Review of the Citi Secured Mastercard – Is it a Path to Better Credit?

Brendan Harkness

Brendan Harkness | Reviews

Apr 12, 2018

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The Citi Secured Mastercard is designed with a single purpose: to help you improve your credit, whether that means establishing a positive history for the first time or rebuilding from poor scores. If you’re new to credit or have bad credit, it could be right for you.

This is a secured credit card, so it requires a security deposit when you’re approved. Your credit limit will be equal to the deposit you make, up to a maximum of $2,500.

You won’t have to pay an annual fee, so it doesn’t need to cost you anything at all. However, if you’ve had a bankruptcy within the last two years you’ll be ineligible for this card.

There are no rewards for spending with this card either. It’s meant to help build credit, rather than provide points or cash back. By laying down a record of on-time payments and maintaining good financial habits in general, eventually you can qualify for a better card with a valuable rewards program.

The Citi Secured Mastercard is a simple, no-frills way to get on the path to better credit scores. Should it be a part of your credit strategy? Read on to find out.

Citi Secured® Mastercard®
Apply Now

Citi Secured® Mastercard®

For People with
No Credit

  • Annual Fee: None
  • Interest Rate: 23.99% Variable
Quick Card Facts
  • A minimum security deposit of $200 is required when opening the card, with a maximum of $2,500
  • The credit limit will be equal to the security deposit
  • Users can qualify with limited credit
  • Citi Identity Theft Solutions
  • No rewards
  • No annual fee
  • Purchase and balance transfer APR of 23.99% Variable

Our Rating: 3 out of 5 Stars

We give the Citi Secured Mastercard 3 out of 5 Stars because you can build your credit with it for no fee. But it’s extremely basic with no rewards and few benefits.

Why we like this card

  • No annual fee
  • Reports card activity to the three major credit bureaus
  • The security deposit can be up to $2,500
  • If you don’t have a bank account, you can apply for this card in person at a Citibank location

Why this card could be better

  • No rewards, like points or cash back
  • Very basic benefits from Mastercard
  • Can’t increase credit limit after the initial deposit is made

Is this the best secured credit card? Not exactly, although it might be right for you. Compare the Citi Secured Mastercard to some of its competitors below, one of which actually offers some rewards.

Insider Advice: Using This Card as Part of Your Credit Card Strategy

  • Pay your bills on time every month to establish a positive credit history. Your activity will be reported to the three major credit bureaus, so always use the card responsibly.
  • Set up automatic payments for the full statement balance. This will ensure your bill is always paid on time, it will help keep your credit utilization lower, and it will let you avoid any interest charges on purchases.
  • After being approved for this card your security deposit will be automatically withdrawn from your bank account. The minimum deposit is $200, and the maximum deposit it $2,500.
  • If you don’t have a bank account, you can visit a physical Citibank to apply for this card.
  • Your credit limit will be equal to the amount of your security deposit.
  • We recommend making as large of a security deposit as you can, to help your credit utilization. This will also make spending with the card easier, but remember that your deposit will be unavailable to you until you close out the card.
  • You can check to see if you qualify for a better card by looking into any pre-qualification offers you might have waiting.
  • When your credit scores have improved and you can qualify for a better card, pay off the balance on the Citi Secured Mastercard completely. Then you can close it out and get your security deposit back.

Security Deposit

The Citi Secured Mastercard requires a refundable security deposit of $200 to $2,500.

Your credit limit will be equal to the amount you deposit. A $200 deposit will get you a $200 credit limit, a $2,500 deposit will get you a $2,500 limit, etc.

When applying you’ll need to provide bank details like account type, bank account number, and routing number. You also must specify exactly how much you’d like to deposit, in increments of $100. You will not be able to deposit more later on. If you don’t have a checking or savings account, you can still apply for this card by visiting a Citibank in person.

If you’re approved for this card, the security deposit will be automatically withdrawn from your bank account via ACH transfer. In some cases the transfer may take up to 30 days to complete. The deposit will sit in a Collateral Holding Account for 18 months, where it will not earn interest.

We recommend depositing as much as you comfortably can, because a higher credit line will make it easier to keep your credit utilization low. And you won’t worry as much about hitting the limit and being denied for a purchase when shopping.

You can get your security deposit back by paying off the card balance completely, and then closing the card. The funds will be deposited back in your account.

