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Milestone Mastercard® - $700 Credit Limit review: Shocking fees steer credit builders toward better cards

Outrageous rates and fees with no perks beyond an unsecured credit line make this card a last resort for credit builders.

 /  13 min
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At Bankrate we strive to help you make smarter financial decisions. While we adhere to strict , this post may contain references to products from our partners. Here's an explanation for and how we rate our cards. The content on this page is accurate as of the posting date; however, some of the offers mentioned may have expired. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any card issuer.

Snapshot

2.5

Bankrate rating
Info
Rating: 2.5 stars out of 5

Bottom line

This card lacks many of the features people with bad or no credit history should look for in a credit card. While it comes with a decent unsecured credit line and could help you establish payment history, its high fees and APR are far from worth it.

Best for high credit limit
  • Cost of membership
    Rating: 1 stars out of 5
    1 / 5
    Ease of building credit
    Rating: 4 stars out of 5
    4 / 5
    APR
    Rating: 2 stars out of 5
    2 / 5
    Features
    Rating: 1.3 stars out of 5
    1.3 / 5
Bad to Fair (300 – 670)
Info
Recommended Credit

N/A

Intro offer

Info

See terms*

Annual fee

See terms*

Regular APR

Milestone Mastercard® - $700 Credit Limit overview

Building credit takes hard work, and it can be hard to know where to get started. Credit cards can be a great first step, allowing you to demonstrate positive payment history and enhance your credit score.

The Milestone Mastercard may make sense as a stopgap solution since typically you'll have very few worthwhile credit cards to choose from when you have a low credit score or no credit history. But it shouldn’t be at the top of your list if you want a low-cost credit-building option. While it’s an unsecured credit card — so it doesn’t require a security deposit and is more accessible than most secured cards — without collateral to fund your credit limit, the issuer charges high interest rates and fees with smaller credit limits to safeguard its risk. What’s more, the card terms don’t mention any way to increase your credit limit — a must-have feature if you’re focused on maintaining low credit utilization. 

Overall, the Milestone Mastercard fails to measure up to many credit-building cards that charge lower fees, offer rewards for your purchases, clearly define how to increase your credit limit and provide a track to upgrade to more lucrative cards.

  • Credit Card Cash Back

    Rewards

    • This card does not offer rewards.
    • This card does not carry a welcome offer.

    Expert Appraisal: Unimpressive
    See our expert analysis

  • Credit Card Search

    Rates and fees

    • Annual fee: (See terms)
    • Monthly fees: (See terms)
    • 1 percent foreign transaction fee
    • Up to $41 late payment, overlimit and returned payment fees
    • No penalty APR
    • No intro APR on purchases
    • No intro APR on balance transfers
    • 5 percent cash advance fee ($5 minimum, $100 maximum), plus 35.9 percent variable cash advance APR
    • Ongoing APR: (See terms)

    Expert Appraisal: Weak
    See our expert analysis

  • Credit Fair

    Credit-building features

    • Reports to all three major credit bureaus
    • Potentially receive an unsecured $700 credit line

    Expert Appraisal: Weak
    See our expert analysis

  • Congrats

    Other cardholder perks

    • No security deposit required
    • Standard Mastercard benefits, including $0 liability fraud protection and Mastercard ID Theft Protection
    • Overlimit coverage (enrollment required)
    • Credit protection (enrollment required)

    Expert Appraisal: Unimpressive
    See our expert analysis

Milestone Mastercard pros and cons

Pros

  • Checkmark

    It’s potentially more accessible than secured cards because it doesn’t require a security deposit.

  • Checkmark

    The issuer reports your card activity to all three credit bureaus, which can help build your credit history.

Cons

  • It will be difficult to justify this card’s high first-year annual fee and ongoing monthly fees (see terms).

  • Its high ongoing APR (see terms) and other fees make it a more costly option if you have to carry a balance or miss a payment.

  • This card has no rewards program or tools to help build good financial habits, which you can find on other credit cards available with limited credit.

How the Milestone Mastercard works

The Milestone Mastercard works like a typical unsecured credit card. You can make purchases up to your credit limit and you must pay your balance off by the card’s due date to avoid interest. You won’t earn rewards with the card, so there’s not much to keep track of other than your balance and the cost of keeping the card in your wallet.

