Capital One Secured Credit Card Review – Credit Diary Part II

The following timeline will give you an idea of the progress (or lack thereof) I’ve had with the Capital One Secured Credit Card. It will be updated often, so make sure to check back regularly (last update: April 2013). If you want to know why I chose this card, please read: “Repairing my Credit with a Secured Credit Card – Credit Diary Part I“. I decided to write this article and keep an online diary to have a record of my progress and get feedback from others that are using this card, or have used in the past (or are thinking about applying). If you would like to comment please do so below.

I am not a credit expert and I don’t work for Capital One. This is my personal experience dealing with Capital One and using their secured credit card to hopefully improve my credit.

Update: Due to the large number of comments and questions, I have created a forum section where we can discuss more about this card and other related topics. I will be happy to answer any questions you might have over there. You can access the forums here: www.newdirt.org/forums (you need to register in order to comment).

Credit Score:

  • Starting Credit Score: 568 (Experian)
  • Last Credit Score: 711 (Equifax FICO)

Strategy:

  • Always pay on time
  • Keep credit card balance below 30%
  • Take care of negative items on credit report
  • Increase my credit limit

2011 Timeline:

  • January 9: Applied online and got approved for the Capital One Secured Master Card. Sent my online deposit of $49 plus $150 to raise my credit line from $200 to $350 (please read the security deposit section below for more info).
  • January 14: Received a confirmation letter in the mail from Capital One that my application was approved and that I should receive my new card in 7-10 business days.
  • January 25: Received an email from Capital One with subject: “we’ve shipped your new card”. The email said: “Your new credit card was mailed yesterday, and you should receive it within 7 business days. Thanks for being a Capital One customer.”
  • January 27: Received credit card with a $351 credit line (I was initially approved for a $200 credit line with a $49 deposit, but added $150 to increase it). Enrolled in online banking after completing card activation ($29 annual fee showed as a transaction on my account). Made first purchase without trouble.
  • January 30: Called to enroll in CreditInform (owned by Capital One). Was told I should receive a package within 5 to 7 business days including my user and login information. It took less than 5 minutes and operator was friendly and efficient.
  • February 14-17: Received the CreditInform handbook containing my credit report and credit score, as well as my login information to register online. Credit score shown is 619, which is already an improvement over the 568 I had seen on my last report a few months ago (please read July 29 post for an eye opening update on this). Registered at www.mycreditinform.com (offered free of charge with Capital One’s secured credit card).
  • March 4: Paid first statement balance in full. Online payment took 2 days to get posted on my account and it was easy to set up (purchases seem to take a few days to appear online).
  • May 12: CreditInform update. My score dropped 10 points (from 619 to 609). Not great news, but I’m still positive that my next report will show an improvement. I think it’s too soon to see any major changes on it as I’ve only had the card for less than 4 months (please read July 29 post for an update on this).
  • July 11: My credit score on my monthly report at CreditInform went from 609 in june to 639 in july (please read next post for an update on this).
  • July 29 : Realized that credit scores provided by mycreditinform.com are what they call “FAKO” scores, which are not real credit score. Most creditors or lenders will look at a FICO score and not a FAKO. I’ve been comparing my Experian score, which is one of the “Big Three” major credit reporting agencies, with my CreditInform score for two months, and they differ substantially. While my credit score with CreditInform has been improving and it’s now a 639, my Experian credit score is 588, only 20 points more than my starting score almost six months ago (568). For this reason I’ll stick to posting scores provided by either Experian, Equifax or TransUnion.
  • August 18: First credit line increase! Received an email from Capital One saying:

    “Sometimes being a responsible customer pays off—like right now! We’ve increased your credit line by $100. This increase is unsecured and provided automatically, so you don’t need to send an additional deposit to cover it”

    Not a lot, but a confirmation that I’m heading in the right direction. My new credit line: $450.

