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NerdWallet’s Best Capital One Credit Cards of 2019

Feb. 17, 2019
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Capital One credit cards can be a solid choice for all kinds of card seekers. You’ll find generous cash-back cards, rewards cards with easy-to-redeem miles, plus options for business owners, students and those with average or poor credit.

What you won’t find on any Capital One card? Foreign transaction fees, which will be music to globetrotters’ ears.

Here are NerdWallet’s picks for best Capital One credit cards:

For travel: Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card

Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card

Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card

Apply Now on Capital One's secure site
  • Recommended Credit Score
  • 690
    850
    Good - Excellent
  • Card Details
  • Pros

    • High rewards rate
    • Flexible rewards redemption
    • No foreign transaction fee
    • Sign-up bonus

    Cons

    • Has annual fee
    • Redemption value for cash is half of value for travel
    • Requires good/excellent credit

    Annual Fees

    $0 for the first year, then $95

    APR

    • APR: 15.24% - 25.24% Variable APR
    • Cash Advance APR: 25.24%, Variable

    Bonus Offers

    Enjoy 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

    Intro APR

    • N/A
  • Additional Information
    • Enjoy 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
    • Earn 2X miles on every purchase, every day. Plus earn 10X miles on thousands of hotels, through January 2020; learn more at hotels.com/venture
    • Named ‘The Best Travel Card' by CNBC, 2018
    • Receive up to $100 application fee credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓®
    • Fly any airline, stay at any hotel, anytime; no blackout dates. Plus transfer your miles to over 12 leading travel loyalty programs
    • Miles won't expire for the life of the account and there's no limit to how many you can earn
    • No foreign transaction fees
    • $0 intro annual fee for the first year; $95 after that

Why we like it

The Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card is at the front of the wallet for many frequent travelers, thanks to its rich flat-rate rewards, plum sign-up bonus and flexible redemption options.

Pros and cons

Pros: The card earns 2 miles per $1 spent on all purchases, among the best rewards rates in its class. The sign-up bonus is similarly generous: Enjoy 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. And redemption is easy: Either go through Capital One’s travel center, or simply book wherever you want and use the card’s “Purchase Eraser” feature to get a statement credit for the amount. There’s no minimum redemption threshold, either.

Cons: There’s an annual fee of $0 for the first year, then $95. If you’d rather have cash back instead of miles, a point is worth only half a cent when redeemed this way.

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

For cash back: Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit Card

Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit Card

Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit Card

Apply Now on Capital One's secure site
  • Recommended Credit Score
  • 690
    850
    Good - Excellent
  • Card Details
  • Pros

    • High rewards rate and no minimum redemption
    • No annual fee or foreign transaction fee
    • Intro APR period on Purchases and Balance Transfers
    • Sign-up bonus

    Cons

    • Other cards have longer 0% periods
    • No bonus rewards categories
    • Requires good/excellent credit

    Annual Fees

    $0

    APR

    • APR: 15.24% - 25.24% Variable APR
    • Cash Advance APR: 25.24%, Variable

    Bonus Offers

    One-time $150 cash bonus after you spend $500 on purchases within 3 months from account opening

    Intro APR

    • 0% on Purchases and Balance Transfers for 15 months
  • Additional Information
    • One-time $150 cash bonus after you spend $500 on purchases within 3 months from account opening
    • Earn unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase, every day
    • No rotating categories or sign-ups needed to earn cash rewards; plus, cash back won't expire for the life of the account and there's no limit to how much you can earn
    • 0% intro APR on purchases for 15 months; 15.24%-25.24% variable APR after that
    • 0% intro APR on balance transfers for 15 months; 15.24%-25.24% variable APR after that; 3% fee on the amounts transferred within the first 15 months
    • Pay no annual fee or foreign transaction fees

Why we like it

These days, a 1.5% flat-rate rewards card is the gold standard. But it was the Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit Card that kicked off the trend. The $0-annual-fee card not only earns simple and unlimited rewards, but it allows you to redeem your rewards in any amount, at any time. Many other cash rewards cards have minimum redemption requirements.

Pros and cons

Pros: Easy-peasy describes this card’s simple earning and redemption structure. There are no bonus categories to keep track of, no limit to how much you can earn, and rewards don’t expire. The Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit Card comes with a sign-up bonus: One-time $150 cash bonus after you spend $500 on purchases within 3 months from account opening. Plus, you’ll get an intro APR of 0% on Purchases and Balance Transfers for 15 months, and then the ongoing APR of 15.24% - 25.24% Variable APR.

Cons: If you’re willing to keep track of rotating bonus categories, or if you spend heavily on things like gas and groceries, you might do better with a card that pays higher rewards on select purchases.

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

For small business: Capital One® Spark® Cash for Business

Capital One® Spark® Cash for Business

Capital One® Spark® Cash for Business

Apply Now on Capital One's secure site
  • Recommended Credit Score
  • 690
    850
    Good - Excellent
  • Card Details
  • Pros

    • High rewards rate
    • No foreign transaction fee

    Cons

    • Has annual fee
    • High APR

    Annual Fees

    $0 for the first year, then $95

    APR

    • APR: 19.24% Variable APR
    • Penalty APR: 31.65%, Variable
    • Cash Advance APR: 25.24%, Variable

    Bonus Offers

    A one-time $500 cash bonus once you spend $4,500 on purchases within 3 months from account opening.

