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How to Upgrade a Capital One Card

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Maybe you got a Secured Mastercard® from Capital One or Capital One Platinum Credit Card as a starter credit card and now you’d like a card with rewards. Or perhaps you got the Capital One QuicksilverOne Cash Rewards Credit Card to build your credit and earn cash back, but now your score has improved and you’d like a card without an annual fee. Don’t worry — you can request an upgrade with Capital One for a different card. This is also known as a “product change.”

Here are some tips to help you navigate the upgrade process.

Set yourself up for success

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. Good credit card habits pay off.

For example, payment history accounts for 35% of your credit score. Your utilization rate — how much of your available credit you’re using — makes up about 30% of your credit score. If your utilization 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.

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 (more on that later), know that you may have to wait a bit.

It’s a good idea to hold onto your existing card for at least six months, and show regular, responsible usage during that time, before you request an upgrade, according to Capital One cardmember reports on myFICO forums. When asked what the issuer’s specific upgrade policy was, Capital One did not provide a clear-cut response.

It’s also a good idea to check your credit score. There are ways to do this for free, including by using My LendingTree or through CreditWise, offered by Capital One.

How Capital One handles upgrades

Some card issuers are restrictive with what kind of upgrades you can do. By contrast, Capital One seems to be fairly flexible, according to multiple reports by current and former cardmembers.

For example, American Express won’t let you change the type of card you have — if you have a cashback card, you can only upgrade within its family of cashback cards, according to an American Express customer service rep.

If you’d like a different type of rewards card, the issuer will require you to apply for a new card, through the same process as your first application. Terms apply to American Express credit card offers. See for more information.

However, Capital One cardholders chatting on the myFICO forums have reported upgrades going from:

  • A Secured Mastercard® from Capital One to a Capital One Platinum Credit Card
  • From a Capital One Platinum Credit Card to a Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit Card
  • And from a Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit Card to a Capital One VentureOne Rewards Credit Card

This means you should carefully consider what kind of card would be the best fit for your spending habits.

Looking for a flat-rate cash back card? Consider asking if you can upgrade to the Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit Card.

Prefer to earn miles? The Capital One VentureOne Rewards Credit Card and Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card are worth considering.

As you consider which card you’d like to upgrade to, make sure to evaluate it based on its ongoing value rather than a mouthwatering signup bonus as you’re probably not going to be eligible for the bonus if you get that card via an upgrade, rather than through a new card application.

Know that you can also request downgrades, too.

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. However, be aware that some cardholders online have reported difficulty when trying to downgrade.

How to request an upgrade

Capital One may do the work for you by reaching out to you first. Capital One sometimes contacts existing customers by mail, email, or other online offers to cardholders who prequalify for an upgrade.

Some cardholders have even reported getting upgrade offers as soon as a month after opening their initial card. You can also use this link to see if you qualify for other card offers by the issuer.

As you consider other cards to upgrade to, make sure you’re aware of any fees associated with that card.

For example, if you get an offer to upgrade from the Capital One VentureOne Rewards Credit Card to the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card, you should know it charges an annual fee of $95.

If you don’t have an offer available online and haven’t received one in the mail, or if you prefer to make your request over the phone, you can call Capital One at 877-383-4802.

If you received an offer in the mail or online, be ready to reference that when you call. Otherwise, be prepared to explain which card you have and tell the representative the card you’re interested in upgrading or downgrading to.

What to expect

Product changes aren’t considered new accounts, Capital One confirmed via email. This means there shouldn’t be a new credit check when you request an upgrade, and if approved, your account number won’t change. However, your card’s expiration date and security code will change.

It’s a good thing for your credit score that an upgrade won’t count as a new account and doesn’t require a hard inquiry.

Hard inquiries cause your score to temporarily drop by a few points, and a new account decreases the average age of your accounts. Your FICO score considers length of credit history to comprise 15% of your score.

Another situation where a product change not being considered a new account might help you is if you’re interested in applying for another card with a different issuer.

Card issuers don’t like to see too many inquiries on your credit history because it can make you look desperate for credit. So if you’ve got your eye on a card with great rewards or an excellent sign-up bonus from another card issuer, you can still apply for it after requesting a product change on your existing Capital One card.

However, one thing that an upgrade won’t do for you — it generally won’t net you whatever welcome offer is available to new cardmembers. So make sure that when you request an upgrade, the card you choose is one you think you can use on an ongoing basis.

Finally, be aware that once you request a product change, you probably can’t 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.

The bottom line

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.

A product change with Capital One is not considered a new account, and your card number will stay the same. However, your security code and expiration date will change. This means if you have autopay set up with your card, you may need to update this info with the merchant.

Another great thing about upgrading — since it isn’t considered a new account, your credit score will stay intact, and you can get more out of your card without worrying about your score.