Capital One Platinum Card review: Free fair credit card for beginners and builders
Rating as of Jan. 6, 2023 based on a review of services March 13, 2023.
Finding an unsecured credit card with average credit can be difficult, but the Capital One Platinum Credit Card is happy to have your business. You won’t find many perks to owning this credit card, but it’s a great first card for young people looking to build a strong credit history and there’s no annual fee.
Only average / fair / limited credit is required for approval
Be automatically considered for a higher credit line in as little as 6 months
No annual fee or foreign transaction fees
- No annual or hidden fees. See if you're approved in seconds
- Be automatically considered for a higher credit line in as little as 6 months
- Help build your credit through responsible use of a card like this
- Enjoy peace of mind with $0 Fraud Liability so that you won't be responsible for unauthorized charges
- Monitor your credit score with CreditWise from Capital One. It's free for everyone
- Get access to your account 24 hours a day, 7 days a week with online banking from your desktop or smartphone, with Capital One's mobile app
- Check out quickly and securely with a contactless card, without touching a terminal or handing your card to a cashier. Just hover your card over a contactless reader, wait for the confirmation, and you're all set
- Pay by check, online or at a local branch, all with no fee - and pick the monthly due date that works best for you
Capital One may be known for cash back and travel rewards cards, but its credit-building credit cards could be just what someone with fair or average credit needs to turn their life around or start off right.
The Capital One Platinum Credit Card isn’t your average credit card, but it is a good option for average credit. It’s an unsecured credit card designed for people with less-than-perfect credit or new credit who want a starter card that doesn’t require a security deposit or charge an annual fee. While not flashy, this fair credit card offers money-saving perks like no foreign transaction fee and automatic credit limit increase reviews to help you improve your credit one step at a time.
Find out if this credit-building card is for you and see how it compares to other popular options in our Capital One Platinum Credit Card review.
- Best for – People with fair credit who have been denied credit in the past, those who don’t have much experience with borrowing, and/or people who want to start with a lower credit limit
- Intro offer/sign-up bonus – No cash bonus or intro APR for purchases and balance transfers
- Rewards – None
- Annual fee – $0
- Intro APR – None
- Regular APR – 29.99% (Variable)
- Other unique features – No foreign transaction fees, no annual or hidden fees, higher credit line in as little as six months
Pros & cons
- Low credit requirement — People can qualify for this card with fair or average credit scores and limited credit histories.
- No annual fee — Nada.
- No foreign transaction fee — This benefit isn’t expected, but it is appreciated.
- Does not earn rewards — This card doesn't earn cash back, points, or miles on your purchases.
- High interest rate — Steep APR even for a fair credit card with no range for those with better credit.
- Low credit limit — You may be automatically considered for a higher credit line after six months, but it could still be lower than you’re hoping for.
Capital One Platinum Credit Card benefits
Instead of a stuffed rewards program, the Capital One Platinum Credit Card doesn’t charge fees and lets you borrow more over time. Here are some of the main benefits of having this card.
The Capital One Platinum Credit Card supports you in building your credit with helpful features like CreditWise. This is a free credit monitoring tool in the Capital One app that lets you pull your VantageScore 3.0 and TransUnion credit score at any time without affecting your credit.
But this card won’t just build credit for you, obviously. You’ll need to be mindful of your credit utilization ratio and monitor your credit score to see how different activities affect your credit.
And of course, be patient. Building credit, especially from scratch, takes time and consistency. If you’re starting with a very thin credit history, there’s a chance your credit score will go down slightly before it goes up. But if you pay off your balance in full each month, always make your payments by the due date, and refrain from applying for new credit you don’t absolutely need, you should see your score start to improve.
Read more: How to get a free credit report and credit score
Credit limit increases
One of the best credit-building features of this card is the credit limit review.
The Capital One Platinum Credit Card has a lower credit limit compared to many other credit cards since it’s designed for those with lower credit scores and more limited histories. Capital One doesn’t disclose the official lower or upper limit for this card, but many users have reported only being able to borrow up to a few thousand.
But all Platinum card holders can be automatically considered for a credit line increase six months after opening their account. To be eligible for a higher credit line, your account must be in good standing. And if approved for an increase, how much your limit goes up depends on your profile.
Why does this matter? With a higher credit line, you can borrow what you need without having a high credit utilization ratio, which can negatively impact your credit.
Your credit utilization ratio is the amount of credit you use over the total amount available to you. A ratio that’s too high (generally considered greater than 30%) can signal to lenders that you’re taking on too much debt and make them nervous to loan more money to you. So usually, the higher your credit line and the less of it you use, the better.
The Capital One Platinum Credit Card comes with $0 Fraud Liability coverage as well. Meaning if someone gets ahold of your card and goes on a spending spree, you aren’t responsible for covering any of the charges — as long as you take the necessary action to report the fraudulent activity and react as quickly as possible after noticing your card is gone. Most credit cards include fraud liability coverage now, but this is still nice to have.
And if your card does get lost or stolen, you can qualify for emergency card replacement.
Banking, lifestyle, and shopping perks
Having a Capital One card also comes with other benefits like:
- Capital One Cafes – several hundred hybrid cafe/branch locations scattered across the U.S. for those times when you want to chat with a banker in person
- Capital One Shopping – save when you online shop by applying promo codes at checkout
- Mobile app – Capital One’s mobile app and online banking platform are highly-rated and easy to use
These perks aren’t specific to the Capital One Platinum Credit Card. Capital One offers them to all card members and even some non-card members (in the case of Capital One Shopping).
Read more: Unique benefits offered by Capital One credit cards
Fees and interest
The Capital One Platinum card has few fees but a very high interest rate.
