How to Pre-Qualify for Capital One Credit Cards

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Most of us have gotten a letter from one credit card issuer or another telling us that we’ve been pre-approved for a card. But do you know what that really means? We’ll give you the lowdown on pre-approval and our tips and tricks for pre-qualifying for that Capital One card you really want.

Trust me, you definitely want to pre-qualify for a credit card before you apply. If you submit a full application and you’re not approved for a new card, your credit score will take a hit. That will make it even harder to get approved the next time you apply.

It’s easy to see if you’ll be pre-approved with Capital One, and it won’t hurt your credit. So, let’s take a look at how the process works, what it means to be pre-approved and how you can find out almost instantly if you pre-qualify. We’ll even guide you toward the best cards for your specific needs.

Which Capital One Credit Card is Right for You?

Before we get too far, though, let’s take a look at the Capital One cards you can get. When thinking about your options, it’s important to pick a card that fits your needs

While your spending habits and rewards preferences are very important, you should always apply for a card that you’re likely to get. That’s determined in large part by your credit score. Good to excellent credit, which is a score of 700 or more, will get you just about any card, but you don’t have to worry if your credit isn’t stellar. Capital One has options for you, too.

Below are the top recommendations from our experts.

Best Capital One Cards for Good Credit: 700+ Credit Score

With a generous 50,000-mile sign-up bonus worth $500 towards travel and excellent earnings of 2 miles per dollar for all purchases, the Capital One Venture Rewards card is one of my favorite cards on the market right now.

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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One big reason this card is so great is that the rewards you earn are extremely flexible. It’s a fantastic card that lets you buy the travel you want from anywhere. You aren’t tied to a frequent flyer program, specific travel partners or anything else.

It’s especially important to have that flexibility as airlines keep limiting award seat availability and devaluing award charts. If you often fly in business and first class and have flexibility in your schedule, you might do better with a different program. But for affordable economy seats on the dates you want, Venture Rewards are the way to go.

Capital One VentureOne Rewards Card

The VentureOne card is the no annual fee option in the Venture Rewards program. It’s not as good as the Venture card, but it’s still a great card. You’ll get a quick $200 worth of travel as a sign-up bonus and earn 1.25 miles for every dollar spent.

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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Cash Is King: Quicksilver Cash Back for Excellent Credit

Perhaps an even better option if you want to avoid an annual fee is the Quicksilver card. It’s a cashback card, so you don’t have to use your rewards for travel purchases. Just redeem for statement credits.

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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There are two different welcome offers available with this card. You can either get a $200 sign-up bonus and 9 months of 0% APR on purchases or a $150 bonus and 15 months of 0% APR.

With either offer, you’ll earn 1.5% cash back on all purchases. That’s a great return rate for a cashback card.

Best Capital One Cards for Fair to Average Credit: Less than 700 Credit Score

The Capital One QuicksilverOne card is a good option for building credit due to its helpful tools, such as credit monitoring and unlimited access to your credit score. You’ll also receive an increased credit limit after making timely payments.

Capital One® QuicksilverOne® Cash Rewards Credit Card

INTRO APR on Purchases
N/A
INTRO apr on Balance Transfer
N/A
Regular APR
24.99% (Variable)
Annual Fee
$39
Rewards Program
Capital One® Cash Back Rewards
Bonuses & Rewards
  • % Earn unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase, every day
  • + Earn cash rewards without signing up for rotating categories
  • + Get access to a higher credit line after making your first 5 monthly payments on time
  • + No limit to how much cash back you can earn, and cash back doesn't expire for the life of the account
  • Monitor your credit profile with the CreditWise® app, free for everyone
  • $0 fraud liability if your card is ever lost or stolen
  • Help strengthen your credit for the future with responsible card use
  • Get customized alerts and manage your account with the Capital One mobile app
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The QuicksilverOne offers rewards in the form of 1.5% cash back on all of your purchases. Since it comes with a $39 annual fee, you’ll want to spend at least $2,600 or more on an annual basis to offset the cost of the card.

