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Compared: Visa OpenSky vs. Capital One Secured

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The Verdict

Cap One Secured is better than OpenSky because it provides a credit option for low credit customers with no annual fee

The Capital One Secured MasterCard and the OpenSky Secured Visa Credit Card are both secured cards for people with poor credit history who want to rebuild or establish credit.

Each credit card is basic and no-frills.

For both, you put down a deposit and you're given a low credit limit.

That gives you get the chance to increase your credit score with responsible use.

There are no cash-back or rewards programs for either card.

No annual fee for the Cap One Secured

But there is a difference that puts the Cap One Secured card over the top in comparison to the OpenSky card.

OpenSky comes with a $35 annual fee.

Cap One Secured has no annual fee.

No annual fee means this contest goes to the Cap One.

More People Are Familiar with Interest Rates than Annual Fees

Why Cap One Secured Is Stronger

Cap One Secured is stronger because of the $0 annual fee

There are lots of secured credit cards out there designed to help people with poor credit history establish or rebuild their credit.

A lot of them come with no annual fee.

Cap One Secured is included in that group.

OpenSky isn't.

It will be $35 a year for OpenSky. If you really want to rebuild your credit score you should be planning to keep your oldest credit cards active.

If you do that with OpenSky you'll be paying $35 a year to keep it alive.

With a $0 annual fee that's not the case with the Cap One Secured.

People love the Cap One Secured because they can get a credit limit that's higher than the cost of their security deposit

The deposit doesn't have to match the credit limit dollar-for-dollar. Online reviews and comments on the Capital One Secured MasterCard are very positive.

Many people appreciate the chance to put down $49 or $99 in security deposit payments to access $200 worth of credit.

A lot of people topped up the initial deposit and the credit limit went up even further.

One blog post comments thread has stories of people who put down $49 for a $300 credit line.

Then they added $200 and it got bumped up to $500.

Another person had an initial deposit of $49, and when they added $200 their credit limit was $1,450.

The biggest customer complaint: it's hard to get an unsecured card

People are keen to graduate. Low credit score customers get this card for one main reason: to rebuild their credit score so they can get access to solid credit.

Then they make payments on time and they can move on.

So it's not surprising that Cap One Secured customers are keen to increase their scores and graduate to an unsecured card.

Maybe customers' expectations are a little high.

But some talk about it taking a couple of years with perfect credit payments to get their deposit refunded so they can graduate to an unsecured card.

The takeaway

Go with the highest credit limit you can get for your deposit. With most low-credit cards you have to match the credit limit with a security deposit dollar-for-dollar.

But with the Cap One Secured MasterCard, you can get a credit limit that's higher than the deposit you put down.

It's common for a $49 deposit to get a person $200 in credit. And if you increase the deposit before activating the card your limit will get even higher.

Then again, OpenSky doesn't even run a credit check

No credit check means no hit to your credit score. Applying for a credit card usually requires a credit check.

When the credit bureaus see that a credit check has been requested, your credit score automatically goes down.

According to OpenSky, there is "No credit check necessary" with its "worry-free application."

People love OpenSky because it helps them rebuild their credit score

You don't even need to have a credit score to apply. The OpenSky Secured Visa gives people with low credit scores – or even no credit scores! – the opportunity to get some credit.

Even folks who need to rebuild after bankruptcy can be approved.

Once they have some credit, they can start using it responsibly.

When they pay on time and in full every month, all three credit bureaus get a report.

How Credit Card Holders Pay their Debt?

Customers say they've been able to successfully increase their scores over time.

They don't get hit with a ding by going through a credit check when they apply.

And having a credit card and using it sensibly makes their scores shoot up.

The biggest customer complaints about OpenSky are about problems getting your deposit returned

You need a lot of patience. OpenSky tells its customers that they can get their deposit back when they've paid in full and canceled the card.

Customers say they are told they will have their $200 deposit refunded within 4-6 weeks.

But many report that after 7 or 8 weeks they haven't seen it returned.

The takeaway

No credit score? No problem. If you are concerned that applying for a credit card and having a credit check run on you will potentially hurt your credit score, OpenSky is a good solution.

Rather than starting the journey to rebuild your credit score with an automatic hit to your score, you can start increasing right away.

