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Milestone Mastercard® review: Shocking fees steer credit builders toward better cards

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

 /  12 min
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Bankrate rating
Rating: 2.5 stars out of 5

Bottom line

This card lacks many of the features people with bad credit 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 annual fees, monthly fees and APR are far from worth it.

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


Intro offer


Annual fee

Regular APR

Milestone® Mastercard® overview

Building credit takes a lot of 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 creditworthiness in the eyes of lenders.

Unfortunately, though, your card choices can be limited when you have a low credit score or no credit history at all. 

At first glance, the Milestone Mastercard may look like a good option. It’s available even with limited credit, and since it’s an unsecured credit card, it doesn’t require a security deposit. This makes it a bit more accessible than most secured cards, which typically requires an upfront (though refundable) deposit of around $200 before you can get started.

Like many other credit cards available with a low credit score, however, the Milestone Mastercard can come with high interest rates, jaw-dropping fees and limited credit lines based on your credit profile and how you apply. What’s more, the card terms and issuer webpage don’t mention any way to increase your credit limit — a must-have if you’re focused on maintaining low credit utilization. 

Overall, the Milestone Mastercard fails to impress given that many credit-building card competitors not only charge lower fees but also earn rewards or make it easier to increase your credit limit or upgrade to a more lucrative card. 

While the Milestone Mastercard may make sense as a stopgap solution, it likely shouldn’t be at the top of your list if you’re looking for a low-cost credit-building option.

  • Credit Card Cash Back


    • 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
    • Offers prequalification with a soft credit pull
    • Standard Mastercard benefits, including $0 liability fraud protection and Mastercard ID Theft Protection

    Expert Appraisal: Unimpressive
    See our expert analysis

Milestone Mastercard pros and cons


  • Checkmark

    No security deposit is required, which could make it more accessible than secured cards if you can’t provide at least $200 upfront.

  • Checkmark

    Reports to all three credit bureaus, which can help build your credit history

  • Checkmark

    Prequalifying is quick and won’t impact your credit, making it easier to shop around and search for the right credit card


  • The card’s limited features can’t justify its high first-year annual fee and monthly fees thereafter (see terms)

  • High ongoing APR (see terms) and other fees make it costlier than competing cards if you make a mistake while learning the ropes.

  • No rewards program or tools to help build good financial habits, which can be found with 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 any 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.

That said, it’s important to know that if you prequalify for this card through the issuer’s website, you’ll actually be preapproved for one of three different versions with slightly different terms. Factors like your credit history and income determine which version you’re eligible for, but your annual fees, monthly fees, APRs and penalty fees could vary widely from version to version.

And if you prequalify and apply through Bankrate, you’ll get a version of the card with a higher starting credit limit ($700 versus the typical $300), but different rates and fees (see card terms for details). 

This review breaks down this version of the Milestone Mastercard, which is available through Bankrate and potentially via the issuer’s website, but there are 28 or more versions of the Milestone card available through different websites, mailed prescreened offers and channels.

Thoroughly read through 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 additional maintenance fees (up to $150 each year in monthly fees), bafflingly high annual fees (ranging anywhere from $35 to $99 each year, or up to $175 in the first year and $49 thereafter) and/or an extreme ongoing APR (from 24.9 percent variable up to 35.9 percent variable). 

If you’re offered a version of the Milestone Mastercard with such 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 even offer a rewards program.

Why you might want the Milestone Mastercard

Applying for a credit card with a low credit score (or no credit score) can be challenging since a hard credit pull can temporarily ding your credit score and a security deposit could be costly. 

Since the Milestone Mastercard doesn’t require a deposit and has a no-credit-check prequalification process, it may be an appealing credit card entry point for people with low credit scores.

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 an unsecured card available with a low credit score. 

That said, the Milestone Mastercard’s staggering fees can easily outweigh this benefit. While the card may be appealing if you want to avoid tying up money in a deposit, its fees mean it will actually cost morethan the typical secured card, especially since you can usually get your deposit back after six to 12 months of responsible card use.

Approval odds: Chance to prequalify with a soft credit pull

Depending on how you apply, the Milestone Mastercard may offer a quick prequalification process that uses a soft pull to look at your credit details. 

Prequalifying for a card doesn’t guarantee approval, but it does give you a strong indication of your chances of approval. This prescreening process may make it easier for you to apply with more peace of mind.

Why you might want a different credit-building card

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.


Bankrate Insight

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

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.

How the Milestone Mastercard compares to other cards for no credit history

Before applying for the Milestone Mastercard, take a moment to consider your options. Odds are you’ll find a secured or unsecured option with stronger features and lower rates and fees that can just as easily help you work on your credit score. In fact, several secured cards carry impressive rewards and lower APRs and fees than the Milestone card. 

However, if you’re set against the typical $200-or-higher upfront deposit, here are a few options worth considering.

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

Annual fee

See terms*

Intro offer


Rewards rate


Recommended Credit Score

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

Mission Lane Visa® Credit Card

Annual fee

$0 - $59

Intro offer


Rewards rate


Recommended Credit Score

Bad to Fair (300 – 670)
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


Intro offer


Rewards rate


Recommended Credit Score

No Credit History

Milestone Mastercard vs. Mission Lane Visa® Credit Card

Who is the Milestone Mastercard right for?

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

However, saving up for a solid security deposit may net you more value and credit profile progress in the long run.

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

For a card that is aimed more toward consumers with less-than-stellar credit scores or little credit history, the Milestone Mastercard limit, rates and fees are a bad combination for people trying to get back on their feet. The high annual and monthly fees (see terms) severely cuts into the initial available credit, and the price tag probably won’t justify the lack of any rewards or features to improve cardholders’ credit. 

Make sure to consider other cards before you decide to apply for the Milestone Mastercard. There are stronger (and more rewarding) options for credit-building with lower rates and fewer fees — especially if you consider secured cards.

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, he joined the 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.