Credit Card

Rating as a Capital One Credit Card
3.6
Capital One® QuicksilverOne® Cash Rewards Credit Card
Full Review
Apply Now
On Capital One's Website
Recommended Credit Score Our recommended ranges are based off of the FICO® Score 8 credit-scoring model. Credit score is one of the many factors lenders review in considering your application.
350 579
580 669
670 739
740 799
800 850
Poor - Excellent
Regular APR (%) 26.99% variable
Annual Fee $39
Rewards Earning Rate 1.5% cash back on every purchase, every day.
Balance Transfer Fee There is no standard balance transfer fee for this card.
Foreign transaction fee (%) 0%
  • WHY WE CHOSE THIS CARD

    The QuicksilverOne Cash Rewards Card is our pick for the best Capital One card option for those with fair credit. It offers the same flat rate cash back as Quicksilver but is designed for those with less than good or excellent credit. QuicksilverOne comes a $39 annual fee, which can be easily justified with consistent use. Cash back rewards is a relatively unusual feature for a card in the fair credit segment, and combined with low fees makes this card a solid choice for those in the middle of the credit band.

  • PROS & CONS

    Pros

    • Higher rewards rate than similar cards
    • Average credit accepted
    • Good credit behavior recognized

    Cons

    • Annual fee
    • High APR
    • No introductory incentive
  • HIGHLIGHTS
    • Earn unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase, every day.
    • Be automatically considered for a higher credit line in as little as 6 months.
    • Rewards don't expire for the life of the account, and you can redeem cash back for any amount.
    • You're covered by $0 Fraud Liability if your card is ever lost or stolen. That means you will not be responsible for fraudulent purchases.

Best for Students

Journey® Student Rewards from Capital One®

Rating as a Capital One Credit Card
3.3
Journey® Student Rewards from Capital One®
Full Review
Apply Now
On Capital One's Website
Recommended Credit Score Our recommended ranges are based off of the FICO® Score 8 credit-scoring model. Credit score is one of the many factors lenders review in considering your application.
350 579
580 669
670 739
740 799
800 850
Poor - Excellent
Regular APR (%) 26.99% variable
Annual Fee $0
Rewards Earning Rate Earn 1% Cash Back on all purchases. 0.25% Cash Back bonus on the cash back you earn each month you pay on time. Earn $5 per month for 12 months on Select Streaming Subscriptions when you pay on time. *Exclusions Apply
Balance Transfer Fee There is no standard balance transfer fee for this card.
Foreign transaction fee (%) 0%
  • WHY WE CHOSE THIS CARD

    The Journey Student Rewards Card from Capital One is our pick for best student card as it provides students with cash back on every purchase dollar along with an incentive for on-time payments in the form of a 25% boost in earnings each month. Journey Student Rewards also offers solid credit education, account management and security tools for college students starting out with credit.

  • PROS & CONS

    Pros

    • Offers cash back, unusual for a student card
    • Cash-back for the first year is matched
    • Credit limit may rise rapidly

    Cons

    • Low 1% cash-back rate, with no bonus categories
  • HIGHLIGHTS
    • Earn 1% cash back on all your purchases. Pay on time to boost your cash back to a total of 1.25% for that month.
    • $0 annual fee.
    • With Credit Steps your account will be reviewed for a credit limit increase after making your first 6 monthly payments on time.
    • Enjoy unlimited access to your credit score and tools to help you monitor your credit profile with CreditWise.

Best for Bad Credit or No Credit

Capital One® Secured Mastercard®

Rating as a Capital One Credit Card
2.9
Capital One® Secured Mastercard®
Full Review
Apply Now
On Capital One's Website
Recommended Credit Score Our recommended ranges are based off of the FICO® Score 8 credit-scoring model. Credit score is one of the many factors lenders review in considering your application.
350 579
580 669
670 739
740 799
800 850
Poor - Excellent
Regular APR (%) 26.99% variable
Annual Fee $0
Minimum Deposit to Activate $49
Pay deposit in installments Yes
Allows upgrade to unsecured card Yes
Rewards Earning Rate This card does not offer a rewards program.
  • WHY WE CHOSE THIS CARD

    We chose the Capital One Secured Mastercard as the best Capital One option for those with bad or no credit as it is an obvious choice given its broad acceptance for those who can place a security deposit with the issuer in exchange for a credit line. There is no rewards program with this card but there is also no annual fee and no foreign transaction fees, which makes it an easy card to keep and build credit over time with responsible use.