    Intro APR

    • N/A
  • Additional Information
    • Earning unlimited 2% cash back could mean thousands of dollars each year going back into your business
    • Plus, a one-time $500 cash bonus once you spend $4,500 on purchases within 3 months from account opening
    • Use Spark Cash across all your business spend, with no categories to limit your purchasing
    • $0 intro annual fee for the first year; $95 after that
    • Rewards won't expire for the life of the account, and you can redeem your cash back for any amount
    • Get employee cards at no additional cost, and earn rewards from their business spend

✭ 2019 NERDWALLET AWARD WINNER: Best small-business cash-back card

Why we like it

With versatility and high rewards, the Capital One® Spark® Cash for Business is an ideal option for the right business owner. It earns 2% back on all purchases, and earnings are paid out in cash, which is pretty much the only form of reward that’s easier to redeem than Capital One miles.

Pros and cons

Pros: In addition to its 2% flat-rate earnings, the Capital One® Spark® Cash for Business also offers an attractive sign-up bonus: A one-time $500 cash bonus once you spend $4,500 on purchases within 3 months from account opening. You’ll also get some business-specific perks, such as an itemized expense summary at year’s end (great for tax time) and free employee credit cards, too.

Cons: It’s got an annual fee of $0 for the first year, then $95, which could be unpalatable to some. If your business spends heavily in specific areas, you might do better with a card offering higher rewards in those categories.

» MORE: Read our review of the Capital One® Spark® Cash for Business.

For college students: Journey® Student Rewards from Capital One®

Journey® Student Rewards from Capital One®

Journey® Student Rewards from Capital One®

Apply Now on Capital One's secure site
  • Recommended Credit Score
  • 630
    689
    Average
  • Card Details
  • Pros

    • Qualify with average credit
    • No annual fee
    • No foreign transaction fee

    Cons

    • High APR

    Annual Fees

    $0

    APR

    • APR: 26.96% Variable APR
    • Cash Advance APR: 26.96%, Variable

    Bonus Offers

    Get access to a higher credit line after making your first 5 monthly payments on time

    Intro APR

    • N/A
  • Additional Information
    • 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
    • Enjoy no annual fee and no foreign transaction fees
    • Get a head start and build your credit with responsible use
    • Get access to a higher credit line after making your first 5 monthly payments on time
    • Monitor your credit profile with the CreditWise® app, free for everyone
    • $0 fraud liability if your card is ever lost or stolen
    • Pick the monthly due date that works best for you
    • Get customized alerts and manage your account with the Capital One mobile app

Why we like it

When you make a purchase on the Journey® Student Rewards from Capital One®, you’ll receive 1% cash back on all your purchases, plus 0.25% back when you make your monthly payment on time, for a total of 1.25% cash back. That’s pretty good for a student card. It has a $0 annual fee, and your rewards will never expire.

Pros and cons

Pros: Pay on time your first five months and your account will be considered for a higher credit line. You don’t have to be a student to apply for the Journey® Student Rewards from Capital One®, making it a good option for someone with average credit.

Cons: If you have good credit, you can probably score a card with higher rewards than the Journey® Student Rewards from Capital One®. The ongoing APR is 26.96% Variable APR, which is steep if you plan on carrying a balance.

» MORE: Read our review of the Journey® Student Rewards from Capital One®.

For dining/entertainment: Capital One® SavorOne℠ Cash Rewards Credit Card

Capital One® SavorOne℠ Cash Rewards Credit Card

Capital One® SavorOne℠ Cash Rewards Credit Card

Apply Now on Capital One's secure site
  • Recommended Credit Score
  • 690
    850
    Good - Excellent
  • Card Details
  • Pros

    • Bonus cash back categories
    • No annual fee
    • Intro APR period on Purchases and Balance Transfers
    • No foreign transaction fee

    Annual Fees

    $0

    APR

    • APR: 15.24% - 25.24% Variable APR
    • Cash Advance APR: 25.24%, Variable

    Bonus Offers

    Earn a one-time $150 cash bonus after you spend $500 on purchases within the first 3 months from account opening

    Intro APR

    • 0% on Purchases and Balance Transfers for 15 months
  • Additional Information
    • Earn a one-time $150 cash bonus after 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
    • No rotating categories or sign-ups needed to earn cash rewards; plus cash back won't expire for the life of the account and there's no limit to how much you can earn
    • 0% intro APR on purchases for 15 months; 15.24% - 25.24% variable APR after that
    • 0% intro APR on balance transfers for 15 months; 15.24% - 25.24% variable APR after that; 3% fee on the amounts transferred within the first 15 months
    • No foreign transaction fee
    • No annual fee

✭ 2019 NERDWALLET AWARD WINNER: Best dining and entertainment card

Why we like it

Anyone who loves to dine out, take out, or just go out on the town would be hard-pressed to find a better cash-back card for an annual fee of $0. The Capital One® SavorOne℠ Cash Rewards Credit Card earns an unlimited 3% back on dining and entertainment spending and 2% at grocery stores. All other spending earns 1%.

