Table of Contents In this article

Why You Can Trust CNET Money

CNET Money’s mission is to help you maximize your financial potential. Our recommendations are based on our editors’ independent research and analysis, and we continuously update our content to reflect current partner offers. How we rate credit cards
Advertiser Disclosure

CNET editors independently choose every product and service we cover. Though we can’t review every available financial company or offer, we strive to make comprehensive, rigorous comparisons in order to highlight the best of them. For many of these products and services, we earn a commission. The compensation we receive may impact how products and links appear on our site.

Indigo Mastercard: Build Credit Without a Security Deposit

This card offers a straightforward way to grow your credit score -- but comes with a low credit line and potential annual fee.

Indigo® Mastercard®

7.5/10 CNET Rating CNET rates credit cards by comparing their offers to those of their categorical competitors. Each card is individually evaluated through a formula which reflects the standards and expectations of the contemporary market. Credit card issuers have no say or influence in our ratings. How we rate credit cards
CNET’S PICK
Indigo® Mastercard®
Learn More

Indigo® Mastercard®

7.5/10 CNET Rating CNET rates credit cards by comparing their offers to those of their categorical competitors. Each card is individually evaluated through a formula which reflects the standards and expectations of the contemporary market. Credit card issuers have no say or influence in our ratings. How we rate credit cards
Intro Offer
No current offer
Annual fee
$0 – $99
APR
24.90%
Rewards rate
N/A This card doesn’t offer cash back, miles, or points
Rewards Rate
N/A

If you’re just starting your credit journey, you probably don’t have many credit card options. But there are some credit cards designed specifically for beginners -- and the Indigo® Mastercard®* is one of them.

The Indigo Mastercard can be a helpful first credit card if you want to grow your credit score. It’s also worth considering if you’re rebuilding your score and want a credit card without a security deposit.

Here’s what to know about the Indigo Mastercard, how it works and other alternative cards to explore. 

Card perks

The Indigo Mastercard has few perks because its focus is more about building credit and less about earning rewards. You won’t earn rewards with this card, but it also isn’t secured, which means it doesn’t require a security deposit like other credit-building secured credit cards.

You can also see if you’re eligible through prequalification -- this lets you know if you’re eligible for the card but doesn’t cause a hard credit check on your credit score. It’s definitely a perk if you’re shopping around for a card and don’t want to risk completing an application, getting denied and dinging your credit.

This card also reports to the three major credit bureaus -- Equifax, Experian and Transunion. For newbie credit users, this is important because that’s the only way to show how responsible you are with credit.

Fees and limitations

Since this card focuses more on credit-building and not necessarily perks are rewards, there are some limitations with the Indigo Mastercard, including:

  • No rewards, welcome, sign-up, or introductory offer
  • An annual fee ranging from $0 to $99
  • Low maximum credit limit of up to $300
  • High maximum APR at 24.90%
  • A foreign transaction fee of 1%

Your annual fee depends on your credit score, and you won’t know your annual fee until after you complete an application. To compare, the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express charges a $0 intro annual fee the first year, then $95 thereafter, but you earn a slew of rewards, like 6% cash back at U.S. supermarkets (up to $6,000 per year, then 1%) and on select U.S. streaming subscriptions. You don’t get any rewards from the Indigo Mastercard. 

Many non-travel cards have a standard 3% foreign transaction fee, so we do like that the Indigo Mastercard’s fee is lower. This may be helpful if you’re traveling outside the country and need to use this card.

Terms apply to American Express benefits and offers. Enrollment may be required for select American Express benefits and offers. Visit americanexpress.com to learn more.

Comparable cards

Capital One Platinum Credit Card*

This Capital One card is a secured card, but you get some bonus options even for low-entry deposits. For instance, you could make an initial deposit of $49 but still get the $200 credit line. You can increase your credit limit when you increase your deposit. After six months of proving credit responsibility, you may be able to convert to an unsecured line, and your deposit gets refunded. 

Read our full review of the Platinum Secured Credit Card from Capital One.

