Capital One Platinum Credit Card Review: A No-Fee Credit-Builder

Credit building is a tricky business. You need a strong credit score to access the best rewards cards, but you need a credit card to build a credit score in the first place.

If you're dreaming of earning cashback or airline miles but can’t qualify for a credit card that offers those perks, you probably need to improve your credit score. 

While it doesn’t offer flashy rewards or cardholder perks, making on-time payments to the Capital One Platinum Credit Card can help you qualify for a better credit card down the line. And you only need fair credit to qualify.

Quick Facts: Capital One Platinum Credit Card

  • Welcome offer: None
  • Rewards: None
  • Perks: No foreign transaction fees, free credit monitoring
  • Annual fee: $0

. . .

Overview of the Capital One Platinum Credit Card

Even if your credit score is limiting your credit card options, the Capital One Platinum Credit Card may be within your reach. You can qualify for this credit card with only a fair credit score, which then gives you a chance to use a credit card and demonstrate good credit behavior — and therefore improve your credit score.

You can even apply for preapproval so you can see if you are likely to qualify before undergoing a hard credit check (which can ding your score).

The Capital One Platinum doesn’t charge an annual fee and if you use it to make purchases in another country, you won’t have to worry about foreign transaction fees, either. Do be aware of the high variable annual percentage rate (APR) that comes with this card when making purchases. 

If you make consistent on-time payments, Capital One may consider offering you a higher credit line in as little as six months. Your payments are reported to the three main credit bureaus (TransUnion, Experian, and Equifax). So when you make on-time payments, this reporting will help boost your credit score. 

Pros

  • No annual fee
  • Only need a fair credit score to qualify
  • No foreign transaction fees

Cons

  • No rewards
  • No welcome bonus
  • High APR

Get started with the Capital One Platinum Credit Card.

Capital One Platinum Card Benefits and Features

You won’t be able to earn rewards like cashback or miles when you make purchases using the Capital One Platinum, but since your primary goal is likely credit building, you should focus on that. But you can still access some cardholder benefits and features.

To start, this card makes it easy to stay on top of your account balance. You can enroll in personalized email or text reminders so you don’t forget to make payments. If you are confident you will have enough money in your checking account to pay your balance off in full each month, you can also set up autopay to ensure you never accidentally miss a payment.

Should you need any help with your account, you will have access to 24/7 customer support. 

Other cardholder benefits include:

  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Free CreditWise credit monitoring
  • Free emergency transaction fees
  • ATM location services when traveling
  • Tap-to-pay feature
  • Security alerts
  • $0 fraud liability when your card is lost or stolen
  • Virtual card number to make online shopping easy
  • Card lock functionality
  • Account alerts for unexpected or potential mistake charges

The Capital One Platinum Credit Card is also fairly flexible when it comes to adding an authorized user or setting up a balance transfer.

Fees

Even though the Capital One Platinum doesn’t charge an annual fee or a foreign transaction fee, there are some fees you need to be aware of. Luckily, they are all relatively easy to avoid with a little planning.

  • Late payment fee: Up to $40
  • Balance transfer fee: $0 at the transfer APR, 3% of the amount of each transferred balance at Capital One promotional APR you may receive
  • Cash advance fee: $3 or 3% of each advance, whichever is greater

Who Should Get the Capital One Platinum Credit Card?

If you're a young adult or new to the world of credit, you are the right audience for this credit card, since it's best suited for people with fair credit scores. According to the FICO scoring model (the most popular credit score model), a credit score of 580 to 669 is fair. You can use this card to improve your credit score by making consistent on-time payments.

If you're a traveler or do a lot of international shopping in other currencies, this card could also be a good fit for you, due to the lack of foreign transaction fees. 

Many people with fair credit often consider applying for a secured credit card. These cards have easier approval but also require an upfront deposit. If you don't like the idea of making a deposit just to qualify, you'll appreciate that the Capital One Platinum Credit Card is unsecured and therefore doesn’t require a deposit. 

Who Shouldn’t Get the Capital One Platinum Credit Card?

Don't bother with the Capital One Platinum Credit Card if you already have a good credit score and can therefore qualify for a credit card that offers better rewards and perks. One of the main advantages of using a credit card over a debit card is the opportunity to earn rewards on regular purchases. Points, miles, and cashback can all add up quickly. 

If you are a frequent traveler, you may want to choose a credit card that heavily rewards you for booking flights with your favorite airline or nights at your go-to hotel chain. If you prefer to stay home but have a lot of day-to-day expenses, you can reap big cashback from a credit card that rewards everyday purchases like gas or groceries.

Alternatives to the Capital One Platinum Credit Card

If you have a fair credit score, don’t feel too discouraged — you have more options than you think. Do some digging to see what other cards (including rewards cards) you may be able to qualify for with your credit score.

Capital One Platinum Credit Card vs. Capital One QuicksilverOne Cash Rewards Credit Card

While the Capital One Platinum Credit Card is a solid option for building your credit history while also avoiding an annual fee, the Capital One QuicksilverOne Cash Rewards Credit Card charges a low $39 annual fee to gain access to rewards. 

