Capital One Secured MasterCard: Good Choice for Bad Credit - NerdWallet
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Capital One Secured MasterCard: Good Choice for Bad Credit

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Capital One® Secured MasterCard® Editor's Rating: 3.4 / 5

The Capital One® Secured MasterCard® is a good choice if you’re looking to boost your credit score. It has no hidden charges and an annual fee of $0. The ongoing APR is 24.9% (Variable), which is a bit high, but even so, it’s one of our favorite secured credit cards. Besides being straightforward, the Capital One® Secured MasterCard® has a few other perks worth talking about, like a low security deposit, flexible payment options and a line of credit that grows with you.

Capital One® Secured MasterCard®

Apply Now on Capital One's secure website


  • Qualify with limited / bad credit
  • No annual fee
  • No foreign transaction fee


  • No rewards
  • High APR

Bonus Offer

You may qualify for a credit line increase based on your payment history and creditworthiness - no additional deposit required

Annual Fee


Intro APR Promotions



  • APR: 24.9% (Variable)
  • Cash Advance APR: 24.9%, Variable

Card Details

  • No annual fee, with all the credit building benefits
  • Unlike a prepaid card, it builds credit when used responsibly, with regular reporting to the 3 major credit bureaus
  • Free access to your credit score and learn how everyday decisions can affect your score using Capital One® Credit Tracker
  • Your minimum security deposit gets you a $200 credit line
  • You may qualify for a credit line increase based on your payment history and creditworthiness with no additional deposit required
  • Easily manage your account 24/7 with online access, by phone, or using our mobile app
  • It’s a credit card accepted at millions of locations worldwide

Flexible security deposit with room to grow

Like all secured credit cards, the Capital One® Secured MasterCard® requires a refundable security deposit. However, the card determines your limit amount based on your credit score. Your deposit may be $49, $99 or $200 for a starter credit line of $200, but you can increase this up to $3,000 by making additional deposits. Best of all, if you can’t pay your security deposit up front Capital One will let you pay it in pieces, as long as you’ve paid off the full amount within 80 days of your approval. This is a great benefit for those on a fixed income.

Higher-than-average APR isn’t necessarily bad

If you’re approved for the Capital One® Secured MasterCard®, the APR will apply right away — there’s no introductory period with 0% interest. However, most credit cards for bad credit don’t offer a low APR introductory period, anyway. Furthermore, a lower APR doesn’t guarantee you’ll pay less in the long run.

The Orchard Bank® Classic MasterCards has a much lower APR of 7.9%, but its $39 - $59 the first year, $35 - $59 per year thereafter*, which is higher than the Capital One® Secured MasterCard®’s annual fee. The low APR makes the Orchard Bank® Classic MasterCards competitive, but not necessarily a better deal if you make all your payments on time and in full. If you’re doing both of these things, the APR doesn’t matter since you won’t incur interest.

Consider your options

If you have no or bad credit, your choices are limited. If you’re trying to rebuild bad credit, the Capital One® Secured MasterCard® is well known for a low minimum security deposit. Using any secured credit card responsibly will help you build your credit score and allow you to graduate to a card with lower fees and/or a rewards program.

Unsecured Credit Card Secured Credit Card Prepaid Debit Card
Affects credit score?
Upfront Deposit?
Line of Credit?

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  • Ky

    YES IT IT WILL. :)

  • Lewis

    I didn’t qualify for the charter one’s secured credit card. I’m in the right credit score range, so why did I still not qualify? Are there any other credit cards I can apply for?

  • CM

    Capital One is a horrible company. Do NOT do business with them. I had good credit, always paid on time, didn’t go over my limit, and they almost doubled my interest rate. Then when I tried to pay the card in full, it took over 3 months to get it “temporarily closed”. They actually still owe me money, but I didn’t want any more to do with them. No credit card is definitely better than Capital One – even if you have to go hungry.

  • Allan

    As stated, my Chapter 7 discharged back in July.

    After doing some research, the best way to build credit back asap is to apply for a secured cc.

