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 24.99% (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

Pros

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

Cons

  • No rewards
  • High APR

Bonus Offer

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

Annual Fee

$0

Intro APR Promotions

None

APR

  • APR: 24.99% (Variable)

Card Details

  • No annual fee, and all the credit building benefits with responsible card use
  • Unlike a prepaid card, it builds credit when used responsibly, with regular reporting to the 3 major credit bureaus
  • 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?
  • 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

    Hello,
    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?

  • 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?

  • vacuumation

    I went through the 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. About ten 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 four years ago. I have since thoroughly cleaned up my credit report.

    So, would that past charge-off several years ago with CapOne hamper my ability to be approved for even this Secured card right now?

  • 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.

  • 1mkg37

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

    • FICO LIFE.

      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?

    • http://www.nerdwallet.com/ 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 https://www.nerdwallet.com/blog/credit-cards/how-secured-credit-cards-work/. I hope this clears up some confusion, but feel free to email us with additional questions at support@nerdwallet.com

      • kal

        that’s not what he meant. what he said was that if he were to deposit $300, would Capital One match that $300 to equal a total credit line of $600?

        • http://www.nerdwallet.com/ NerdWallet

          Hi Kal – thanks for reaching out. Unfortunately the Capital One Secured MasterCard doesn’t have that feature at this time. Feel free to email us at support@nerdwallet.com if you have additional questions.

    • DynamikD

      Well f or one, Capital One won’t have you do a $300 deposit. The most is $200. So if you have to put done $200 dollars, then you add the $100, then your total credit line will be $300. Now if your deposit is only $49 down for $200 and you give them $300, then your total credit limit will be $450.

      • http://www.nerdwallet.com/ NerdWallet

        Hi there, thanks so much for reaching out to NerdWallet! It’s true that the amount a customer is required to put down on a secured card will vary based on his or her personal financial situation. But the important thing is to use the card responsibly over time – this is what helps build your credit :)

  • Tamara Tate

    Hi I just got approved for the capital secured card but haven’t recieved the card, how long does it normally take for me to receive the card?

    • http://www.nerdwallet.com/ NerdWallet

      Hi Tamara – good question! For the Capital One Secured MasterCard, you should receive the card within 2-3 weeks of making your deposit. Hope this clears up some confusion, but feel free to email us at support@nerdwallet.com

  • kasy

    Can I pay for the capital one credit card using my savings account? Or do I have to use a checking account?

    • http://www.nerdwallet.com/ NerdWallet

      Hi Kasy, thanks for reaching out! You should be able to use any bank account to make your deposit (checking or savings). However, checks and cash are not accepted.

      Please feel free to reach out to support@nerdwallet.com if you have further questions!

  • debra

    Hello. I opened a secured card 12-3-2015. I use the card frequently but pay it off before the statement cycle end date (28th of each month) so, the statement shows a 0 balance. I noticed that the card is not being reported to any of the three credit bureaus. Why? Is it because I’m not carrying a balance? Or perhaps its too soon? Ive only received one statment so far. However, i have a friend who opened an unsecured cap one card after me and his card is already showing on his credit report.

    What should I do to make sure the card is reported? (Ive already called cap one customer service and got no answers)

    • http://www.nerdwallet.com/ NerdWallet

      Hi Debra, thanks so much for reaching out to NerdWallet! As of 1/26/16, it sounds like you’ve had this card for just over a month. It can sometimes take some time for a new account to be reported to the credit bureaus. If you’re still not seeing the account show up after about 8 weeks, we recommend reaching out to your issuer again.

      Please feel free to send additional questions to support@nerdwallet.com!

  • Mekelle

    Does this capital one card show up as “secured” on your credit report? Or does it show up revolving like traditional cards ?