Capital One Secured Card Review

Disclosure: We are committed to recommending the best products for our readers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to products, but this never affects our reviews or recommendations.

The Secured Mastercard from Capital One is one of the best cards for rebuilding credit. If you don’t have a ton of money to put down as a security deposit, but you’re still trying to build up your credit score, this card is a good choice.

Capital One® Secured Mastercard®

overall rating
3.5
Capital One® Secured Mastercard®
Recommended Credit Score Our recommended ranges are based off of the FICO® Score 8 credit-scoring model. Credit score is one of the many factors lenders review in considering your application.
350 579
580 669
670 739
740 799
800 850
Poor - Excellent
Regular APR (%) 26.49% variable
Annual Fee $0
Minimum Deposit to Activate $49
Allows upgrade to unsecured card No
Ratings Breakdown
for Interest
1.8
for Fees
4.4
for Rewards
3.4
for Credit
4.4

Top Rated For

  • Best Secured Credit Cards
  • Best Credit Cards for Bad (or Fair) Credit

Who is This Credit Card Best For?

  • Avatar for Savvy Saver Persona
    Prioritizes sticking to their budget while buying what they want and need
    Savvy Saver
  • Avatar for Credit Builder Persona
    Takes improving their finances seriously and wants recognition for using credit responsibly
    Credit Builder

This card is best for people who can’t get approved for traditional credit cards, and who want to improve their credit score. This card is also good for people who don’t have a lot of money saved to put down for a deposit. 

We also recommend this card for people who are able to pay their bill in full each month. Not only will this help your credit score, but you’ll also avoid paying the high-interest charges that come with this card.

Your credit utilization ratio shows how much of your total available credit has been used, and it is an important factor in your credit score.

Pros

  • No annual fee

  • Partial security deposit for some cardholders

  • Higher credit limit for on-time payments and larger deposits

Cons

  • High interest rate

  • Low maximum credit limit

Pros Explained

  • No annual fee: You won’t have to worry about an annual fee with this card. And if you pay your bill in full and on time each month, you won’t have to worry about any other charges either, making this card totally free to use. 
  • Partial security deposit for some cardholders: Capital One may require you to put down one of three different deposit amounts ($49, $99, or $200) to get access to a $200 credit line. If you pay only $49 or $99, then your deposit is only partially secured, and you get the benefits of a bigger credit line for less money upfront. 
  • Higher credit limit for on-time payments and higher deposits: Make your first five monthly payments on time, and Capital One will increase your credit line even further, up to a maximum of $1000. This, too, can help increase your credit score by improving your utilization ratio. 

Cons Explained

  • High interest rate: The Capital One Secured Card has a relatively high-interest rate. That means you’ll pay a lot in interest if you carry a balance from month to month. On the flip side, if you pay off your charges in full each month, Capital One won’t charge you any interest at all. 
  • Low maximum credit limit: A $1,000 credit limit isn't much. You could get a higher credit limit with competitor cards like the Discover it Secured and Wells Fargo Secured.

Tip:

To improve your credit, aim to use less than 30% of your available credit limit. (Even better, try to use less than 10% of it.) This can be tricky with a low credit limit, so pay close attention to how much you spend on the card.

Capital One Secured Card’s Excellent Perks

This isn’t a rewards card, but it does offer one perk under the general Capital One umbrella that you might find useful:

  • Travel accident insurance: If you, your spouse, or dependents die or become disabled on a trip paid for with this card, you’re covered for up to $100,000.

Capital One Secured Card’s Other Features

  • Rental car collision insurance (secondary to your own policy) 
  • Extended warranty for purchases under $10,000 made with your card
  • Price protection will refund the difference between the price you paid and any new, lower price
  • Roadside assistance hotline and travel assistance services

Customer Experience

Capital One has a decent reputation for customer service. According to a 2019 J.D. Power study, it ranked third among the biggest credit card issuers. It scored 807 points out of 1,000, just above the industry average of 806.

The company does, however, make it easy to work with them. If you have questions about your account, you can call up customer service 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Aside from your online account, you can also manage your account from a mobile app. You can even text a chatbot assistant named Eno to answer simple questions about your account.

Capital One also offers a free credit monitoring service called CreditWise. Anybody, even non-customers, can sign up. The service provides details about your credit reports, shows you a credit score, and monitors your credit.

Security Features

If you’ve signed up for CreditWise, you’ll get alerts if your Social Security Number or other identifying information is found on the dark web. 

If you lose your card or otherwise want to prevent it from being used, you can lock it via the app. Capital One also offers free virtual credit card numbers for online transactions. 

Capital One Secured Card’s Fees

The Capital One Secured Card doesn’t hit cardholders with a lot of fees. If you make your payments on time and pay off the balance in full each month, there won’t be any other fees or interest charges either.

For Capital One® Secured Mastercard®

Compare This Card

See how this card stacks up to the competition
CURRENT CARD
Capital One® Secured Mastercard®
overall rating
3.5
Recommended Credit Score Our recommended ranges are based off of the FICO® Score 8 credit-scoring model. Credit score is one of the many factors lenders review in considering your application.
350 579
580 669
670 739
740 799
800 850
Poor - Excellent
Regular APR (%) 26.49% variable
Annual Fee $0
Minimum Deposit to Activate $49

Our Methodology

  • At The Balance, we are dedicated to giving you unbiased, comprehensive credit card reviews. To do this, we collect data on hundreds of cards and score more than 55 features that affect your finances.
  • Our Reviews Are Always Impartial: No one can influence which cards we review, the way we present them to you, or the ratings they receive. The scores and reviews come directly from the data we collect and our editorial expertise, and we focus on three areas:
  • How Much Does It Cost? With credit card debt at an all-time high, we believe you should know the cost of carrying a balance. Because of that, we give regular purchase APRs significant weight in overall scores, and cards receive low marks if they have an array of pricey fees.
  • What Are the Rewards Worth? Cards accumulate rewards in different currencies—points, miles, cash back—and their values vary widely. To simplify the problem, we built a system that fairly compares rewards and gives them a dollar value. We do this by looking at the ways you can earn and use rewards, which includes evaluating Americans’ typical spending habits and analyzing common travel patterns.
  • Does It Make Your Life Easier? Our scoring system favors cards that accept a wide range of credit profiles and offer simple solutions for things like checking your credit score or contacting customer service. Finally, we give preference to credit cards that have several tools for dealing with fraudulent charges.
  • For every review on The Balance, we hold the credit cards to these standards, and we set the bar high. While we recognize the appeal of splashy features like six-digit sign-up bonuses, our approach ensures that credit cards with the best combination of value, affordability, and accessibility receive the highest scores. See our full methodology for more details.