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Review of the Capital One® Secured Mastercard®

Updated Sep 02, 2020 | Published Aug 18, 202011 min read

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Capital One® Secured Mastercard®

Min Credit Level Bad
Annual Fee $0
Regular APR 26.99% (Variable)
At a glance

Created to help you repair or build credit, the Capital One Secured Mastercard has few bells and whistles. There are no rewards and only basic benefits, but with responsible use, it can whip your credit scores into better shape, paving the way towards better cards.

Credit Card Insider receives compensation from advertisers whose products may be mentioned on this page. Advertiser relationships do not affect card evaluations. Advertising partners do not edit or endorse our editorial content. Content is accurate to the best of our knowledge when it's published. Learn more in our Editorial Guidelines.

The information related to Capital One® Secured Mastercard®, Discover it® Secured, and Citi® Secured Mastercard® have been collected by Credit Card Insider and have not been reviewed or provided by the issuer or provider of these products.

Our Rating: 4 Out of 5 Stars

We gave the Capital One® Secured Mastercard® 4 out of 5 Stars because it’s an inexpensive way to improve your credit, with some relatively favorable terms.

Why We Like It

  • No annual fee
  • Easy access to a higher credit line
  • Can monitor one of your VantageScores and aspects of your TransUnion credit report
  • Price Protection benefit, which isn’t usually found on secured cards

Why It Could Be Better

  • No rewards, like points or cash back
  • The maximum security deposit is pretty low at just $1,000, not as high as some other secured cards

Capital One® Secured Mastercard®

Our rating
Min. credit levelBad
Details
Annual Fee$0
Regular APR26.99% (Variable)

The information related to Capital One® Secured Mastercard® has been collected by Credit Card Insider and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer or provider of this product.

The Capital One Secured could be a good choice if you’re looking to rebuild your credit or establish a credit history.

This is a secured credit card, which means it requires a security deposit when you’re approved. This deposit will fund your credit limit for the card, up to a maximum of $1,000 for an initial credit limit. You’ll also have a chance to increase your limit beyond that later on.

You won’t earn any rewards for using this card. But that’s the norm for secured cards, which are mainly focused on helping you improve your credit. After using a card like this responsibly for some time, and following good credit practices in general, you’ll increase your credit scores and will be able to qualify for a card that offers points or cash back.

There’s no annual fee, meaning this could be a completely free way to establish a positive credit history. Is the Capital One Secured Mastercard the right card to help get your credit on track? Keep reading to learn more and find out.

Insider tip

If you’re in the market for a card designed for users with bad or limited credit, you may have come across credit cards issued by Credit One Bank.

Be careful, however, not to confuse Credit One with Capital One. Credit One has garnered a negative reputation for its exorbitant fees and opaque terms, while Capital One is generally seen as much more reputable and reliable.

Insider Advice: Getting the Most Out of Your Card

  • Keep up with payments to improve your credit: Use this card responsibly as part of your strategy to improve your credit, and eventually you’ll be able to qualify for a rewards credit card. Your card activity will be reported to all three of the major credit bureaus.
  • Don’t carry a balance: We recommend always paying your statement balance in full each billing period. Not only will this be good for your credit utilization, it will also prevent interest from accruing on purchases, helping you avoid credit card debt.
  • Be aware of the initial deposit: You’ll need to pay a minimum security deposit when approved, which will fund your initial credit limit. You can deposit more, up to $1,000 in total, but you must do it within 80 days of being approved and before activating your card.
  • Put down as much as you are able: We recommend depositing as much as possible to help your credit utilization. You’ll also be less worried about going over your credit limit, making spending easier.
  • Access a higher credit line: You may be automatically considered for a higher credit line after six months.
  • Take advantage of CreditWise: Check out the CreditWise tool, and use it to monitor your credit as it changes over time. You’ll also learn about the key factors bringing your credit scores down, and what you can do to improve.
  • Choose a payment date that’s best for you: Set your due date to a point during the month that’s most convenient for you.
  • Get your deposit back once your credit is in better shape: When you’re ready to get a better credit card or stop using this one, pay off the balance on this card completely and then close it out. Your initial security deposit will be returned to you.

