Milestone® Gold Mastercard®: Why You Should Avoid It

Milestone® Gold Mastercard®: Why You Should Avoid It

Editorial Note: The content of this article is based on the author’s opinions and recommendations alone. It may not have been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuer. This site may be compensated through a credit card issuer partnership.

The Milestone® Gold Mastercard® is a bad choice for a credit card, even if you have poor credit. This card charges no security deposit, but its high annual fees make it a bad choice compared to other top secured credit cards. While other card issuers charge security deposits, you can always get that money back when your credit improves and you close the account. The money you sink into the Milestone® Gold Mastercard® is gone forever, making it a terrible investment—especially since you get next to nothing in return for these fees.

Review: Our Thoughts on the Milestone® Gold Mastercard®

The Milestone® Gold Mastercard®'s high fees are the main deterrent for this card. It has a variable annual fee of $35-$99, depending on creditworthiness*. Normally, paying an annual fee isn't too bad because you get something in return (such as cash back rewards or miles). Even people with poor credit can get no-annual-fee credit cards that come with some sort of reward.

First-Year Fee
Ongoing Annual Fee
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Another particular problem the Milestone® Gold Mastercard® has is that it may be difficult to rebuild your credit score with it. That's because the card's annual fees make up a large portion of its $300 credit limit. The low credit limit for this card can make it hard for cardholders to maintain a low credit utilization ratio, which is crucial to building good credit. It is common for card issuers to offer credit limit increases for those who have shown themselves to be responsible cardholders. For example, with the Secured Mastercard® from Capital One, you'll get access to a higher credit limit after making the first five monthly payments on time. The fact that this card comes with a maximum credit limit of $200 really limits this card's value as a credit builder.

Prior to 2010, subprime credit cards would commonly come loaded with so many fees that the user would be left with next to no credit line. The CARD Act of 2009 restricted the amount of fees that a card issuer can charge (not including penalty fees for things like late or missed payments) during a card member's first year to 25% of the total initial credit line. The Milestone® Gold Mastercard®—with its $300 credit limit and $75 annual fee (for those who qualify)—is right up against that limit.

Bottom Line: We do not recommend the Milestone® Gold Mastercard®, mainly because of its high fees. Even those with very poor credit will likely have better options and should consider a secured card.

Cards We Recommend Instead of the Milestone® Gold Mastercard®

Those looking to build credit should shy away from cards with high fees like the Milestone® Gold Mastercard® and should instead opt for a secured card. Secured cards are often available with no annual fee and are also made available to those with poor credit.

Here's an important distinction to make with secured cards: The security deposit you're required to pay is not the same as an annual fee. You can eventually get your deposit back when you close your account in good standing or upgrade to an unsecured account. This is far different from an annual fee, which is money that is simply gone. So even though secured cards may seem expensive—with minimum security deposits typically around $200—in actuality, high-fee cards like the Milestone® Gold Mastercard® are more costly.

Instead of the Milestone® Gold Mastercard®, we recommend you go with one of the cards below.

The Secured Mastercard® from Capital One

The Secured Mastercard® from Capital One is an excellent choice for individuals with Limited/Bad/Poor credit because of its low minimum deposit and lack of an annual fee ($0). With the Secured Mastercard® from Capital One, you can pay a deposit as low as $49 and access a $200 credit line. (It should be noted you’ll need access to an authorized bank account to pay the deposit.) This differs from other secured credit cards, where your credit limit is typically equal to the security deposit amount.

What makes this card so much better than the Milestone® Gold Mastercard® is that it provides all the same credit-building opportunities, but with fewer fees. Because of this, anyone who is approved should choose the Secured Mastercard® from Capital One over the Milestone® Gold Mastercard®.


  • Pay $0 annual fee.
  • The card currently offers a refundable minimum security deposit of $49, $99 or $200.
  • Access a higher credit line after making your first five monthly payments on time.
  • Secured Mastercard® from Capital One Review

The Discover it® Secured Credit Card

The Discover it® Secured Credit Card is one of the best secured cards available because it is one of the few to feature a rewards program. Furthermore, with the Discover it® Secured Credit Card, your account is automatically reviewed after eight months to see if you qualify for an unsecured card.

The minimum security deposit with the Discover it® Secured Credit Card is $200. While this may seem like more of an upfront cost than the Milestone® Gold Mastercard®'s $75 first-year annual fee, this isn't necessarily the case.


  • 2% cash back at Gas Stations and Restaurants on up to $1,000 in combined purchases each quarter, 1% unlimited cash back on all other purchases - automatically
  • Discover will automatically review your account to see if you are eligible for an unsecured card after eight months.
  • Discover it® Secured Credit Card Review

Bailey is a Research Analyst at ValuePenguin, covering insurance. He graduated from Occidental College with a B.A. in Mathematics and a minor in Computer Science. Bailey's analysis of the insurance industry and driver behaviors has been featured by CNBC, the Houston Chronicle and the National Transportation Bureau Safety Board.

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How We Calculate Rewards: ValuePenguin calculates the value of rewards by estimating the dollar value of any points, miles or bonuses earned using the card less any associated annual fees. These estimates here are ValuePenguin's alone, not those of the card issuer, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuer.

Example of how we calculate the rewards rates: When redeemed for travel through Ultimate Rewards, Chase Sapphire Preferred points are worth $0.0125 each. The card awards 2 points on travel and dining and 1 point on everything else. Therefore, we say the card has a 2.5% rewards rate on dining and travel (2 x $0.0125) and a 1.25% rewards rate on everything else (1 x $0.0125).