Credit Cards Cards for Bad Credit

Milestone Mastercard Review

overall rating

For those with a poor credit history looking to build credit

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Requiring no security deposit, the Milestone Mastercard is among a few cards that allow those with bad credit or no credit at all to get credit without having to put down money. Its minimum credit limit is $300 and its annual fee can be as high as $99.

Milestone® Gold Mastercard®

Overall Rating
Milestone® Gold Mastercard®
On The Bank of Missouri's Secured Site.
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 (%) 24.9% fixed
Annual Fee $35 to $99 per year
Rewards Earning Rate This card does not offer a rewards program.
Foreign transaction fee (%) 1%
how this card stacks up
When compared among all low cost cards in our database:
Low Fees
Security/Customer Experience
Low Interest
worst best

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

  • Annual fee

  • No rewards or one-time offer

  • Low credit limits

Pros Explained

  • 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.

Cons Explained

  • 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.     

Standard Benefits

This card offers a few standard benefits that you’d expect of an unsecured card: 

  • Zero liability protection
  • Emergency card replacement
  • Emergency cash advance

Cardholder Experience

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.

Security Features

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. 

Final Verdict

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.

Next Steps
For Milestone® Gold Mastercard®
on The Bank of Missouri's Secured Site.
Compare This Card
See how this card compares to similar cards
Milestone® Gold Mastercard®
overall rating
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 (%) 24.9% fixed
Annual Fee $35 to $99 per year
Investopedia Credit Card Rating Methodology
Investopedia is committed to delivering the best credit card recommendations in the industry. We’ll tell you when a card is good, we’ll tell you when a card is bad, and we’ll only call a card the best if we would recommend it to our friends or family members.
Overall Star Rating Explained
To rate credit cards we objectively assess, score and weight nearly 100 individual card features which roll up into five major feature sets: fees, interest, rewards, benefits and security/customer service. Here’s how we weighted those feature sets for the overall star rating of a card:
We have applied our proprietary rating methodology to every generally-accepted credit card in the U.S. domestic market to allow consumers to make fully informed choices. It’s important to note that for our overall score that we make a number of assumptions about how you would be using your credit card:
  1. While we make no assumption as to whether balances are carried on a given card we do assign varying weights to all credit cards’ introductory APR (if present) in addition to the regular, long term purchase and balance transfer interest rates.
  2. We utilize BLS (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics) income and average category spending data to calculate annual earnings rates for rewards cards that offer cash back, points or miles rewards at a set rate on all spending or in consideration of bonus rewards for certain spending categories, like gasoline, groceries, restaurants or travel.
  3. We determine the maximum points value of rewards cards by dividing the points, cash back or miles required to exchange for the retail price of the most valuable redemption option (for example, in the case of a card that offers a domestic roundtrip airline ticket as a redemption option vs. another redemption option of lesser value that requires the same amount of points or miles to acquire, we would base the rewards value on the airline ticket).
  • Cards that are selected best overall in their respective categories generally feature most if not all of the following attributes:
  • Low or Reasonable Fees Credit card fees come in many forms but the primary ones involve those for annual card membership and balance transfer. There are a myriad of reward and non-reward card options that charge no annual fee but for the many that do assess an annual fee the cost is often justified by their lucrative ongoing rewards and initial signup bonuses. Balance transfer fees are occasionally waived during introductory periods with certain cards, a factor which is heavily and positively weighted in our scoring model for cards offering this benefit. When charged, balance transfer fees range between 3% - 5%, which we grade accordingly. Other standard fees can generally be avoided, such as those for paying late or taking cash advances but we rate those relative to other cards in the market for reference, though with less weight assigned
  • Competitive Interest Many cards offer 0% introductory APR on purchases and balance transfers for varying lengths and then revert to a permanent or regular APR (based on a variable rate tied to the prime rate) that applies to any balances not paid in full. We rate both introductory APR percentage and length (in months) along with the midpoint of the variable regular APR interest rate range.
  • Valuable Rewards Credit card reward programs can be based on cash back, points or travel rewards (which can be generic or travel partner-specific, as with airline and hotel co-brand card programs). For cards that offer rewards we determine the value per dollar spent along with average redemption values and assign more favorable ratings to cards that offer superior consumer value. We also assign value to sign-up bonus offers and their initial spending requirements, when present.
  • Excellent Benefits Credit card benefits cover a range of offerings like concierge service, TSA Pre-check, auto rental coverage, travel accident insurance, lost luggage assistance and free credit scores. We rate cards on the number and level of over a dozen standard and upscale benefits and provide extra weighting emphasis for those travel-related perks that apply to premium travel cards when present.
  • Solid Security/Customer Service Security and customer service features like lost or stolen card replacement, being able to lock one’s card from an issuer app and 24 hour customer support are becoming more standard across the card market and we provide a significant amount of weighting to features in this area.
  • You can also read the full version of our methodology for a more in-depth look at how we assess cards and award them the best in various categories.