Capital One® Secured Mastercard® is a great card to begin establishing or rebuilding your credit history. Not only are its upfront costs lower compared to other credit cards, but perhaps its best and most unique feature is how far it stretches the minimum deposit when setting your credit limit. Where most secured cards require a security deposit equal to the credit limit, the Capital One® Secured Mastercard®'s security deposit will be less than the credit limit. On top of this, there are a suite of useful tools that help cardholders stay on top of their credit score, payments, and available balances. For these reasons, which we'll explain in more detail below, the Capital One® Secured Mastercard® is one of our best secured credit cards.
Capital One® Secured Mastercard® Features
How the Credit Limit is Determined
What's attractive about the Capital One® Secured Mastercard® is its greater financial flexibility. Security deposits for the card start at $49, and get expanded into credit limits beginning at $200 - this makes it unique among secured credit cards, which typically make you set aside a security deposit equal to the credit limit. It's also one of the lowest beginning security deposits out there, where other cards ask for $250 minimum upfront. This helps stretch cardholders' funds some more while getting back on track with a good credit history. With this card, you'll be required to make a deposit of $49, $99 or $200 (note, you’ll need access to an authorized bank account to make your security deposit).
Card Starter Costs
In addition to a lower security deposit, another way that Capital One® minimizes your cash outlay is by setting a lower annual fee than most cards in this category. The Capital One® Secured Mastercard® has a $0 annual fee - compare this to an average of $35 to $40 that other secured credit cards can charge.
Tools to Rebuild Credit History
The Capital One® Secured Mastercard® makes it easier to improve one's credit history with two tools: CreditWise® and account alerts. The best way to build or improve credit history is to make payments on time and stay under the credit limit. By setting up account alerts, you can get an email or text when your payment is due, or you're approaching your credit limit. With the CreditWise®, Capital One® lets you see your credit history and credit scores improving, as well as monitor any suspicious activity.
Eligibility and Requirements
The major requirement for this card is a checkings or savings account (not necessarily at Capital One®). If you have or have had a credit card with Capital One®, there are other restrictions. Here are just two of the several restrictions: existing customers must have fewer than two Capital One® credit card accounts, which must be in good standing. You also can't have any recently discharged cards either.
Comparisons for the Capital One® Secured Mastercard®
Here are three other secured credit cards that people typically consider, along with our thoughts on how each card stacks up to the Capital One® Secured Mastercard®.
Capital One® Secured Mastercard® vs. U.S. Bank Secured Visa Card
The Capital One® Secured Mastercard® is the better card for people who intend to pay their entire balance off in full. This removes the APR (Capital One®: 26.99% (Variable) vs. US Bank: 20.49%) out of the equation, and you'll be paying less in annual fees and security deposit overall with the Capital One® Secured Mastercard®. If you think you'll be carrying a monthly balance over $287, then all else equal, it's better to pay the $29 annual fee for a lower APR. Otherwise, for carried balances less than $287, you'll be saving more on overall cost with the Capital One® Secured Mastercard®.
Capital One® Secured Mastercard® vs. Savings Secured Visa Platinum Card
The State Department EMV Savings Secured Visa Platinum is actually the best one out there, but most people will probably have to go through the extra step of getting a $15 lifetime membership to the American Consumer Council (if you're not a State Department employee) to be eligible. It's worth it though - no annual fee, 6.99% APR, and a 1% rewards program. The Capital One® Secured Mastercard® is better for people who prefer convenience over securing an extra membership, and don't mind these tradeoffs.
Capital One® Secured Mastercard® vs. BankAmericard Secured Credit Card
The two cards are similar, with the main differences being their APRs and annual fees. If you think its possible you'll carry a monthly balance above $363, the BankAmericard Secured Credit Card's lower APR will help save you on interest expense above and beyond its higher annual fee. However, if you intend to pay your monthly balance in full, or will be carrying over less than $363, then the lower annual fee on the Capital One® Secured Mastercard® will make more of a difference even considering the higher APR.