Capital One’s 10% Savings Bonus Catch

Capital One Bank has just begun a major national advertising campaign on TV with comic Jerry Stiller and in full page newspaper ads touting its high interest savings rate compared to “bupkus” [nothing] paid by competitors.

In addition to paying 1.35% interest, you also get a 10% quarterly bonus on the amount of interest earned in the previous quarter.


If you click the above ad, you will see unreadable mouse print under the bank’s name. Even looking at the original ad, the text is almost unreadable because of its size, faint color and weight of the font, and the fact that it is printed on a striped background doesn’t help either.

What does the fine print say?


Besides requiring a $1000 minimum balance to get the advertised interest rate, it also imposes some unexpected conditions in order to receive the advertised bonus interest:

“To receive the bonus, your account must be open and you either must maintain an average balance of $10,000 each month in your account or own an active Capital One credit card in good standing with at least one transaction per calendar month.”

This is a pretty significant requirement to bury — that you need $10,000+ to earn the bonus interest. And it is not like they didn’t have enough space in this full page ad to disclose it upfront clearly.

So, how much will MrConsumer deposit at Capital One because of this deception? Bupkis.

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6 thoughts on “Capital One’s 10% Savings Bonus Catch”

  1. Especially when you can get almost the same rate with and American Express online savings account with no min. No bonus, but no gimmicks either. Capital one is known for its horrible customer service and fees

  2. I saw that 10% and up came the red flags. When I saw it was 10% of the interest earned, well, then I just laughed.
    Say I invest $1000 at 1.35%
    Over a year I would earn $13.50, right?
    So I would get an extra 10%, which is $1.35
    That gives 13.50+1.35=14.85 on $1000 or an effective rate of 1.485%
    Given the hassles of the ad’s requirements, I’m sure I could do at least as well elsewhere without that. Even if not, is $1.35 extra per year–an extra 2-1/2 cents per week (ignoring the $10K part) really enough incentive for me to invest with them?

  3. “or own an active Capital One credit card in good standing with at least one transaction per calendar month.”

    Not too significant for me…

  4. How many people have at least 10 grand in their savings account??

    The one credit card transaction per month is not that bad though.

  5. Those terms sound pretty clear and reasonable to me. However, the REAL scam here appears to be (as RS pointed out above) the 10% of interest earned. And that is not in fine print, but stated quite clearly. However, I think most people see the “10%” and automatically assume it is directly comparable to their rewards program of 1-5%.

  6. Not sure what the problem is. The ad is pretty clear that the 10% bonus is on “interest earned”.

    This was one of the better deals out there when I put my emergency savings in it. My wife and I have $15k in it, so that translates to about $18 bonus per year (1.2% APY). Not a lot of money, but the bonus makes this one of the better accounts on the market.

    Since her parents live in Australia, we’re looking to switch over to an Australian savings account. The tax rate is 40%, but the savings rates are much higher at 5%.

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