Capital One Secured Mastercard

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Not the worst choice, but there are better.

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We give kudos to the Capital One Secured Mastercard for not charging an annual fee and being one of the only secured cards that potentially lets you deposit less than your credit limit.

If you can’t afford a $200 security deposit all at once, Capital One Secured is a great option for its installment plan. This makes the Capital One card a solid choice for someone trying to build (or rebuild) their credit history.

Review

This feels like a credit card that is trying to help its users achieve more. Besides its fee and security deposit structure, the Capital One Secured Mastercard also includes access to its CreditWise tool, which allows users to monitor changes in credit over time.

You’ll also be allowed to “graduate” to a higher credit line with no additional deposit after making your first five monthly payments on time.

The annual percentage rate is higher than some other secured cards we’ve reviewed, which could prove a problem if you don’t pay on time.

This is a fine starter card, but in the end we find the Discover it Secured card is a superior choice for a secured card because it offers cash-back rewards for your spending.

Who should get this card

If you have bad credit a limited credit history, the Capital One Secured Mastercard is a great first step card to help build up your credit score. If you qualify, you can put down as little as $49 to get a credit limit of $200. Or, if you have to put down $200 to get a limit of $200, this card lets you pay that amount in installments.

If you maintain a good payment history, after five months you can gain access to a higher credit limit. This card also will report regularly to the three major credit bureaus so you can improve your score.

Advantages
  • Start with an initial credit line of $200 and get access to a higher credit line after you make five on-time monthly payments.
  • You can pay your initial deposit in installments, unlike most other secured credit cards.
  • This card reports to all three of the major credit bureaus so on-time payments can help build up your credit score.
  • There's no annual fee.
Disadvantages
  • You'll earn no rewards.
  • This card comes with a high APR, but that’s typical of secured credit cards.

Fees and APR

  • You’ll pay no annual fee.
  • There is no foreign transaction fee on purchases made outside of the United States.
  • Purchase APR is a variable 24.99%, which is high.

Extras and perks

This card comes with Platinum Mastercard benefits, including travel and auto insurances and protections.

You can increase your credit limit up to $3,000 by making additional deposits up to the amount you want.

There are no rewards.

How this card compares

Discover it® Secured
  • No Annual Fee, earn cash back, and build your credit with responsible use.
  • It's a real credit card. You can build a credit history with the three major credit bureaus. Generally, debit and prepaid cards can't help you build a credit history.
  • Establish your credit line by providing a refundable security deposit from $200-$2500 after being approved. Bank information must be provided when submitting your deposit.
  • Automatic reviews starting at 8 months to see if we can transition you to an unsecured line of credit and return your deposit.
  • 2% cash back at gas stations and restaurants on up to $1,000 in combined purchases every quarter, automatically. Plus, earn unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases.
  • Get 100% U.S. based customer service & get your free Credit Scorecard with your FICO® Credit Score
  • We automatically match all the cash back you've earned at the end of your first year.
  • Receive Free Social Security number alerts— Discover will monitor thousands of risky websites when you sign up.
Credit Needed

Limited/Bad Credit

Regular APR

24.99% Variable

Annual Fee

$0

Purchase Intro APR

N/A

Balance Transfers Intro APR

10.99% for 6 months

If you have a bank account but limited or poor credit history, the Discover it Secured product is a terrific choice to help build your credit and earn cash-back rewards, too.

We also like that you can quickly graduate to an unsecured Discover card with just eight months of good payment behavior.

OpenSky® Secured Visa® Credit Card
  • No credit check necessary to apply. OpenSky believes in giving an opportunity to everyone.
  • The refundable* deposit you provide becomes your credit line limit on your Visa card. Choose it yourself, from as low as $200.
  • Build credit quickly. OpenSky reports to all 3 major credit bureaus.
  • 99% of our customers who started without a credit score earned a credit score record with the credit bureaus in as little as 6 months.
  • We have a Facebook community of people just like you; there is a forum for shared experiences, and insights from others on our Facebook Fan page. (Search "OpenSky Card" in Facebook.)
  • OpenSky provides credit tips and a dedicated credit education page on our website to support you along the way.
  • *View our Cardholder Agreement located at the bottom of the application page for details of the card.
Credit Needed

No credit check

Regular APR

19.14% (variable)

Annual Fee

$35

Purchase Intro APR

N/A

Balance Transfers Intro APR

N/A

The two reasons you may want to apply for the OpenSky Secured Visa Credit Card is if you don’t own a checking account, but still want access to a credit card, or if you’re looking for a secured card with a decent annual percentage rate.

There’s a very narrow band of consumers this applies to, we imagine.

USAA® Secured American Express® Card
  • Best for members rebuilding or establishing credit
  • It's not a debit or prepaid card
  • Determine your own credit limit ($250 to $5,000) with a security deposit
  • USAA membership is available to active and former military and their eligible family members
Credit Needed

Poor/Fair

Regular APR

11.90% - 21.90% Variable

Annual Fee

$35

Purchase Intro APR

N/A

Balance Transfers Intro APR

N/A

If you or a loved one will be deployed soon, the USAA Secured Card American Express could prove a real help. Think about applying for this card before you head overseas so you can take advantage of the generous benefit offered active-duty military personnel.

The card has a special low APR for deployed members of the U.S. armed forces — much lower than standard credit card interest rates — and, unlike most other unsecured cards, offers travel and auto protections and extended warranty coverage.

EDITORIAL NOTE

Opinions expressed here are author's alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines, or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.