  • September 5: Added a forum section to the site so people can post their reviews and timelines. You can access this section here. Everyone is welcome to join!
  • September 9: Checked my Experian credit report. My score hasn’t improved in months (still in the 580’s) and I’m starting to realize that a single secured credit card with a $450 credit limit will not be enough to get me out of this hole. I need to take care of all the negative items on my report if I want to see real improvement. Negative items include: 2 accounts in collections (unpaid medical bills), 1 “Paid Charge-Off” (case closed), 2 closed cards that were past due more than 60 days (1 credit, 1 store card). Currently in the process of taking care of the 2 collections. Will open a second secured card soon (considering Citi, Orchard Bank or Bank of America secured cards). I’m curious to see the impact of these on my report in a couple of months.
  • September 15-27: Made an additional $50 deposit to increase credit limit to $500. Deposit was posted on my account about 10-12 days later and I received a letter on the mail confirming my limit increase.
  • November 2: Credit score went from 579 to 636 after paying off the two collection accounts on my credit report (a 57 point jump!). I had been stuck on the same score for months, so I’ve been working to clean up my report and it’s paying off.
  • November 3: Opened a 2nd secured credit card with Bank of America with a 4k credit limit. I applied for this card at the bank not online. They offered me the BankAmericard Cash Rewards Secured Credit Card. I didn’t even know that a Secured Card with cash rewards existed. I’m hoping that the larger limit will help boost my score and get things going a little faster.
  • November 4: Not even 24 hours after opening the BOA secured card, it’s already showing on my report as “Current”. My score improved another 29 points for a total of 86 points in two days. My new Experian score is 665! I couldn’t be happier.
  • 2012 Timeline:

  • January 18: I’m getting close to the 1 year mark with this card and received my 12th statement a few days ago. I’m still waiting for a second line increase but who knows if it will happen. I haven’t been using the Capital One card as much since I opened a cash rewards secured credit card with a larger limit.
  • January 26: My Experian credit score increased by 11 points from 662 to 673 after a paid medical bill was removed from my report.
  • February 15: Called Capital One after a year of having this account in good standing. I wanted to see if I qualified for a better card, a limit increase or an upgrade. An “account specialist” encouraged me to apply for an unsecured card with them but told me they could not increase my limit, upgrade or graduate my secured account. My only option was to apply for a new card and close the other one or leave it open if I wanted. I decided not to apply as I do not see the point of having two credit cards with the same bank, nor I want to close an account that’s already a year old as this will affect my credit.
  • 2013 Timeline:

  • April 2: Emailed Capital One’s CEO and requested that my secured card be product changed to an unsecured card and my deposit refunded. About ten days later y received a letter stating this was not possible.
  • April 19: Called to close my Capital One Secured card after having it for more than two years. This took about 5 minutes. The representative was helpful and didn’t try to convince me to keep the card or apply for a new one (which I thought was a good thing). He said my deposit will be refunded within two billing cycles, though I’ve heard it takes less than that. I’ll update as soon as I receive my refund. When I log in to my account online, I can see a message right below my account name saying “This account is currently closed”.
  • April 26: Received my security deposit refund check today, just one week after closing my account. My account had a zero balance with no pending charges and I called one day before my statement cut, so I’m sure that helped.
  • Current Status: This account is now closed. I had this card for more than two years. I always paid on time and never went over my credit limit. My credit line was increased once by $100 at around the 8 month mark. I didn’t receive any more line increases after that. After one year I called and asked for my account to be unsecured but I was told I had to apply for a new account instead, as they do not graduate cards. After two years I emailed a CEO and received the same response. Ten months after opening this account, I opened a 2nd secured card with BoA. At fourteen months I was approved for a car loan and just before closing my Capital One, I was approved for a Chase Freedom card. After opening the BOA card, my CapOne card didn’t get much usage. My credit score improved more than 100 points since I started this whole process. Removing two delinquent accounts from my reports as well as paying my secured card on time and letting my other credit accounts age, was key for improving my credit.

Overall Review:

  • In one sentence: A great card to establish credit but once you have done this you will move on to better cards. Capital One is a good option for those looking to establish or rebuild credit. They will most likely approve you even when other banks will not (however a few people do complain about being declined for this card). It is a good starter card, but will not grow with you over time. This means that it will never graduate to an unsecured card and you will have to close your account to get your deposit back. Credit increases are few and not generous when and if they happen. Once you have established some history with Capital One, you can apply for an unsecured card with them or another bank. This is a great card to establish credit history, but once you are able to bring your scores up, you will most likely close it and apply for better cards. The Capital One Secured card would be even better if Capital One offered graduation and returned security deposits to people that prove to be responsible and serious about handling credit.

Security Deposit:

  • Initial Security Deposit: $200. I was initially approved for a $200 credit card with a security deposit of $49. I sent an extra $150 to get a $350 credit line. After 6 months with the card I was given a credit line increase of $100 for a total of $450. I later sent an extra $50 for a $500 CL. A few months before closing my card I brought my credit line up to $3k. This was helpful as other banks matched this credit line when I applied and was approved for other cards.
     
