Capital One Secured MasterCard: Good Choice for Bad Credit

(5/5 - 229 Votes)

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The Capital One Secured MasterCard is a good choice if you’re looking to boost your credit score. It has no hidden charges and a low annual fee of $29, which we like, but the APR is a bit high at 22.90% (Variable). Nevertheless, it’s one of the better secured credit cards out there. Besides being fairly straightforward, the Capital One Secured card has a few other perks worth considering. It has a low security deposit, flexible payment options, and a line of credit that grows with you.

Flexible security deposit with room to grow

Like all secured credit cards, the Capital One Secured card requires a refundable security deposit up front (hence the name). However, the Capital One card determines your amount based on your credit score, so it might be $49, $99 or $200, all of which are reasonable. You’ll start with a credit line of $200, but you can increase this up to a maximum of $3000 by providing additional security 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 80 days after your approval. This is an especially great benefit for those on a fixed income.

Capital One® Secured MasterCard®
Capital One Secured MasterCard Credit Card
Apply Now

on Capital One's
secure website

starstarstarstarstar
  • Build credit with responsible use with no processing or application fees
  • Regular reporting to the 3 major credit bureaus
  • Get free access to a credit score, credit report, and credit tips using Credit Tracker
  • Your security deposit can get you a line up to $3,000
  • You may qualify for a credit line increase based on your payment history and creditworthiness
  • Build a financial foundation you can stand on with a card that gets you started
  • Use it like any MasterCard credit card, accepted at millions of locations worldwide
thumbsupPros
  • Qualify with limited / bad credit
  • No foreign transaction fee
thumbsdownCons
  • Has annual fee
  • No rewards
  • High APR
Annual Fee Signup Bonus APR , Variable* APR Promotions
$29 None 22.9% (V) Purchase: None
Transfer: None

Higher-than-average APR isn’t necessarily bad

If you’re approved for the Capital One Secured MasterCard, keep in mind that the 22.90% APR will apply right away; there’s no introductory period. 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 secured Orchard Bank credit card has a much lower APR of 7.9%, but it also has a higher ongoing annual fee of $35 a year. The low APR would help make the Orchard Bank card more competitive, but not necessarily a better deal if you make all your payments on time (which, incidentally, helps to rebuild your credit). If you’re doing that, the APR isn’t going to matter too much anyway.

Consider your options

If you have no or bad credit, your choices are already limited, and you may have to wait and see what you qualify for. If you’re trying to rebuild bad credit, the Capital One card 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 or rewards. Here’s a chart explaining the difference between a regular credit card, a secured one, and a prepaid debit card:

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