Advertiser Disclosure

BuyPower Card from Capital One: Get The Card That Helps You Get The Car

With so many websites offering free financial tools, it can be hard to know whom to trust. At NerdWallet, we spend literally 1,000s of hours researching partner offers and following strict editorial integrity to match you with the perfect choice. We even share how we make money so you can enjoy our expert advice and researched recommendations with total clarity and confidence.

Aw nerds! This page is out of date. Please visit NerdWallet’s Best Rewards Credit Cards page for updated info.

Brand loyalty can be a big deal with car buyers, so drivers devoted to General Motors will be happy to see their fidelity rewarded with the BuyPower Card from Capital One® -Get The Card That Helps You Get The Car.

With its high ongoing rewards rate and special features that car guys and gals will appreciate, the BuyPower Card from Capital One® -Get The Card That Helps You Get The Car is likely to find fans. But is an auto credit card really right for you?

At a glance
Rewards program Get 5% earnings on your first $5,000 in purchases every year and unlimited 2% earnings on every purchase after that.
Introductory APR deal 0% for 12 months on purchases, and then the ongoing APR of 12.65% - 20.65% Variable
Annual fee $0
Foreign transaction fees None
Verdict: If you’re a true-blue GM driver, it might be worth it.
Good for:
  • Someone who is loyal to General Motors
  • Someone who spends a lot (we’ll explain later)
  • Someone who is willing to wait to redeem rewards
Bad for:
  • Someone who wants flexibility with reward redemption
  • Someone who doesn’t buy new cars often
  • Someone who wants to use rewards more frequently

In this article

BuyPower Card from Capital One® -Get The Card That Helps You Get The Car: The basics
Where the BuyPower Card from Capital One® -Get The Card That Helps You Get The Car shines
Save money on a large purchase with a 0% APR card
Where the BuyPower Card from Capital One® -Get The Card That Helps You Get The Car falls short
The BuyPower Card from Capital One® -Get The Card That Helps You Get The Car versus the competition
The bottom line: Is the BuyPower Card from Capital One® -Get The Card That Helps You Get The Car right for you?

BuyPower Card from Capital One® -Get The Card That Helps You Get The Car: The basics

If you’re a General Motors enthusiast, the BuyPower Card from Capital One® -Get The Card That Helps You Get The Car knows what you like. Its rewards rate rivals some of the best cards on the market: 5% earnings on your first $5,000 in purchases every year and unlimited 2% earnings on all purchases after that. You can redeem those earnings toward the purchase or lease of a new Chevrolet, Buick, GMC or Cadillac vehicle.

The BuyPower Card from Capital One® -Get The Card That Helps You Get The Car also comes with a $0 annual fee, no foreign transaction fees and an introductory 0% APR offer: 0% for 12 months on purchases, and then the ongoing APR of 12.65% - 20.65% Variable— all things considered, it’s a solid deal.

Where the BuyPower Card from Capital One® -Get The Card That Helps You Get The Car shines

The BuyPower Card from Capital One® -Get The Card That Helps You Get The Car is an excellent card if you want car-specific rewards. Here are a few key features that make this a keeper:

High rewards rate: The 5% earnings on your first $5,000 in purchases every year is notable, considering many 5% cash-back cards limit that rate to revolving categories. The 2% earnings after that are also high compared with the 1% industry standard. Earnings are unlimited, so the more you spend, the more you earn.

Introductory 0% APR period on purchases: Considering the card has a high rewards rate and a $0 annual fee, it’s a pleasant surprise that it also has an introductory 0% APR period: 0% for 12 months on purchases, and then the ongoing APR of 12.65% - 20.65% Variable. The term of the introductory period isn’t as long as the best 0% APR cards out there, but it’s a nice fringe benefit.

Annual fee: It’s not easy to find a credit card with such a high rewards rate and a $0 annual fee. This is a big win for thrifty folks.

Save money on a large purchase with a 0% APR card

If you’re financing a big-ticket item, consider a credit card with an introductory 0% APR period rather than in-store financing to save money on interest. For example, let’s say you finance a $5,000 purchase with your BuyPower Card from Capital One® -Get The Card That Helps You Get The Car. Not only will you get a 0% APR for a long time, you’ll also earn 5% on your purchase, or $250. You will be hard-pressed to find a better store financing deal than that.