Security Deposit

After you’re approved for this card you’ll need to provide a refundable security deposit to fund the credit limit. In your application you must provide details of an authorized bank account for an electronic funds transfer (EFT) to make the deposit.

Your minimum required security deposit will be based on your creditworthiness. The required deposit will be one of the following:

  • $49
  • $99
  • $200

No matter which amount you’re required to deposit, you’ll get an initial credit line of $200. So whether your required deposit is $49, $99, or $200, you’ll always get a $200 credit limit. This is different from most secured credit cards, which provide a credit limit that is equal to the amount you deposit.

$200 is a pretty low credit limit compared to other secured cards, so you should consider depositing more money to increase that, if you can easily afford it. Capital One will allow you to deposit up to $1,000 to fund your initial credit limit.

Having a higher credit limit will make it easier to keep your credit utilization low. You also won’t stress as much about being declined for hitting the limit when shopping. But keep in mind that this deposit will be tied up until you close the account, and there’s a path to a higher credit limit later.

If you can’t deposit the full $1,000 or don’t want to, try to put down whatever you think is reasonable. You’ll have to adjust your spending with the card based on that limit — the higher your limit, the more you can spend in a given statement period before you have to pay it off. If you have a low credit limit it might make sense to only use the card for a few purchases per month, to keep your balance low compared to your limit.

You don’t need to make the deposit all at once, you can make partial payments instead. However, all deposits must be made within 80 days of being approved, and before activating the card.

When approved for the card you’ll be given a unique customer number. You must include this number when making a deposit. Deposits can be made online or by phone, by calling 1-800-219-7931 (online will be easier). To make a deposit online, you’ll need to begin by entering your customer number, zip code, and the last 4 digits of your SSN.

Deposits must be at least $20 each, in whole dollar increments.

You may be automatically considered for a higher credit line after six months.This will be an increase of your initial credit line, which was funded by your security deposit. This increase will not require another deposit, it’s just some extra credit for you to enjoy as a reward for your responsible behavior.

Capital One has a program to let you graduate from this card to an unsecured card, if your creditworthiness improves. But reports indicate that not everyone seems to get an upgrade.

To get your security deposit back you must pay off your account balance in full, and then close the card. Your security deposit will then be refunded to you. If you don’t pay off your balance before closing the card, Capital One will use that deposit to pay off your card balance, before returning the remainder to you.

The Rewards

You won’t earn any rewards with this card, like points or cash back. Instead, it’s designed to give people with bad credit a chance to build a solid credit history over time, improving their credit scores.

Insider tip

Secured cards don’t usually come with a rewards program. A notable exception to this is the Discover it® Secured (Review), which provides 2% cash back at gas stations and restaurants (up to $1,000 in purchases per quarter), and will double your cash back in the first year.

The Benefits

Typically, secured cards don’t boast overly impressive benefits. Their main goal is to help you get your credit into better shape. Eventually, you’ll be able to move on to bigger and better credit cards, ones that provide much better perks and benefits.

  • Access a higher credit line: You may be automatically considered for a higher credit line after six months.
  • Capital One CreditWise: The Capital One CreditWise service lets you monitor your VantageScore 3.0 credit score, based on your TransUnion credit report. This is a great feature to have because it gives you a way to track your progress as you improve your credit, which is the basic goal of a secured card.
  • Price Protection: If you make a purchase with your card and find the same item being advertised for a lesser price, you can be reimbursed for the difference.
  • 24-Hour Travel Assistance Services: Call Travel Assistance Services when you need help away from home. This benefit is available when traveling 50 miles or more away from home, unless you live in New York in which case there is no mileage requirement.
  • Extended Warranty: Doubles the manufacturer’s warranty on eligible items, for warranties of up to one year
  • MasterRental Coverage: Auto rental collision damage waiver to cover your rented vehicles against damage and theft
  • Identity Theft Resolution Services: Provides help if your identity is compromised in some way
  • $100,000 Travel Accident Insurance: Covers you, your spouse, and unmarried dependent children against accidental loss of life, limb, sight, speech, or hearing while traveling by common carrier

