We consider a two-layer fluid of finite depth with a free surface and, in particular, the surface tension at the free surface and the interface. The usual assumptions of a linearized theory are considered. The objective of this work is to analyse the effect of surface tension on trapped modes, when a horizontal circular cylinder is submerged in either of the layers of a two-layer fluid. By setting up boundary value problems for both of the layers, we find the frequencies for which trapped waves exist. Then, we numerically analyse the effect of variation of surface tension parameters on the trapped modes, and conclude that realistic changes in surface tension do not have a significant effect on the frequencies of these. © 2015 Australian Mathematical Society.