How Cap One Secured compares to OpenSky

Cap One Secured OpenSky
How high of credit score do you need? >300 You don't need one
Average APR? 24.99% 18.39%
Annual fee? $0 $35
How big of a sign-up bonus do you get? None None
How much do you need to spend to get the bonus? NA NA
How many points do you get for every dollar? 0 0
Any restrictions? NA NA
If you spent $100 on the card, then how much would the points be worth in dollars? $0 $0
How much would you need to spend on the card to make up for the fees (excluding APR/rates)? NA NA

About The Companies

They both help people improve their low credit scores

Many options for people with low credit scores. A whole industry has been developed to help with the needs of people who have low credit scores.

Both of these cards are designed to meet those needs by giving credit to subprime customers.

About Cap One Secured

It's the first rung on the Capital One credit card ladder. The Capital One Secured MasterCard is the only secured credit card offered by Capital One.

However, by using this card responsibly it is possible to graduate to the Capital One Platinum card.

Eventually, you'll qualify for Capital One's cash-back cards with the QuicksilverOne Platinum card (at a $39 annual fee).

When your credit score is high enough you'll graduate again to the no-fee Quicksilver Platinum card.

You're the perfect customer for the Cap One Secured if you can keep your balance paid

Don't carry a balance or you'll pay for it. With a purchase APR of 24.99%, you are not going to want to carry a balance on this card.

Instead, you should use it as a tool to get your credit score increased.

That means paying on time and in full every month.

After 5 months your credit limit will be increased without having to increase your deposit.

About OpenSky

It's got a bit of a dubious reputation. OpenSky Secured Visa is provided by Capital Bank.

It doesn't have a very good reputation, with a miserable D-minus grade from the Better Business Bureau.

You're the perfect customer for OpenSky if you are "credit invisible"

Don't be invisible anymore. According to CNBC.com, 45 million Americans don't even have a credit score. It's called being "credit invisible."

Who are the credit invisibles?

If you're one of those people but you'd like to start building a score the OpenSky Visa is for you.

Since there is no credit check involved, anyone – even someone without a credit score – can get approved as long as they have the deposit and are OK with paying the annual fee.

How The Services Compare

What are the core services offered by Cap One Secured and OpenSky?

Cough up a deposit and start rebuilding your score. Both of these secured cards have the same core service, which is to give people the chance to put down a deposit and get access to a credit card.

Then they make their balance payments, which are reported to the credit bureaus, and their scores start to climb.

But there are lots of differences including the ratio of your deposit to the amount of credit you get and the purchase APR.

The good and the bad about Cap One Secured's core services

The deposit isn't always dollar-for-dollar with the credit limit. The Capital One Secured MasterCard charges a $49, $99, or $200 deposit to access a $200 credit limit.

The security deposit you're charged is based on your creditworthiness.

After you've put down what you've been told you need to deposit to access the $200, you can increase your deposit.

So for example, if you've put down $99 to get the $200, you can put down another $200 which might result in a $600 limit.

After 5 months, if you've been good with your payments your credit limit will get increased with no additional deposit required.

The Capital One Secured MasterCard charges a high APR at 24.99% on purchases. There is no intro APR rate for new accounts.

The good and the bad about OpenSky's core services

Your deposit equals your credit limit. OpenSky Secured Visa credit card charges a $200 security deposit for its customers to access a $200 credit limit.

There is no credit check involved in the application process.

If you'd like to increase your credit limit you have to increase your deposit.

Credit limits are matched dollar-for-dollar by the security deposit and the maximum is $3,000.

Lower APR but nowhere to go. Its APR is lower than the Cap One Secured at 18.39% on purchases.

There are no other Visa cards offered by OpenSky for cardholders to graduate to when they improve their credit score. There is no intro APR rate for new accounts.

The takeaway

OpenSky's services are very limited. The only credit you'll get has to be backed 100% by your security deposit.

Rewards and Bonuses

What are the types of rewards and bonuses are offered by Cap One Secured and OpenSky?

These are a couple of no-frills credit cards. Another thing these two cards have in common is that neither gives you cash-back, rewards, or bonus points for spending.

The good and the bad about Cap One Secured rewards and bonuses

Maybe someday, but not now. The Capital One Secured MasterCard doesn't give cardholders any cash-back, rewards, or bonuses.

You'll have to build your score and graduate to the Capital One QuicksilverOne Platinum to start earning cash back.

The good and the bad about OpenSky rewards and bonuses

Nada. There are none. There is no cash back, rewards or bonus points offered by OpenSky.

This is the company's only product, so you'll have to build your score and apply with another provider to get rewarded for spending.