    I wanted to apply for a secured cc with either Bank of America {BoA) or Wells Fargo (WF). However, after more research, both BofA and WF require their secured cc applicants to be 1 year removed from bankruptcy. This lead me to Capital One (C1)

    After four months from my discharge date, I applied for C1 secured cc. To my surprise, I was approved with a min deposit of $49 for a $200 line.

    My initial plan was to deposit $500 and i assume that my credit line would be $500 and that my money would be returned and my account will graduate in 6months-1year.

    After browsing through the web reading reviews on C1 secured cc, a lot of customers complained that you only get the deposit back ONCE YOUR ACCOUNT IS CLOSED and PAID IN FULL. Also, the biggest bummer is your ACCOUNT CANNOT BE GRADUATED. This means that even if you are in excellent standing, you will not receive your deposit back and your secured card account will not be unsecured, only when you CLOSE YOUR ACCOUNT will your money be returned to you (also without interest).

    This changed my whole credit rebuilding plan. I am no longer going to deposit $500 into Capital One because I will only get that money back once my account is closed.

    My plan now is to have the Capital One Secured for 1 year.

    However i am only going to deposit my minimum $49 plus $25 ($74) for a credit line of $225. My account will be paid in full except for the $25 so every month my balance will be 11% of my credit line ($25/$225). I decided that leaving an account balance would look better than paying the account in full each month.

    After all, credit wouldn’t exist without the prospect of interest right?

    However at such a high interest rate, i settled that 11% or $25 is just the right amount. I’m guessing the interest amount i have to pay is around $5.5 multiply (X) by 12 and after a year i will have given Capital One around $100…($70 in interest + $29 annual fee)

    Since I bank with Wells Fargo, my plan is to get a secured credit card once its been a year since bankruptcy (1 year WF AND BOFA secured credit card critera)

    After more research, WF and BofA do graduate accounts from secured to unsecured after a period of good standing (6months to 1 year) in which they actually refund your deposit without having to close your account.

    My credit goal summary:

    -Use Capital One Secured Credit Card as a stepping stone…I will have to eventually close this account

    Reason being:

    #1 Your deposit will never get refunded until your account is closed and paid in full

    #2 Your account will never graduate from secured to unsecured.

    #3 Your interest rate will not change. You will always have to pay a $29 annual fee

    -Get a Wells Fargo or Bank of America Secured Credit Card as soon as i’m eligible (1 year from bankruptcy date)

    That credit card can graduate from secured to unsecured and your deposit will be refunded while your account is still active.

    -Maintain my Capital One and Wells Fargo secured credit cards. Once my scores jump up and i am approved for an unsecured card, cancel Capital One.

    I hope my experience and review can help those that just filed or will file Chapter 7.

  • October Robb

    Capital One sides with the merchants and leave you to pay a merchant charged me $270.00 without my permission Capital One allowed the charge DISPITE my $200.00 limit and would not honor their no fraud policy I was left out Capital one got their money the merchant got their money I got screwed.

  • Liz

    I keep seeing people freaking out about the fact that Capital One won’t increase their credit line with this card, nor will they transition it to an unsecured card after a while. I don’t understand why it’s such a huge deal. This card is for people building/rebuilding their limited or bad credit scores. Keep the card open and use 30% or less of the limit each month and pay in full each month. When your score improves, look for a more attractive credit card with low APR or nice perks/rewards. Don’t immediately close your Secured Card if you get approved for a different card. Keeping the card open to establish history and using it occasionally will look better on your credit report than closing one account and opening another. Also, having more than one card helps too. Just use this card as a stepping stone to better credit and better credit cards. Just something to consider before you write this card off.

  • Sergio

    I just checked my secured card and got a credit increase it went from $200 to $750!!!!! Which is great because I’ve had it for over 2 years now and it was a surprise! I also don’t have any late payments the only thing hurting my credit is a new TAX Lein so I’m hoping I can get it removed.

