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Thursday, May 30, 2024

Milestone® Mastercard® Review

Eric Bank

By: Eric Bank

Eric Bank
Eric Bank

Eric Bank is an M.B.A. who has covered financial and business topics since 1985, appearing regularly on Credible, eHow, WiseBread, The Nest, Zacks, Chron, BadCredit.org and dozens of other outlets. Eric specializes in taking complex subject matters and explaining them in simple terms for consumer audiences, particularly in the world of personal finance. Eric holds a Master's in Business Administration from New York University and a Master's in Finance from DePaul University.

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Editor: Jon McDonald

Jon McDonald
Jon McDonald

Jon leverages 15-plus years of journalism expertise to inform financial consumers about emerging trends and companies making an impact in the industry. He is most knowledgeable in the areas of budgeting, credit card rewards, and responsible credit use. Jon has a passion for writing and editing, and his articles have appeared in publications produced by The New York Times.

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Reviewer: Ashley Fricker

Ashley Fricker
Ashley Fricker

Ashley Fricker has more than a decade of experience as a finance contributor and editor, and has specialized in the credit card industry since 2015. Her credit card commentary is featured on national media outlets that include CNBC, MarketWatch, Investopedia, and Reader's Digest, among many others. She has worked closely with the world’s largest banks and financial institutions, up-and-coming fintech companies, and press and news outlets to curate comprehensive content and media. Ashley holds a bachelor's degree in multimedia journalism from Florida Atlantic University.

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Milestone® Mastercard® Review

Rated 3.8 /5.0 ★★★★

Consumers with limited or bad credit can choose from dozens of subprime credit cards with undemanding credit requirements. Almost all members of this card group charge high fees and eye-watering interest rates, and the Milestone® Mastercard® is no different.

But it is an unsecured card that doesn’t require a security deposit and can help you improve your credit with responsible use over time. This can be achieved by always paying your bill on time and keeping a relatively low balance.

The question is: How does this card distinguish itself from other subprime cards, and is it your best option? Let’s find out.

Main Takeaways

  • The Milestone® Mastercard® caters exclusively to consumers who need to rebuild their credit.
  • This unsecured card has a relatively high credit line, and its lack of security deposit is attractive.
  • Its list of benefits is thin, and it doesn’t advertise any way to increase your credit limit over time.
  • It charges high fees and interest rates, but the interest is avoidable when you pay your bill within the interest-free grace period.

How to Qualify & Apply

To be eligible for the card, you must:

    • be 18 or older
    • reside in the United States
    • have a Social Security number, email address, and enough income to afford your monthly minimum payment
    • not have an existing Milestone credit card account, and the issuer will reject your application if it charged off a previous account due to delinquency.

Here are more details about the card and a link to the application on the issuer’s website:

Disclosure: When you apply through links on our site, we often earn referral fees from partners. For more information, see our ad disclosure and review policy.

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Milestone® Mastercard® Review

at Milestone Mastercard®'ssecure website

BEST OVERALL RATING

★★★★

3.8

OVERALL RATING

  • Greater access to credit than before - $700 credit limit
  • Get a Mastercard accepted online, in store and in app
  • Account history is reported to the three major credit bureaus in the U.S.
  • $0 liability* for unauthorized use
  • Access your account online or from your mobile device 24/7
  • *Fraud protection provided by Mastercard Zero Liability Protection. If approved, you'll receive the Mastercard Guide to Benefits that details the complete terms with your card.
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
See terms
See terms
Fair/Good

Depending on your qualifications, the issuer may offer you one of three different card versions: Gold-300, Gold-301, or Gold-322. They differ in their annual fees but otherwise offer identical terms and conditions. You may need to provide some additional data to formally apply for the card.

Benefits & Drawbacks to Consider

This card has several benefits to help subprime borrowers access credit and increase their credit scores with responsible usage. Let’s look at the positives first:

Benefits

    • Easy approval: You can get the card even if you have poor credit. But your debt-to-income (DTI) ratio may trip you up if it’s too high.

    • No security deposit required: It is an unsecured credit card, so you don’t have to put down a security deposit.

    • Credit bureau reporting: The card reports your payments to all three major credit bureaus (Experian, TransUnion, and Equifax). Triple-reporting is the most efficient way to build credit, but only if you pay your bills on time.

    • It’s a genuine Mastercard: That means you get basic features such as $0 fraud liability protection.

    • Online account management: You have 24/7 access to your account so you can track your progress.

    • Credit line: You can get a decent credit line. It won’t be a fortune, but it may exceed that of some competitors.

Drawbacks

    • Annual fee: The card charges a yearly fee that depends on which card variety the issuer offers you.

    • No rewards: Many unsecured subprime cards don’t offer cash back or other rewards, and this one is no different.

    • No signup incentives: The card offers no signup bonus or introductory 0% APR promotion. That’s not unusual for a card of this type.

    • No path to a higher credit line: The card’s website doesn’t mention any way to increase your credit line over time. That’s unusual, even in the subprime card segment.

    • Minimum benefits: The card offers no consumer or travel benefits other than fraud liability protection.

