Depending on which version of the Milestone Mastercard you get, you may end up saddled 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.
For most credit builders, a secured card or lower-cost unsecured card will be a better fit.
Rewards: No rewards program or welcome offer
The Milestone Mastercard doesn’t earn rewards, limiting its long-term value.
Rewards aren’t a given on cards available with limited credit, but several popular credit-building cards do earn rewards and should bring more value to the table.
While it’s hard to recommend most unsecured rewards cards available with limited credit (because many carry high APRs and fees), a few no-annual-fee secured cards offer terrific rewards programs, including:
The card also doesn’t come with a sign-up bonus, though this isn’t unusual since most cards available with limited credit don’t carry welcome offer rewards. However, it’s worth mentioning that the Discover it® Secured Credit Card and several student cards do carry valuable welcome offers.
Perks: Limited features, even for a credit-building card
Credit cards designed for building credit generally carry limited perks, but the Milestone Mastercard carries even fewer features than most cards in this category. This card doesn’t offer anything beyond its solid approval odds and industry-standard account protection.
In fact, the issuer’s website doesn’t even cover how you can increase your credit limit or even check your credit score for free — two staple features the majority of credit cards offer (both especially helpful if you’re focused on improving your credit score).
The Milestone Mastercard only offers standard Mastercard benefits. These basic 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 any of your personal information that may have been compromised (including your Social Security number, email addresses, bank and card info, account logins and more).
However, these “perks” can be found on almost any Mastercard, and are common to most credit cards in general.
Rates and fees: Outrageous annual and monthly fees eat into low credit limit
When you have limited credit history, any type of fee is a distraction from building good credit habits, and the Milestone Mastercard’s annual fee can be shockingly steep compared to the cost of rival cards.
For example, the version of the card that carries a $700 credit limit charges a first-year annual fee that’s almost three times higher than Avant Credit Card’s $59 annual fee (see terms). And although the Milestone card’s annual fee drops after the first year, you’ll still be burdened with a steep monthly fee (see terms). In fact, when you combine these monthly fees, your total cost is even higher than the first-year annual fee.
Such enormous fees are already hard to justify given the Milestone card’s limited benefits.
The Milestone Mastercard also has one of the highest ongoing APRs on the market and a $41 overlimit fee if you opt in to the issuer’s Overlimit Coverage (if you haven’t opted in, transactions exceeding your credit limit will be declined).
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. However, the coverage’s terms state you’ll only pay one fee per billing cycle. This is especially strange considering overlimit fees have largely gone extinct, and the occasional issuer that allows you to exceed your limit may not charge an overlimit fee to begin with.
On the bright side, the foreign transaction fee is pretty light at 1 percent (typically 3 percent). However, any foreign transactions could be declined unless you notify the issuer with a travel alert beforehand.