Credit One vs. Capital One: What’s the Difference?
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It’s almost too easy to mistake Credit One for Capital One, and vice versa. Their names sound similar, and their logos could be fraternal twins. Both Credit One and Capital One are banks that issue credit cards and other financial products.
But Credit One and Capital One are not related or part of the same company, and overall there is a significant gap in the quality of each bank’s credit cards. Capital One’s cards generally have better perks and fewer fees than the cards from Credit One. Although as such, Credit One cards can often be easier to get.
So before you submit an application for a Capital One credit card (or, wait, is it Credit One?) double-check the name of the bank that's issuing that card. Those few extra seconds could ensure that the card you wanted is the one that ends up in your wallet.
Here are some of the key differences between Credit One and Capital One.
» MORE: Best Capital One credit cards
What is Credit One?
Credit One is a bank that issues credit cards and offers jumbo certificates of deposit. It’s a relatively small bank in terms of assets: On the Federal Reserve’s 2022 list of large commercial banks in America, Credit One ranks 695th. Credit One’s smaller size relative to the top-tier American banks is reflected in its credit card portfolio. As of this writing, Credit One issues just 11 credit cards for a range of credit scores.
What is Capital One?
Capital One is the ninth-largest bank in America, according to the Federal Reserve, and its stature is reflected in the breadth of its financial products and the celebrity spokespeople that Capital One pays to advertise them. You can find loans and checking and savings accounts at Capital One, and almost three times the number of credit cards as Credit One. Capital One’s credit card portfolio caters to a diverse set of consumers. It includes secured cards for those rebuilding their credit, swanky travel cards with annual fees, store cards and business cards.
Credit One credit cards vs. Capital One credit cards
Capital One has more credit cards to offer, and in terms of benefits and fees, they tend to be superior products to Credit One’s cards. Generally speaking, Capital One credit cards provide more value, even — or especially — in cases where the annual fee is more expensive.
At a glance
Annual fee range
Foreign transaction fee
Returned payment fee
Authorized user card fee
No (but it does offer cards in partnership with companies like WWE, NASCAR and a handful of others).
Both Credit One and Capital One have rewards credit cards. The rewards structures on Capital One cards may generate more value — though they may also come with higher credit score requirements. A comparison between Credit One’s Platinum Rewards Visa and the Capital One SavorOne Cash Rewards Credit Card illustrates this point:
The Credit One Platinum Rewards Visa with no annual fee earns unlimited 2% cash back on eligible purchases of gas, grocery, and internet/cable/satellite TV/mobile phone services. You'll need at least average credit (credit scores of at least 630) to get it.
The Capital One SavorOne Cash Rewards Credit Card — also with an annual fee of $0 — boasts a higher 3% rate on some comparable categories including dining, entertainment, popular streaming services and at grocery stores, plus 1% on all other purchases. You'll need good credit (credit scores of at least 690) to get it.
The Credit One Bank American Express Card also underperforms a similar card from Capital One. Credit One’s card earns an unlimited 1% cash back on all purchases, while the rate on the Capital One QuicksilverOne Cash Rewards Credit Card is 1.5%. Both are available to those with average credit, and the cards have the same $39 annual fee.
All of Capital One’s rewards credit cards earn unlimited cash back or miles that do not expire.
Annual fees are another key difference between Credit One and Capital One credit cards. Capital One cards with annual fees tend to offer more value than their Credit One counterparts.
For example, both banks issue cash-back cards with a $95 annual fee: Capital One has the Capital One Savor Cash Rewards Credit Card, which is comparable to Credit One’s Platinum X5 Visa:
Credit One’s card earns 5% back on gas, grocery, and internet/cable/satellite TV/mobile phone services each year on up to $5,000 in combined spending. After hitting that cap, purchases in those categories earn just 1%. You'll need at least average credit to qualify for the card.
The Capital One Savor Cash Rewards Credit Card earns a 4% cash back on dining, entertainment and popular streaming services; 3% at grocery stores; and 1% on all other purchases. It requires excellent credit, however (credit scores of at least 720).
At first glance, a card offering a top rate of 5% might seem to beat a card that tops out at 4% back — except that unlike the Credit One card, the Capital One card has no spending cap on its bonus rewards; the amount you can earn in those categories is unlimited. With the Credit One card, the most you can earn in its 5% categories would be $250 a year.
Credit One cards also assess returned payment fees and foreign transaction fees, as well as authorized user card fees that must be paid annually.
None of Capital One’s credit cards charge foreign transaction fees or authorized user card fees.
You’re far more likely to find a sign-up bonus on a Capital One card, even on its cards for average credit.
Only Credit One’s travel card — the Wander card — comes with a sign-up bonus, whereas a $200 sign-up bonus on a $0-annual-fee Capital One card is commonplace.
Plus, the spending threshold to earn the sign-up bonus on a Capital One card can be fairly low, making the bonus fairly easy to attain. For several Capital One cards, you’ll get the bonus by spending $500 within the first three months of account opening.
Should you get a Credit One or Capital One credit card?
Credit One cards are hardly the worst credit cards on the market. But if you find yourself deciding between a Credit One or Capital One card, pick the latter. Assuming you have the credit scores to qualify, a Capital One card is more likely to deliver bigger rewards and less likely to pile on extra fees.
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