  • Happy Dance

    I have both a secured and unsecured Cap One account, and they both have an annual fee of 59.00. The APR is the same for both accounts too.

  • MeMeMe

    I got a secured Capital One MasterCard ten years ago to build my credit history. I paid my bill monthly & often never carried any balance. Initially, I was told that after two years of good credit behaviour, my secured funds would be returned to me. Well, ten years later & they still said that my credit history will suffer & they won’t return it. So, I cancelled it immediately & after three days, they promised to issue a refund…..if they lied again, I will hit the roof.
    As for credit increases. They are suppose to ask your permission, not just increase it. They kept increasing mine without consent….totally illegal !!!
    I don’t like this company. They have had my money for ten years. I wonder if they’ll pay interest for those ten years?

  • Curious

    Does anyone know if the secured card says “secured” on it?

  • Not Happy!!!!

    Capital one platinum credit card use not to charge a annual fee, but beware they do charge an annual fee. Now they have gone to a monthly fee!

    So don’t be fooled into thinking there is no fees attached. Buyer Beware!

  • Jessica Brownlow

    Funny to read “no hidden fees” and “straightforward”. I’m currently disputing their $29 annual fee after my 1 year anniverary date. Any paperwork and terms I’ve ever read, say $0 but this is a lie.

  • Fernando Gallegos

    How much credit line is given for a 200$ deposite? Please let me know I just got approved and I’m wondering this. Because BofA secured card 100$ deposite gets you 500$ credit line
    So just wondering

  • raymond Alex

    I just got approved for a Capital One credit card, I was ask to pay $49.00 so I said no problem you have my permission. Is there anything I should know before using this card?

    • Kh

      Did you get your card yet?

  • vacuumation

    I went through a soft-check ‘Pre Approval’ process on Capital One’s website, yet this card didn’t come up. In fact zero cards did! My FICO score isn’t too bad, in the 645 range, but I don’t have any recent credit history. I’ve thoroughly cleaned up my credit report. About 10 years ago, fresh out of college, I opened several credit cards that later got charged-off — including a $500 CapOne Platinum. This card was then sold to a collection agency over 4 years ago.

    So, would that status of the past charge-off with CapOne hamper my ability to be approved for even this Secured card?

  • 1mkg37

    Can I be denied if I do not have a bank account?

    • Mr. MARSOC

      Yes. Capital one requires that you have a bank account so that the money can be transferred via your account’s routing number. They don’t accept check or money order either so open a basic checking account asap if you want the card.

  • joshua

    when i send my 300$ security deposit,,,is capital on matching the 300 so it would actually be 600$ or am i basically paying 300$ to them and paying fees on my own 300 dollars?

    • NerdWallet

      Hi Joshua – In general, the deposit that you have to put down is tied to your credit limit (e.g. if you put down a $200 deposit, you will have a $200 credit line). With the Capital One® Secured MasterCard®, however, the deposit is a bit more flexible. As of today 11/25/15 your credit limit for the Capital One® Secured MasterCard® is based on your credit score. Your deposit may be $49, $99 or $200 for a starter credit line of $200, but you can increase this up to $3,000 by making additional deposits.

      A deposit for a secured card works similarly to a deposit that you would put down for an apartment – you need it in order to “secure” the card. Once you close out the card, you will generally get the deposit back unless you missed payments, in which case they’ll probably take that amount out of your deposit. Here’s an article on secured cards I hope this clears up some confusion, but feel free to email us with additional questions at

  • ky

    YES! Mine went to a 713 in just one month.

  • Sheryl Johnson

    What was your score before 713?

  • Rome Rogers

    Allaan thank you so much for your detailed answer. Its exactly the info and feedback I needed. I hope this helps others as well.

  • Jennifer Castro

    Thank you SO much, this information will also help me now too. I have applied for and am awaiting for my Secured Card from Capital One. I now know to hold onto it for atleast a year, because I too bank with Wells Fargo, and once my bankruptcy has been discharged for 1 year, I will apply for a secured card with WF. Your story was extremely informative and appreciated!

