How to Apply for Capital One Credit Cards – Get the Best Card for You

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Known for its travel rewards with no blackout dates and the top celebrities who endorse their credit cards, Capital One offers a wide variety of excellent cards. It doesn’t matter if you’re a new-to-credit beginner, a travel hacker, a big spender, a business owner or even someone with less-than-perfect credit, they have a card designed for you.

Capital One has also streamlined the application process, making it easier to figure out the best card for your specific needs and providing a quick pre-approval process to narrow down your options. You can even apply online and receive a decision within 60 seconds.

Our Top Picks for the Best Capital One Credit Cards

Before we get into the details of the Capital One credit card application process—and our tips for improving your odds and finding the best card—my top picks for the best Capital One cards are below.

If that’s not enough, you can find additional information and reviews from our experts on all of Capital One’s cards here.

Get the Biggest Sign-Up Bonus and Great Travel Rewards

Nothing beats a big sign-up bonus because it’s like getting free money. The Capital One Venture Rewards credit card delivers with a 50,000-mile sign-up bonus worth $500 in travel.

Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card

INTRO APR on Purchases
N/A
INTRO apr on Balance Transfer
N/A
Regular APR
14.74% - 24.74% (Variable)
Annual Fee
$0 intro for first year; $95 after that
Rewards Program
Venture® Rewards
Bonuses & Rewards
  • + Earn 2X miles on every purchase, every day. Plus earn 10X miles on thousands of hotels; learn more at hotels.com/venture
  • Enjoy a one-time bonus of 50,000 miles once you spend $3,000 on purchases within 3 months from account opening, equal to $500 in travel
  • Named ‘The Best Travel Card' by CNBC, 2018
  • Receive up to $100 application fee credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓®
  • Fly any airline, stay at any hotel, anytime; no blackout dates
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • + Miles won't expire for the life of the account and there's no limit to how many you can earn
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You’ll earn more miles fast if you’re a regular hotels.com user. Capital One recently added a 10 miles per dollar category for all bookings through hotels.com/venture.

Even better, all other purchases you make on the card will earn two miles per dollar. There are no limits and no special bonus categories to worry about.

The miles you earn are super-flexible and can be redeemed toward any travel you purchase on the card at the rate of one cent each.

Great Rewards and No Annual Fee

If you’d rather not plunk down $95 a year for a card, Capital One has you covered. The VentureOne Rewards card has no annual fee and a solid sign-up bonus.

Capital One® VentureOne® Rewards Credit Card

INTRO APR on Purchases
0% intro on purchases for 12 months
INTRO apr on Balance Transfer
N/A
Regular APR
13.74% - 23.74% (Variable)
Annual Fee
$0
Rewards Program
Venture® Rewards
Bonuses & Rewards
  • + Earn 1.25X miles on every purchase, every day and pay no annual fee. Plus earn 10X miles on thousands of hotels; learn more at hotels.com/venture
  • + Miles won't expire for the life of the account and there's no limit to how many you can earn
  • Enjoy a one-time bonus of 20,000 miles once you spend $1,000 on purchases within 3 months from account opening, equal to $200 in travel
  • Enjoy a low intro APR on purchases for 12 months; 13.74%-23.74% variable APR after that
  • Travel when you want with no blackout dates
  • Fly any airline, stay at any hotel, anytime
  • No Foreign Transaction Fee
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The Capital One VentureOne Rewards credit card comes with a 20,000-mile sign-up bonus, worth $200 in travel. Add to that by getting a bonus on all purchases. You’ll earn 1.25 miles for every dollar you spend.

Like the standard Venture Rewards card, the miles you earn with the VentureOne card can be redeemed toward any travel purchases you put on your card.

A nice feature of the VentureOne card is that it comes with a 0% APR on purchases for the first 12 months. That’s great if you’re planning to buy a big-ticket item and need a little extra time to pay it off.

Earn Cash Back Fast

If you’re not much of a traveler, the Quicksilver card is another great no-fee option from Capital One, and it earns straight cash back. The sign-up bonus is a little smaller at just $150, but you’ll earn a little more on everyday purchases. You’ll get 1.5 percent back on all purchases instead of the VentureOne’s 1.25 percent return.

Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit Card

INTRO APR on Purchases
0% intro on purchases for 15 months
INTRO apr on Balance Transfer
0% intro on balance transfers for 15 months
Regular APR
14.74% - 24.74% (Variable)
Annual Fee
$0
Rewards Program
Capital One® Cash Back Rewards
Bonuses & Rewards
  • % Earn unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase, every day
  • One-time $150 cash bonus after you spend $500 on purchases within 3 months from account opening
  • No rotating categories or sign-ups needed to earn cash rewards; plus, cash back won't expire for the life of the account and there's no limit to how much you can earn
  • 0% intro APR on purchases for 15 months; 14.74%-24.74% variable APR after that
  • 0% intro APR on balance transfers for 15 months; 14.74%-24.74% variable APR after that; 3% fee on the amounts transferred within the first 15 months
  • Pay no annual fee or foreign transaction fees
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The card also comes with 0% APR for 15 months on both purchases and on balance transfers. That makes this a good option if you want to pay down some existing debt, in addition to financing a big purchase with no interest.

The Best Capital One Credit Card for Business Owners

The Spark Miles card is a great choice for small business owners and independent contractors that don’t want to keep track of special bonus categories. Like the Venture card, this card earns two mile per dollar spent on all purchases.

Capital One® Spark® Miles Select for Business

INTRO APR on Purchases
0% on purchases for 9 months
INTRO apr on Balance Transfer
N/A
Regular APR
14.74% - 22.74% (Variable)
Annual Fee
$0
Rewards Program
Venture® Rewards
Bonuses & Rewards
  • 1.5x Earn 1.5 miles per $1 on every purchase, every day
  • Plus, a one-time bonus of 20,000 miles once you spend $3,000 on purchases within 3 months from account opening
  • Miles won't expire for the life of the account, and there are no categories to limit where or what you buy
  • Save on interest with 0% intro APR on purchases for 9 months; 14.74% - 22.74% variable APR after that
  • Get online Quarterly and Year-End Summaries
  • Pay no annual fee or foreign transaction fees
  • + Fly on any airline, anytime, with no blackout dates or seat restrictions
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You’ll also get an excellent 50,000-mile sign-up bonus that’s equal to $500 in travel. The card comes with free employee cards and tool to help you keep track of your business spending.

If travel isn’t your thing (or isn’t a part of your business), Capital One also offers a cashback version of this card, the Spark Cash. It’s a worthy contender for our best-of list, too.

Best Capital One Credit Card for Bad or No Credit

If you have bad credit or no credit history at all, it can be hard to build your credit. Most banks won’t give you a credit card. That’s where the Capital One Secured MasterCard comes in. It’s a great tool to use when you need to improve your credit score. Plus, it offers all the convenience of a standard credit card.

Capital One® Secured Mastercard®

INTRO APR on Purchases
N/A
INTRO apr on Balance Transfer
N/A
Regular APR
24.99% (Variable)
Annual Fee
$0
Bonuses & Rewards
  • + No annual fee, and all the credit building benefits with responsible card use
  • + Unlike a prepaid card, it builds credit when used responsibly, with regular reporting to the 3 major credit bureaus
  • * You will get an initial $200 credit line after making a security deposit of $49, $99, or $200, determined based on your creditworthiness
  • Get access to a higher credit line after making your first 5 monthly payments on time with no additional deposit needed
  • Easily manage your account 24/7 with online access, by phone or using our mobile app
  • It's a credit card accepted at millions of locations worldwide
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In order to issue a card to someone who has bad or no credit, banks require some sort of collateral to protect their investment. This is quite simple with a secured credit card. You just have to provide a cash deposit for the amount of your credit limit.

Capital One requires a security deposit of as little as $49 and will issue the card with up to a $200 credit limit. Plus, if you make the first five payments on time, they will increase your credit limit. Make regular payments and your credit will improve. You’ll be able to step up to a rewards card in no time.

How to Find the Best Capital One Credit Card for You

Capital One offers so many excellent credit cards that the best one for you will depend entirely on your spending habits, rewards goals and credit history. Do you like to travel or would you prefer the ease and convenience of cash back? Maybe you’re okay paying a little extra for a card if you can get a little more in rewards. And what about your credit score?

A man is tapping a smart phone

Fortunately, Capital One makes all of this easy thanks to their card comparison tool. They’ll walk you through what each card offers so you can decide what you want out of a new credit card.

This tool is a great first step toward finding the right card and applying.

Get Capital One Pre-Approval

The next thing you should do after finding the card you want is to get Capital One pre-approval. It takes just a minute and does not affect your credit in any way. It’s a smart, risk-free step to find out which credit cards are available to you.