The takeaway

These cards are not rewarding. Neither of these cards is suitable for people who need to earn cash back, rewards or points for their spending.

But at least with the Cap One Secured there is a chance to graduate to a better card for cash back.

Benefits

What are the benefits offered by Cap One Secured and OpenSky?

Benefits are standard. The Cap One Secured is a MasterCard and OpenSky is a Visa, so each one comes with its card's standard benefits.

The good and the bad about the Cap One Secured benefits

You get Platinum MasterCard benefits. The Capital One Secured MasterCard comes with Platinum MasterCard benefits.

That includes an extended warranty where your warranty period is doubled. With Price Protection you get reimbursed the difference if you find an item you bought on the card at a lower price.

For travelers, there are 24/7 travel assistance services, 24/7 roadside assistance, and travel and rental car insurance.

There is also fraud coverage, personalized payment dates, and 24/7 customer service with the Capital One Secured MasterCard.

The good and the bad about OpenSky benefits

Visa benefits are yours.

OpenSky's benefits include travel insurance, fraud liability protection and insurance, and emergency support.

It has online assistance as well as 24/7 phone customer assistance.

One extra the card offers is an interest-free grace period for the first billing period.

The takeaway

Take your pick for benefits. Both of these cards offer standard basic benefits offered by Mastercard and Visa.

The chance to set up a personalized payment date is only offered by the Cap One Secured.

And the interest-free grace period is unique to OpenSky.

You'll have to decide which benefit is more important to you.

Comparing The Costs and Fees

What are the costs and fees associated with Cap One Secured and OpenSky?

No annual fee vs. $35? No contest. This is one category that pushed the Cap One Secured card over the top in comparison to OpenSky.

OpenSky's annual fee can be avoided by choosing the Cap One Secured.

The good and the bad about Cap One Secured costs and fees

Low fees create satisfaction. There's no annual fee for the Capital One Secured MasterCard. It doesn't charge foreign transaction fees either.

You will be charged a fee of $10 if you get a cash advance. And a late payment fee could be up to $35.

Outstanding Unpaid Consumer Credit

The good and the bad about OpenSky costs and fees

Lots of fees are frustrating. The worst thing about OpenSky is its $35 annual fee.

But there's more.

You get charged $25 for increasing your credit limit. If you want a replacement card quickly it costs $50.

There's a "Document Fee" of $3.

Returned payment fees are up to $25.

Late payment fees are up to $27. It's $6 for a cash advance.

And the Foreign Transaction fee is 3% of the sale.

The takeaway

Save yourself some money and go with the Cap One Secured. The Cap One Secured has very few fees, especially compared to the OpenSky card where you get fees left and right.

Customer Service

What kind of customer service can you expect with Cap One Secured and OpenSky?

Service quality counts. Both of these cards offer 24/7 phone customer service. But what happens when people actually access the service?

The good and the bad for Cap One Secured customer service

Stigma for secured cards? Capital One gets barely over one star on the ConsumerAffairs.com customer review page.

Customers complain that the 5-6 weeks it took to clear their deposit was unreasonable.

Another customer told the story of being treated poorly because secured cards are associated with fraud.

The good and the bad for OpenSky customer service

You'll lose your dignity. As we mentioned earlier OpenSky has a D-minus with the Better Business Bureau.

The only reviews on the BBB site are negative ones.

Customer service complaints include people saying they have to stay on hold for hours using the phone support line.

People also complain that the service they received when there was fraudulent activity was undignified and took forever.

The takeaway

Cap One Secured wins with the highest grade. Capital One Secured MasterCard has some complaints and low scores from its customers.

But OpenSky's D-minus grade with the Better Business Bureau is a huge red flag since that score is determined in part by the number of unresolved complaints received.

Key Digital Services

What special digital features can you expect with both Cap One Secured and OpenSky?

You should expect a mobile app. Both of these cards can be managed via online banking. But only Cap One Secured offers a smartphone app.

The good and the bad about Cap One Secured digital services

You get a mobile app and digital wallet. You can manage your Capital One Secured Mastercard account through the online platform.

Unlike OpenSky, Capital One has a mobile app for its credit card users to manage their accounts from their smartphone.

The bank also lets you download a digital wallet so can track your purchases and link your Capital One Secured MasterCard to Apple Pay.

The good and the bad about OpenSky digital services

Where's the app? OpenSky customers can manage their account at any time through online access.

You can get e-statements to avoid the $3 document charge for paper statements.