We’re not sure whether or not Citi will upgrade the Secured Mastercard to an unsecured card. Unfortunately, Citi won’t tell you anything about this card over the phone. If you have experience with this card and know whether or not Citi will upgrade it to unsecured, we invite you to reach out and let us know.

The Rewards

You won’t earn any points or cash back with the Citi Secured Mastercard. This is normal for secured cards, with one notable exception being the Discover it Secured Card.

If you have poor credit, improving your credit history is more important than earning rewards. Use this card responsibly to build up your credit over time. Eventually, as your credit scores go up, you’ll be able to qualify for a more valuable card.

The Benefits

Citi does not publicly disclose all of the additional perks you’ll get with the Citi Secured Mastercard, only a few.

We suspect that this card will come with Platinum Mastercard benefits. And although we believe it will have the following benefits, we can’t guarantee that it will come with all of them, or that the details will be identical. After being approved for this card you can check your Guide to Benefits to learn which features it came with.

Reports Activity to Credit Bureaus

Citi will report your card activity to all three of the major credit bureaus: Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion. Most other secured credit cards from the major card issuers will do this too.

Purchase Protection

This is one benefit that Citi does state that it will provide. If an item you buy with your Citi card is damaged or stolen, Purchase Protection will repair the item or reimburse you for the the loss.

You must collect some documentation to prove your case, and follow quite a few guidelines:

  • The item must be purchased at least in part with your Citi card
  • The damage or theft must take place within 120 days of purchase (90 days for New York residents)
  • Reimbursement is only available up to the amount paid with your Citi card, with a maximum of $1,000 per claim
  • A maximum of $50,000 in reimbursement is available per year
  • Copies of the receipt of purchase and credit card statement are required, among other documentation

File a Purchase Protection claim by calling 1-866-918-4670. You’ll be given instructions and sent a claim form. The claim form and any requested documents must be returned within 180 days of the date of the incident.

Quite a few cases are not covered by this benefit, including product defects.

Items and Situations Not Covered by Purchase Protection (Partial List)

  • Items that are not reasonably cared for to prevent the damage or theft (you break it, you buy it!)
  • Items that are used in ways that go against the manufacturer’s purpose
  • Normal wear and tear where no failure has occurred
  • Product defects
  • Items purchased for resale, commercial, or professional use
  • Tickets of any kind, like lottery, airline, or sports
  • Items that can spoil or be consumed, like food or medications
  • Cars, boats, aircraft, and any other motorized vehicles and their original equipment (but tires are covered)

As you can see, many situations are ineligible for this protection. It might be tough to figure out if a situation is obviously covered — if you leave your car unlocked and someone steals something out of it, does that mean you didn’t “reasonably care for” the item? What if the door was locked but the window was slightly open?

Purchase Protection is a pretty common feature that you’ll find being offered by many issuers today. However, Discover recently discontinued Purchase Protection on their cards, along with several other benefits.

24-Hour Travel Assistance Services

Call Travel Assistance Services when you need help away from home. This benefit is available when traveling 50 miles or more away from home, unless you live in New York in which case there is no mileage requirement.

Call 1-800-MC-ASSIST for help when traveling. You must pay for any third-party services involved, though these fees can be charged directly to your card. There are four main categories of assistance included with this benefit:

  • Master RoadAssist® Service: Provides help finding emergency road services, like towing and tire changes, and you may save money because some fees are pre-negotiated.
  • Master Trip® Travel Assistance: Offers pre-trip info like passport, visa, and immunization requirements, and can help finding lost luggage or arranging emergency money transfers.
  • Travel Services Medical Assistance: A global referral network of general physicians, dentists, hospitals, and pharmacies, with help making arrangements if you become sick or injured.
  • MasterLegal® Referral: English-speaking legal referrals or consultations, and will assist in transfers of up to $5,000 for bail money.

This should cover most of the common emergencies that could happen on a trip away from home. If you get in some kind of trouble, it’s nice to know that help is a phone call away. Even if they can’t provide a solution, they can probably point you towards one.

Citi Identity Theft Solutions

If you think you’ve become a victim of identity theft or fraud, Citi is there to help. You can use this service in any case where you think your personal information has been stolen, it doesn’t have to be specific to your Citi card. That makes this a pretty useful feature, and Citi affirms that it will come with the Secured Mastercard.

Dealing with identity theft can be stressful and difficult. What are the first steps you should take? Who should you contact? And what can you do to stop the bleeding or reverse the damage?