Nerd tip: Avoid a common pitfall that comes with a 0% APR promotion by planning to pay off the principal amount before the end of the introductory period. Putting it off could leave you paying more in the long run than if you had financed with the store.

Where the BuyPower Card from Capital One® -Get The Card That Helps You Get The Car falls short

While the BuyPower Card from Capital One® -Get The Card That Helps You Get The Car has some impressive benefits, there are a few drawbacks you should know about:

Lack of flexibility: The only way to redeem your rewards is by purchasing or leasing a new GM vehicle. Even a used vehicle isn’t an option, which may put off the frugal crowd. If you’re not absolutely certain that your next car will be a brand-new GM, this card may not be a good choice for you.

It could take a while to cash in: According to the National Automobile Dealers Association, the average new car price is approximately $30,000. If you spend an average of $15,000 with your card annually, you’ll get $450 in rewards each year:

5,000 x .05 = 250
10,000 x .02 = 200
250 + 200 = 450

In order to score a significant discount on your next car purchase, you’ll need to either use the card heavily or wait a long time.

Risk of discontinuation: There are few auto credit cards on the market these days, and some have been discontinued or restructured in recent years. While your rewards with the BuyPower Card from Capital One® -Get The Card That Helps You Get The Car will never expire, a discontinuation or a change in rewards program could decrease your chances of maximizing your earnings.

The BuyPower Card from Capital One® -Get The Card That Helps You Get The Car versus the competition

Let’s take a look at how other auto credit cards and a cash-back alternative stack up against the BuyPower Card from Capital One® -Get The Card That Helps You Get The Car:

The BuyPower Card from Capital One® -Get The Card That Helps You Get The Car versus the Toyota Rewards

If you prefer Toyota, the Toyota Rewards offers a rewards program similar to the BuyPower Card from Capital One® -Get The Card That Helps You Get The Car. With the Toyota Rewards, you’ll earn 5% earnings on purchases at participating Toyota dealerships and 1% earnings on everything else. As you can see, the rewards rate isn’t as attractive, and it also doesn’t offer an introductory 0% APR.

Where the Toyota Rewards offers more value is in its redemption choices. You can redeem your points for parts, service or accessories at participating Toyota dealerships. You can also put your rewards toward the purchase of a certified used vehicle. However, it also runs the risk of discontinuation, and unused points expire after five years, so it might not be a good choice if your sole purpose is a large discount on a new or certified used car.

The $0 and the additional redemption options are nice, but the BuyPower Card from Capital One® -Get The Card That Helps You Get The Car wins this comparison based on its rewards earning power.

The BuyPower Card from Capital One® -Get The Card That Helps You Get The Car versus the Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer

The Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer isn’t an auto credit card per se, but its rewards rate and structure are worth mentioning for comparison purposes. Earning rewards with this card is simple: You’ll score 1% cash back on purchases, then an additional 1% back when you pay them off. Having the potential to earn unlimited 1% cash back twice means it has one of the highest ongoing rewards rates out there.

The Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer also has a $0 annual fee with an introductory 0% APR period: 0% on Balance Transfers for 18 months, and then the ongoing APR of 14.49% - 24.49% Variable APR.

The strength of the Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer’s value proposition is that it provides the unfettered flexibility of cash. If you want to redeem your rewards for a vehicle purchase, cash-back rewards can do that. But if you end up changing your mind or you would prefer to redeem your rewards more frequently, the Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer won’t restrain you. There’s also less risk involved if the card is discontinued because your rewards aren’t tied up in a future car purchase.

The bottom line: Is the BuyPower Card from Capital One® -Get The Card That Helps You Get The Car right for you?

If cars get your motor running, the BuyPower Card from Capital One® -Get The Card That Helps You Get The Car is GM’s way to reward you for your loyalty to its brand. It offers fantastic ongoing rewards rate and a decent introductory 0% APR period. However, if GM isn’t your car brand of choice or you’re not excited about putting all your rewards eggs in one basket, you may want to consider another auto credit card or a cash-back credit card.

Ben Luthi is a staff writer covering personal finance for NerdWallet. Follow him on Twitter @benluthi and on Google+.


Image via iStock.