Editorial Review

Capital One Secured Review: Good Choice for Bad Credit

Build or rebuild credit with a card backed by a cash security deposit. It's a good option for those who pay in full each month.

Erin El IssaMay 21, 2019

At NerdWallet, we strive to help you make financial decisions with confidence. To do this, many or all of the products featured here are from our partners. However, this doesn’t influence our evaluations. Our opinions are our own.

Our Take


NerdWallet rating 

The Bottom Line: This card scores high because of its potential for a credit limit higher than your deposit.

Capital One Secured Mastercard Credit Card

on Capital One's website

on Capital One's website

Annual Fee


Regular APR

26.99% Variable APR

Intro APR


recommended credit score

Quick Facts

Annual Fee
Regular APR
26.99% Variable APR
Intro APR

Pros & Cons

  • Qualify with limited / bad credit

  • No annual fee

  • No foreign transaction fee

  • No rewards

  • High APR

Alternate Pick: No credit check

OpenSky® Secured Visa® Credit Card

No credit check, no bank account required

This card removes two major barriers for people with bad credit. It doesn't require a credit check, and you don't need a bank account. There's a $35 annual fee and a $200 minimum deposit, though.

Read our review

Full Review

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 $0The ongoing APR is 26.99% 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 without having to deposit more money.

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 creditworthiness. Your deposit may be $49, $99 or $200 for a starter credit line of $200. You can increase your limit up to $3,000 by making more than the minimum deposit before activating your account.

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 a certain amount of time after approval. This is a great benefit for those on a fixed income.

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. The ongoing APR is quite high, but that doesn't have to affect you. Pay off your balance every month, on time and in full, and no interest will accrue.

No rewards

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

There are a few secured cards that do offer rewards, though, like the  Discover it® Secured. 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: Discover will automatically match all the cash back you’ve earned at the end of your first year.

However, there's a minimum security deposit of $200 for the Discover it® Secured, 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 provides a credit limit equal to your security deposit in all cases — and not a penny more.

To see more potential card options for building or rebuilding your credit, take a look at our best credit cards roundup.

Consider your options

If you’re trying to build your credit, the Capital One® Secured Mastercard® is one of the best 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.