Compare Capital One credit cards for fair and poor credit

Build your credit and earn cash back on all of your purchases.

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Capital One is one of the rare credit card providers that offer several credit cards for fair and poor credit, even for students and businesses. Most of these cards don’t have an annual fee, and some even offer unlimited cash back on purchases.

However, no matter which card you choose, don’t expect to get a high credit limit.

Compare Capital One credit cards for fair and poor credit

Name Product Filter values Minimum deposit required Purchase APR Annual fee Recommended minimum credit score
Capital One® Secured Mastercard®
$49, $99 or $200
26.99% variable
$0
580
Get access to a higher credit line after making your first 5 monthly payments on time.
Capital One® QuicksilverOne® Cash Rewards Credit Card
N/A
26.99% variable
$39
580
Get unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase with no limit on how much you can earn, and no changing categories.
CardMatch™ from creditcards.com
See terms
See issuer's website
See terms
300
Can't decide on a card? Get personalized credit card offers with CardMatch™.
Capital One® Platinum Credit Card
N/A
26.99% variable
$0
580
A no-annual-fee card for average credit. Earn a higher credit line after five on-time payments.
Journey® Student Rewards from Capital One®
N/A
26.99% variable
$0
580
Earn 1% cash back on all purchases or get 1.25% cash back for months you pay on time.
Capital One® Spark® Classic for Business
N/A
24.49% variable
$0
630
Get the credit you want for your business and unlimited 1% cash back on every purchase, every day.

Compare up to 4 providers

Pros and cons of Capital One credit cards for average credit

Credit cards for fair and poor credit can be extremely beneficial if you’re trying to build credit without paying an annual fee. But there are some downsides and limitations to consider as well. Here’s a quick breakdown of what you can expect:

Pros

  • Builds your credit score
  • Helps you monitor your credit score going forward
  • Earn cash back, depending on the card
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • No annual fee, except for QuicksilverOne

Cons

  • No intro APR period
  • Relatively high APR
  • Low starting credit line
  • Requires a deposit (for the secured card)

Do I need a Capital One credit-building card?

Capital One credit cards for fair or poor credit can be a solid starting point for getting your finances in order. This is especially true if you’ve had financial difficulties in the past — like defaults on your payments or bankruptcies — or if you’re a student getting a first credit card.

How to choose a Capital One credit card for fair and poor credit

When looking at the Capital One credit card selection for fair and poor credit, ask yourself:

  • Do you want a no-annual-fee card? Most credit cards in this category have no annual fee. But if you’re looking to get the Capital One® QuicksilverOne® Cash Rewards Credit Card card, expect to pay a small annual fee of $39. Make sure the fee is worth the card benefits.
  • Do you have poor credit? Capital One offers a secured card for poor credit. But unlike similar cards, you won’t pay an annual fee for the card. Also, the secured deposit starts as low as $49 and the APR isn’t astronomical.
  • Are you a student? Students get to apply for one of the best beginner credit cards where you earn flat cash back on all purchases without paying an annual fee.
  • Do you need a business credit card? Capital One is one of the rare major credit card providers that offer a business credit card for fair credit.

How can I qualify for Capital One credit building cards?

If you’re uncertain whether your credit is in a place that can qualify for these cards, you might consider a few quick steps to improve your odds. This includes:

  • Review your debts. You’ll want to make sure the money you owe is legitimate and not the result of an error by the bank or retailer.
  • Dispute incorrect debts or fees. If you have any debts hanging overhead you feel aren’t legitimate, dispute those charges with the bank.
  • Pay off your legitimate debts. This can help bump your credit score by improving your credit utilization ratio.

These steps can offer a quick bump to your credit score and might push you over the line for a Capital One card for average credit.

What if I can’t qualify for these Capital One cards?

If you can’t get approval for any of these cards, you may want to shop for credit cards similar to those offered by Capital One. In this case, you’ll want to carefully look at the following factors when comparing your options:

  • Annual fee. It’s hard to find a no-annual-fee card for building credit, but you do have options. If you have to apply for a credit-building card with an annual fee, at least make sure the fee you’ll pay is low.
  • Hidden fees. Some credit cards for building credit come with a host of hidden fees. Make sure you read the card’s terms and conditions before you apply. As a rule of thumb, you’ll want to stay away from credit cards with unusual fees, such as monthly fees, service fees and other maintenance-type fees.
  • Reports to all three major credit bureaus. Make sure the card provider reports your card activity to all three credit bureaus — Experian, Equifax and TransUnion. Aside from good credit practices, this is the best way to ensure your credit score improves as quickly as possible.

Bottom line

If you have poor or fair credit, consider applying for a Capital One credit card. Your options are much more varied compared to those offered by other issuers and include a secured credit card, a student card, a business card, a cashback card and no-annual-fee cards.

But if you don’t find any of these cards appealing, compare other secured credit cards or unsecured credit cards for building credit until you find the right card for your needs.

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