The Terms & Fees

Purchase APR Balance Transfer APR Cash Advance APR
26.99% (Variable) 26.99% (Variable) 26.99% (Variable)
Annual Fee Foreign Transaction Fee
$0 None
Balance Transfer Fee Cash Advance Fee
$0 3% of the amount of the cash advance, but not less than $10
Penalty APR Late Fee Returned Payment Fee
None Up to $39 None

As this is a secured card, it’s not surprising to find a high APR. The Capital One Secured Mastercard has no annual fee, so it doesn’t have to cost you any money at all despite the steep interest rate.

If you simply pay off your balance in full each month, you’ll be able to avoid accruing any interest on your purchases. That will accomplish quite a few things at once:

  1. It will make the card completely free to use (assuming you don’t use it for any balance transfers or cash advances)
  2. You’ll have a lower credit utilization, which is better for your credit than high utilization
  3. You won’t accumulate credit card debt on this account
  4. You’ll free up your credit line so you can use it again

Paying your balance in full like this is a great strategy, especially if you’re new to credit or trying to rebuild. You can simply set up automatic payments for the full statement balance each billing period, and you’ll be good to go.

When you’re approved for this card you’ll need to make an initial security deposit of $49, $99, or $200, as explained above. The amount you pay will fund your initial credit limit of $200, though you can deposit more if you wish, up to $1,000.

The Bottom Line

Secured cards aren’t meant to be flashy and rewarding; they’re designed with the sole purpose of helping you build credit. The Capital One® Secured Mastercard® is a perfect example of a card like that.

There are no rewards, and for the most part it only comes with basic benefits. It’s meant to help build your credit, reporting your card activity to the credit bureaus so you can establish a positive history.

It’s not the most exciting card, but use it responsibly and you’ll be on your way to better credit scores. Eventually, as long as you maintain good financial habits in general and succeed in improving your credit, you’ll be able to qualify for rewards credit cards that provide points or cash back.

There are quite a few secured cards out there to help build your credit. The Capital One Secured Mastercard is a good no-annual-fee option, but check out some other cards that can serve the same purpose, some of which offer rewards too.

How Do I Apply for the Capital One Secured Mastercard?

You can apply for this card securely on the card issuer’s website. Just follow the link below and you’ll be directed where you need to go. Capital One will check your credit reports with just one or all three of the major credit bureaus.

Many applicants will get an instant decision, but in certain cases it could take a bit longer. In some cases Capital One may request more information from you to process the application.

If approved, you’ll need to fund the credit limit with a security deposit within 80 days. You will be given a minimum required amount to deposit, and this will provide you with a $200 credit limit. You can deposit more to increase your credit limit to $1,000 if you’d like.

Qualifications and Requirements

  • Must be 18 to apply
  • Personal information: Name, date of birth, SSN, email address, and phone number
  • Financial Information: Total annual income, source of income, monthly mortgage payment/rent, bank account information for the security deposit, name on account, account number, and routing number

Capital One® Secured Mastercard®

Our rating
Min. credit levelBad
Details
Annual Fee$0
Regular APR26.99% (Variable)

The information related to Capital One® Secured Mastercard® has been collected by Credit Card Insider and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer or provider of this product.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the security deposit for the Capital One Secured Mastercard?

You’ll be asked to deposit one of three amounts: $49, $99, or $200.

No matter what you’re asked to deposit, your starting credit limit will be $200. You can deposit more for a higher credit line if you wish, up to $1,000 for a $1,000 credit line.

Need to know more about your security deposit? We’ve got you covered.

Can I increase my starting credit limit?

You may be automatically considered for a higher credit line after six months. You won’t be asked for another deposit on top of your initial one, either.