Citi will help by doing some of that work for you, and will guide you through a step-by-step process of what else to do. They’ll assist you in contacting TransUnion to review your credit report, and applying an extended Fraud Alert to your credit file. This alert will also be transferred to the other major credit bureaus, Experian and Equifax.

Next, Citi will provide instructions on how to fill out a police report and any other required government forms. If you have any other compromised accounts, Citi will help you find them and contact the appropriate lenders. They’ll instruct you to place stop payment requests on any stolen checks, if required. Worksheets will be provided, laying out all the steps you should take and how to take them.

Your TransUnion report will then be monitored by Citi until the case is resolved.

While most credit cards come with a $0 fraud liability guarantee, most credit card issuers don’t go the extra mile by providing assistance for actual identity theft. It’s good to have a Citi card in your wallet for this reason, just in case.

Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver

Cardholders may be covered by an Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver when renting eligible vehicles. This benefit will cover damage from accidents, vandalism, or natural disasters, along with theft.

Only certain vehicles and situations will be covered:

  • The rental period must be for no more than 31 consecutive days
  • The rental car must be a motor vehicle with at least 4 wheels
  • The rental car must be designed to be driven on public roads

And there are certain situations in which damage or theft will not be covered, such as if:

  • The rental car is used in a way that goes against the rental agreement, or against clear instructions or warnings posted in the car
  • You drive recklessly, or under the influence of drugs or alcohol
  • The rental car was used as a car for hire
  • You or the authorized driver do not take responsible care of the car

To file a claim, call 1-866-918-4670 as soon as possible. Citi recommends that you take pictures of any damage. You’ll be given instructions, and will be sent a claim form (or you can download it). You must return that claim form within 180 days of the incident.

In the U.S. this rental waiver provides secondary coverage. So if you have a personal insurance policy that will cover damage or theft of the rental car, that will apply first. This waiver will cover deductibles you may have to pay for that insurance.

Outside, the U.S., this rental waiver provides primary coverage. It will be primary even if you have another insurance policy.

Take note that this benefit is not all-inclusive, and only covers damage and theft to the rental vehicle. Other related matters will not be covered, like:

  • Personal injury
  • Personal liability
  • Damage to other cars or property
  • Injury to any other party

It may seem like there are a lot of restrictions here, but this benefit actually includes more types of rental vehicles than some other credit cards. Capital One’s auto rental waiver, for example, usually doesn’t cover moving trucks. But it looks like Citi will include them.

Other Benefits

This card may come with some other benefits not listed here, although we can’t guarantee all of them.

They may include:

  • FICO 8 Credit Score Monitoring based on your Equifax credit report (Citi provides this for some of their cards)
  • An Extended Warranty to double the manufacturer’s warranty on eligible items, for warranties of up to one year
  • Roadside Assistance Dispatch Service to provide help with any kind of car trouble, with pre-negotiated prices for many services
  • Return Protection to offer reimbursement if a merchant won’t take back an item you bought
  • $0 Fraud Liability Protection so you won’t be held responsible for unauthorized charges to your card account (this benefit will definitely come with the card)

Be sure to take a look at the Guide to Benefits that came with your card to see the specific features that are available to you.

The Costs & Fees

Purchase APR Balance Transfer APR Cash Advance APR
23.99% Variable 23.99% Variable 26.74% Variable
Annual Fee Foreign Transaction Fee Balance Transfer Fee Cash Advance Fee
None  3% 3%; $5 minimum 5%; $10 minimum
Penalty APR Late Fee Returned Payment Fee
29.99% Variable Up to $35 Up to $35

Don’t be shocked to see such a high APR. That’s what you’ll usually find on secured credit cards.

A high APR isn’t a problem as long as you commit to paying off your statement balance in full each billing cycle. This will prevent interest from ever accruing on the purchases you make with the card.

Paying your full statement balance when the bill comes due helps you (and your credit) in many different ways:

  1. You won’t be charged interest on purchases, making it easier to stay out of credit card debt
  2. You can improve your credit completely for free, since there’s no annual fee (assuming you avoid using the card for balance transfers or cash advances)
  3. It will keep your credit utilization lower, which is good for your credit scores
  4. The credit line will be freed up so you can use the card again
  5. Establishing a history of timely payments will show the card issuer and the credit reporting agencies that you’re a responsible card user

You can set up automatic payments to always pay the statement balance in full when it’s due, or a few days before. This will give you peace of mind, ensuring that your bill is always paid on time.

