The Capital One Platinum Card — Best for Low or No Credit Scores

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On Upgraded Points, you’ll normally find accolades on the best travel rewards cards or sharing advice on how to use your miles and points to score the latest and greatest airline suite across the ocean.

However, if you have less than excellent credit, or no credit at all, building a bank of miles or points and flying off to Europe on holiday may seem like an unrealistic dream. While it’s certainly not an easy journey, when it comes to building credit, everyone had to start at base zero.

Let’s take a step back from the world of miles and points and focus on that beginning. Or, in the case of less-than-perfect credit, creating a new beginning. This is where the Capital One® Platinum Credit Card may fit into your plan.

If you’re ready to get serious about building or rebuilding your credit, you’ll want a credit card for which approval is probable, one that has a simple structure, is easy to manage, and ideally, has some benefits you can use.

Here’s a look at the CapOne Platinum card, its attributes, and its downsides. You can then decide if it’s the right card to carry on your journey to excellent credit and subsequently, the associated rewards.

Getting Started

Know Your Credit Score

Improving your credit score shouldn’t cost you money. With little effort, you can successfully make the leap without incurring expenses for reports, fees, interest charges, or services. In order to know where to go, you have to know where to begin; that’s determining your current credit score.

The Fair Credit Reporting Act requires each of the 3 credit bureaus (Experian, TransUnion, and Equifax) to provide a free credit report once every 12 months. There are also services that allow you to access your credit report or credit score at no cost.

  • – There is no charge to receive your credit report from Annual Credit Report.
  • CreditWise by Capital One – You do not need to be a Capital One customer to use CreditWise. CreditWise will provide anyone with their credit score at no cost.
  • Chase Credit Journey – This tool from Chase allows you to check your credit score and credit report activity at no cost to you.

In case you were wondering, it doesn’t hurt your credit when you check your credit score. When a lender checks it as a result of a credit application, it registers as an inquiry and can cause a slight dip in your credit score temporarily.

Depending on the reporting credit bureau, your credit score can differ. However, if you’re consistently coming up with scores below 580, you’re in the low credit score range and you may have to pursue a secured credit card as a vehicle to improve your score.

Consumers have reported getting approved for the CapOne Platinum card with scores as low as 580, but of course, the higher your score, the more likely you will be approved and the higher your granted credit limit will be.

Bottom Line: Before you apply for any credit card, you should determine your credit score and you should not have to pay to obtain this information.

Risk Free Ways to Find a Credit Card Match

Capital One pre qualify
There are risk-free ways to see if you have credit card offers pending. Image Credit: Capital One.

When you apply for a credit card, a hard inquiry (also known as a hard pull) is registered on your credit report. Too many of these hard pulls can hurt your credit score so it’s best to only apply for a credit card that you have a good chance for getting approved.

There are a couple of tools that can help you find out if you have pending credit card offers waiting for you. These tools do not register a hard pull on your credit so there is no risk to using them.

The first is the Card Match Tool of which Capital One is a participating financial institution. Simply complete some basic information and you will receive a list of any offers you might have waiting for you.

The second option is to utilize pre-approval or pre-qualification tools offered by various credit card issuers. You can find out if you are pre-qualified with Capital One by using their pre-qualification tool here.

Bottom Line: Improving your credit score only costs you time and effort. First, make sure you determine your current credit score before you begin and find out if you’re already pre-qualified for any credit card offers.

How the CapOne Platinum Card Can Help

As mentioned earlier, it’s possible to improve your credit without incurring expenses. The CapOne Platinum card facilitates this by not charging an annual fee, providing free tools to help you manage your credit, and providing complimentary useful benefits.

No Annual Fee or Security Deposit

You do not need to pay an annual credit card fee or come up with a security deposit to start the credit improvement process. One of big benefits of the CapOne Platinum card is that it does not charge an annual fee and, unlike secured credit cards, there is no upfront deposit needed to be approved.