There are other secured cards that have different methods of increasing credit limits, like accepting additional deposits. If that sounds more your speed, check out some of our best secured card picks.

How do I check my Capital One Secured Credit Card deposit status?

If you want to check on your deposit status, reach out to Capital One customer service at 1-800-227-4825.

You can find out more about the ins and outs of the security deposit above.

Is my security deposit refundable?

Yes, your initial deposit is entirely refundable. You’ll need to pay your balance in full and then close out the card in order to get your deposit back.

Was this helpful?

Alternatives to the Capital One Secured Mastercard

There are a plethora of other secured credit cards on the market. If Capital One’s card doesn’t do it for you, take a look at some of the best alternatives.

Discover it® Secured

Our rating
Min. credit level Bad
Details
Annual Fee $0
Regular APR See Terms

The Discover it® Secured (Review) is pretty unique because it almost resembles a reward card more than a secured card.

It requires a minimum security deposit of $200 when you’re approved. Your maximum possible security deposit will be determined by your creditworthiness, up to $2,500 at the most. Your credit limit will be equal to whatever amount you deposit.

A neat feature of the Discover it Secured is that every eight months, Discover will review your card account and your overall credit. If you’ve proven yourself to be a responsible credit user, they may refund your security deposit and allow you to continue using the card.

And unlike most secured cards, this one will earn you 2% cash back on the first $1,000 spent per quarter at restaurants and on gas. Another excellent feature of Discover is that for your first year they’ll double what you earn, so you’ll get up to a 4% cash back equivalent, which is pretty great even by unsecured card standards.

It does offer even fewer benefits than the Capital One Secured Mastercard, however. But most people aren’t using a secured card for the benefits. So if a few less perks doesn’t bother you, and you’d like to earn cash back while you’re building credit, this card is one to consider.

Spending Rewards
  • 2% cash back on up to $1,000 spent per quarter at:
    • Gas stations
    • Restaurants
  • 1% cash back on all other purchases
Introductory Bonus Offer
  • Cashback Match: Double all cash back earned in the first year; awarded at the end of the first year
  • FICO Credit Scorecard: Access your FICO Score 8 whenever you’d like for free, based on your TransUnion credit report.
  • Free Social Security number alerts: Discover searches for your Social Security number on thousands of risky dark web sites and will alert you if your information was compromised.
  • New account alerts: Get notified of credit inquiries and new accounts on your Experian credit report.
  • Cash at Checkout: At eligible retailers you can get cash at checkout, a handy way to get some money without going to an ATM. The extra cash will be counted as part of your purchase.
  • Refer a Friend bonus: Earn a $50 statement credit bonus for every friend you refer who’s approved, up to 10 friends per year. If your friend makes a purchase within three months of opening the account, he or she will earn a $50 bonus too.
  • Fraud Protection: Discover monitors your account around the clock for suspicious or unusual activity.
  • Purchase APR: See Terms
  • Balance Transfer APR: See Terms for See Terms, then See Terms
  • No foreign transaction fee
  • Annual fee: $0

The information related to Discover it® Secured has been collected by Credit Card Insider and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer or provider of this product.

Citi® Secured Mastercard®

Our rating
Min. credit level Bad
Details
Annual Fee $0
Regular APR 22.49% (Variable)
Apply Now

securely on the issuer's website

A very simple card, the Citi® Secured Mastercard® (Review) is another good no-annual-fee option for improving your credit scores.

This Citi card requires a security deposit of $200 to $2,500 when you’re approved. You can deposit any amount up to that limit. Your credit limit will be equal to the amount you deposit.

After establishing a record of responsible card use, Citi may increase your credit limit without requiring another deposit from you. And in other cases they may upgrade your account to an unsecured credit card. But not all cardholders will be eligible for this.

You’ll get a set of very basic Platinum Mastercard benefits; probably fewer than with the Capital One Secured Mastercard.

Other than that, there aren’t really any special features with the Citi card. You won’t have easy access to a higher credit line, like you would through Capital One. It also has a foreign transaction fee, unlike the Capital One card.