This card doesn’t come with an annual fee or hidden fees, but it does charge the following typical usage fees.
Late fee: Up to $40
Balance transfer fee: $0 at this Transfer APR
Cash advance fee: 3% of the amount of the cash advance, but not less than $3
Foreign transaction fee: None
The variable APR for the Capital One Platinum Rewards Credit Card is 29.99% (Variable) for everyone. It doesn’t matter whether your score is on the low end of fair or you have a better credit score than other applicants — this will be your rate.
There is also no introductory APR for balance transfers and purchases made within a set number of months of opening your account, as is common for many credit cards.
If you’re thinking this APR seems high, that’s because it is. Compared to cards like it, the interest rate for the Capital One Platinum card is definitely up there. Even with average credit and limited credit history, you may be able to qualify for a better interest rate with another issuer.
Read more: Credit card interest calculator
Who is it for?
Even if you think this card is perfect for you, just to be safe, check to see if you’re preapproved before applying. This is a good rule of thumb whenever you apply for a new credit card and you should do it whenever possible because prequalification checks do not add credit-sucking hard credit pulls to your report.
The Capital One Platinum Credit Card was created with the following people in mind.
People with average credit
If you have fair credit, which is defined as a FICO credit score between 580 and 669, you may have a solid chance of getting approved for the Capital One Platinum Credit Card. For many people, a credit score of at least 600 is good enough to qualify. But it also depends on your income and borrowing history.
And if you are approved, you can bring your credit score up with regular payments with this simple, non-intimidating unsecured card.
If you’re building credit for the first time or you’re working to get your credit back up after a mistake or two, the Capital One Platinum Credit Card lets you add positive payments to your credit history without having to watch out or compensate for annual or hidden fees.
Capital One’s mobile app also makes it easy to stay on top of your payments and check your credit score so you can see your progress.
Read more: Best credit cards for young adults and first-timers
Who is it not ideal for?
There are a lot of people who would probably find themselves disappointed with the Capital One Platinum Credit Card. It’s not a bad card by any means, but it is lacking in some departments.
If you fit any of these descriptions, consider a different card.
People with great credit
Although working on your credit is always a good idea, even when your score is in great shape, this card isn’t ideal for people who far surpass the credit requirements. If you can qualify for a better credit card, you might not want to choose the Capital One Platinum Credit Card. That interest rate alone is reason enough to shop around before settling on this option.
With great or excellent credit, you can have your pick of the best credit cards out there, including plenty that also don’t charge annual fees.
People who want credit card rewards
The Capital One Platinum Credit Card has no rewards program to speak of, so it’s not a good fit for people who want to earn money back on their spending or use points and miles to shop and book travel. And although it doesn’t charge foreign transaction fees, the travel benefits stop there.
If earning rewards is important to you, there are rewards credit cards you can qualify for with fair credit, including one from Capital One that we’ll talk about soon.
Read more: Best credit cards if your FICO score is between 600 and 649
People who need a higher credit limit
Again, this card isn’t meant for borrowing a lot, especially not at first. Even after you’ve had it for a while and have qualified to have your credit line increased, you probably won’t be able to run up much of a balance.
If you have the credit for an option with a higher credit line and you know you’ll need to spend more, consider a different credit card.
Capital One Platinum Credit Card vs. competitors
Not sure about the Capital One Platinum Credit Card? Check out these similar products from Capital One and apply to see if you’re preapproved to save yourself the trouble of getting denied.
Capital One QuicksilverOne Cash Rewards Card
The Capital One QuicksilverOne Cash Rewards Credit Card is also meant to help fair-credit borrowers build credit, but unlike the Capital One Platinum Credit Card, the Capital One QuicksilverOne Cash Rewards Card does have a rewards program. It pays unlimited 1.5% cash back on all purchases and 5% cash back on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel.
This card has an annual fee of $39, but it doesn’t charge foreign transaction fees. And like the Capital One Platinum Card, it considers you for an automatic credit limit increase after six months.
If you don’t mind paying a small annual fee to unlock more savings every time you spend, this card might be a good fit for you.
Capital One Platinum Secured Credit Card
If you want to play it safer with your credit, consider the Capital One Platinum Secured Credit Card. This has many of the same features as the other two including a credit limit increase, no annual fee, and no foreign transaction fees. The biggest difference is that this one is secured.
A secured credit card requires a security deposit as collateral while an unsecured credit card does not. For this one, you’ll need to make a security deposit of $49, $99, or $200 depending on your application. The Capital One Platinum Secured Credit Card helps you build credit by reporting your payment history to the three major credit bureaus and requires a hard credit pull when applying, but you can qualify with poor credit or no credit. Plus, it can graduate into an unsecured card.
The secured version of the Capital One Platinum Credit Card is easier to get, making this a smart option for those with poor credit or no credit who don’t think they’ll be able to qualify for the unsecured card. Specifically, if you’re rebuilding your credit after bankruptcy, this is likely the better option.
The Capital One Platinum Credit Card is not a perfect credit card for everyone, but it’s not a bad choice for those with average credit. It sets you up to build credit safely and doesn’t charge an annual fee, making it an ideal budgeting companion and a great complement to your credit-building efforts. While this isn’t a rewards credit card and doesn’t give you free stuff, it is a decent unsecured credit card for fair-credit borrowers.
But avoid carrying a balance at all costs as this card carries a staggeringly high variable APR, and know you may not get approved for the credit limit you want.For Capital One products listed on this page, some of the above benefits are provided by Visa® or Mastercard® and may vary by product. See the respective Guide to Benefits for details, as terms and exclusions apply.