Credit Cards

My Beef With the Capital One Venture Card

Any time I write about cash back credit cards, I get more or less the same response: “Why aren’t you including the Capital One Venture Card?” For those who are unfamiliar with the card, it earns 2 miles per $1 spent on all purchases. Rewards are worth 1 cent each and can be redeemed as statement credits. And Jennifer Garner approves, so what do I have against the Capital One Venture Card? Several things.

Capital One Venture Credit Card Sign-up Bonus
Capital One Venture Credit Card

For starters, when you apply for the Capital One Venture card, you’re hit with three credit pulls. That’s right, for a ~$400 sign-up bonus, Capital One pulls your credit from Experian, TransUnion, and Equifax. I would understand if, say, Chase pulled from three credit bureaus for a 100,000 point Sapphire Reserve offer. But this is a 2% cash back card with a relatively small sign-up bonus. There’s no good reason for Capital One to be pulling your credit three times for a card this average.

Three credit pulls may not seem like a lot, but why waste it on one credit card? To me, those two additional credit pulls could equal at least 100,000 extra miles and points. I see no good reason to waste three credit pulls on the Capital One Venture card, especially since there’s nothing special about it. There are at least five credit cards out there that are identical to the Capital One Venture Card: The Citi Double Cash Card, for one. Another great alternative? The Fidelity Rewards Visa is pretty much the same, except rewards are deposited into your Fidelity Brokerage Account.

Other great alternatives to the Capital One Venture Card that will only cost you one credit pull include the Discover It Miles Card, Amex SimplyCash Plus Business Card, and Chase Freedom Unlimited. The Discover It Miles card earns 3% cash back during the first year and offers $30 in free wifi credits. The SimplyCash Plus Business Credit Card earns 5% cash back at office supply stores, plus 3% at popular merchant categories, including gas stations, restaurants, and travel. Yes, bonuses are limited to the first $50,000 spent, but it’s still an ideal card for manufactured spending. All of these cards have no annual fee and generous perks, all for just one credit pull per application. That gives all of them a huge advantage over the Capital One Venture Card.

While some of the above mentioned cards lack sign-up bonuses (or offer low ones, compared to the Capital One Venture Card), they make up for it with category bonuses. Did I mention how I earned over $3,000 worth of cash back with the Discover It Miles Card? My point is that while the Venture Card may have a higher sign-up bonus, it’s not worth three credit pulls. There are plenty of other credit cards that provide value beyond a sign-up bonus and 2% cash back.

But I want to hear your thoughts about the Capital One Venture Card: Are you a fan? Why or why not?

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    I love my Capital One Venture but my favorite is the Chase Sapphire Reserve. I can honestly say I get treated differently with this card. I notice the extra attention when buying products in store as well as over the phone with Chase customer service. Note: I got rid of my AMEX Platinum after the annoying annual fee increase and Uber $150? credit B.S capped at $15/mth? Forgot already what the new Platinum benefits were … Anyway, I’ve yet to meet anyone in the mile/points game that has less than a 775 FICO … most however, like myself, have over 800. My point – losing a few points to credit card signups is no biggie to ANY of us … never was … This is basically how we all got into the miles/points game to begin with … smart, calculated, financial savvy consumers of credit and all their associated travel benefits!

    • That IS a nice perk of having a Sapphire card. Back in the day when I’d pull out the CSP, it always resulted in “Wow, that’s a nice card!” It’s pretty damn impressive, for sure. As for the Capital One Venture, it’s not about losing a few credit points, but what I could be getting in return. 3 hits doesn’t seem worth 40k points when I can easily get 100k+ points from other credit cards.

  2. Cap1 points are worth 2 cents each when used for travel expense reimbursements. It is a great way to pay for incidentals/meals on your trips if you do so in hotels which then make them qualify as travel related. Rental cars also come in under the 2 cens valuation. I actually find these very useful. Used them to reimburse for a ski condo rental at 2 cents a couple times. Had to call for this but they are very flexible.

  3. After reading your post I have 2 questions/comments:
    1) 90% of my pulls are on Experian (only Barclay and FNBO is different for me) I assume your distro is different. I’m more concerned about total new accounts vs hard pulls is my concern misplaced?
    2) the 2 alternatives you mentioned (double cash and fedilety) both don’t have sign up bonueses. Is it terrible to approach this card as a sock drawer card after meeting the min spend? After doing this for about 3 years (no Ms) I’m starting to run out of sign up bonus eligible cards.

