The Milestone Mastercard is not one of our top-rated credit cards. You can review our list of the best credit cards overall for what we think are better options.
Full Review of Milestone Mastercard
Requires no security deposit
No rewards or one-time offer
Low credit limits
- Requires no security deposit: Since traditional (unsecured) credit cards are largely unavailable to people with poor credit or no credit history, such consumers typically have turned to a secured card; these require a security deposit that also serves as the card’s credit limit. The Milestone Mastercard skips the need for a security deposit. Instead, you get access to a revolving line of credit, from which an annual fee is deducted; both the limit and fee vary according to your creditworthiness. As with a secured card, your card activity is reported to the major credit bureaus. Provided that activity is positive, the reporting allows you to build a credit history that can eventually facilitate getting access to additional credit products, potentially under more favorable terms.
- Annual fee: The annual fee varies based on which level of card you qualify for: the Gold 300, the Gold 301, or the Gold 322. For the Gold 300, the annual fee is $35 in the first year and $35 each year thereafter; for the Gold 301, the annual fee is $75 and $99 for each year thereafter; and for the Gold 322, the annual fee is $59 for the first year and $59 each year thereafter.
- Low credit limit: If approved for a Milestone Mastercard, you’ll be awarded a credit line of at least $300. An upper limit for the starting credit line was not specified. Some other unsecured cards aimed at those with credit challenges do provide this maximum figure, which can be as high as $1,000. Nor, unlike those other cards, does Milestone specify if and how the limit might be raised after a time. Whatever your limit with the Milestone Mastercard, however, you don’t receive it all in available credit.
- No rewards or one-time offer: The Milestone Mastercard provides no rewards on spending, nor does it offer a one-time offer to new card members. While those omissions are fairly standard for a card designed for people with credit challenges, they’re unusual for a card that charges annual fees.
Who This Card Is Best For
The Milestone Mastercard is designed for applicants with poor credit (which Experian, one of the three credit bureaus, defines as having a credit score of between 300 and 579) who want to build or restore their credit history. It’s also for such people who prefer not to or cannot come up with the security deposit required for a secured card, the leading alternative for those with no or damaged credit who want to improve their creditworthiness.
Compared to the issuers of some competing cards, Milestone makes less clear the size of credit limit you’ll receive initially, and if and how it might grow in the long run—other than promising an initial line of at least $300 (minus the amount of the annual fee). That disparity in details makes the Milestone Mastercard more for people eager to build their credit than those who want a card with which they can use a growing credit limit. The Milestone Mastercard also has no travel benefits and charges a 1% fee on transactions made in foreign currency. That makes it a poor choice to take along on a trip, even compared to other cards aimed at those with credit issues.
Also, like many cards aimed at credit-challenged consumers, the Milestone Mastercard has a fixed and fairly high APR of 24.9%. Because of that rate, the card is less than ideal for those who wish to carry a balance on the card, since interest charges will add up especially quickly. In addition, the card’s value in building a positive credit history will be reduced somewhat if you consistently carry a balance, since that will use more of your credit limit—and the lower your credit utilization, the better, as far as credit bureaus are concerned.
This card offers a few standard benefits that you’d expect of an unsecured card:
- Zero liability protection
- Emergency card replacement
- Emergency cash advance
The card issuer of the Milestone Mastercard is the Bank of Missouri, which has just 25 branches throughout the state of Missouri. As a smaller regional bank, its reach isn’t sufficient for it to be included in the 2021 J.D. Power Credit Card Satisfaction Study. The Milestone card is serviced by Genesis FS Card Services, though, and this would be the group handling customer services issues. As with the card issuer, Genesis F.S. Card Services was not included in the 2021 J.D. Power Credit Card Satisfaction Study.
You can access customer service through secure messaging or you can call 1-866-453-2636. No hours are listed for the card servicer.
The Milestone Mastercard offers the standard security features for a basic unsecured card.
With this card, you’re eligible for Mastercard ID Theft Protection. This service provides comprehensive monitoring of your Social Security number, email addresses, and credit card accounts. If your identity is compromised, identity-theft resolution specialists are available to help you recover 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
The Milestone Mastercard potentially allows access to a credit card even if you have fair and even poor credit. However, that alone may not be enough to justify applying for this card over better options that fill the same need. The card comes with an annual fee of up to $99 a year, which is charged to the card and cuts into its credit limit, at least until you pay it back. Its credit limit can be as low as $300 and it’s unclear precisely how much your limit might be. Consider getting the Milestone Mastercard as a short-term tool you can use to establish your credit. If you use the card responsibly and make all of your payments on time, you can build your credit score, and after a year or two, you may be able to qualify for a better card.
Look to alternatives, such as the Petal 2 Visa card. If you can qualify, the card is entirely fee-free and allows you to earn cash back on your everyday purchases. Another worthy secured card, the Discover it Secured Mastercard, has no annual fee and offers rewards, which can add up. The Indigo Platinum Mastercard is nearly identical to the Milestone Mastercard but also offers a version with no annual fee along with two versions that do have annual fees, depending on creditworthiness.