It’s important to note that pre-qualifying or being pre-approved is not the same as actually being approved for a credit card. It just means that Capital One thinks you might be a good candidate for their credit card.

You still have to complete a Capital One credit card application and submit it for approval. And, unfortunately, there’s still a chance you won’t be approved. It’s just a good way to increase your odds.

For everything you need to know about pre-qualifying for a Capital One credit card, take a look at our expert guide.

How to Complete a Capital One Credit Card Application

So you’ve found the best card, and you’ve gotten Capital One pre-approval. Now you have to actually apply. You’ll need the following info before you can complete a Capital One credit card application:

  • Your Social Security number
  • Your physical address (a P.O. Box won’t work)
  • Your gross annual income
  • Your monthly mortgage or rent payments
  • Your checking and/or savings account information
  • The estimated amount you might spend on a credit card per month

Once you’ve gathered all the information you’ll need, click the “apply now” button. You’re ready to complete the application.

Read the Fine Print

Be sure to review the pricing information, terms and conditions, and confirm the sign-up offer. You don’t want to be stuck with an unexpected annual fee or miss out on a sign-up bonus if you’re completing the wrong offer. Once you submit the Capital One credit card application, you can’t cancel it.

You’ll see all of this info posted at the top and bottom of the application page. There’s even an option to print a copy, which you should do for your records.

Include All of Your Available Income

One important tip regarding income is that if you receive money from someone on a regular basis to pay your expenses, Capital One allows you to include it. Their website states it can be included as income “as long as you are at least 21 years old and that income is regularly used to pay your expenses.”

That can include your spouse’s or partner’s income, too. In short, if someone in your household makes money that’s used to pay part of your living expenses, including bills, rent or a mortgage, you can include it. This could make you look like a more appealing candidate.

Checking Your Capital One Credit Card Application Status

Once you’ve submitted your Capital One credit card application, you’ll receive some sort of a decision within 60 seconds. The decision could be that you are approved, denied or that your application is pending and that more time is needed.

If you are approved, you will receive your card in the mail within 7 to 10 business days.

If you receive a message that your application is pending and more time is needed, the application may need to be reviewed by a human and/or additional information might be needed.

You can check your Capital One credit card application status by calling 800-903-9177. There is no way to login to your account to check your Capital One application.

What to Do If You’ve Been Denied

If you are denied, a letter will be sent to you that will include the reasons for the decision. This is important. You should take note of the reasons and work toward improving those aspects of your application.

If you’re credit score is too low, be sure to pay your bills on time and lower your credit utilization ratio. You should be using less than 30 percent of the total credit available to you. This can easily be calculated by adding all of your card debt together and dividing it by the total of your credit limits.

If it’s too high, pay it down. You may also be able to increase your credit limit by either calling your current card issuer and asking for an increase or by getting another card (perhaps one that doesn’t require a great credit score).

And don’t forgot to take a close look at your credit report. The credit bureaus do make mistakes, and you need to request corrections if you find any. Look for debt that isn’t yours, including auto loans, mortgages and credit cards. If anything looks weird, contact the credit agency.

Call the Reconsideration Line

If you’ve been denied, you should also call the Capital One reconsideration line. This is where you can plead your case and explain why you should, in fact, get the card. Try to come up with a strategy before calling so you’re ready to explain to the customer service rep why you’re an excellent candidate.

Call either the Capital One credit card application services line at 800-625-7866 or the general customer service line at 800-951-6951.

Tips for Capital One Credit Card Applicants

  • You can apply for a Capital One credit card every six months. Apply more often and risk denial.
  • Capital One will typically only allow you to have a maximum of two credit cards with them, not including business credit cards. Apply for more and you may be denied.
  • You can cancel a card within 30 days of approval and receive a refund for the annual fee. Your credit score will still take a hit due to the hard pull on your account during the Capital One application process.
  • You cannot cancel a Capital One credit card application once you have submitted it, so be sure that you want the card before applying. There will be a hard pull on your account.
  • You can only check your Capital One application status by calling.
  • If you’re denied, look for mistakes in your credit report and call the reconsideration line to plead your case.

In Conclusion

Now that we’ve covered everything you need to know about selecting a card and completing a Capital One credit card application, there’s only one thing left to do: Apply! There’s no time like the present to start earning free travel, cash back, big sign-up bonuses and more for your everyday purchases.