Discover and Capital One credit cards have a few differences between them. Discover cards are not as widely accepted as Capital One, particularly outside of the U.S. Capital One cards are backed by either the Visa or Mastercard networks which are accepted worldwide.
You should also know that Discover, which touts itself as an online financial services company, does not have branches. Capital One is one of the 10 largest banks the U.S. and has branches in Texas, Louisiana, Washington D.C. several East Coast states.
Both Capital One and Discover offer credit cards with benefits for a wide range of customers. They cover needs from cash back rewards to 0% intro APRs to cards for students. While there are some similarities between the two, there are also some key differences you should keep in mind if choosing which of the two companies offers a better card for your needs.
Here are a few things you should know about Discover vs Capital One credit cards:
Cash Back: Discover It Cashback Match vs. Capital One Quicksilver – Discover Wins
Capital One Quicksilver offers a consistent 1.5% cash back on all purchases. Discover it Cashback March gets you 5% cash back on up to $1,500 spent on quarterly rotating bonus categories (e.g. gas stations, grocery stores, Amazon). It gives 1% cash back on all other purchases. Both cards require a good credit score and neither charges an annual fee. Discover and Capital One each have additional credit cards with cash back options.
0% APR offers: Discover It 18-month Balance Transfer Offer vs. Capital One Quicksilver –Discover Wins
The Discover it 18-Month Balance Transfer Offer card gets you 0% for 18 months on purchases and balance transfers (3% transfer fee). Capital One’s Quicksilver card offers 0% interest on purchases and balance transfers for 15 months (3% transfer fee).
Both cards have no annual fee and require a good credit score. Discover and Capital One also have additional 0% intro APR offers, but with shorter introductory periods.
Travel rewards: Discover It Miles vs. Capital One Venture Rewards – Capital One Wins
If you don’t mind paying the $95 annual fee after your first year, Capital One’s Venture Rewards card offers 2 miles per $1 spent on every purchase. The Discover it Miles card gets you 1.5 miles per $1 on all purchases and has no annual fee. The big difference is in the initial bonus.
Discover matches all cash back you’ve earned at the end of your first year, and Capital One nets you a one-time bonus of 50,000 miles when you spend $1,000 in your first three months. That’s worth $500 in travel rewards. Both cards’ miles are worth 1 cent each. A good credit score is required for both cards.
Cards for rebuilding credit: Discover It Secured Card vs. Capital One Secured Mastercard – Discover Wins
The Capital One Secured Mastercard can get you a security deposit as low as $49 if you qualify. Discover it Secured Card, however, requires a minimum $200 deposit. But it does earn you 2% cash back at restaurants and gas stations up to $1,000 in combined purchases each quarter, and you’ll also be considered for an unsecured card after eight months.
Capital One, on the other hand, may grant you a higher credit limit without an additional deposit if you make your first five monthly payments on time. Neither card has an annual fee.
Cards for students: Discover It For Students vs. Capital One Journey Student Rewards – Capital One Wins
Capital One Journey Student Rewards offers 1% Cash Back on all purchases, or 1.25% if you pay on time. Discover it for Students offers 5% cash back on your first $1,500 per quarter on rotating categories like gas stations, grocery stores, restaurants, Amazon.com or wholesale clubs.
Students with at least a 3.0 GPA will also earn a $20 statement credit each year. And Discover matches all cash back you’ve earned at the end of your first year. Neither card charges an annual fee.
Cards for small businesses: Capital One Spark Cash for Business Card vs. N/A – Capital One wins
Discover is at a clear disadvantage here because it does not offer any small business credit cards. Of Capital One’s five business card offerings, the Spark Cash for Business card is best. It yields 2% cash back on all purchases. There is no annual fee for the first year, and $95 after that. Good credit score is required. Other Capital One business card options include ones with travel rewards, new-member bonuses and a card for business owners with average credit.
Secondary Benefits: Discover credit cards vs. Capital One credit cards – Capital One wins
Discover and Capital One both offer car rental insurance, extended warranties and purchase protections among other benefits. Capital One’s package provide more favorable terms, particularly with car rental insurance coverage (up to $50,000 vs. Discover’s $25,000) and purchase protection (up to $10,000 per item vs. up to $500).
Discover’s benefits are available on all of its cards; Capital One’s are not. But its benefits are actually through Visa or Mastercard, which means wider acceptance than Discover, particularly outside of the U.S.
Discover and Capital One do not charge foreign transaction fees on any of its cards.
Customer Service / Satisfaction: Discover credit cards vs. Capital One credit cards – Discover wins
Discover’s customer service is 100 percent U.S.-based and its customer service representatives are available 24/7. You can contact them by phone or online chat. A new messaging feature will soon replace the online chat, giving customer easier access to customer service reps.
Capital One also offers 24/7 customer service. Contact them by phone or e-mail, with a one to two days response time. But there’s no chat or online messaging features, which limits customers’ access.
Something else to consider: Both Capital One and Discover allow pre-approval for their credit cards. You can go online and check see pre-approval for multiple cards at one time. Both perform a soft inquiry on your credit that does not impact your score. This is an ideal way to see if you qualify for a credit card without the hard credit inquiry and damage to your score. You should take advantage of this feature to research these two brands further and shop around for the best deals.
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