    If you are going to apply for this card and are thinking about making a big deposit, you need to be aware of Capital One’s refund policy. This is what the Customer Agreement document that I received states:

    “I may not withdraw funds or request a refund of my funds at any time, other than by paying all of my obligations to Capital One and closing my account”

    If you are in the market for a secured card that requires a small security deposit, then Capital One is a great option (you can’t beat $49, $99 or $200). If you are looking to put in a bigger deposit to get a higher credit line and would like to get your money back in a fixed number of months, then you should consider other secured cards, like the ones offered by Bank of America (refunds your deposit after 12 months) and Citi (refunds your deposit after 18 months).

Useful Links:

Comments

  1. Ya i’d say your pretty close.

  2. Well…I received the email last night card was mailed..It should be any day now..I have o rent a car next month..i’m a little nervous..I would hate to get to the counter and they don’t accept it.

  3. Oh trust me they’ll accept it! wherever they accept credit cards they will accept this card!!

  4. I received card and activated on saturday..i got registered for the online banking..I’m going to try to send 50 bucks each payday to increase credit line..You guys have been awesome

  5. Congrats Melvin and i hope all goes well for you!

  6. How are things going with you? have you used the card yet

  7. Things are going good so far i used the card and im waiting for my bill. I think im gonna make a payment before i even get my bill so that way when the report it to the credit bureau i dont have much of a balance on the card. Did you use your card yet?

  8. Not yet.. i’m going to rent a car next week..i was nervous about it being accepted so i made reservations at 2 different rent a car places..haha

  9. Melvin says:

    Hello.. the car rental went ok.. Avis does a 350.00 authorization.I thought this was ridiculous for a 1 day rental.I wasn’t able to get the car from them.The good thing is I had made a reservation with enterprise as a back up.The card went through great

  10. Brandin says:

    thats good to hear. my credit score went up 7 points and i didnt even get my first bill yet…lol

  11. Melvin says:

    I didn’t sign up for that credit score thing yet.. is it any good..I got charged my annual fee already..i just went ahead and paid it

  12. I have a secured capitalone secured credit card here in Canada. Had to pay $300 deposit to get a $300 limit. All is good and my 6 month anniversary is in July so curious to see what offers (if any) capitalone will send me…Hopefully my limit increases nicely.,..have delinquent accounts on credit history and trying to find ways to pay them off as they are totally about 3,000.00..Need a bigger credit limit and figure I can negotiate my delinquents with the creditors for a lower amount on each account and pay one off and work from there. So concentrating on one at a time will take longer but they seems to be my only option at this time…Going to have this site in my favs and will post another update as something new happens…my current credit score is about 550 and remember I am in Canada.

  13. wow my score went up another 11 points this month! Im loving this card!

  14. I paid 75.00 for a 1000.00 credit limit. I’ve been told by customer service that a package (not the credit card was sent to me on June 13. Well it’s June 23 and I have not received a package. I called customer service one agent said 7-10 days after 75.00 received the other customer service agent said 2-3 weeks.Still no news hope I haven’t been scammed and if so will proceed with legal procedure.

  15. My experience with the BOA Fully Secured card:

    August of 2011 i began my credit journey with BOA $600 and cap1 secured $750. february 2012 i added 2 GECRB cards 1000 and 1400, march i got a discover more with 1000, april an american express zync. I upped my deposit for BOA from 600 to 1200 in april, and cap 1 to 1200 also.

    I heard a couple weeks ago BOA was letting you PC secured cards to 1-2-3 rewards, so i called them up and in a few minutes i was all set and they told me itd take 2-4 weeks for the card to arrive.

    within 5 days, my credit reports stopped reporting the BOA as a secured card. Today i got a letter dated from when my credit reports changed, telling me BOA decided to Unsecure my card, a day before my 10th statement. I had only asked to PC to a secured rewards card, not to graduate! and in 10 months instead of 12!

    I never got the unsecured CLI that cap1 gives to a lot of secured cards, even though i used them the most the first 6-7 months and always PIF soon after a statement.

  16. WOw it looks like that American companies handles secured credit cards a lot different than how the Canadian companies do.

    WIth Laura’s situation she paid a 75.00 deposit for a secured limit of 1000.00. Then I read JD’s post dated June 28th and WOW

    I have a secured card with Cap 1 here in Canada and had to pay 300.00 deposit with credit limit of 300.00. So, you folks in the US have it easier for rebuilding.

    I called Cap 1 and see if they mailed any offers on either returning my deposit and/or upping my credit limit and still nothing. I had my card with them for six months now and always paid in full my balance so I am in awesome standings.

    Maybe Cap 1 here in Canada don’t really do anything good for us.