  4. CapOne Spark cards, I think, would be better choices because they are business cards, so the pulls are not on your personal credit. Doing MS would be less an issue on your credit if you accidentally don’t get a card paid off before the statement closing date.

  5. The reason Capital One Venture beats the other cards you mention is the signup bonus. I have a trip coming up where I’m going to stay in places where you can’t use points. That’s the only reason I got this card. The signup bonus will offset all those hotels, and there is no fee the first year. What’s not to like about that? I can cancel next year and will have gotten all these credits for nothing. Plus Capital One is “MS friendly.” I already have a Barclay Arrival so I’m not currently eligible for their bonus.

    The 3 credit pulls don’t bother me. I’ve never been denied because of credit pulls. Chase only denies you if you’ve been approved for 5 cards in 24 months, and they know about all cards no matter which agency pulled your report.

    • Actually, the SimplyCash Card has a $400 sign-up bonus. To me, 40k points don’t seem worth 3 credit pulls. Especially since I can instead get three cards with sign-up bonuses exceeding $400 worth of value.

      • I just looked at the SimplyCash bonus. It requires you to spend $15K to get the $400 bonus, and you can no longer do MS with Amex. The Venture card only requires $3K in spending. Huge difference.

        • You can certainly still MS with Amex – if you do it responsibly. Venture has a lower spending requirement but don’t you’re still earning cash back on that $15k with SimplyCash.

          • I used to MS with Amex. Last year I got their Platinum card. They saw that I had bought a gift card at Simon Mall and took away all my points. I’ve read other similar stories last year.

  6. My guess is most of us in this hobby do little/none – some MS, so looking at it from a sign up bonus perspective CapOne cards aren’t that bad once you’ve exhausted better options.

    Hard pulls: You should be able to freeze one bureau and get approved with 2, Out of those 2 typically 1 is the hardest hit for most anyone, so the other shouldn’t matter much, especially by the time you churn CapOne bonuses.

    Bonus: $400 cash > $400 travel rewards, anytime.

    Plus, for heavy MSers: Having another 2% for some time will take the load off everyday hard MS working horses.

  7. barschools

    I don’t think the 3 pulls are that big of a deal. They all drop off in two years. Travel redemptions are a lot easier with Cap 1 vs Barclay A+. Their is no minimum redemption like the $100.00 that Barclay requires and you can redeem against the same travel expense over and over. The annual fee is 30 dollars less than A+ as well. I don’t mean to knock the Barclay A+ too much as I carry both cards, but I think the Cap 1 card is a good one.

    • I don’t think 3 credit pulls is a big deal, I just don’t think it’s worth one card. You can also get no-limit travel redemptions with the Discover It Miles card, which doesn’t have a sign-up bonus but major earnings potential during the first year. I agree on Arrival – there are better options, though I did get lots of use out of the 5% rebate when I still had the card.

  8. Chase usually pulls 2 reports for me for sign ups anyways so I don’t think the 3 is that big of a deal. $400 used on any travel (non chain hotels etc) is nice and the much lower redemption level (compared to the $100 with the arrival plus – never understood why the free version of the arrival has a better redemption then the AF version but anyways…). I think it is a solid sign up bonus but I wouldn’t keep it long term.

  9. You can freeze experian and still get approved for a new capital one card with only two credit pulls.

  10. There is a way to get two sparks cards – with two sign up bonuses, and not have them pull from all three credit bureaus, the internet will help point the way.

  11. Part of your post is incorrect. The Venture actually does have a $59 annual fee. Even more of a reason to pass on it. This card is noting more than marketing hype really.

  12. I got the mailer at my business at least ten times over an 18 month period inviting me to apply with a special code. I finally did in March, and was automatically denied.

    Capital one is dead to me.

  13. I am a bit confused regarding the concern over the credit pull. I have been in the hobby since Nov 2013 and have made no less than 30 credit card applications since then. My credit score has never fallen below 745 and is currently at 811. I haven’t applied for a card in about 4 months and my score is the highest it has ever been since I began monitoring it in 2013.

    As a general rule, I am finding that my score has increased as I was awarded more credit on additional cards and paid the cards in full each month. I am very careful to keep my credit utilization low. I don’t know that I ever go over 30% utilization on my open lines of credit, and even that is high for me. Several of my cards are in the sock drawer.

    Yes, the pull knocks it down a bit, but it has always bounced back within a few months and has steadily gotten higher since I began.

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