While this review breaks down this version of the Milestone Mastercard, 28 or more versions of the Milestone card exist through different websites, mailed prescreened offers and channels.

Thoroughly read the terms of the card you qualify for before moving forward with your application since this confusing process could stick you with a version of the card that charges exorbitant additional fees — up to $150 each year in monthly fees, annual fees ranging from $35 to $99 each year or up to $175 in the first year and $49 thereafter, and an extremely high ongoing APR (from 24.9 percent variable up to 35.9 percent variable). 

If you’re offered a version of the Milestone Mastercard with sky-high rates and fees, you should almost certainly avoid the card. You can find many alternative credit-building cards that charge no annual fees, carry lower APRs or offer rewards programs.

Why you might want the Milestone Mastercard

Applying for a credit card with a low credit score (or no credit score) can be challenging. A hard credit pull can temporarily lower your credit score and a security deposit could be costly. Since the Milestone Mastercard doesn’t require a deposit, it may be an appealing entry point for people with low scores who want to start building toward better credit or don’t have any other options.

Credit line: Impressive limit with no deposit required

One of the Milestone card’s only appealing features is its potentially high unsecured credit line. You could receive a $700 credit limit with no deposit required. That’s more than double the credit limit you’ll typically find on unsecured cards available to people with low credit scores. 

Access to a higher credit limit will could help maintain lower credit utilization, a key factor credit bureaus use when scoring credit. To get a credit limit this high on a secured card, you’d need to deposit $700. That’s a costly initial sum that you might not have on hand, and tying it up in a deposit means you can’t use it to build credit through responsible spending.

Why you might want a different credit-building card

Depending on which version of the Milestone Mastercard you get, you may end up with an exceptionally high annual fee and interest rate while only having access to a small credit limit. These features are especially big downsides given the card doesn’t bring any notable credit-building perks or other benefits to the table. 

Rewards: No rewards program or welcome offer

The Milestone Mastercard doesn’t earn rewards, limiting its long-term value. Rewards aren’t typical on cards available to people with limited credit, and it’s hard to recommend most unsecured cards for bad credit because many carry high APRs and fees. But a few no-annual-fee secured cards offer terrific rewards programs, including: 

The card also doesn’t come with a sign-up bonus, though most cards for limited credit histories don’t carry welcome offers. However, it’s worth mentioning that the Discover it® Secured Credit Card and several student cards carry valuable welcome offers.

Lightbulb
Bankrate Insight

If you’re a college student establishing credit, a student credit card is one of your best options. Student cards are usually unsecured and often earn rewards on student-centric perks while charging fewer fees than other credit-building cards.

Perks: Limited features

Credit cards designed for building credit generally carry limited perks, but the Milestone Mastercard carries even fewer features than most. This card doesn’t offer anything beyond its solid approval odds and industry-standard account protection. 

In fact, the issuer’s website doesn’t cover how you can increase your credit limit or check your credit score for free — two incredibly helpful features the majority of credit cards offer and a necessity for credit-building cards.

The Milestone Mastercard only offers standard Mastercard benefits. These features include basic zero liability fraud protection for unauthorized purchases and identity theft monitoring. Enrolling in the Mastercard ID Theft Protection service allows the issuer to regularly search the surface web and dark web for personal information that may have been compromised (including your Social Security number, email addresses, bank and card info, account logins and more). However, you can find these perks on almost any Mastercard and most credit cards in general.

Rates and fees: Outrageous fees eat into low credit limit

When you have limited credit history, any type of fee hinders building good credit habits. The Milestone Mastercard’s fees are shockingly steep compared to rival cards. 

The version we are reviewing has a whopping $175 annual fee the first year, then $49 in subsequent years. Although the Milestone card’s annual fee drops after the first year, you’ll still be burdened with a steep fee (see terms) of $12.50 per month, adding another $150 in annual fees. So while you are getting a reduced annual fee, it’s essentially replaced by this exorbitant monthly fee.

The Milestone Mastercard also has one of the highest ongoing APRs on the market (which can be as high as 35.9 percent) and a $41 overlimit fee if you opt in to the issuer’s Overlimit Coverage (if you don't opt in, the issuer will decline transactions exceeding your credit limit). 

Although it sounds like a positive, the Overlimit Coverage can also pose up to two additional $41 fees on top of the original overlimit fee if you carry an over-extended balance to the next billing cycle. These terms are especially bad considering overlimit fees have largely disappeared and the occasional issuer that allows you to exceed your limit may not charge an overlimit fee at all.