    • Other Fees: The card charges fees for foreign transactions, cash advances, late/returned payments, and spending over the credit limit. But it does not charge a setup or monthly fee, unlike many of its competitors.

    • Potentially high APR: The card’s APR is about the highest legal APR a bank can charge, making its rate on the verge of predatory. But cardholders can avoid paying interest altogether by paying their balance in full each month.

We’d suggest considering a secured card, or one of the unsecured cards below, for better interest rates and potential purchase rewards.

Similar Cards Worth Your Attention

If you have bad credit, these three cards are worth considering and may provide better benefits than the Milestone® Mastercard®. One is from a major bank, and none require a security deposit for approval.

BEST OVERALL RATING

★★★★★
4.5

OVERALL RATING

  • No annual or hidden fees. See if you're approved in seconds
  • Be automatically considered for a higher credit line in as little as 6 months
  • Help build your credit through responsible use of a card like this
  • Enjoy peace of mind with $0 Fraud Liability so that you won't be responsible for unauthorized charges
  • Monitor your credit score with CreditWise from Capital One. It's free for everyone
  • Get access to your account 24 hours a day, 7 days a week with online banking from your desktop or smartphone, with Capital One's mobile app
  • Check out quickly and securely with a contactless card, without touching a terminal or handing your card to a cashier. Just hover your card over a contactless reader, wait for the confirmation, and you're all set
  • Pay by check, online or at a local branch, all with no fee - and pick the monthly due date that works best for you
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
29.99% (Variable)
$0
Average, Fair, Limited

Our research into the Capital One Platinum Credit Card has found reports of approvals for scores down to 570, and one Credit Karma reviewer reported receiving approval even after a recent bankruptcy. Others report approval with scores below 570, but these claims are self-reported, so we can’t verify them.

This card has benefits beyond its low minimum score, such as automatic consideration for a credit line increase after you make five monthly payments on time. Naturally, this doesn’t guarantee an increase, but many reviewers report boosts from $300 to $1,000 or more.

Surge® Platinum Mastercard® Review

at Continental Finance'ssecure website

BEST OVERALL RATING

★★★★
4.1

OVERALL RATING

  • Up to $1,000 credit limit doubles up to $2,000! (Simply make your first 6 monthly minimum payments on time)
  • All credit types welcome to apply!
  • Monthly Credit Score – Sign up for electronic statements, and get your Vantage 3.0 Score Credit Score From Experian
  • Initial Credit Limit of $300 – $1,000 (subject to available credit)
  • Monthly reporting to the three major credit bureaus
  • See if you’re Pre-Qualified without impacting your credit score
  • Fast and easy application process; results in seconds
  • Online account access 24/7
  • Checking Account Required
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
See website for Details
See website for Details
35.90% Fixed
$75 - $125
See website for Details*

Many people consider the best feature of the Surge® Platinum Mastercard® to be its reporting to all three major credit bureaus. You can use the card to rebuild damaged credit as long as you maintain your card in good standing. The maximum credit limit is high enough to support a low credit utilization ratio.

Surge is an unsecured credit card, so you won’t need to put down a deposit or pre-load the card to use it. Its annual fee is relatively high, as is its APR. If you have a low FICO score and other cards won’t approve your application, you may have better odds with the Surge card.

Destiny Mastercard® Review

at Destiny Mastercard®'ssecure website

BEST OVERALL RATING

★★
2.0

OVERALL RATING

  • All the benefits of a Mastercard, without a security deposit
  • 24/7 access to your account, even on mobile!
  • Reports to all three major credit bureaus
  • Less than perfect credit is okay, even with a prior bankruptcy!
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
See terms
See terms
Poor to Good

The Destiny Mastercard® helps you build credit when you pay on time by reporting to all three credit bureaus. It is a real Mastercard, welcomed at 40 million locations in-store, online, and in-app. The card provides fraud protection against lost and stolen cards. It’s an unsecured card, so you don’t have to pay a security deposit.

Unfortunately, its APR is ridiculously high, as is its first-year annual fee. The card also adds a monthly fee after the first year of ownership. The card’s issuer is First Electronic Bank, and its servicer is Concora Credit, Inc., which explains the card’s similarities to the Milestone® Mastercard®.

FAQs: What is the Credit Limit on the Milestone® Mastercard®?

Reports of the card’s maximum credit limit range from $300 to $700. That’s a tight leash on your spending and may challenge your ability to maintain a low credit utilization ratio (i.e., your current balance divided by your credit limit).

Ideally, you want to maintain a CUR below 30%, which is a paltry $90 on a $300 limit. Worse, there isn’t a way to get a higher limit over time. Ideally, you will pay your entire balance each month — that’s the best way to maintain a low CUR and avoid interest charges.

Example credit utilization chart
Example of credit utilization calculated across three accounts.

The issuer requires you to refrain from using your account in any way that would cause you to go over your credit limit. It may refuse to authorize or accept any transaction that would cause you to exceed your limit, even if you have instructed the issuer to charge you an over-limit fee for doing so.

The Bank of Missouri may temporarily agree to allow you to exceed your credit limit. However, in that case, you must repay the excess amount immediately. Any transactions the card honors above your credit limit will leave your limit unchanged.