  17. Ken ohammed says:

    I had an secured card with Capital One with a $1000.00 deposit.
    I paid in full every month andd my credit score was increased.
    I was sent a letter with a number to call about a $300.00 increase on my card.I did not as i was about to close my account.
    My bank gave me an unsecured card as they were paying my bill every month for me from my account.
    Capital One sent me a check in 14 days for my deposit.

  18. Hi newdirt!

    Congratulations on the amazing progress you have made! Also, thanks for tracking it and possibly making it easier for the rest of us. Quick question: as you paid off your derogatory marks, were they automatically deleted or did you ask each agency to do that? I know they usually stay on your report for 7-15 years. I’ve been told you can write the collection agency requesting a deletion or at least PAID to be noted on your report. Thanks a lot!

  19. Started with Cap one in April after reading this blog. paid 2 100 dollar additional deposits and received an 100 dollar unsolicited increase about a month ago. I run the balance up to 90% every month but I always pay the balance in full each month as well.Have yet to check credit score impact.Thanks for starting the blog

  20. Hi, i am very glad i found ur site, hope someone can help, i am trying to rebuild my credit, i have two paid but negative accounts on my credit report, i applied for a Capitol One Secured card and i received a letter asking for proof of income, it has been two weeks since i mailed them my proof of income and i called them and they said they are still reviewing my application, “should i be worried that i wont get approved”?

    My other question is should i apply for another secured credit card or should i wait until i get a response from Capitol One? I have read that it is better to have more than one credit card, so i am not sure if i should go ahead and apply for another one or should i wait some months to pass and then apply for another SCC!!

    Thanks again, i have learned alot from all of you guys!

  21. Edward W Cooke III says:

    my name is edward cooke the 3th and i applied for the 300.00 sent the 99.00 a while back but have yet to here from you guys my number is XXXXXXX (NUMBER REMOVED FOR SECURITY REASONS) its been over 2 months can you please contact at my phone number i should have recived my card by now am intrested in building my credit with you guys i already have one secure card thats already helping me thanks and have a good day i live in Alabama

    they took out the 99.00 buck deposit back in August 15 for a card for a 300.00 limit i have the paper some where it even said the card was on its way

    i would like to go for a credit line of 500.00 since i have one card already

  22. newdirt.org newdirt.org says:

    Hi Edward. You need to get in touch with Capital One to inquire about your card (I have no affiliation with them). Two months is like a long time so do call them. I have removed your phone number for security reasons. Never post your personal information online, it’s not safe. Good luck and let us know how everything went.

  23. newdirt.org newdirt.org says:

    @CandraDee:

    Derogatory marks are not automatically deleted after you pay them. You need to negotiate a “Pay for Delete” with the collection agency so they can be deleted. Make sure you get it in writing BEFORE you pay! Do this by sending the collection agency a letter saying that you’ll pay in exchange of getting the account deleted from your credit files. Google “Pay for Delete” for more info.

    If you pay without negotiating a delete, your account will be updated to “PAID”, but it will still remain in your files for 7 years. A Paid collection is a little better in the eyes of a lender than an Unpaid one, but for scoring purposes, Paid or Unpaid collections are pretty much the same, so you want to try to get rid of them altogether!

  24. Do you know if you can set your account up for automatic payments monthly? I’d like to have my bill payment directly debited from my bank account each month. Thank you.

  25. Thanks for all the great info on this blog. I just opened a Capital One and a Boa, both with a $500. Limit. Will apply the 30% rule and full monthly payment and see what happens. I had a bankruptcy in 2009 and other than this there is nothing bad on my report. My score is 628. My mortgage is not reporting monthly because it was discharged in bankruptcy. Too bad because I am never late and it is $500000. Oh well back to square one. Hopefully my score will move up….

  26. Wonderful post.Highly informative and up to the point.
    Keep up the good work

  27. Well beware I have had my Capital One secure card since Nov and opened
    with a $500 deposit. I have paid the balance off every month and was
    very happy with the company until 4/24/2013 when I decided to increase
    my limit and sent in an additional $300 to Capital One, the deposit
    cleared my bank on 4/25/2013 and Cap one increase my credit limit on
    4/4 and on the same day they place a restriction on the total credit
    line of my account so I could not use my card at all. When I talked
    with their fraud dept they told me that this is done for all secure
    accounts when you send a additional deposit to increase the credit
    line. The account is placed in a restricted status so you can not use
    any of the credit line and it stays that way until you call Cap One and
    then they call your bank to verify the account the deposit was drawn
    on. What crazy crap this is. I have worked for banks most of my career
    and this is a new one even for banking. They have placed a hold on the
    total credit limit not just the $300. So beware because this was never
    explained to me or could I find any info around this procedure on the
    cap One web site.. So now I know be careful with my money when it comes
    to banks..