Capital One Mobile App
Managing your CapOne Platinum card account is easy with the Capital One Mobile app. Image Credit: Capital One.

Convenient and Simple Online Account Access

Capital One provides an easy-to-use mobile app for managing your CapOne Platinum card. You can set up handy payment reminders, keep track of your transactions, and monitor your account at any time. You can also manage your account online on your laptop or PC.

Free Credit Monitoring

Keep an eye on how you’re progressing towards your goal of good credit with the CreditWise tool. Capital One provides unlimited access to keep track of your credit score and tools to help you manage your progress.

Pick Your Own Due Date

Selecting a payment due date that coincides with your paycheck may help you keep your account current and make building an on-time payment history easier.

Earn a Higher Credit Limit

You can count on a minimum credit limit of just $300 when you’re approved for the CapOne Platinum card. Make 5 consecutive on-time payments, however, and you will be eligible for a credit limit increase.

No Penalty APR for Late Payments

Many credit cards impose a severe elevated APR when payments are made after the due date. The CapOne Platinum card does not. You would just pay the normal APR of 26.96%, which is already quite high.

Identity Theft Resolution Services

While you hope it never happens, should you become the victim of identity theft, you’ll have the Capital One team there to assist. Cardholders are provided with complimentary identity theft services which include:

  • Identity Theft Affidavit form completion assistance
  • Assistance notifying the 3 credit bureaus
  • Setting up alerts on your account
  • An Identity Theft Resolution Kit containing sample form letters to use when contacting other creditors, financial institution and other affected accounts

Bottom Line: Capital One makes it easy to manage your CapOne Platinum card account with online tools, its mobile app, and a payment due date that works for you. You can also earn a higher credit limit and have access to services such as identity theft resolution. 

Travel and Shopping Benefits

The CapOne Platinum card offers benefits you can actually use. Image Credit: Mikadun via Shutterstock

Many credit cards that are designed for establishing or improving credit are bare bones and lack any substantial benefits. That’s not the case with the CapOne Platinum card. You’ll find plenty of useful travel and shopping benefits.

Travel Benefits and Protections

The CapOne Platinum card comes with several benefits that can save you money or give you peace of mind when traveling.

  • Car Rental Insurance – Use your card to pay for your rental, decline the rental agency’s collision loss damage waiver (CDW or LDW), and receive MasterRental® coverage for damage, theft, and loss of use for rentals 15 days or less. Coverage is secondary in the U.S., primary outside of the U.S. or if you have no other car insurance that covers you. (There are also a number of other cards that offer excellent car rental insurance benefits.)
  • Travel Accident Insurance – If the unfortunate happens and you experience severe injury or death, a benefit of up to $100,000 is available.
  • Travel Assistance – A 24/7 hotline gives you access to referral services that can help you find trusted service providers for English-speaking medical personnel, legal referrals, emergency transportation, and more when you’re traveling. Cardholders are responsible for actual services provided.
  • Roadside Assistance – Not to worry if you breakdown on the side of the road when traveling in the United States. Master RoadAssist® service comes complimentary with your card and provides roadside assistance with just one call anytime you break down and need assistance. Pay just one flat pre-negotiated service fee per incident and receive jump starts, towing, fuel delivery, lockout services, and flat tire changes all included.

Shopping Benefits and Protections

Purchase an eligible item with your card and receive these shopping benefits and protections:

  • Extended Warranty – Pay for an eligible item with your card and receive up to an additional 12 months when the manufacturer’s warranty is 12 months or less. Coverage pays up to $10,000 to repair or replace the item.
  • Price Protection – Purchase an eligible item with your card and if the price goes down within 60 days, you may receive the difference in price, up to $250.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees – You won’t incur any extra foreign transaction fees should you use your card while traveling.
  • Worldwide Acceptance – Since the CapOne Platinum card is a Mastercard, you can use it anywhere Mastercard is accepted worldwide.

Please note that travel and shopping coverage descriptions are abbreviated, full benefit terms and conditions are provided in the card’s guide to benefits.