You will earn 1.5% cashback on all purchases, which means you only need to spend $2,600 per year with the card to offset the annual fee.

From there, you can enjoy the rest of your cashback earnings, which you can redeem in the form of a statement credit or check. You can also use cashback earnings to cover a recent eligible purchase.

Capital One Platinum Credit Card vs. Credit One Bank® Platinum X5 Visa®

Credit One X5 Platinum Visa Credit Card

If you want to earn big rewards, consider the Credit One Bank® Platinum X5 Visa®. This card offers the potential to earn 5% cashback on your first $5,000 spent each year on eligible purchases such as groceries, gas, cable, satellite TV, and mobile phone services.

You do need at least a fair credit score to qualify for this card, but it is still more attainable than many other rewards credit cards.

Before you apply, make sure you will spend enough each year to cancel out the $95 annual fee.

Capital One Platinum Credit Card vs. Capital One Platinum Secured Credit Card

If you have a very low credit score, you can always consider choosing a secured credit card over an unsecured one.

With a secured credit card, you have to make a deposit instead of borrowing money outright, but these cards are much easier to qualify for than unsecured cards, thanks to the collateral.

With the Capital One Platinum Secured Credit Card, you can put down a refundable security deposit of as little as $49 to get a $200 credit line, and you’ll be automatically considered for a higher credit line in as little as six months with no additional deposit.

You won’t have to worry about paying an annual fee or any foreign transaction fees. Plus, Capital One will report your credit card usage to the three major credit bureaus. 

FAQ

How do you apply for the Capital One Platinum Credit Card?

If you're worried that your credit score is too low, you can check online to see if you're preapproved for the Capital One Platinum Credit Card without a hard credit check. If you know your score is high enough to qualify, you can apply here.

Is the Capital One Platinum Credit Card unsecured?

Yes, the Capital One Platinum Credit Card is an unsecured card, which means you're not required to put down a deposit upfront. If you'd prefer a secured credit card, Capital One also offers a Platinum Secured Credit Card, which has no annual fee and can start you off with a $200 credit line.

Is Capital One Platinum a good credit card?

The Capital One Platinum Credit Card comes with no annual fee and has no foreign transaction fees, which makes it a good option for people who only have a fair credit score and want an affordable credit card. If you have a higher credit score and want to earn rewards or cashback, you'll likely want to consider a different card that has more perks.

Final Thoughts

Don't worry if you need a credit card but only have a fair credit score. There are cards out there that you can still qualify for, like the Capital One Platinum Credit Card. While you won't be able to access the best rewards, like miles or cashback, this card has no annual fee and no foreign transaction fees — so you can keep a bit more money in your pocket.

There are also other cards out there that will accept fair credit and come with a few more perks. Or you could go with a secured credit card if you prefer the stability of putting down a deposit and minimizing your risk of building up credit card debt.

Either way, you've got options to help you along as you build up your credit history and score.

Get started with the Capital One Platinum Credit Card.

Disclosure: Opinions expressed here are the author's alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, hotel, airline, or other entity. This content has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of the entities included within the post.

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I'm an award-winning lawyer and personal finance expert featured in Inc. Magazine, CNBC, the Today Show, Business Insider and more. My mission is to make personal finance accessible for everyone. As the largest financial influencer in the world, I'm connected to a community of over 20 million followers across TikTok, Instagram, YouTube, Facebook and Twitter. I'm also the host of the podcast Erika Taught Me. You might recognize me from my viral tagline, "I read the fine print so you don't have to!"

I'm a graduate of Georgetown Law, where I founded the Georgetown Law Entrepreneurship Club, and the University of Notre Dame. I discovered my passion for personal finance after realizing I was drowning in over $200,000 of student debt and needed to take action-ultimately paying off my student loans in under 2 years. I then spent years as a corporate lawyer representing Fortune 500 companies, but I quit because I realized I wanted to have an impact; I wanted to help real people and teach them that you can create a financial future for yourself.

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Our aim is to help you make financial decisions with confidence through our objective article content and reviews. Erika.com is part of an affiliate sales network and receives compensation for sending traffic to partner sites, such as MileValue.com. This compensation may impact how and where links appear on this site. This site does not include all financial companies or all available financial offers. This in no way affects our recommendations or article content.

Advertiser Disclosure

Our aim is to help you make financial decisions with confidence through our objective article content and reviews. Erika.com is part of an affiliate sales network and receives compensation for sending traffic to partner sites, such as MileValue.com. This compensation may impact how and where links appear on this site. This site does not include all financial companies or all available financial offers. This in no way affects our recommendations or article content.

Advertiser Disclosure

Our aim is to help you make financial decisions with confidence through our objective article content and reviews. Erika.com is part of an affiliate sales network and receives compensation for sending traffic to partner sites, such as MileValue.com. This compensation may impact how and where links appear on this site. This site does not include all financial companies or all available financial offers. This in no way affects our recommendations or article content.