Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Capital One No-Fee MasterCards

A reader of one of our previous posts took issue (correctly) with our comments and mentioned having a Capital One MasterCard that carries no annual fee and which offers Capital One’s well-known 0% foreign-exchange fee. (Which is the primary reason we suggest using the Cap1 card only for international travel – the rewards programs are generally not that great.) We had previously found only one travel reward MasterCard in Capital One’s line, and that showed a $39 annual fee. Now, we’re seeing nine different Cap1 MCs on this page, four of which offer some type of rewards and all with no annual fee. (And weirdly, some Cap1 application pages show a card without any MC or Visa logo at all, and no indication of which card you’re applying for.)

Bottom line: We’re still generally under-impressed with Capital One’s reward programs, but think a Cap 1 card is the best for international travel (or even purchases from the U.S. that are made in foreign currencies, such as from an international merchant). With Capital One not charging the 3% forex fee most other cards charge, using the card for international purchases can be like getting a 4% rebate (1% cash-back rebate on some Cap 1 cards, plus not being charged the 3% forex fee).