The card doesn't offer a smartphone app. However, the online site is mobile-friendly.

The takeaway

You deserve a mobile app. If you're paying $35 a year for a credit card account you would hope that it includes a mobile app.

You get the app with no annual fee by going with the Capital One Secured MasterCard.

Getting Started

Different application processes. The application process is different for each of these cards. For example, the Cap One Secured runs a credit check on you and OpenSky doesn't.

What Types of Credit Do People Apply For The Most? (2016)

Best way to begin with Cap One Secured

Pre-qualify with no hit to your credit score.

You can check if you can pre-qualify for a Capital One credit card by filling out an online form.

It doesn't count as a credit application so it won't affect your credit score.

You'll be able to apply online for the Capital One Secured MasterCard and that will hit your credit score since there will be a credit check.

You will be offered a minimum security deposit of $49, $99, or $200 to get your initial credit limit of $200.

If you're able to top that up with a little more of a deposit, your credit limit will be increased.

The higher your limit the better your chance you have of increasing your score if you stay on top of payments.

How best to begin with OpenSky

Max your security deposit. OpenSky offers an application that you can do from a computer, tablet, or smartphone.

The only way you can sign up is through the website. You can't phone in an application.

When you fill in your application you indicate what your security deposit will be.

That dictates what your credit limit will be.

The higher your credit limit the better your chance to improve your score with the credit bureaus since your amount of unused credit is a scoring factor.

What It's Like To Cancel

Get that deposit back! It's natural to want to cancel a secured credit card – you probably want that security deposit back sooner or later.

Canceling with Cap One Secured

Graduate to unsecured. The best way to finish with your Cap One Secured MasterCard account is to graduate to an unsecured Capital One MasterCard.

According to a blog post by Beverly Harzog, lots of her followers have reported graduating from the Cap One Secured to an unsecured Platinum One card.

If you aren't offered one after 8 months of good credit behavior call 1-800-CAPITAL (1-800-227-4825) to see if you can be considered.

Old but good. That's also the number you can call if you want to close your account, perhaps after your credit score has improved.

But keep in mind that closing your oldest credit cards shows up as a negative on your credit score.

Since there's no annual fee you might as well hold on to it. If it's unused credit your score will continue to improve.

Finishing with OpenSky

Give them a call and get your money back. OpenSky instructs its cardholders to get in touch with Customer Service at 1-800-859-6412 to cancel.

You will get your security deposit returned once the account is closed and your balance is paid in full. You should expect the deposit returned within 4 weeks.

FAQ

Are either of these cards good for balance transfers?

OpenSky Secured Visa is a better card for balance transfers because the APR is much less at 18.99% compared to Cap One Secured's 24.99% APR.

There is no balance transfer fee charged for either of these secured cards.

How do cash advances work with these cards?

When you get a cash advance using either of these cards, you get charged the usual purchase APR from the moment of sale.

For Cap One Secured that's 24.99% and for OpenSky Secured Visa it's 18.99%.

That's a good deal, considering many companies charge a higher APR for cash advances.

However, both companies charge a cash advance fee. For Cap One Secured it's $10. For OpenSky it's $6.

What are the security features of each card?

Both cards offer fraud insurance and fraud liability protection.

Only Cap One Secure provides security alerts through text, e-mail, or phone.

Can I qualify for these cards if I have gone through a bankruptcy?

Yes for both. You can qualify for the Cap One Secured as long as you have a bank account because that's where your deposit has to come from.

Since there is no credit check with OpenSky a person who has gone through bankruptcy can apply as long as they can come up with a minimum $200 deposit.

They don't even need a bank account.

Use Cap One Secured to rebuild your credit for no annual fee

If you've got bad credit and can come up with some funds to put down a security deposit, the Cap One Secured is your best bet.

It doesn't charge an annual fee.

You usually don't have to match your credit limit dollar-for-dollar with your deposit amount.

There is the chance to get your credit limit increased with no increase in your deposit.

And perhaps most importantly, Capital One has other unsecured cards that you can graduate to once your credit score improves.

If you have no credit score, no credit history, or no bank account, you can still get approved by OpenSky Secured Visa.

You can make your payments and they will be reported to the credit bureaus. Your credit score will increase.

But be ready to pay your annual fee.

Do you use either the Cap One Secured or OpenSky Secured Visa cards?

How has it worked out for you?

Any great tips (or nightmares) to share with the rest of us?

Let us know in the comments below.


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