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This article was last updated Mar 10, 2020. Terms and conditions may have changed. For the most accurate information, please consult the issuer website.
If you’re looking for a credit card to help you improve your credit or build a new credit profile, the Capital One® Secured Mastercard® could be a good option. In most ways, a secured credit card works just like a normal, unsecured credit card — the difference is that you must provide the issuer with a security deposit, which serves as your credit line.
- Capital One® Secured Mastercard® pros
- Additional Capital One® Secured Mastercard® benefits
- Capital One® Secured Mastercard® cons
- Compare it with the Discover it® Secured
- Is the Capital One® Secured Mastercard® right for you?
Capital One® Secured Mastercard® pros
Flexible security deposit. Most secured credit cards require applicants to submit a security deposit equal to the credit limit desired. Capital One’s minimum security deposit with this card can be either $49, $99 or $200, and in any of these cases, you’ll be granted an initial credit limit of $200.
Note that you have to apply and be approved before your minimum deposit is determined, and you’re not guaranteed to get one of the lower deposits. Still, this is a unique feature and you could only have to deposit a low amount to secure a $200 credit line. Capital One also allows your deposit to be paid over time, as long as you pay the full amount within 35 days of being approved for the card. (Each payment must be at least $20 and must be in whole dollar increments.)
Your security deposit is refundable. You can get your security deposit back if your balance is paid in full and you close your account. And Capital One may also review your account for on-time payments and decide that you’re eligible to upgrade to an unsecured card and have your deposit refunded. However, be aware that there’s no set time frame for that review.
Chance for a credit line increase. With this card, you can get access to a higher credit line after making your first five monthly payments on time.
Additional Capital One® Secured Mastercard® benefits
$0 annual fee. Some secured cards charge an annual fee. Not the Capital One® Secured Mastercard®.
Check your credit score for free with CreditWise. You can also sign up to get alerts when something changes on your TransUnion credit report, such as if there’s a new inquiry or if a delinquent account appears. Plus, you can use a simulator to see the potential impact some financial decisions might have on your credit score.
Platinum Mastercard benefits. You’ll get benefits such as 24/7 travel assistance services, price protection, travel accident insurance, auto rental insurance and more when you use this card. Terms apply.
Capital One® Secured Mastercard® cons
High APR. This card has a 26.99% (variable) APR. While that’s in line with many secured cards, it is high. Make sure to pay your balance off in full each month so you don’t incur interest charges and the APR shouldn’t be a problem.
Low credit limit. With an initial $200 credit limit, you won’t be able to use this card for large purchases, though you do have the option of depositing more money to boost your credit line. Since you should keep your balance low to achieve maximum credit score improvement, we recommend you only use this card for small recurring purchases every month that you pay off in full by the due date.
Compare it with the Discover it® Secured
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
Credit line will equal your security deposit of $200 or more*
No annual fee, no late fee on your first late payment. No penalty APR*
- No Annual Fee, earn cash back, and build your credit with responsible use.
- It's a real credit card. You can build a credit history with the three major credit bureaus. Generally, debit and prepaid cards can't help you build a credit history.
- Establish your credit line by providing a refundable security deposit of at least $200 after being approved. Bank information must be provided when submitting your deposit.
- Automatic reviews starting at 8 months to see if we can transition you to an unsecured line of credit and return your deposit.
- Earn 2% cash back at Gas Stations and Restaurants on up to $1,000 in combined purchases each quarter. Plus, earn unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases – automatically.
- Get 100% U.S. based customer service & get your free Credit Scorecard with your FICO® Credit Score
- INTRO OFFER: Unlimited Cashback Match – only from Discover. Discover will automatically match all the cash back you’ve earned at the end of your first year! There’s no minimum spending or maximum rewards. Just a dollar-for-dollar match.
- Get an alert if we find your Social Security number on any of thousands of Dark Web sites.* Activate for free.
- See Rates & Fees
See additional details for Discover it® Secured
Another secured credit card option is the Discover it® Secured for rebuilding credit or if you have no credit. Here’s how it compares to the Capital One® Secured Mastercard®:
Capital One® Secured Mastercard® vs. Discover it® Secured
|Capital One® Secured Mastercard®||Discover it® Secured|
|Minimum security deposit||$49, $99, or $200||$200|
|Rewards||None||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|
|Sign-up bonus||None||For new cardmembers, Unlimited Cashback Match – only from Discover. Discover will automatically match all the cash back you’ve earned at the end of your first year! There’s no minimum spending or maximum rewards. Just a dollar-for-dollar match.|
|Foreign transaction fee||None||None|
|Regular purchase APR||26.99% (variable)||22.99% variable|
The Discover it® Secured stands out from competing secured cards in that it offers a cash back rewards program, 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. It’s also worth noting that Discover conducts monthly reviews of your account, starting at 8 months to see if you’re eligible to transition to an unsecured card.
However, be aware that the Discover it® Secured does require a minimum deposit of $200, so if you’re looking for the chance to qualify for a lower security deposit, the Capital One® Secured Mastercard® may offer the opportunity to do that. Both cards have high APRs, so avoid incurring interest charges by paying the balance off in full every month.
Is the Capital One® Secured Mastercard® right for you?
If you’re wondering whether the Capital One® Secured Mastercard® is a good card, the answer is yes — if you’re wondering if it’s the best secured card you can get, that depends.
For cardholders who can afford to put down a minimum deposit of $200, the Discover it® Secured might be a better card. The opportunity to earn cash back, along with the guaranteed time frame for when your account will be reviewed to be upgraded to an unsecured card make it a compelling choice.
However, the Capital One® Secured Mastercard® does offer new applicants the chance to qualify for a lower minimum deposit of $49 or $99, rather than $200. So if you don’t have a lot of money to tie up in a security deposit, you could take your chances and see if you can get the lower deposit amount.
Finally, if you’re concerned that something in your credit history might prevent you from being qualified for either of these secured cards, you might want to look at the OpenSky® Secured Visa® Credit Card. It’s also a secured card — but unlike the two previously mentioned cards, it charges an annual fee of $35 just to carry it. However, it doesn’t require a credit check when you apply. Instead, you’ll need to enter financial information, such as your annual income and monthly housing payment.
Build credit quickly. OpenSky reports to all 3 major credit bureaus.
$200 - $3,000 Credit Line*
- No credit check necessary to apply. OpenSky believes in giving an opportunity to everyone.
- The refundable* deposit you provide becomes your credit line limit on your Visa card. Choose it yourself, from as low as $200.
- Build credit quickly. OpenSky reports to all 3 major credit bureaus.
- 99% of our customers who started without a credit score earned a credit score record with the credit bureaus in as little as 6 months.
- We have a Facebook community of people just like you; there is a forum for shared experiences, and insights from others on our Facebook Fan page. (Search “OpenSky Card” in Facebook.)
- *View our Cardholder Agreement located at the bottom of the application page for details of the card
See additional details for OpenSky® Secured Visa® Credit Card