Milestone Gold Mastercard Review: Is It an Ideal Card If You Have Bad Credit?
The Milestone Gold Mastercard is a credit card for those with bad credit that offers the advantage of requiring no credit check and instant approval.
This card is one of a couple of “bad credit cards” that Bank of Missouri offers – the First Access Card is another card from the bank.
In general, cards for bad credit don’t offer many – if any – rewards and their interest rates are high, mainly because the banks offering the cards want to protect themselves from the risk of you not paying off your card. Higher interest rates equate to more money they can make if you carry a balance, which is one of the habits common among those with bad credit.
Even though the terms of these cards aren’t ideal, there are still some advantages to owning a credit card for people with bad credit. In this review, we’re going to look at what the Milestone Mastercard offers and talk about how using it wisely can increase your credit scores.
Then, we’ll compare this card to other credit cards to give you a sense of context – it's a good idea to know if other cards have advantages over this one.
The Milestone Gold Mastercard’s Rates and Fees
In most of the credit card reviews we do, the first section we cover is rewards, which come in the form of travel miles or free cash that you earn every time you use the card.
Most credit cards that are made for people for bad credit forego rewards because, quite simply, our research has shown that most lenders don’t want to give you free stuff if you’ve got bad credit scores (630 or lower). In their mind, you’re a much higher risk of not paying off your card and, eventually, ending up in collections.
So, rather than give you free rewards they have to pay for, they forego those perks and raise interest rates as well as implement various fees you wouldn’t get if you had a rewards credit card designed for people with good credit.
The Milestone Mastercard has five different tiers of annual fee structures and one APR, 23.9%. We’ll list those fee structures below, ranked from best to worst and listing the card:
- $35 annual fee
- $59 annual fee
- $75 annual fee first year, $99 after
- $5 account opening fee, $70 annual fee first year, $99 after
- $50 account opening fee, $25 annual fee first year, $99 after
The main thing you need to know about these fees is that the account opening fees for the last two tiers are required when you apply for the card, whereas the annual fees are added to your credit card balance.
According to the fine print, if the bank returns the account opening fee you pay when you apply for the Milestone Mastercard, then Bank of Missouri will close your account. So, make sure you have money in the bank to cover the cost of the fee.
The trick with these pricing structures is that you won’t know which one you get until Bank of Missouri approves your card. Based on our experience, the better your credit scores, the better the annual fee tier. If your scores are in the low- to mid-600's, there’s a good chance you can get the$35 or $59 annual fee.
Once you get below 600, expect a higher annual fee and, in many cases, a $5 or $50 account opening fee.
The other rates and fees you need to know about are:
- Penalty APR: 29.9% that kicks in indefinitely after your first late payment
- Cash advance APR: 29.9%
- Cash advance fee: $0 the first year, $5 or 5% (whichever is greater) after
- Late/ returned payment/ over limit fees: Up to $38
Our advice, based on these fees, is that you avoid cash advances, which means using your credit card to withdraw cash from an ATM. After the first year of owning the card, you’ll be charged a $5 fee every time you withdraw less than $100 and your APR on the amount you withdrew will be 29.9%.
Pro tip: If Bank of Missouri doesn’t approve you for a card or you cancel the card before you make a transaction, the fine print says your account opening fee will be refunded.
The Benefits of the Milestone Mastercard
There is a pair of main benefits to this credit card. First, you don’t have to make a cash deposit in order to open the card. Some cards are known as “secured” cards and require a deposit in order to get a card. Also, that deposit acts as your credit limit. So, the fact that the Milestone doesn’t require a security deposit is a plus.
Second, the card provides Gold Mastercard benefits, two of which can be really helpful for everyday products you purchase with your card.
The two main benefits you get from this program are extended warranties and price protection. Basically, these two programs apply to purchases you make with your Milestone card. Mastercard matches the warranty on items with manufacturer’s warranties of one year or less. So, if your TV has a one-year warranty, your card will add another year to that warranty.
Price protection will, in some cases, provide a refund to you if an item you buy goes down in price within 60 days of your purchase. According to the Mastercard guide to benefits, some of the types of purchases that aren’t eligible for price protection are: jewelry, art, antique items, items for commercial use, layaway items and a few others.
If you want to learn all the details about these two programs, you’ll need to read through the benefits guide Bank of Missouri sends along with your card.
Comparing the Milestone Gold Mastercard to Other Credit Cards for Bad Credit
|Milestone Mastercard||First Access||Credit One Platinum||OpenSky||Discover it Secured|
|APR||23.9%||29.99%||19.74% - 25.74%||19.14%||24.74%|
|Annual Fee||$35 - $99||$75 1st year, $48 after||$0 - $99||$35||$0|
|Rewards||None||None||1% on everything||None||2% on gas, 1% everything else|
|Security Deposit||None||None||None||$200 - $3,000||$200 - $500|
|Extra Yearly Fees||$5 or $50 account opening fee||$75 after 1st year||None||None||None|
The Milestone Mastercard doesn’t have many advantages over competing cards in this chart.
For example, the Credit One Platinum has a lower APR, no fees and a single annual fee that’s lower than all but one of the Milestone tiers. The card doesn’t have any rewards, either.
Its account opening fees are the only ones of its kind in this chart. Although, the Total Access charges a $6.25 monthly maintenance fee after the first year ($75/year).
In general, compared to the other cards in the chart, the Milestone is average. However, that doesn’t mean it is void of value.
» For Further Reading: Best Secured Credit Card for Bad Credit of 2018
How to Use the Milestone Gold Mastercard to Increase Your Credit
The single most important factor in raising your credit score is making on-time payments. In fact, 35% of your score depends on it. So, one of the advantages to using the Milestone (and any card, for that matter) is that it gives you the opportunity to put together a good streak of on-time payments.
The more of these payments you make, the more positive data is pumped into your credit score and, barring any other mistakes you make with your credit, you should see your score go up.
The second most important factor for your credit score is keeping your credit card balance at less than 30% of your credit limit. If it goes higher than that, your credit scores will drop.
If you choose to apply for the Milestone card, paying on time and keeping your balances low will help you slowly raise your credit scores.
Bottom Line: Should You Apply for the Milestone Gold Mastercard?
In our opinion, the Milestone Mastercard has some very specific strengths and weaknesses. We believe the main strength is that, if you have credit scores on the upper end of what’s considered bad – 600 - 620 – then your annual fee might be $35, which is one of the lower annual fees we’ve come across for cards for consumers with bad credit.
The downside to the card is that customers with the lowest credit scores will pay the highest annual fee. Also, Bank of Missouri will require an up-front payment in order to open an account in the even they approve your application.
What’s important for you to remember is that most credit cards for bad credit are going to have sparse – if any – benefits and are, at their core, a simple product you can use to raise your credit score.
The goal is to raise your score enough to where you can apply for a better credit card that provides rewards, lower interest rates and other perks that you can’t get right now.