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Capital One Credit Cards vs Discover Cards

Are you interested in juggling rotating categories or prefer a simpler approach of unlimited earning through bonus categories? Do you need a travel card, or are you looking for an everyday spending option? Figure out the answers to these, and several other questions, by reading our review of Capital One credit cards vs Discover cards.

Capital One Credit Cards vs Discover Cards

This Capital One credit cards vs. Discover cards review includes a comparison between the variety of rewards and benefits both issuers offer you. Each option is tailored to the different spending habits of consumers. 

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Discover cards focus on 0% introductory APR periods and cash backs while Capital One is more about flexible credit scores and travel-centric benefits.

Overview of Capital One Credit Cards

Capital One provides a diverse range of cards, from cashback rewards to travel miles. Their Capital One Quicksilver offers unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase with no annual fee. 

The Capital One Venture Rewards card provides 2X miles per dollar spent on every purchase.

These cards have no foreign transaction fees, making them ideal for international travel. You can also enjoy benefits such as extended warranty protection and travel accident insurance.

For those looking to build or rebuild credit, the bank offers several secured cards that report to the three major credit bureaus. This helps users build a positive credit history with responsible use.

Overview of Discover Cards

Discover is known for unlimited cash back, and annual cash back matches for its cards. If you earn $100 cash back throughout the year, it will become $200 at the end of that year. 

Additionally, you pay a $0 annual fee on these cards and get free FICO score updates. Note that you get a 0% introductory APR on every Discover card, ranging between 6-15 months.

The Discover It® Student Cash Back card targets students and offers rotating 5% cash back categories. It also includes a $20 statement credit each school year for maintaining a GPA of 3.0 or higher. 

If you prefer simplicity, the Discover It® Miles Travel offers 1.5x miles for every dollar spent on purchases. Miles can be redeemed for travel purchases or as a statement credit.

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Comparing Capital One Credit Cards and Discover Cards

Both issuers offer a range of cards catering to various needs, such as credit-building, rewards, and low interest rates. They share some features yet also have differences that may impact your choice.


  • Many cards from both issuers don’t charge annual fees, making them appealing to budget-conscious users.
  • Both issuers have solid rewards programs. Capital One offers miles or cash back, while Discover offers cash back with rotating categories.
  • They provide various security measures like fraud alerts, zero liability protection, and virtual card numbers.
  • Both companies offer user-friendly mobile apps for managing accounts, tracking spending, and making payments.
  • Both Capital One and Discover have reputations for solid customer service, with 24/7 support available through multiple channels.


  • You don’t get a welcome offer on any Discover card. However, Capital One offers welcome bonuses on several cards.
  • Capital One offers a simple rewards structure without a price cap on bonus categories. You can earn money through rotating categories with Discover.
  • Capital One allows miles to be transferred to travel partners. Discover primarily offers cash back that can be redeemed as a statement credit or direct deposit.
  • Capital One offers more options for different credit scores, from fair to excellent. Discover typically targets those with good to excellent credit.
  • Discover often runs promotions like cash back matches for the first year. Capital One offers perks like extended warranty protection and travel accident insurance.
  • Capital One is often more widely accepted internationally because of its Visa and Mastercard networks. Discover’s network can be limited outside the US, affecting the acceptance of its cards globally.
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Major Distinguishing Factor

Capital One is known for its travel-oriented benefits, whereas Discover focuses more on everyday categories. Discover may have limitations abroad due to lower international acceptance of its network. Contrarily, Capital One’s cards are widely accepted due to its Visa and Mastercard networks.

Also, Discover’s unique first-year cashback match stands out as a special promotional benefit that could provide significant value in the first year of cardholder use.

When to Use Capital One Credit Cards?

You can get these cards if you travel frequently. You don’t pay a foreign transaction fee with them. Also, you get perks like:

  • Travel accident insurance
  • Auto rental collision damage waiver
  • Complimentary concierge service
  • Recommendations for cheapest flights. They can give you a total price match if you manage to find a cheaper flight than what they recommended.

You get a more comprehensive selection of cards according to your financial requirements. You can get suitable cards if you want to build or rebuild credit. The bank has several secured and unsecured cards you can get on a limited or fair credit score. 

Lastly, you can get approved for a card if you are a student. Cards like the Capital One SavorOne Student Cash Rewards offer rewards on everyday student purchases like dining and streaming services. 

When to Use Discover Cards?

You can use Discover cards if you want to:

  • Earn on gas and other everyday purchases
  • Get an affordable card without an annual fee
  • Get a card that incurs a relatively lower APR
  • Double your earned cash back every year
  • Get access to free FICO score updates
  • A card for domestic use more than global

For those often making travel arrangements, you get one travel-specific card with no blackouts or restrictions. Discover cards also excel in customer service. They offer 24/7 support and a reputation for handling disputes efficiently.

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Which Credit Card Is Better?

Choosing between Capital One and Discover cards depends on individual needs and preferences. That said, we find Capital One to be a better choice because of several reasons:

  • You get several cards with rewards on every day and travel-specific bonus categories.
  • You don’t pay a foreign transaction fee on these cards.
  • You get a hassle-free, straightforward reward structure where you don’t have to remember to activate rotating categories every few months.
  • You can use these cards worldwide due to globally accepted networks.

However, you can consider Discover cards if you want to:

  • Earn through quarterly rotating categories
  • Earn unlimited cash back match every year
  • Select a card from fewer options

Related Questions

Are Capital One and Discover the Same Company?

No, Capital One and Discover are not the same company. Capital One is a diversified financial services corporation. Discover Financial Services operates as a direct banking and payment services company. Each offers its own set of credit card products, rewards programs, and financial services, which they manage and market independently.

Is Discover Visa or Mastercard?

Discover is neither Visa or Mastercard. Discover operates its own network, called the Discover Network. Discover cardholders use a payment processing system separate from Visa and Mastercard. This also impacts where Discover cards are accepted and which sellers accept them.

Is Capital One Good for Your Credit?

Capital One can be good for your credit if used responsibly. The bank offers a range of credit cards, from secured cards for building credit to high-reward cards for excellent credit. Using these cards wisely, such as making on-time payments and keeping balances low, can potentially improve your credit score over time.


Capital One offers better cards with a simple reward structure, travel-centric perks, bonus offers, and broader global acceptance. Discover cards are better if you want a 0% intro APR offer along with an unlimited cash back match for every year. Also, when considering both options, keep in mind that the Discover network has limited acceptance outside the US.