Pros and cons

Pros: If cooking your own meals is just not your thing, the Capital One® SavorOne℠ Cash Rewards Credit Card may deserve a place in your wallet. If you ever leave your house for something besides work, you’ll likely get plenty of value out of the enhanced rewards on entertainment. Capital One’s definition of that category is broad, encompassing everything from concerts and amusement parks to sporting events and more. There’s no minimum redemption requirement for your earnings.

Cons: If you spend more at the supermarket than on dining out, a card that pays higher rewards on groceries is likely a better fit. Or if you spend more than $9,500 a year on dining and entertainment, this card’s older sibling — the Capital One® Savor® Cash Rewards Credit Card — is a more valuable choice, despite its annual fee of $0 for the first year, then $95.

» MORE: Read our review of the Capital One® SavorOne℠ Cash Rewards Credit Card.

For average credit: Capital One® QuicksilverOne® Cash Rewards Credit Card

Capital One® QuicksilverOne® Cash Rewards Credit Card

Capital One® QuicksilverOne® Cash Rewards Credit Card

Apply Now on Capital One's secure site
  • Recommended Credit Score
  • 630
    689
    Average
  • Card Details
  • Pros

    • Qualify with average credit
    • High rewards rate
    • No foreign transaction fee

    Cons

    • Has annual fee
    • High APR

    Annual Fees

    $39

    APR

    • APR: 26.96% Variable APR
    • Cash Advance APR: 26.96%, Variable

    Bonus Offers

    None

    Intro APR

    • N/A
  • Additional Information
    • Earn unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase, every day
    • Earn cash rewards without signing up for rotating categories
    • Get access to a higher credit line after making your first 5 monthly payments on time
    • Monitor your credit profile with the CreditWise® app, free for everyone
    • $0 fraud liability if your card is ever lost or stolen
    • No limit to how much cash back you can earn, and cash back doesn't expire for the life of the account
    • Help strengthen your credit for the future with responsible card use
    • Get customized alerts and manage your account with the Capital One mobile app

✭ 2019 NERDWALLET AWARD WINNER: Best card for fair credit

Why we like it

The Capital One® QuicksilverOne® Cash Rewards Credit Card is one of just a handful of cards for average credit that also earns rewards. In fact, it earns them at the same high flat rate that the Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit Card offers.

Pros and cons

Pros: The Capital One® QuicksilverOne® Cash Rewards Credit Card pays an unlimited and generous rewards rate of 1.5% on all spending. You can redeem those rewards at any time, in any amount.

Cons: The card comes with an annual fee of $39, so you’d have to spend at least $2,600 a year on the card to break even. It doesn’t offer a sign-up bonus, nor does it have any introductory 0% APR offers.

» MORE: Read our review of the Capital One® QuicksilverOne® Cash Rewards Credit Card.

For poor credit: Capital One® Secured Mastercard®

Capital One® Secured Mastercard®

Capital One® Secured Mastercard®

Apply Now on Capital One's secure site
  • Recommended Credit Score
  • 300
    629
    Poor
  • Card Details
  • Pros

    • Qualify with limited / bad credit
    • No annual fee
    • No foreign transaction fee

    Cons

    • No rewards
    • High APR

    Annual Fees

    $0

    APR

    • APR: 26.99% Variable APR
    • Cash Advance APR: 26.99%, Variable

    Bonus Offers

    None

    Intro APR

    • N/A
  • Additional Information
    • No annual fee, and all the credit building benefits with responsible card use
    • Unlike a prepaid card, it builds credit when used responsibly, with regular reporting to the 3 major credit bureaus
    • You will get an initial $200 credit line after making a security deposit of $49, $99, or $200, determined based on your creditworthiness
    • Get access to a higher credit line after making your first 5 monthly payments on time with no additional deposit needed
    • Easily manage your account 24/7 with online access, by phone or using our mobile app
    • It's a credit card accepted at millions of locations worldwide

Why we like it

When you have poor credit, a secured card can help. The Capital One® Secured Mastercard® reports to all three of the major credit bureaus and may give you access to a higher credit line without an additional deposit after you make the first five monthly payments on time.

Pros and cons

Pros: The Capital One® Secured Mastercard® has an annual fee of $0 and may allow for a lower opening deposit. For a starter credit line of $200, your deposit may be $49, $99 or $200 (based on your creditworthiness). Plus, Capital One will let you pay off that deposit in installments within a certain amount of time after approval.

Cons: Like many secured cards, the Capital One® Secured Mastercard® doesn’t earn rewards. The ongoing APR is 26.99% Variable APR, so carrying a balance is not ideal.

» MORE: Read our review of the Capital One® Secured Mastercard®.