  • PROS & CONS

    Pros

    • Credit limits can be larger than the required security deposit
    • Security deposit can be paid in installments
    • No annual or foreign transaction fees

    Cons

    • Requires a bank account
    • Relatively low initial credit limits
    • No bonus offers or rewards program
  • HIGHLIGHTS
    • $49, $99 or $200 refundable minimum security deposit. Access to an authorized bank account is required to make your security deposit.
    • Make the minimum required security deposit and you'll get an initial credit line of $200. Plus, deposit more money before your account opens to get a higher credit line.
    • Be automatically considered for a higher credit line in as little as 6 months.
    • Pick your own monthly due date and payment method—check, online or at a local branch.

What Is the History of Capital One?

Capital One’s origins were as the credit card division of Signet, a regional bank in the mid-atlantic region of the US that was spun off as an independent organization in 1994. It was one of the original “monoline” banks, as they were known at the time because they only had one product line - credit cards. Other monoline banks of the time included MBNA and First USA, which are now owned by Bank of America and Chase, respectively. Capital One is the last of these types of independent card issuers, though they have since branched out into other types of consumer loans and deposits delivered online and through a nationwide network of banking locations, including Capital One Cafes. Capital One is currently ranked as the fifth largest credit card issuer based on outstanding balances, which total nearly $100 billion.

Capital One issues both Mastercard and Visa network-branded cards to consumers, students and small businesses. Travel-related versions of these cards can come in premium form as World Mastercard, World Elite Mastercard, Visa Platinum and Visa Signature. Capital One also offers cards on a co-branded basis with fortune 50 companies like Walmart and General Motors that provide rewards specific to patrons of those brands.

Capital One products are generally targeted to those with good to excellent credit but there are also options for those with fair credit or those who are initially building their credit.

How Do Capital One Rewards Programs Work?

Capital One credit card rewards are based on generic travel miles that can be used to book travel on any airline or with any hotel or a percentage of cash back that can be earned on every purchase dollar. The amount or percentage of the rewards earned per dollar varies depending on the card. Finding the right card can come down to how you wish to receive your rewards - either in the form of immediate cash back or in mileage currency that can be used to pay for future travel. It’s also important to gauge how much you spend on credit cards, where you spend and whether you’re willing to pay an annual fee in return for enhanced earnings opportunities.

Capital One Cash-Back Cards

These cards allow you to earn cash-back with your everyday and, in some cases, with bonus category spending, that can be redeemed for checks or statement credits for any amount that has been earned (i.e. there are no minimum redemption thresholds):

  • Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit Card
  • Capital One QuicksilverOne Cash Rewards Credit Card
  • Capital One Savor Rewards Credit Card
  • Capital One SavorOne Rewards Credit Card
  • Capital One Walmart Rewards Mastercard
  • GM Mastercard
  • Journey Student Rewards from Capital One
  • Capital One Spark Cash for Business
  • Capital One Spark Cash Select 

Capital One Travel Rewards Cards

These Capital One cards provide various flat-rate and bonus earnings opportunities.  

  • Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card
  • Capital One VentureOne Rewards Credit Card
  • Capital One Spark Miles for Business
  • Capital One Spark Miles Select for Business

The travel rewards Capital One cards earn “miles”, which are not tied to any particular airline. Each mile has a worth of one cent when redeemed toward travel expenses. Redemption can take the form of booking any travel through Capital One’s Rewards Center or can be used retroactively to offset a previously incurred travel expense through Capital One’s Purchase Eraser feature. The only caveat to using Purchase Eraser to offset travel expenses is that it must be done within 90 days of the original purchase. Other redemption options include statement credits or Amazon gift cards, though the redemption value of each mile is considerably less vs. redeeming toward travel.

A valuable feature of Capital One’s travel rewards cards is that they allow transfer to a number of airline frequent flyer programs as well as a few large hotel chain loyalty programs that have partnered with Capital One, listed below:

  • Aeromexico
  • Air France/KLM
  • Air Canada
  • Alitalia
  • Asia Miles
  • Avianca
  • Emirates
  • Etihad Airways
  • EVA Air
  • Finnair
  • JetBlue
  • Qantas
  • Singapore Airlines
  • Accor hotels
  • Wyndham hotels


Bear in mind that Capital One travel partners involve a diluted transfer value, with most converting at 1.5 miles or points for every 2 Capital One miles. Three partners - Singapore Airlines, Emirates and Accor hotels transfers at a rate of 1 mile or point per 2 Capital One Miles.

What are Capital One’s Fees Like?

Capital One offers a number of cards without annual fees and their interest rates, while based on creditworthiness, are generally considered reasonable relative to other issuers’ products in the market. One notable feature is that Capital One waives foreign transaction fees on all of their cards, which is a very consumer-friendly policy. 

