Milestone® Mastercard® Cashback Rewards review: A solid beginner card

A smiling woman seated on a sofa holds her Milestone Mastercard Cashback Rewards card while using her laptop.Image: A smiling woman seated on a sofa holds her Milestone Mastercard Cashback Rewards card while using her laptop.
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Pros

  • Solid cash back for less-than-perfect credit
  • No security deposit
  • Reports to all three major consumer credit bureaus

Cons

  • Substantial annual fee
  • High APR
  • Low credit limit

Milestone® Mastercard® Cashback Rewards core features

The Milestone® Mastercard® Cashback Rewards credit card is marketed as an option that can help people who don’t have great credit establish a more positive credit history. If you’re thinking about applying for this card, the first thing you should know is that you may not see this offer easily available through the issuer’s website and instead may have to find the offer on platforms like Credit Karma. It’s also important to weigh the overall costs versus the potential benefits of the card.

Here’s what to consider.

From our partner

Milestone® Mastercard® Cashback Rewards

1.5 out of 5

From cardholders in the last year

See details, rates & fees

The costs are high

The Milestone® Mastercard® Cashback Rewards credit card charges an annual fee of $75 the first year; $99 thereafter — which may be steep compared to other unsecured cards. You might see different offers if you apply on Credit Karma.

Plus, if you can’t pay your bill in full month to month and you end up carrying a balance, you’ll get hit with high interest charges since this card has a fixed purchase APR of 29.90%.

Finally, with an initial credit line of only $300, you’ll need to be super careful to avoid this card’s over-the-limit fee of up to $40.

Cardholders will earn a solid rewards rate

With the Milestone® Mastercard® Cashback Rewards you’ll earn 1.5% cash back on every purchase.

That’s not as high as some other cards, but it’s still a solid rate for a beginner credit card. Many unsecured credit cards for bad credit don’t offer any rewards at all.

You’ll need to watch how much you’re spending

Because the card’s credit limit is low at just $300, you’ll need to keep a close eye on your balance. Your credit utilization rate is an important factor in determining your credit scores, and if it’s too high, especially on a regular basis, it could do more harm than good.

What else you need to know about the Milestone® Mastercard® Cashback Rewards card

As you consider whether the Milestone® Mastercard® Cashback Rewards credit card is right for you, here are some other factors to keep in mind.

  • Optional over-limit protection — Cardholders can opt out of over-limit protection, which means your card will simply be declined if a transaction amount puts your balance beyond your limit.
  • Foreign transaction fees — You can use the card when traveling abroad but will have to pay a 1% foreign transaction fee.
  • May help you build credit — Payments and other account information will be reported to all three major consumer credit bureaus, which can help you work toward building a positive credit history if you make your payments as agreed.
  • Ability to prequalify — You can get prequalified for the card without a hard credit check.

Who this card is good for

The Milestone® Mastercard® Cashback Rewards can be a good fit for someone who’s working on rebuilding their credit or building credit from scratch and willing to apply through a platform like Credit Karma.

From our partner

Milestone® Mastercard® Cashback Rewards

1.5 out of 5

From cardholders in the last year

See details, rates & fees

It’s important to weigh both the advantage of earning rewards and the downside of the card’s high costs. If you can make sure you always pay your bill on time and in full every month, you can avoid interest charges. But you’ll need to spend at least $6,600 annually to make up for the card’s ongoing annual fee, and that’s going to be tough with a $300 credit limit.

And again, you’ll also need to make sure you keep an eye on your balance, so you don’t end up with high credit utilization.

That said, it might be worth it for some to use the card for a year or two to get some positive credit history established, before you’re able to move on to a card with a lower annual fee or better rewards.

Not sure this is the card for you? Consider these alternatives.

If you have bad credit or you’re just starting to establish your credit history, it can be tough to find a solid credit card for the job. Here are some alternatives to consider as you try to find the best card for your needs and goals.

  • Capital One Quicksilver Secured Cash Rewards Credit Card: This card could be a good option for someone who can afford a security deposit in exchange for a low-cost way to build credit and earn rewards.
  • Petal® 1 Visa® Credit Card: Consider this card if you’re brand new to credit and are looking for your first credit card.
  • Credit One Bank® Platinum Visa® for Rebuilding Credit: This card can be a good choice if you want to still earn rewards but don’t want to pay such a high annual fee.

About the author: Ben Luthi is a personal finance freelance writer and credit cards expert. He holds a bachelor’s degree in business management and finance from Brigham Young University. In addition to Credit Karma, you can find his wo… Read more.