Published in: Credit Cards | Dec. 13, 2018

Capital One Credit Card Application Rules: What You Need to Know

By:  Lyle Daly

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Improve your odds of success on a Capital One credit card application. Find out what the rules are and what else you should know before applying.

Computer keyboard with "apply now" button

Image source: Getty Images

Capital One used to be as flexible as it gets for credit card applications. There weren’t any strict guidelines that would stop you in your tracks, and it was possible to get approved for multiple cards even if you applied for them on the same day.

Even though Capital One still isn’t aggressive about denying applications, it has put application limits in place that you should know about so you don’t waste your time.

Capital One application limits

Capital One has a single restriction on credit card applications, and that is a firm limit of one application every six months. The rule covers both personal and business credit card applications, and it doesn’t matter whether you were approved for a card or not.

If you try applying for a Capital One card and it hasn’t been at least six months since your most recent application, Capital One will automatically deny the application. Fortunately, it won’t run a hard credit inquiry on you, so this won’t affect your credit score.

Credit bureaus Capital One checks

Capital One is unique in that it pulls your credit file from all three credit bureaus, resulting in a hard credit inquiry with each of them.

For most consumers, this won’t be an issue, since hard credit inquiries typically decrease your score by five points at most. But it’s worth noting, especially if you have any other recent applications that also required hard credit inquiries, as multiple inquiries will bring down your score more.

How to choose the right Capital One card

The six-month timeframe between Capital One cards makes it even more important to choose the card that best fits your needs. Here are some suggestions for a few of the most common scenarios.

If you want travel rewards…

This one’s easy. The Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card is a standout among travel cards, offering:

  • Unlimited 2 miles per $1 on all your spending
  • Unlimited 10 miles per $1 on purchases through hotels.com/venture
  • 50,000 bonus points (a $500 value) for spending $3,000 within three months
  • A statement credit of up to $100 for your Global Entry or TSA Pre®✔ fee every four years

Redemptions are as simple as it gets, because your Venture® miles are worth a fixed rate of $0.01 per point. You can apply them towards any type of travel purchase.

The card costs $95 per year, but that annual fee is waived for the first year.

If you’re more into cash back (or you need a 0% intro APR offer)…

Capital One has a couple cash-back cards to consider, and the right one to pick will depend on your spending habits. One added perk is that both of its top cash-back cards have lengthy 0% intro APR offers that make them perfect for consolidating credit card debt.

If you don’t spend a lot of money in any particular category, the Capital One® Quicksilver® Card - 0% Intro APR for 15 Months is a smart choice that earns one flat rate on everything. Here’s what it offers:

  • Unlimited 1.5% back on all spending
  • $150 bonus for spending $500 in the first three months
  • No annual fee
  • 0% intro APR on purchases and balance transfers for 15 months

For those who have large dining and entertainment spending, there’s the Capital One® SavorOne® Cash Rewards Credit Card. Its highlights include:

  • Unlimited 3% back on dining and entertainment
  • Unlimited 2% back at grocery stores
  • Unlimited 1% back on all other spending
  • $150 bonus for spending $500 in the first three months
  • No annual fee
  • 0% intro APR on purchases and balance transfers for 15 months

Capital One is certainly one of the most relaxed card issuers in terms of application rules. It doesn’t limit how many sign-up bonuses you can get or even prevent you from getting the same card twice. All you need to do is wait that six months after every application.

Our #1 cash back pick has a surprise bonus

This may be the perfect cash back card! That's because it packs in $1,148 of value. Cardholders can earn up to 5% cash back, double rewards in the first year, and avoid interest well into 2020. With such a deep bench of perks you'll wonder how this card packs in a $0 annual fee. Best yet, you can apply and get a decision in two minutes. Learn more with our in-depth review.

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