How to Upgrade a Capital One Card
If you’re a Capital One cardholder who recently improved your credit score, or you simply want to take advantage of a more suitable rewards program and card benefits, you may want to consider upgrading your card.
Upgrading from one Capital One card to another from the same issuer is a fairly easy process — as long as your existing account is in good standing and you meet the eligibility requirements for the new card. Just know, while an upgrade lets you change products without negatively impacting your credit score, you typically won’t be eligible to receive a new cardmember bonus or promotional 0% intro APR on purchases or balance transfers from the new card.
We explain what you need to know about upgrading your Capital One credit card to help you determine if it’s the right move for you.
What is a credit card upgrade?
With a credit card upgrade, also known as a “product change” or a “swap,” a cardholder switches from their current credit card to a different one from the same issuer.
An upgrade may be ideal if your existing credit card no longer suits your lifestyle and spending needs. For example, if you got a Capital One Platinum Credit Card as a starter credit card and have since established your credit profile, you may want to upgrade to a Capital One card that offers a rewards program. Or, if you got the Capital One QuicksilverOne Cash Rewards Credit Card to earn cash back and your score has improved, you may want to swap it for a cash back card with a $0 annual fee.
Because product changes aren’t considered new accounts, they don’t require a credit check. However, issuers typically require your existing credit card account to be in good standing in order to be eligible. Additionally, when you upgrade your Capital One card, your account number will remain the same, but the expiration date and security code will change.
Know that you can also request a credit card downgrade. For example, if you find that having a card with an annual fee no longer makes sense for you, you can request a product change to a no-annual-fee card.
Just beware, once you request a product change, you may not be able to do another on the upgraded or downgraded card for at least six months, according to cardmember reports online. Make sure the change you request is one you can live with for at least that long, especially if you choose a card that charges an annual fee.
Pros and cons of a Capital One upgrade
No credit check needed
Card number, credit limit and APR will not change
Can upgrade between different types of rewards cards
Likely not eligible to earn a sign-up bonus
May not be eligible for an intro APR offer
Cannot upgrade to a card from a different issuer
How to prepare for an upgrade
Before you even consider upgrading, know that if you have a pattern of late payments or high balances on your current card, the odds of being approved for another card may be slim. Therefore, it’s important to establish good credit card habits, like the following, in advance:
Always pay your bill on time. Your payment history, which shows whether you’ve made past credit card and loan payments on time, accounts for 35% of your credit score, according to FICO.
Keep your card balance low. Amounts owed and your credit utilization ratio — how much the amount of your available credit you’re using — makes up about 30% of your credit score. If your credit utilization ratio is too high, that signals to issuers that you might be struggling to pay back your debt. Try to keep your card balance below 30% of your credit limit or pay off the entire balance every month for best results.
Be patient. You should also examine how long you’ve had your existing card. If you haven’t been solicited for an upgrade offer from Capital One, know that you may have to wait a bit. In fact, it’s a good idea to hold onto your existing card for at least six months, and show regular and responsible usage during that time, before you request an upgrade.
Also know, if you’re upgrading to a card with an annual fee, you may have to have your account open for a full year, since the Credit Card Accountability Responsibility and Disclosure (CARD) Act restricts credit card companies from increasing your annual fee within a year of opening your account.
Check your credit score. Knowing where your credit score stands can help give you some insight as to which card products you may qualify for. You can access your credit score for free and without generating a hard inquiry in a variety of ways, including through LendingTree Spring or through Capital One’s CreditWise.
How to upgrade a Capital One card
If you qualify for an upgrade, Capital One may do the work by reaching out to you first via email, mail or through your online account. Some cardholders have even reported getting upgrade offers as soon as a month after opening their initial card.
You can also initiate a product change request by calling the number on the back of your card.
As you consider upgrading your card, make sure you’re aware of any fees associated with the card you’re upgrading to. For example, if you get an offer to upgrade from the Capital One VentureOne Rewards for Good Credit to the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card, know that while the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card card offers a higher rewards rate and better travel benefits, it also charges an annual fee of $95.
Is a Capital One upgrade right for you?
If you’ve had your Capital One card for at least six months, have used it regularly and have a good history of on-time payments, you can request an upgrade, but you’re not guaranteed approval. When requesting an upgrade, consider what type of rewards you’re looking for and whether or not you spend enough on your card to make any annual fee worthwhile.
That said, if you want to take advantage of a new cardmember sign-up bonus or promotional 0% intro APR on purchases or balance transfers*, you may want to apply for a new card instead. But keep in mind, while adding a new credit card can help reduce your credit utilization ratio, a hard inquiry will appear on your credit report each time you apply — which can negatively impact your score.
To see if you prequalify for a Capital One card without initiating a hard inquiry, check out Capital One’s preapproval tool.