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A rarity in the Canadian credit card market, the Capital One® Low Rate Guaranteed Mastercard® is a solution for cardholders who need to reduce their exposure to high interest and rebuild credit, but may not have high enough credit scores to qualify for most low-interest cards. Applicants are guaranteed to be approved for one of two versions of the card: those with higher credit scores will be approved for the Gold Low Rate card, and those with lower credit scores will be approved for the Secured card (conditions apply). Both offer low interest rates, but the Gold is an unsecured card with extra features, and the Secured has less features and requires security funds.

Pros and cons

Pros

Pros

  • Guaranteed approval for Gold or Secured version

  • Low interest rate on purchases and transfers

  • Gold version offers extra perks like Price Protection

  • Benefits tailored for those with low credit scores

  • Competitive compared to similar secured cards

Cons

Cons

  • Annual fee

  • Secured version lacks some features of Gold

  • Cash advance interest rate is relatively high

  • Limited travel insurance, only with Gold version

  • Benefits may not outweigh annual fee for some

Capital One® Low Rate Guaranteed Mastercard® interest rates

The key benefit for cardholders with the Capital One® Low Rate Guaranteed Mastercard® (be it the Gold or Secured version) is its sensible 14.90% interest rate, which is applied to purchases and balance transfers alike. 14.9% is a low interest rate for cardholders with poor credit, and a lower rate makes it more feasible to carry a balance to the next month when need be.

In comparison with other cards in the guaranteed/secured category—like the Home Trust Secured Visa—the Capital One® Low Rate Guaranteed Mastercard® is competitive. Home Trust’s Low Rate Secured Visa also offers a 14.90% purchase interest rate but for a $59 (or $5/month) annual fee (with less added perks and features than the Capital One® Low Rate Guaranteed Mastercard®), and 19.99% for those who don’t want to pay an annual fee.

However, the biggest benefit of the Capital One® Low Rate Guaranteed Mastercard® isn’t the fact that it has favourable interest rates; it’s that the rates are available via guaranteed approval (conditions apply). This is extremely useful for those who need to escape rates of 20.00%+ but who also have low credit scores. We hasten to emphasize that the 14.9% rate applies to not only purchases but balance transfers as well, which is a saving grace for those who were rejected from more popular balance transfer cards which typically require at least average/fair credit scores.

Cash advances accrue interest at a relatively standard rate of 19.80%.

Feature breakdown

  • $79 annual fee
  • Guaranteed approval (conditions apply)
  • 14.90% rate on purchases and balance transfers
  • Gold benefits include Price Protection, Purchase Assurance and more
  • Basic travel insurance services (with Gold card only)
  • Mastercard perks like Zero Liability

Some of the benefits listed above are specific to the Gold card only. One such perk, Price Protection, is particularly rare in Canada. If a cardholder charges an item to the card and later notices that it’s been marked down (within 60 days of purchase), they can use the price protection feature and request up to $100 to make up the pricing difference. This feature can be utilized for up to $500 in total reimbursements each year.

Purchase Assurance and Extended Warranties work to protect most personal items bought with the card as well. Purchases are covered against damage and theft for 120 days, and original manufacturer’s warranties on eligible items are doubled up to two additional years. In addition, travellers can look forward to common carrier travel accident insurance, delayed baggage insurance and car rental collision/loss damage insurance as well. All of the above features are available with the Gold card only.

Who’s the card for?

There are few guaranteed low-interest cards that can stand up to the Capital One® Low Rate Guaranteed Mastercard®. While the Home Trust Secured card offers a similar purchase interest rate for a lower annual fee ($79 versus $59), it doesn’t offer the Gold card’s extraneous benefits, such as Price Protection.

The card is ideal for those with low credit scores who need a break from high interest. With effortless approval, a competitive balance transfer and purchase rate, plus some special perks, the Capital One® Low Rate Guaranteed Mastercard® is one of the most comprehensive lower-tier credit cards around.

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