Discover it® Secured Credit Card

Like the Indigo Mastercard, you can see if you prequalify for this card without completing a full application. It’s still a secured card, which means your credit limit is based on your security deposit. After seven months, Discover will begin automatic monthly account reviews to see if you qualify to upgrade to an unsecured card get your deposit back. It’s one of the few secured cards that offer rewards: 2% cash back at restaurants and gas stations (up to $1,000 in combined purchases each quarter) plus 1% cash back on all other purchases.

Read our full review of the Discover it Secured Credit Card*.

How Indigo® Mastercard® compares to other cards

CNET’S PICK
Indigo® Mastercard®
Learn More

Indigo® Mastercard®

7.5/10 CNET Rating CNET rates credit cards by comparing their offers to those of their categorical competitors. Each card is individually evaluated through a formula which reflects the standards and expectations of the contemporary market. Credit card issuers have no say or influence in our ratings. How we rate credit cards
Intro Offer
No current offer
Annual fee
$0 – $99
APR
24.90%
Intro Purchase APR
N/A
Rewards rate
N/A This card doesn’t offer cash back, miles, or points
Discover it® Secured Credit Card
Learn More

Discover it® Secured Credit Card

8/10 CNET Rating CNET rates credit cards by comparing their offers to those of their categorical competitors. Each card is individually evaluated through a formula which reflects the standards and expectations of the contemporary market. Credit card issuers have no say or influence in our ratings. How we rate credit cards
Intro Offer
Cashback Match™ Intro Offer: Unlimited Cashback Match – only from Discover. Discover will automatically match all the cash back you’ve earned at the end of your first year! There’s no minimum spending or maximum rewards. Just a dollar-for-dollar match.
Annual fee
$0
APR
28.24% Variable APR
Intro Purchase APR
N/A
Rewards rate
1% – 2% Earn 2% cash back at Gas Stations and Restaurants on up to $1,000 in combined purchases each quarter.; Earn unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases – automatically.
Petal® 2

Petal® 2 “Cash Back, No Fees” Visa® Credit Card

9/10 CNET Rating CNET rates credit cards by comparing their offers to those of their categorical competitors. Each card is individually evaluated through a formula which reflects the standards and expectations of the contemporary market. Credit card issuers have no say or influence in our ratings. How we rate credit cards
Intro Offer
No current offer
Annual fee
$0
APR
18.24% – 32.24% (Variable)
Intro Purchase APR
N/A
Rewards rate
1% – 1.5% Up to 1.5% cash back on eligible purchases after making 12 on-time monthly payments.; 1% cash back on eligible purchases right away.

FAQs

The best credit card to repair your credit will depend on your credit score, history and financial situation. While secured cards can help you boost your credit with responsible use, they do require an upfront security deposit to serve as your credit line. A no-annual-fee card can also be helpful when rebuilding your credit, so you don’t have to worry about maximizing rewards to offset this fee.

If you are at least 18, have a valid Social Security number, and can complete an income and debt review, you might be eligible for an Indigo Mastercard. Remember that you can check your chances of approval first through prequalification, which doesn’t trigger a hard credit inquiry on your report. So even if you aren’t sure if you’d get approved, prequalifying will let you know if you’re a good candidate to complete a full application.

A secured card isn’t required to start building up credit, but it can be easier to get approved for than other cards. If you can find an issuer willing to take a chance on you -- say, with a lower credit limit than other borrowers -- then you may not need a secured card to start (or restart) your credit journey. But for some credit card users, a secured card might be the only option available.

*All information about the Indigo Mastercard, Capital One Platinum Secured Credit Card, and the Discover it Secured Credit Card has been collected independently by CNET and has not been reviewed by the issuer.

The editorial content on this page is based solely on objective, independent assessments by our writers and is not influenced by advertising or partnerships. It has not been provided or commissioned by any third party. However, we may receive compensation when you click on links to products or services offered by our partners.

Dori Zinn loves helping people learn and understand money. She's been covering personal finance for a decade and her writing has appeared in Wirecutter, Credit Karma, Huffington Post and more.