  • Rome Rogers

    Run to the nearest credit union that will accept you as a member. The rate will be better & much better customer service.

  • Angela

    I was wondering why the merchant charged you $270.00. Did you owe the merchant money?

  • Dena

    The reason people would like the card upgraded from a secure card to an unsecured card is to eliminate the annual fee. You are right: closing accounts does negatively impact your credit rating as it deletes your history. Therefore, keeping this account open (especially if its the first account for most people) is very important. With that said, those who fall into this bracket are now assessed with a $29 annual fee for the rest of their lives since closing the account would negatively impact them. Finding an unsecured card with no annual fee and upgrading from a secured card would help as the upgrade keeps the history.

  • Tiffany McCrary


  • David Jackson

    i didnt have to do anything your talking about and i added 1200 that was 7 month ago and i already recieved a credit increase after maxing it out and paying a 1/3 of it back already

  • MeMeMe

    I was told by a representative today that increasing your limit without your consent is indeed illegal. They did it to me many times over the years. I was also told to file a complaint with the Financial Consumer Agency of Canada,

  • Paul

    And increasing your credit limit is a bad thing? This would actually increase your FICO score as it will give you more available credit and reduce your debt to available credit ratio.

  • MeMeMe

    No, raising your limit is not a bad thing but the law is, they HAVE to ask, not just increase it

  • Julie

    Exactly Paul! That’s why I want mine increased, the more available credit you have that you HAVEN’T maxed the better.

  • MeMeMe

    You missed the point. Raising your limit is not a bad thing but the law is, they HAVE to ask, not just increase it. What they did is illegal.

  • Paul

    And what is the downside? What are the damages? BTW, show me where it’s illegal to arbitrarily raise your credit limit without permission. I’ve had cards do this many times.

  • MeMeMe

    I have copied from the Financial Consumer Agency of Canada…. “Your credit card issuer also has to get your permission before raising your credit limit. If you agree verbally to an increase, your credit card issuer has to confirm the change in writing no later than your next credit card statement.”
    You should make a complaint with the FCAC because your credit card companies has done this.
    I know a lot of people would like to have their limits raised & at the time, I didn’t complain. I hardly ever used this card so I think that’s why they kept raising it. To someone who isn’t careful with their credit card debt, this could be very bad. And that’s why there are laws about how they increase the limits.

  • MeMeMe

    I took a quick look at your profile & I think you are in the States. I don’t know about the laws down there but I’m sure if you search, you’ll find they are similar to what ours are.

  • Anywho.

    It reports as unsecured.

  • Kody2015

    No it does not, it is a Capital One Platinum card but it also reports as unsecured

  • sol

    30% off the credit limit they gave me or the total amount i put on card???

  • bernie

    You’d have to call Capital One to get that information.

  • vacuumation

    This CapOne Secured card is listed here as having no Annual Fee. How have you been charged for it?

  • vacuumation

    Your #3 says you pay a $29 annual fee for the CapOne Secured card, but here on Nerdwallet we see it’s promoted as not having an Annual Fee. What gives?

  • Happy Dance

    I am being charged 59.00 a year.

  • Brian

    And what is the reason that you aren’t paying attention to your card statement and just letting the bank know you opt-out of such increases? Based on your responses to the other threads, I would love to see that you can indeed opt-in at some point to such reviews and that this all could have been handled and managed by you being just as responsible as you demand your card issuer to be and advise them you do not wish to receive automated increases.

    You are causing a problem for no problem at all. These are the types of non-issues and useless complaints that screw it up for the rest of us.

  • MeMeMe

    Are you in the States? Your laws seem to be different than ours are here. If you read through my comments, then you know that in CANADA, it is illegal….end of discussion!

  • Brian

    You, are an IDIOT. There, I can type in all caps too. Please, stay in Canada. Now, it’s end of discussion. Good bye!

  • Enigma

    The annual fee was just removed this year. Anyone that had this card before this year had an annual fee

  • JtheDude