Alternatives to the CapOne Platinum Card

Credit Builder
If you can’t qualify for the CapOne Platinum card, there are alternatives. Image Credit: Self.

If you don’t think you can qualify for the CapOne Platinum card but want to improve your credit score, there are plenty of alternatives.

Secured Credit Cards

Secured credit cards are easy to qualify for and can help you jump start your credit building journey. For more information, check out this list of secured credit card options for those with bad or no credit.


A Credit Builder account with the company, Self (formerly Self Lender), can create a credit history where none existed. The account is basically a CD that is held with the company, you make payments until it is paid off, and in the meantime, Self reports your activity to all 3 credit bureaus. Read all about this credit building alternative in this complete guide to Self.

Everything Else You Need to Know – The Downsides

Carrying a balance on your CapOne Platinum card can cost you big. With a high APR, that adds up when you carry a balance. It’s important to remember why you have this card and focus only on improving your credit. Limiting purchases to only those you can pay off each statement period will build the credit you need and avoid any unnecessary interest charges during the process.

You won’t be earning points or miles for spending on the card. Keep in mind that you also may not have received an initial high credit limit so the number of points and miles you’re missing out on would be very small anyway.

For example, if you spend $150 per month for 12 months, you’ve spent $1,800. A 2 % cash-back card would have generated $36 in rewards. Not having earned $36 in rewards in exchange for improving your credit score is a fair trade off.

While the card promotes that it does not have balance transfer fees, this card is not a vehicle for transferring high interest balances from other credit cards. The high APR negates any benefit in doing so in nearly every case. We’ve written about the best credit cards for balance transfers if that’s something that is important to you.

Final Thoughts

The CapOne Platinum card is just one of many credit cards that can take you from low or no credit to good to excellent credit. The card stands out, however, because you can spend very little on the card, make your payments on time, not incur any additional expense, and ultimately improve your credit.

If you already have good to excellent credit, this card is not for you. The card is also not a fit if you need to carry a balance each month as the high APR will cause you to incur high interest charges.

If you have no credit or fair credit and want a credit card without an annual fee that can help you improve your credit score, the CapOne Platinum card may a good fit.

Frequently asked questions

Is the Platinum card from Capital One worth it?

The CapOne Platinum card is worth it if you do not have a credit history or have at least fair credit and want to build or rebuild your credit. Since the card does not charge an annual fee, it can be a cost-effective way to start the process.

The initial credit limit granted on the card can be as low as $300 but if you make 5 monthly on-time payments you could qualify for a higher credit limit.

If you cannot qualify for a rewards earning credit card, the CapOne Platinum card could be a plausible alternative to make progress towards a better credit score without paying an annual fee.

Is the CapOne Platinum card a secured card?

The CapOne Platinum card is not a secured credit card and therefore does not require the upfront security deposit that is required with a secured card in order to be approved.

The CapOne Platinum card is a normal unsecured credit card with an assigned credit limit, credit management tools, and benefits you can use. The card also reports your activity to all 3 credit bureaus on a monthly basis making it an appropriate option for building or re-building credit.

Does the Capital One Platinum Credit Card earn miles or points?

The CapOne Platinum card was designed to help build or re-build credit. It does not earn miles or points. It also does not require an excellent credit score to be approved like most reward-earning credit cards. Additionally, it does not charge an annual fee.

What is the credit limit on the Capital One Platinum Credit Card?

The credit limit you receive when you are approved for the CapOne Platinum card will be at least $300. It could be higher as the amount is based on your credit worthiness as determined by Capital One. Once you have made 5 consecutive on-time payments, you are eligible to receive a higher credit limit.

Christine Krzyszton

About Christine Krzyszton

Christine, who lives in Northern Michigan, travels about 300,000 miles a year despite her remote location. Her expertise is traveling the world on a weekend with no pre-determined destination in mind, letting the cost of the airfare determine where she will go. She has over four million flown miles and elite status on all three major domestic carriers.

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