We don’t recommend using this card for balance transfers or cash advances because interest will start accruing right away. Transferring a balance to a secured card seems like a poor strategy in general. You’d probably be better off just paying that account balance, using the money you would’ve deposited to open the secured card.

If you want to do a balance transfer, it would be better to look into cards with 0% balance transfer APRs. And we suggest always avoiding cash advances, no matter what card you have, because they’ll begin costing you money immediately.

The Citi Secured Mastercard requires a security deposit of $200 to $2,500 when you’re approved, as explained above. This card used to have an annual fee, but it was recently removed.

Customer Support

Phone Support

Customer Support

1-800-950-5114

1-800-325-2865 (TTY)

Apply for a Credit Card

1-888-201-4523

1-800-325-2865 (TTY)

We called Citi’s application team with some questions about their Secured Mastercard. But we were automatically routed to a different representative, for some reason, who couldn’t tell us anything about the card. So we were told we’d be transferred to the application team, who could help us.

The application team couldn’t give us anything beyond a simple description of the card, however. We learned that you can’t apply for this card over the phone — you must apply online or in person at a physical Citibank.

So we were transferred yet again to a different team who could supposedly tell us something about the Secured Mastercard. But we ended up in a phone menu that required a Citi ATM or debit card to continue, rather than a credit card. We were in the wrong section now, and we couldn’t proceed. So we hung up and had to try again.

This time we tried the regular customer support line, using a Citi credit card account to speak to an account specialist (I have the Citi Double Cash (Review)). The rep said that she couldn’t tell us anything about the Secured Mastercard, and she would need to transfer us to the application team. We had made that stop already, in our first journey through the phone menu, but maybe we would have better luck this time.

But next, some bad news. The application team informed us that since you can’t apply for this card over the phone, they can’t tell you anything about the card over the phone. It seemed like they had no information about it at all, other than a brief description. It’s unclear why they couldn’t have told us this at the beginning, but apparently their knowledge is siloed like the CIA.

There were several things we wanted to ask — questions about the security deposit, the potential to upgrade to an unsecured card, the Mastercard benefits it comes with — but the only way to learn more about this card is to go to a physical Citibank, apparently.

We haven’t gone to the trouble to do this, at this point. And we suspect that even if you did, you’ll have a hard time learning anything about the specific benefits this card comes with. They might tell you to call customer support!

These days, being told to visit a Citibank for more information seems a bit ridiculous. It probably won’t be a surprise to hear that in 2017, Citi came in 8th out of 11 major credit card issuers in J.D. Power’s annual Credit Card Satisfaction Study. We certainly weren’t satisfied with our experience.

This was unfortunate, but usually you’ll be able to get card information from Citi over the phone. The Secured Mastercard seems like a special case.

Web Support

Twitter Customer Support @AskCiti

The Citi Secured Mastercard is simple, so it’s easy to see most of the main features on Citi’s website. However, you won’t be able to learn much about the extra benefits it comes with.

Citi cardholders can contact customer support through their live chat. They’ll be able to help you out with many issues, but in some cases, for more complicated problems, it could be easier to call them.

You can also chat with them on Twitter, @AskCiti, whether you’re a cardholder or not. They probably won’t be able to help with any account-specific issues, though. Be sure not to reveal any personal or account information on Twitter or other social networks.

The Bottom Line

The only reason to get the Citi Secured Mastercard is to improve your credit. If you have bad or limited credit, you’ll have a hard time qualifying for most credit cards, especially those with rewards programs.

Secured cards like this provide a road to better credit scores — as long as you commit to using them responsibly. Pay your statement balance in full to avoid accumulating credit card debt. Make it a priority to always pay on time.

This isn’t a card to get if you want to enjoy nice rewards or benefits. Instead, focus on good financial habits to build or rebuild your credit. As you establish a positive credit history you’ll qualify for better cards, with great cash back programs and valuable perks.

Many credit card companies offer secured cards. While most of them are pretty similar, there are also important differences that make some stand out. Read a bit about some of those alternatives below.

How to Apply for the Citi Secured Mastercard

You can apply for this card by clicking the Apply Now button below. Citi will check your credit reports with one of the three major credit bureaus.

If you don’t have a bank account, you can apply for this card in person at a Citibank location.

Many applicants will get an instant decision, but in certain cases it could take longer. Citi may request more information from you to process the application.

If approved, the security deposit you specify will automatically be withdrawn from your bank account.

