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Sometimes basic just works: A review of the Capital One Platinum credit card

June 15, 2020
8 min read
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Editor’s Note: This page also includes information about the Discover it Secured that is not currently available on The Points Guy and may be out of date.

Capital One Platinum Credit Card overview

If you’re in need of a no-frills starter credit card, the Capital One Platinum Credit Card fits the bill. However, it’s “Platinum” by name only -- don’t expect any perks, privileges, or meaningful rewards. And with a high 28.49% variable APR, make an extra effort to pay your bill in full each month. Card Rating*: ⭐⭐⭐

*Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG's editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.

Some credit cards are intended for true newcomers, and the Capital One Platinum fits right into the fold. If you have a limited credit history, you might only be looking for two things from a card: high approval odds and no annual fee. In this respect, the Capital One Platinum hits the nail on the head.

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However, there are downsides to this card too, including a high APR; so it certainly pays to look at your other beginner card options. Let's take a deeper dive into the Capital One Platinum Credit Card to see if it aligns with what you’re looking for.

Related reading: The best Capital One credit cards of 2020

Who is this card for?

This card is designed for both credit card novices and those that are looking to build up their credit. In fact, Capital One designates (and markets) the Platinum for consumers with average credit. Taken directly from the Capital One website, this card is a fit for you if:

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I have limited credit history. I’ve had my own credit card or other credit for less than 3 years (including students, people new to the U.S., or authorized users on someone else’s credit card).

When you have an average credit score or limited credit history, you likely won’t be accepted for reward or travel cards that require good to excellent credit for approval. Therefore, there’s no need to shoot for the stars just yet if the likelihood of getting the card is low.

It’s likely in your best interest to open a card -- even a basic one -- to get positive information flowing into your credit reports and build up a credit history.

With no annual fee, the Capital One Platinum fits this description nicely. However, just know that what you’re applying for is a no-frills product. Once you have this card and are able to boost your credit over time, you can take the plunge and apply for some of our best cash back or best travel cards.

Related reading: Best credit cards for excellent credit in 2020

Sign-up bonus

Unfortunately, there is no available sign-up bonus or introductory 0% APR on the Capital One Platinum. However, the card has no annual fee. Many non-student credit cards intended for those with limited credit often either charge an annual fee or require a security deposit.

Earning, perks and benefits

There aren’t any category bonus earnings or premium perks with the Capital One Platinum. However, there are some tangible benefits when it comes to managing and protecting your account. These aren’t groundbreaking by any means, but it’s reassuring to know that there is a standard suite of coverage.

There are several account management features:

  • Automatic credit line reviews: It’s likely the main reason why you’re getting this card is to boost your credit score. Capital One will automatically monitor your credit line after six months with the potential to increase it. A higher credit limit — if not used — could lower your overall credit utilization and thus, improve your credit score.
  • CreditWise from Capital One: You can access your credit score and monitor your credit profile directly through this Capital One platform.
  • Fraud coverage: You’ve got fraud coverage, meaning you’re not liable if your card is used for unauthorized transactions.
  • Mobile apps: You can manage your online banking needs right from your phone
Someone checking their credit score on a smart phone
(Photo by cnythzl/Getty Images)

With this Capital One Platinum, you not only can use this card anywhere Mastercard is accepted, but also get a host of regular travel and purchase benefits:

  • No foreign transaction fees: No fees when making a purchase outside the U.S. which is a notable perk for a starter card
  • Extended warranty: Get additional warranty protection on eligible items that are purchased with your card.
  • 24-hour travel assistance services: If your card is lost or stolen, you can get an emergency replacement card and a cash advance.
  • Travel accident insurance: Receive automatic insurance for a covered loss when you use your card to purchase.

Related reading: How to increase your credit limit

Other cards to consider

For someone with average credit, another option to consider is a different Capital One product: the Capital One QuicksilverOne Cash Rewards Credit Card. While the card has a $39 annual fee, it gives you 1.5% cash back on every purchase and is directly intended for those with average credit. That means if you spend more than $2,600 annually, you’ll be able to begin reaping cash back rewards.

However, if you have better-than-average credit, consider looking at other cash back card options with no annual fee, such as the Chase Freedom (No longer open to new applicants), Chase Freedom Unlimited, or Citi® Double Cash card.

Related reading: Best beginner credit cards

Finally, if you’ve got a limited credit history, it may be worth looking into secured credit card. With secured cards, you’ll typically need to provide your bank account and routing number, since the amount of your credit line is tied to the amount you provide as a security deposit.

While you will need to provide a minimum deposit of $200, the Discover it Secured is one of the few secured credit cards that also earn rewards. You can earn 2% cash back at gas stations and restaurants on up to $1,000 in purchases each quarter you enroll and 1% cash back on everything else. Plus, Discover will match all the cash back you’ve earned at the end of your first year. Also, Discover monitors your payments to help determine if you can upgrade to an unsecured card and get your security deposit returned.

The information for the Chase Freedom has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

Related reading: Best secured credit cards

Frequently asked questions

What is the credit limit for the Capital One Platinum card?

The initial credit limit on the Capital One Platinum varies by cardholder creditworthiness and generally ranges from $300 to $1,500. However, you’ll be given automatic credit line reviews -- with the potential for increases -- after just six months of being approved.

What is the APR on the Capital One Platinum card?

The Capital One Platinum has a fairly high variable APR of 28.49%. With all cards -- but especially ones with high APRs, -- we recommend doing everything you can to pay your card off in full each month and to spend responsibly.

Does the Capital One Platinum require a deposit?

No, the Capital One Platinum does not require a deposit as it is an unsecured credit card.

Bottom line

The Capital One Platinum isn’t breaking new ground as a starter card, but it’s a solid, middle-of-the-road option for beginners. If you’re applying for this card, use it as a tool to improve your credit so you can eventually apply for something more rewarding. With responsible credit card use, you’ll have taken the first of many steps on your credit journey.

Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.