How Does Capital One Customer Service Rate?

Capital One earned an “average” rating in J.D. Power’s 2019 U.S. Credit Card Satisfaction Study, putting them squarely in the middle of the pack.

Can You Get a Capital One Card with Bad Credit?

Potentially, as Capital One offers a secured credit card option for those with bad credit or no credit history. Secured cards require a security deposit to be placed with the issuer in exchange for a credit limit of the same or sometimes greater amount.

Methodology

Information Gathering

In order to track and assess the U.S. domestic credit card market, we gather scores of data points on more than 300 cards. This data is collected manually from both card-issuer websites and publicly available sources. 

To ensure our information is as up-to-date as possible, we deploy automated tools that monitor changes in such key data as annual percentage rates, introductory rates, introductory periods, bonus offers, rewards earnings rates, fees and card benefits. We then rapidly make any needed updates to our card listings, reviews, and recommendations to ensure that readers have the most reliable information and advice. 

Initial Scoring

Once we collect credit card data we organize it in our database according to features, which roll up into feature sets (such as rewards, interest, fees, benefits and Security/Customer Service). Each individual card feature is assigned a star rating score on a 1 to 5 scale using a formula. For instance, for a one-time bonus score we would use a formula like (if bonus is $500 or greater, then assign a score of 5; if $300-$499 then 4, and so forth). Weighting of scores. Once all of each card’s features have received a score we apply a weighting factor to each feature to arrive at a weighted average score for each card (according to the general category in which it resides, such as travel rewards). 

This weighting process allows us to assign significantly more emphasis to the attributes important to a particular category, and downplay those that are less relevant to it. That allows us to objectively identify cards that stand out in their category, and why they do. For example, we apply significantly higher weight to such travel-specific features as airport lounge access or primary rental car insurance than we do to attributes such as interest rates or fees that might be more strongly considered for other categories, such as balance-transfer cards.

Earnings rates

Another critical factor we consider when rating and ranking travel cards and other types of rewards cards are the cards’ effective earnings rates. We first calculate the average value of points or miles for all the rewards cards in our database, a painstaking process that entails collecting all airline fare data by carrier across scores of popular domestic and international city-pairs along with per-night hotel charges at all major hotel brands. 

The required points and miles for air travel or hotel stays from the various reward programs is then used to calculate an effective earnings rate for each card. That allows our readers to make the most informed choices. By putting a card’s large one-time bonus or earnings rates into context across many dimensions and card features, they can more readily weigh the card’s benefits relative to its costs. Uncovering the true but often opaque redemption value of rewards points or miles is, we feel, the only reliable way to make cogent choices among competing value-based cards.  

Card Features We Score

As mentioned in our methodology explanation, we place significant weight on certain travel-related features in determining our ratings for each card. Specifically, we place over 50% of our overall assessment score on the combination of the following factors:  

  • Maximum value of any one-time bonus, whether in points or miles.
  • Initial card spending required to earn any bonus.
  • Redemption value of the bonus miles or points.
  • Global card acceptance, as detailed by the four card networks (Visa, Mastercard, American Express and Discover).
  • Options to redeem points or miles with travel partners, both airline and hotel.

Another consideration are the cards’ coverage, if any, in these travel-related areas: 

  • Car-rental collision insurance, whether primary or secondary.
  • Travel accident insurance.
  • Lost or delayed luggage insurance.
  • Insurance for trip cancellation, interruption, or delay.
  • Cell phone loss or damage.
  • Roadside assistance and towing.
  • Emergency travel medical/dental benefits.

General, non-travel related features that we consider and score include:

  • Interest rates, including both introductory and regular APRs for purchases and balance transfers.
  • Fees, including those for annual membership, late payments, cash advances and foreign transactions.
  • Security/customer service features.
  • Other non-travel benefits, such as free credit scores, ID theft protection and contactless payment capability.

How We Reach Our Final Assessments

We rely mostly on the objective scores created by our rating algorithms to determine which card is chosen as the best travel rewards credit card, as well as the ones deemed best for one-time bonuses and as co-branded airline and hotel choices. 

However, we may make some adjustments from time to time, to both features and weightings that could affect rankings, which can be influenced by subjective input from our credit card experts. Any potential modifications will be consistent with Investopedia’s belief that consumers are best served by travel cards that:

  • Provide superior value in earning awards travel.
  • Charge reasonable interest rates in the event that balances are carried month to month.
  • Charge fewer and/or more reasonable fees.
  • Provide solid customer service, based on the number and quality of customer service features
  • Have helpful and protective security features.