Qualifications and Requirements

  • Must be 18 to apply
  • Personal identifying information, including SSN, email address, and phone number
  • Total annual income, and source of income
  • Monthly mortgage payment/rent
  • Bank account information for the security deposit, like account number and routing number
  • The amount you’d like to deposit
  • You must not have declared bankruptcy in the last two years
Citi Secured® Mastercard®
Apply Now

Citi Secured® Mastercard®

For People with
No Credit

  • Annual Fee: None
  • Interest Rate: 23.99% Variable
Quick Card Facts
  • A minimum security deposit of $200 is required when opening the card, with a maximum of $2,500
  • The credit limit will be equal to the security deposit
  • Users can qualify with limited credit
  • Citi Identity Theft Solutions
  • No rewards
  • No annual fee
  • Purchase and balance transfer APR of 23.99% Variable

Alternatives to the Citi Secured Mastercard

Discover it Secured Card

The Discover it Secured Card (Review) stands out among secured cards because it actually has a decent rewards program, a very rare find on cards designed for poor or limited credit.

Security Deposit

The security deposit is pretty similar to the Citi Secured Mastercard. The Discover it Secured requires a minimum security deposit of $200. But your maximum possible credit limit will be determined by your creditworthiness, with a up to $2,500 at the most. So this is a bit different than the Citi card, which lets you deposit up to $2,500 regardless of your credit.

With the Discover card, your credit limit will be equal to whatever amount you deposit.

Discover will automatically review your card account every 8 months, along with your overall credit. If you’ve been using this card responsibly, and have been keeping good credit habits in general, they may refund your security deposit and allow you to continue using the card. You’ll have the same rewards and benefits, but it will technically be an unsecured card at that point.

There is no option to upgrade to a different card account. If you want a different Discover card, you’ll need to apply for it specifically.

Rewards

  • 2% cash back on the first $1,000 spent per quarter at:
    • restaurants
    • gas stations
  • 1% cash back on all other purchases
  • 5–50% cash back at a variety of retailers through the Discover Deals shopping portal
  • Cashback Match: get double the cash back in your first year

This cash back is unusual to find here, as mentioned earlier. You’d be lucky to get 1% cash back with a secured card, normally. But the Discover it Secured provides 2% cash back on certain categories. And that’s even doubled to 4% cash back in your first year, with 2% back for every other purchase.

The Discover Deals shopping portal features a nice variety of merchants, where you can get discounts or earn even more cash back. Some of these are one-time deals, while others may be recurring. At the moment you’ll find brands like Best Buy, Sephora, The North Face, and many others.

So the Discover it Secured allows you to earn rewards while you improve your credit. A win-win. Any cash back you earn through Discover Deals will also be doubled, sweetening the deal even more.

Benefits

The Discover it Secured used to offer a pretty inclusive set of extra benefits, probably better than what you’d get with the Citi Secured Mastercard. However, Discover has recently removed many of these features due to low usage by cardholders.

Now Discover only offers a few benefits, maybe fewer than what you’d get with the Citi card. Price Protection seems to be the only valuable feature left, which can provide reimbursement if you bought an item and then find it being advertised for a lesser price. This could save quite a bit of money over time, for certain eligible items.

You can also use Discover’s FICO Credit Scorecard to monitor your FICO 8 Credit Score, as based on your TransUnion credit report. This is a great feature to have on a secured card, providing a way to track your progress. Discover also shows the key factors affecting your score and helpful tips to improve it.

Anyone can actually use this service; you don’t need to be a Discover cardholder. So if you already have a card you like but it doesn’t offer a free credit score, you can use Discover’s service to keep an eye on your credit.

But other than that, Discover doesn’t offer many benefits anymore. They recently removed the following benefits:

  • Purchase Protection
  • Extended Product Warranty
  • Return Guarantee
  • Auto Rental Insurance
  • Flight Accident Insurance

So you’re likely to get a better selection with the Citi card.

Costs & Fees

There’s no annual fee for the Discover it Secured card. And there are also no foreign transaction fees, although Discover isn’t accepted very widely outside the U.S.

The Discover it Secured offers an intro balance transfer offer of 10.99% APR Variable, for 6 months. Most intro APRs are at 0%, but this is a secured card so it has a different kind of offer.

However, we recommend avoiding balance transfers with this card because you’ll just end up paying interest at this rate. Instead, we suggest trying to pay down the debt you owe rather than spending more money on a security deposit to open this card. There are other cards with better balance transfers offers, though you’ll likely have a hard time being approved with poor credit.