Aside from that, these cards are nearly identical. Citi presents an alternative if you’re not fond of the Capital One Secured Mastercard.

  • Free credit score: View your FICO Bankcard Score 8, based on your Equifax credit report.
  • Purchase Protection: If an eligible item you buy with your Citi card is damaged or stolen, Citi will repair the item or reimburse you for the loss.
  • Citi Identity Theft Solutions: Citi will help should you become a victim of identity theft.
  • Purchase and Balance Transfer APR: 22.49% (Variable)
  • Annual fee: $0
  • The Citi® Secured Mastercard® is a no annual fee credit card that helps you build your credit when used responsibly.
  • Unlike a debit card, it helps build your credit history with monthly reporting to all 3 major credit bureaus. Once available, you will also have free access to your FICO score online.
  • Use your card anywhere Mastercard® is accepted — worldwide.
  • A security deposit is required. Once approved, your credit limit will be equal to your security deposit (minimum of $200).
  • Get help staying on track with Auto Pay and account alerts.
  • With Flexible Payment Due Dates, you can choose any available due date in the beginning, middle or end of the month.
  • Manage your account 24/7 online, by phone, or in our mobile app.
  • The standard variable APR for Citi Flex Plan is 22.49%. Citi Flex Plan offers are made available at Citi’s discretion.

The information related to Citi® Secured Mastercard® has been collected by Credit Card Insider and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer or provider of this product.

BankAmericard® Secured Credit Card

Our rating
Min. credit level Bad
Details
Annual Fee $0
Regular APR 22.99% Variable
Apply Now

securely on the issuer's website

The BankAmericard® Secured Credit Card is about on par with the Capital One Secured Mastercard, and it would still be a solid option if you weren’t approved for that or the Discover it Secured.

The BankAmericard requires a minimum security deposit of $300. Your maximum possible security deposit will be based on your creditworthiness, with an upper limit of $4,900. This is a fairly high upper limit compared to most other secured cards, so if that’s something you’re looking for this could be a good fit.

Your credit limit will be equal to whatever amount you deposit. Bank of America will periodically review your account, and based on your overall credit history, you may qualify to have your security deposit returned to you.

The BankAmericard has very basic benefits, mostly just some shopping protections and account security features. You’ll get a better set with the Capital One card, like access to a higher credit line and Price Protection. It also has a foreign transaction fee, unlike the Capital One Secured.

Which card do you prefer?

  • FICO Score 8: View one of your FICO Scores, based on your TransUnion credit report.
  • Fraud Protection: Bank of America will monitor your account for fraudulent activity, and you won’t be held responsible for any unauthorized purchases.
  • Purchase and Balance Transfer APR: 22.99% Variable
  • Annual fee: $0
  • No application fees or activation fees
  • Credit line of $300–$4,900
  • Your maximum credit line is determined by your individual ability to pay based on the income that you provide and your security deposit
  • Important account information is shared with the 3 major credit bureaus—helping you build your credit history
  • After 12 months, you may qualify to have your security deposit returned while you continue to use your card
  • Get free access to your FICO® Score from TransUnion, updated monthly.
  • Access to credit education topics like using credit cards responsibly, budgeting and more
  • No annual fee

Capital One® Secured Mastercard®

Our rating
Min. credit levelBad
Details
Annual Fee$0
Regular APR26.99% (Variable)

The information related to Capital One® Secured Mastercard® has been collected by Credit Card Insider and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer or provider of this product.

Have you been building credit with this card? How do you like it? What do you think is the best way to build credit? Leave a comment, we’d love to hear your opinion!

Brendan Harkness
Written by

Brendan Harkness

Brendan has been writing about personal finance for over eight years, and is now taking on the challenge of bringing high quality credit education to the masses. He makes sure that Credit Card Insider is covering the most important credit topics transparently and precisely, and that we have up-to-date reviews of credit cards so you can find cards that are right for you.

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