Establish Credit History and Boost Your Credit Score With This No Annual Fee Card

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Establish Credit History and Boost Your Credit Score With This No Annual Fee Card

Million Mile SecretsEstablish Credit History and Boost Your Credit Score With This No Annual Fee CardMillion Mile Secrets Team

Signing-up for credit cards through partner links earns us a commission. Here’s our full Advertising Policy.

It’s difficult to get approved for most popular miles & points cards without an excellent credit score, or if you have a blemish on your credit report.  That’s why folks sometimes ask if there’s a good card to help build a credit history.  

Besides making you eligible for better rewards cards in the future, establishing a credit history helps if you’re looking to qualify for other types of credit, like car loans and mortgages.

I think the no annual fee Capital One® Platinum Credit Card is a great fit for folks new to the US, recent graduates, or if your credit score is ~650.  But this card is NOT ideal if you’re looking to earn rewards, like cash back or miles & points.

Capital One Platinum Card Review
If You’re Looking to Build Your Credit History, You Might Consider the No Annual Fee Capital One Platinum Card

I’ll share tips if you’re new to applying for credit cards.  And my review of the Capital One Platinum card.

Here’s What You Should Consider Before Signing-Up for a Credit Card

Link:   5 Dangers of Applying for Credit Cards

Credit cards are a great tool to have in your wallet.  But I only recommend applying for a card if you plan to use it responsibly.

This means tracking your credit card balances and paying them on time and in full each month.  Because most cards charge high interest rates when you carry a balance.  And paying credit card interest can make it difficult to get ahead financially.

Emily and I have used miles & points credit cards responsibly over the years, which helped us earn enough rewards to travel to Bora BoraEurope, and many other destinations around the world!  But these cards typically require you to have a 700+ credit score.  You can check your credit score for free by using Credit Karma.

Capital One Platinum Card Review
Emily and I Have Used Miles & Points Earned on Credit Cards to Travel to Destinations Around the World

Keep in mind, having a credit card and paying your bill in full each month can increase your credit score.  This can make you eligible to get better cards and earn Big Travel with Small Money!

I’ll share a card for folks who have credit scores under 700 and are looking to improve their credit and build a credit history.

Capital One Platinum Card Review

Link:   Capital One® Platinum Credit Card

The Capital One Platinum card has no annual fee.  There’s also no sign-up bonus or rewards for ongoing spending.

This card is meant for folks with an average credit profile.  For example, if you have limited credit history or a credit score between ~630 and ~700.

Capital One Platinum Card Review
If You Have an Average Credit Score or Limited Credit History, You Can Qualify for the No Annual Fee Capital One Platinum Card

I found a data point on the myFICO forum for someone who was approved for the Capital One Platinum card with a 581 credit score.  They also mention their credit score increased significantly after having the card for just a couple of months.

If approved for this card, you’ll typically have a lower initial credit limit.  But you get access to a higher credit line after making on time payments for the first 5 months.

Remember, you do NOT want to use a large percentage of your credit limit.  Because according to the FICO website, 30% of your credit score is determined by your outstanding balances and credit utilization.

With this card, you’ll also have access to CapitalOne CreditWise.  This a free tool to monitor activity on your credit report and get your estimated credit score.

Capital One Platinum Card Review
Monitor Your Credit Report With CreditWise, Which Is a Free Tool Offered by Capital One

The upside of establishing a relationship with Capital One using the Capital One Platinum card is you can qualify to upgrade to the bank’s other cards.

For example, you can potentially upgrade to the no annual fee Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit Card, which earns you unlimited 1.5% cash back on ALL purchases!

Are There Drawbacks?

Remember, Capital One pulls your credit score from all 3 main credit bureaus, giving you hard inquiries on your report!  This is not ideal, because hard inquiries cause your credit score to temporarily dip.  And too many hard inquiries can make it harder to be approved for future credit cards and other loans.

And the Capital One Platinum card does NOT earn you rewards like cash back or points.

Instead, you might consider the Journey® Student Rewards from Capital One®.  This card has similar approval requirements.  And you earn 1% cash back on all purchases.  And an extra 0.25% for paying bills on time.

Bottom Line

Folks with a limited credit history or credit score between ~630 and ~700 might consider the no annual fee Capital One® Platinum Credit Card.  I found someone who was approved for the card with a 581 FICO score.

When you use this card responsibly, you can boost your credit score and become eligible for more rewarding miles & points credit cards.  Or you might consider the Journey Student Rewards from Capital One, which has similar approval requirements.  And you earn 1% cash back on all purchases.

Remember to only sign-up for credit cards if you can afford to pay your balances in full each month.  This way, you’ll avoid costly interest charges.

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Capital One® Platinum Credit Card

Capital One® Platinum Credit Card

  • Pay no annual fee
  • 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

More Info

Editorial Note: We're the Million Mile Secrets team. And we're proud of our content, opinions and analysis, and of our reader's comments. These haven’t been reviewed, approved or endorsed by any of the airlines, hotels, or credit card issuers which we often write about. And that’s just how we like it! :)

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Several years ago when I was rebuilding my credit I started with a secured credit card from a local credit union(my score was in the upper 500’s). When my score got to 620 I was approved for the Capital One Quicksilver. I didn’t know anything about miles at the time but I was happy that the Quicksilver card gave me 1.5% cash back on dining, which I would receive at the end of the year. I was a bit disappointed to find I only got $15 back. But the good thing is this card must have helped my credit. Ten months after getting the Capital One card I started learning about miles and credit card churning and I received an offer in the mail for the Amex Green card. I called Amex to see if I could get the Gold card instead since it offered 25K MR points and I was instantly approved. The next day I applied for the Barclay Arrival card and was approved for that. That was in August, 2013. My score is now around 800 and I’ve been approved for just about every card I’ve applied for since. My wife and I have had over 40 cards since 2013 and have earned about one million points a year.

Amazing! Thank you so much for sharing your story!