Capital One Introduces DIY Credit Card Offer

If one of the goals of credit card marketing is to give customers the illusion of choice and control, then Capital One has just outdone itself with its new Card Lab, where you can construct the card offer you desire from a menu of options. Your available options are determined by which general credit score category you pick: Excellent, Above Average, Needs Improvement, or Limited History. When you select certain options, others go away. At the end, you’ve self-selected the “perfect” offer, and possibly saved yourself from the hundreds of thousands of junk mailings* Capital One would otherwise send to you on a daily basis.

We think there’s a secondary use for the Card Lab—it’s a free teaching tool. Here in one interactive display you can see the relationship between credit categories and interest rates. The credit categories come with their own examples to better help you determine which one you belong to, which is also educational for those new to the world of credit scores. And by watching what offers go away when you select something, you learn which features are considered most valuable by the credit card company.

(*We kid—we know the mailings will continue.)

Card Lab [Capital One via Zen Personal Finance]

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  1. Usually, any mailing I get from Capital One goes straight to the Shredder before its even opened.

  2. And if the kids these days love anything, they love the option to “pick” something all their own.

    This is textbook “Gen Y” marketing: internet-driven, options-creating, DIY-blah blah blah.

    I’m afraid the days of just a fixed rate or variable rate credit card are going to go buh-bye. Like shampoo varieties, the choices will soon soon becoming dizzying.

  3. darkened says:

    They offer fixed rates in the wizard if you took a chance to actually look at it.

  4. Tux the Penguin says:

    This could be very useful if you’re responsible with credit and pay it off every month. Ignore the 0% purchase/balance transfers and just load up on point bonuses on gas/groceries, etc and use that only for that.

    Now, if you are married, you have a groceries/gas card, and your spouse has another specialty card and you’ve got a nice thing going.

    Except its capital one.

  5. JustAGuy2 says:

    I actually liked this tool – lets you mix and match, and choose the option that works best for you. Granted, the options may not be what you ask for, but I’d rather have the choice than not.

  6. johnva says:

    @davelawrence8: Options are good. There is no one credit card that is best for everyone, because different features are better for different usage patterns.

  7. johnva says:

    @Tux the Penguin: The one good thing about Capital One is that I think they still don’t charge a foreign exchange fee, unlike most other larger credit card issuers. So they might be useful if you travel internationally a lot and can get them to give you a decent credit limit (they are notoriously stingy in that regard).

  8. warf0x0r says:

    @darkened: Those fixed rates are a joke. I didn’t see any below 12.9 percent.

  9. Tux the Penguin says:

    @warf0x0r: I just noticed that too. And they don’t let you load up on that many bonus multipliers. Which kind of sucks. Did a quick comparison with a grocery multiplier compared to our Kroger 1-2-3 card and its not even close, especially factoring in the gas savings.

  10. mantari says:

    @warf0x0r: If you have excellent credit, it goes down to 10.9% on the fixed (7.9% variable). But it appears that they only guarantee ‘fixed’ for three years.

    There are only two types of cards that I want –

    1] Low balance transfer for life with no annual fee
    2] Low fixed interest rate with no annual fee

    Anything else (introductory APRs, cash back, etc) is all just junk.

    See the bottom of the screen where it says, “Not finding what you want? Browse all cards at capitalone.com”. I laughed when I read that. (This is supposed to be a choice engine, right?)

    I looked, and sure enough, in the excellent credit area, they had a slightly better card. 7.4% variable, no fee. By not creating a card especially for me, they have a card that is even better for me. HA!

  11. emilymarion333 says:

    This is not a bad deal. I found out I had a credit card w/ 28.9% interest (even though I have never been late on a payment) I just got one of these with a 14.9% interest. So I transferred the balance (which was very small – less than $500) and closed the old card!

  12. Kishi says:

    Interesting. I got a better offer from them last year on junk mail than anything that card is willing to offer me without vastly over-estimating my credit level.

  13. SadSam says:

    I like this, and I’m in the market for a credit card (I cancelled both in the last year, dropping me from the excellent category ['doh] to the above avg. cat). However, I’m scared of Capital One, I only ever hear bad stuff so I’m not sure I’ll go this route.

  14. johnperkins21 says:

    @Kishi: That may be due to the whole “credit crisis” we’re supposedly in now. It’s not surprising that you got a better offer last year.

  15. Imaginary_Friend says:

    @Papa Midnight – Same with me. Capital One is second only to AOL in the amount of junk mail they cram into my mailbox.

  16. Kishi says:

    @johnperkins21: That’d make sense. I also realized they probably slotted me into a higher credit category, thanks to my parents adding me to one of their credit cards when I turned 18, but even factoring that in, they aren’t offering as good a deal.

  17. czarandy says:

    1.25% cash back on purchases is decent, considering you don’t have to “get lucky” with one of the Orchard 2% cards and don’t need a Fidelity account for the 1.5% cards.

  18. bchains says:

    @czarandy:
    seems like the Orchard 2%ers are no longer to be found.

    if someone has a link, PLEASE POST!

  19. aaronw1 says:

    Citibank cash rewards has a 5% on everything for 3 months. Also, my citi platinum dividend changed to 2% (from 5%) on groceries, gas, etc, a short while ago, so I called them up, got sent to retention, and they re-upped me to 5% for 12 months. Even though I’ve never carried a balance on the card and I only ever put gas and groceries on it…