    • newdirt.org newdirt.org says:

      This happened to me once as well when I upped my credit limit (maybe even twice I don’t remember). I read about people calling and having to do the bank verification thing. I didn’t want to lose my time and I just decided to wait a few days to see what happened as I was not in a hurry. It took about 3 days for the hold to be lifted from my account. I guess they verify even if you don’t call. So, if you are in this situation and want to save yourself the hassle, and you are not in a hurry, just be patient and give it a few days.

  28. Hi, was wondering if you could answer this. I applied for C1 card here in Canada. I received the offer by mail and applied online with access code # that they had provided me on their letter. I was approved instantly but I did not know my credit limit until they sent me a letter saying I was approved and to find attached my information package. Turns out I have been approved for initial amount for $5000. and nowhere do they ask me for security deposit, Does this means I was approved for a unsecured card? Letter is dated May 10th receied letter on May 21, now I went and chatted online with a C1 rep and he said that I probably had a good score.. Card would follow in the next 7-10 days… My question to this after reading all the posts, do Canadians receive an email as well saying that CC is on its way? I tried their phone# and option 3, they ask for your phone # I did so but they say that it is unvalid and to try again????? I am a bit skeptical and wonder if I will ever get the card….. Will keep you posted!!

    • newdirt.org newdirt.org says:

      Sounds like you were approved for an unsecured card. Congrats. Not a bad credit limit either! I don’t know about the email, I’m sure each case is different. I guess not everyone gets one, though you would expect to at least receive confirmation that you have been approved.

  29. LOL!! I went and chatted again in French with this person from C1 named MaClaine (What a name, oh well!!) Si I asked her about the email that is sent about them sending the card… Her or his answer: Please do not worry!! This was repeated to me at least 5 times, funny all I asked was about if I was going to get a email!!! My answer was: I am not worried, just curious to know if we Canadians get a email from C1 like the Americans! Si I never really got an answer except NOT TO WORRY that I will be getting my card soon…. ahahahaha

  30. I also just closed my Cap One Secured card this month, after learning that there was absolutely no possibility of upgrading to a non-secured card. They encouraged me to apply for a new card, but since they pull all three credit bureaus, I didn’t want a new inquiry on every credit report.

    My question is about CreditInform – I loved that service, and only after I cancelled did I remember that it was provided by Cap One. I’m wondering how quickly they cancelled that for you, and if I have a chance of getting at least one more free score from them at the beginning of next month.

    • newdirt.org newdirt.org says:

      I’m not sure how quickly they cancel your CreditInform membership once you close your card. I stopped using mine long before I closed my CapOne account. I started buying reports directly from Experian and later on from myFico.com, that provides real FICO scores which is what you want to be looking at.

      If you do find out let us know. I’m sure other people would be interested in knowing.

  31. guest1989 says:

    Hey i just got a approval letter from capital one saying all i need to do is send 49.00. Just made the payment today june 29 2013. Are they gonna want any documents verifying my identity or am i all set ? Should i just recieve my card easily activate it ? First credit card thx

  32. Awesome post and thanks much for sharing! Reading your blog posts (this one and the previous one) helped me decide on using Capital One. I’ll post an update about my own progress soon. Thanks again and take care.

  33. May I simply say what a relief to discover somebody that actually knows what they are discussing on the net.
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  34. I am sure this paragraph has touched all the internet visitors, its really really pleasant
    post on building up new blog.

  35. Hey guys. So I just applied & approved for my c1 secured card last night for a $99 deposit. I made the deposit & got a (print confirmation) webpage after I hit submit saying deposit was made w/confirmation #. Below it said continue. So I clicked continue & it just took me back to the C1 home page. Nothing else stating the ETA for my new card in the mail. Like I said, I got a confirmation/transaction page/# does My question is, how long does it take for them to withdrawal the $100 & card to usually take to get here. My online banking hasn’t posted about the $100 withdrew yet, nor have I received any kind of email yet as well. I know it was just yesterday, but still I think I should at least received some sort of email. Idk, maybe I’m just being paranoid about getting scammed for $100. Lol.

  36. Very good article. I certainly love this website.

    Stick with it!

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  38. Hi, I think your site might be having browser compatibility issues.
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  39. Very good information. Lucky me I recently found your blog by accident (stumbleupon).
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  40. Using a secured credit card is by far the easiest and most effective way to build or rebuild credit. All it takes is time and patience.

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