Platinum Credit Card From Capital One

While not a rewards card, the Platinum credit card from Capital One is also good for building credit. The fact that it has no annual fee and gives you access to a higher credit limit after you make your first five payments on time is great. It also comes with online and mobile banking, 24-hour access to your account and fraud coverage.

Capital One® Platinum Credit Card

INTRO APR on Purchases
N/A
INTRO apr on Balance Transfer
N/A
Regular APR
24.99% (Variable)
Annual Fee
$0
Bonuses & Rewards
  • + Get access to a higher credit line after making your first 5 monthly payments on time
  • + Fraud coverage if your card is lost or stolen
  • Use online banking to access your account, even from your smartphone, with our mobile app
  • Pay by check, online or at a local branch, all with no fee - and pick the monthly due date that works best for you
  • Get access to your account 24 hours a day, 7 days a week
  • Help strengthen your credit for the future with responsible card use
  • + Pay no annual fee
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What Does it Mean to be Pre-Approved or to Pre-Qualify for Capital One?

Don’t get too excited if you’ve been pre-approved for a Capital One card. It’s not the same thing as being approved. It just means the credit card issuer thinks you’re a good candidate for one of their cards.

Credit card companies like Capital One seek out potential applicants for their products by asking credit bureaus to review consumer credit profiles. The credit card company then purchases a list of those individuals who meet their criteria.

They look at everything from income, age and employment to debt and credit history. If you meet the criteria set by the issuer, you may receive an offer in the mail for a credit card along with a notice that you are pre-qualified, pre-screened or pre-approved for that particular card.

While you still have to apply for the card, and there’s no guarantee you’ll get it, getting pre-approved is a good first step. It will give you a good idea if the card company thinks you’ll qualify for the card.

Does Pre-Approval Hurt My Credit Score?

Being pre-approved or pre-qualifying for a credit card absolutely does not hurt your credit score. That’s one of the big advantages of getting pre-approved before actually applying, which will ding your score.

When a credit card company is considering you for pre-approval, they’ll open a “soft” inquiry into your credit record. It will appear on your credit report, including who and when the inquiry happened, but it won’t affect your score.

Only when you actually complete an application and apply for a credit card, is a “hard” inquiry recorded on your credit record. This hard inquiry does impact your credit score for a limited period of time, usually 6 to 12 months. Hard inquiries stay on your credit report for two years.

Pre-Approved vs. Pre-Qualified: Is There a Difference?

You may be wondering if there’s a difference between these terms. You may also be surprised to find out that there really isn’t.

Pre-qualified, pre-approved and pre-screened are used interchangeably by credit card companies, including Capital One. That includes offers you may receive from the issuer and if you actively seek out pre-qualification through an issuer’s website.

As I mentioned above, pre-approval is only an indication that you are someone who fits the desired profile the credit card company or financial institution is targeting. Once you’ve actually applied for a card, the credit card company will do a more thorough investigation before it determines whether it will approve you for credit.

How to Pre-Qualify for Capital One Credit Cards

Want a risk-free way of finding out if you’re pre-qualified for a Capital One credit card? You don’t have to wait for an offer letter to know if you pre-qualify. Capital One offers a 60 second tool for just that purpose.

All you need to do is provide some basic information, including your social security number, and the Capital One pre-qualify tool will let you know which cards you should consider applying for.

Since this is not a credit card application, submitting the form does not affect your credit score in any way.

You Can Opt Out of Future Offers

If you have all the credit cards you need, or if you’re just tired of getting offers in the mail, you can actually opt out of future offers. Just go to the official Opt Out Prescreen website or call toll free at 888-567-8688.

They even have staff who can answer questions about the pre-approval process and confirm if you’re already on the opt-out list.

Now’s the Time to Apply for a Capital One Card

What are you waiting for? Now that you know everything there is to know about Capital One’s pre-approval process, you should head over to their website and find out which Capital One cards you should apply for.

We’ve even given you a headstart on finding the best Capital One cards based on your credit score. If you travel, you can’t go wrong with the excellent Venture card. But if you prefer cash back, the Quicksilver card is a great choice, too.