The issuer may, at any time and without prior notice, increase or decrease your credit limit, restrict the credit limit for cash advances, or take away your ability to obtain cash advances.

What Credit Score Do I Need to Apply?

The issuer doesn’t specify a minimum credit score required to apply, though it does indicate borrowers should have at least fair credit — a FICO score above 580 — for approval. We’ve surveyed the internet and found claims of acceptable minimum scores from 300 to 550.

That said, the card’s terms definitely lean toward being designed for people with poor credit, not fair or good credit. If your score is above 600, you can likely find a better card.

How am I Protected Against Fraud and Unauthorized Charges?

As with all Mastercard products, this card provides Zero Liability Protection and ID Theft Protection. The card won’t hold you responsible for unauthorized transactions.

Zero Liability Protection

As a Mastercard cardholder, Zero Liability Protection applies to your purchases made over the telephone, in the store, online, or via a mobile device and ATM transactions. You will not be responsible for unauthorized transactions if:

    • You use reasonable care in protecting your card from loss or theft.

    • You promptly report the loss or theft to your financial institution.

By meeting these conditions, you are not liable for any charges arising from unauthorized use. If you suspect improper use of your card, call the number printed on the back of the card immediately.

ID Theft Protection

Identity theft occurs when a criminal uses your personal information (e.g., your name or Social Security number) without your permission to commit fraud or other crimes. These violations include:

    • Opening new credit accounts

    • Filing for a tax refund

    • Seeking medical treatment and obtaining prescriptions in your name

    • Filing for unemployment benefits in your name and intercepting the checks

Mastercard’s US-based, certified identity theft resolution specialists and online resources are available 24/7 to educate you about identity theft and provide tips to help you reduce risk.

Mastercard offers the following steps to help prevent ID theft:

    • You can opt out of receiving pre-approved credit card direct mail offers and marketing phone calls that thieves can use to steal your personally identifiable information.

    • If your identity is at risk, you can place a one-year fraud alert on your credit file, making it more difficult for thieves to open new credit in your name without your knowledge.

    • You can track your profile, access identity theft protection tips, and respond to alerts from the Mastercard web portal. Its easy-to-use online monitoring dashboard helps you take a more active role in protecting your identity.

    • You’ll receive monthly communications to stay up to date about common identity-related threats, as well as the services and protections you can use to protect yourself.

    • You can request Mastercard’s Identity Theft Protection Kit, which explains many forms of identity theft and provides prevention advice and resolution resources. This kit also contains a Federal Trade Commission sample affidavit form as well as sample letter templates for filing disputes in cases of identity theft or fraud.

    • Sign up for IDRiskIQ™, which helps you better understand your identity theft risk level and provides a personalized action plan to help you lower your risk of identity theft.

Unfortunately, even the most vigilant cardholders can fall victim to identity theft. If it happens to you, your Milestone® Mastercard® can offer several types of support, including the following:

    • Certified Identity Theft Resolution: Mastercard’s specialists are FCRA, CIPA, and CTRMS® certified and available 24/7/365 to help resolve your identity theft/fraud incident and prevent further damage. A specialist will perform all the tasks to restore your identity.

    • Identity Theft Affidavit Assistance and Submission: If someone compromises your identity, Mastercard will supply you with a pre-populated identity theft affidavit to dispute any fraudulent activity or claims. After helping you fill out the form, it will submit the affidavit to the appropriate authorities, creditors, and credit bureaus on your behalf.

    • Creditor Notification, Dispute, and Follow-Up: Mastercard will contact your creditors’ fraud departments with separate itemized account statements to dispute each fraudulent occurrence. It will also follow up with creditors to resolve each issue and provide you with updated status reports throughout the entire process.

    • Lost Wallet Assistance: Mastercard will assist you in notifying the appropriate bank or issuing authority to cancel and replace missing or stolen items, such as your driver’s license, debit/credit card(s), Social Security card, and passport.

    • Medical Identity Theft Assistance: If someone fraudulently uses your identity to obtain medical services and treatment, Mastercard will work with your insurers and healthcare providers to resolve the issues and correct your medical records/claims.

Final Thoughts

The Milestone® Mastercard® says it’s designed for people with fair or good credit, but its terms scream poor credit. Its rates and fees are the legal maximum a bank can charge, so it’s best to consider your alternatives before deciding to apply for this card.

Secured cards may provide better rewards and benefits than their unsecured counterparts, and they usually cost less. You will have to put down collateral, but the issuer will likely return it within six to 12 months. If your credit score is in the ditch and you can lay out the deposit money, a secured credit card may be your best bet.

About the Author

Eric Bank
Eric Bank Finance Expert

Eric Bank is an M.B.A. who has covered financial and business topics since 1985, appearing regularly on Credible, eHow, WiseBread, The Nest, Zacks, Chron, BadCredit.org and dozens of other outlets. Eric specializes in taking complex subject matters and explaining them in simple terms for consumer audiences, particularly in the world of personal finance. Eric holds a Master's in Business Administration from New York University and a Master's in Finance from DePaul University.

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Eric Bank