Advertiser Disclosure

Capital One Secured MasterCard: Good Choice for Bad Credit

With so many websites offering free financial tools, it can be hard to know whom to trust. At NerdWallet, we spend literally 1,000s of hours researching partner offers and following strict editorial integrity to match you with the perfect choice. We even share how we make money so you can enjoy our expert advice and researched recommendations with total clarity and confidence.

Capital One® Secured Mastercard® Editor's Rating: 4.3 / 5

The Capital One® Secured Mastercard® is a good option 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 APR, which is high. But even so, it’s a good secured credit card with few fees from a reputable company.

The Capital One® Secured Mastercard® has a few other notable features, including a range of deposit options that start low and the ability to increase your credit line.

Capital One® Secured Mastercard®

Capital One® Secured Mastercard®

Apply Now on Capital One's secure site
  • Recommended Credit Score
  • 350
    629
    Poor
  • Card Details
  • Pros

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

    Cons

    • No rewards
    • High APR

    Annual Fees

    $0

    APR

    • APR: 24.99% Variable APR
    • Cash Advance APR: 24.99%, Variable

    Bonus Offers

    None

    Intro APR

    • N/A
  • Additional Information
    • 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
    • You will get an initial $200 credit line after making a security deposit of $49, $99, or $200, determined based on your creditworthiness
    • Get access to a higher credit line after making your first 5 monthly payments on time with no additional deposit needed
    • 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

Like all secured credit cards, the Capital One® Secured Mastercard® requires a refundable security deposit. But unlike most secured cards, which set your credit limit equal to your deposit, the Capital One® Secured Mastercard® allows for a lower deposit based on your credit score. Your deposit may be $49, $99 or $200 for a starter credit line of $200. You can increase this limit up to $3,000 by making more than the minimum deposit before account opening.

Best of all, if you can’t pay your security deposit upfront, Capital One will let you pay it in installments, as long as you provide the full amount within 80 days of your approval. This is a great benefit for those on a fixed income.

» MORE: How do secured credit cards work?

High APR

If you’re approved for the Capital One® Secured Mastercard®, the ongoing APR will apply right away; there’s no introductory period with 0% interest.

However, most credit cards for bad credit don’t offer a 0% introductory APR anyway, so you’re not missing anything. Besides, if you’re paying off your balance every month on time and in full, the interest rate won’t matter because interest won’t accrue.

No rewards

Like most secured cards, Capital One® Secured Mastercard® doesn’t offer rewards.

There are a few secured cards that do offer rewards, though, like the Discover it® Secured Card - No Annual Fee. This card pays 2% cash back on up to $1,000 spent per quarter on dining and gas, and 1% back on all other purchases. It has an annual fee of $0. There’s even a bonus for new cardholders: Get a dollar-for-dollar match of all the cash back you’ve earned at the end of your first year, automatically.

However, there’s a minimum security deposit of $200 for the Discover it® Secured Card - No Annual Fee, much higher than the Capital One® Secured Mastercard®’s $49 or $99 options for those who qualify. Unlike the Capital One® Secured Mastercard®, the Discover it® Secured Card - No Annual Fee provides a credit limit equal to your security deposit in all cases — and not a penny more.

Consider your options

If you’re trying to build your credit, the Capital One® Secured Mastercard® is one of the better choices available. It has earned our respect for having a low minimum security deposit, and for offering a credit limit higher than the security deposit for individuals who qualify.

No matter which card you choose, using a secured credit card responsibly can help you build your credit score. Keep it up, and you should be able to graduate to a card with lower fees and interest, greater rewards — and no security deposit at all.

More from NerdWallet
NerdWallet’s best secured credit cards
What to do if you’re denied a secured credit card

Last updated April 28, 2016.

Virginia C. McGuire is a staff writer at NerdWallet, a personal finance website. Email: virginia@nerdwallet.com. Twitter: @vcmcguire.