On the bright side, the foreign transaction fee is lower than normal at 1 percent.

Staff experience: Here’s what our experts say

When he was first starting out with credit cards, Bankrate editor Steve Dashiell learned just how quickly interest charges and card fees can add up. While getting access to an unsecured credit line may seem like a lucky break, he says, it's not worth it if it means paying a ton of fees or facing a high APR. His advice on a card like the Milestone Gold? Skip it.

As someone who held a card similar to this in my younger years, here's my advice: Toss it. Unless you have a top-tier rewards card, you should avoid fees as much as possible. This card makes that impossible, and its fees can quickly add up, leading to a maxed-out card. That’s a bad place to be given the high APR.

In my own experience with this kind of card, I made the rookie mistake of paying only the minimum for the first few months. By my fifth month, I couldn’t keep up with the interest rate any longer and the account eventually went into collections. This won’t happen for every person who applies for something like the Milestone Mastercard. But with so many better, safer options on the market, why open yourself to the risks?

— Steve Dashiell, Editor, Credit Cards

How the Milestone Mastercard compares to other credit-building cards

Before applying for the Milestone Mastercard, consider your options. Odds are you’ll find a secured or unsecured option with stronger features and lower rates and fees that can better help you work on your credit score. Here are a few options worth reviewing.

Image of Milestone Mastercard® - $700 Credit Limit
Bankrate Score
Apply now Lock
on Milestone Mastercard's secure site

Annual fee

See terms*

Intro offer

N/A

Rewards rate

N/A

Recommended Credit Score

Bad to Fair (300 – 670)
Info
Image of Mission Lane Visa® Credit Card

Mission Lane Visa® Credit Card

Annual fee

$0 - $59

Intro offer

N/A

Rewards rate

N/A

Recommended Credit Score

Bad to Fair (300 – 670)
Info
Image of Capital One Platinum Secured Credit Card
Bankrate Score
See Rates & Fees , Terms Apply
Apply now Lock
on Capital One's secure site

Annual fee

$0

Intro offer

N/A

Rewards rate

N/A

Recommended Credit Score

No Credit History
Info

Who is the Milestone Mastercard right for?

High fees, no rewards and few notable features make the Milestone Mastercard a hard sell. Still, it may be worth considering this card if you’re set on avoiding a deposit and don’t plan to spend much. 

Bankrate’s Take — Is the Milestone Mastercard worth it?

The Milestone Mastercard’s low credit limit, high interest rates and excessive fees make a bad combination for people trying to regain or establish financial footing. Its exorbitant annual and monthly fees (see terms) severely cut into the initial available credit, and the price tag makes it difficult for anyone to justify. 

Make sure to consider other cards before applying for the Milestone Mastercard. Stronger (and more rewarding) options exist to help build credit with lower rates and fewer fees.

How we rated this card

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Our proprietary card rating system takes into account a mix of factors when scoring credit cards for students and people building credit, including each card’s cost, APR, credit-building tools and more.

We analyzed over 50 of the most popular cards designed for students and people with no credit history, bad credit or a fair credit score and scored each based on where its key features stood in relation to others in its category. 

Here are some of the key factors that gave this card its score: 

Frequently asked questions

Written by
Garrett Yarbrough
Writer, Credit Cards

Bankrate expert Garrett Yarbrough strives to make navigating credit cards and credit building smooth sailing for his readers. After regularly featuring his credit card, credit monitoring and identity theft analysis on NextAdvisor.com, he joined the CreditCards.com and Bankrate teams as a staff writer to develop product reviews and comprehensive credit card guides focused on cash back, credit scores and card offers.

Edited by Senior Editor, Credit Cards
Reviewed by Former Senior Editor, Credit Cards

* See the online application for details about terms and conditions for these offers. Every reasonable effort has been made to maintain accurate information. However all credit card information is presented without warranty. After you click on the offer you desire you will be directed to the credit card issuer's web site where you can review the terms and conditions for your selected offer.

Editorial Disclosure: Opinions expressed here are the author's alone, and have not been reviewed or approved by any advertiser. The information, including card rates and fees, is accurate as of the publish date. All products or services are presented without warranty. Check the bank’s website for the most current information.