Saturday, March 08, 2008

Capital One Cards

Since we’ve been writing this blog, the most frequently searched-for information has been regarding Capital One and ATM cards. Doing some recent research on Capital One cards, we’ve come across two new (to us) products you might want to consider.

First is a Capital One MasterCard “For Professionals.” We’ve noted that Capital One’s reward program basically gives 1.25 “miles” per dollar spent, and it’s a “refund” type reward, where you purchase any ticket from any source, and if you meet the points levels you receive a statement credit. Some folks think that 1.25 miles per dollar is a fine deal; others have noted the redemption limits aren’t always the best; still others think it’s the worst deal around. The new MasterCard now gives 2 miles per dollar, but comes with a $39 annual fee. If you like the miles/points schemes, it might be worth looking into this card, especially if you charge enough to make the annual fee a non-issue. Also note that like other Capital One cards, there are no foreign transaction fees.

The second card is a Capital One Platinum Debit Card. It doesn’t appear to offer any rewards and must be tied to a Capital One on-line checking account. (Capital One’s checking accounts are in line with those from other online banks, currently in the range of 3 to 3.75 percent interest.) Some folks like debit cards, to have a better picture of their spending. Capital One’s card does appear to offer “zero liability” (which has been an issue for debit cards in the past), and it also doesn’t charge foreign transaction fees. Again, this may be a good possibility for international travel if you prefer a debit card.

Terms and conditions for any of these cards are, typically, long and complicated. Be sure to read everything about rewards, fees, etc. if you’re interested in these products.