Given the level of cash back you can earn here, the Discover it Secured should probably be first on your list of secured cards. Rather than seeming like a punishment for bad credit, it’s actually more rewarding than many rewards cards designed for good credit.

Read more in our Review of the Discover it Secured Credit Card

Deserve Classic Mastercard

The Deserve Classic Mastercard (Review) isn’t a secured card. But Deserve is a unique card issuer, specifically serving people with poor or limited credit, including those without a traditional credit history.

When you apply Deserve will look at more than the usual factors, like credit reports and financial status. They’ll also check your:

  • education
  • future employability
  • income potential

Deserve has wider application criteria, without requiring a security deposit. Depending on your credit situation the Deserve Classic might be the right way to start improving your scores.

Benefits

The Deserve Classic is a Platinum Mastercard, which is probably what the Citi Secured Mastercard will come as. So the benefits will be pretty much the same for the most part, maybe with some slight differences.

Deserve also offers a couple of additional perks on top of what you’ll get from Mastercard. You’ll get a waiver for your first late payment fee. And, if you refer friends to Deserve, you’ll get a $30 statement credit for every friend who’s approved for a card. A $200 bonus will be awarded for referring 10 friends, for a possible total of $500 to earn.

Costs & Fees

You’ll have to pay a $39 annual fee for the Deserve Classic. Your credit limit will be determined by your creditworthiness, with a maximum of $1,500.

This is $1,000 less than what you can get with the Citi Secured Mastercard. But in this case, when it comes to these two cards, you’ll have to decide which situation would be more appropriate for your specific finances.

Would you rather pay less, just $39 every year, and get a smaller potential credit line? Or would you rather pay a large deposit up front, funding a bigger credit line? You can eventually get that security deposit back, but the money will be unavailable until you close out the card.

Read more in our Review of the Deserve Classic Mastercard

Capital One Secured Mastercard

The Capital One Secured Mastercard (Review) is very much like the Citi Secured Mastercard. But there are a few important differences in how the security deposits work, and the benefits being offered.

Security Deposit

After you’re approved for the Capital One Secured Mastercard you’ll be required to make a minimum security deposit.

The required deposit will be one of the following amounts:

  • $49
  • $99
  • $200

The amount required will depend on your creditworthiness. The better your credit, the lower the required amount will be.

No matter which amount you’re required to deposit, your initial credit limit will be $200. This is different than how most secured cards work, which will provide a credit limit that’s equal to the deposit.

However, $200 is pretty low for a credit limit. Capital One will allow you to deposit a maximum of $1,000 to fund your credit line, which you should usually do if possible.

If you want to deposit more than your required minimum amount, you must do so within 80 days of being approved, and before activating the card. You can make partial payments if you’d like. Deposits must be at least $20 each.

Capital One does not have a program to upgrade your card to an unsecured account.

Benefits

This Capital One card is a Platinum Mastercard, just like the Citi Secured Mastercard. That means they’ll have pretty much the same Mastercard benefits, although you can expect to find some differences.

Other than that, Capital One also offers a few nice perks that you won’t get from Citi. One of the most notable is Access to a Higher Credit Line. If you pay your first five monthly payments on time, you’ll automatically be given a higher credit line. It might not be a huge increase, but this boost is nice to have on a secured card (especially because your maximum initial credit limit is only $1,500).

Another is the Capital One CreditWise® service. This is a credit monitoring tool, providing your VantageScore 3.0 based on your TransUnion credit report. And more than just that, this tool provides access to your actual TransUnion credit report, something that other card issuers don’t offer. This is a great feature to have on a secured card because it can guide you towards more responsible card usage and better credit scores.

Price Protection is one more handy benefit you’ll get from Capital One. This will provide reimbursement, up to $250, if you pay more than was necessary for a particular item. Many card issuers offer a benefit like this, but you don’t usually find it on a secured card.

Costs & Fees

The Capital One Secured Mastercard has no annual fee, just like the Citi Secured Mastercard. It also charges no fee for foreign transactions, unlike the 3% you’d need to pay with the Citi card. That makes it an obviously better choice for spending outside the country.

There are a few differences between these cards, mainly in their security deposits and benefits. The Citi card has a larger initial credit limit, potentially, but the Capital One card comes with superior benefits. You’ll have to ask which is more valuable to you, in your current financial situation.

Read more in our Review of the Capital One Secured Mastercard

BankAmericard Secured Credit Card

If you can’t get approved for a secured card without an annual fee, the BankAmericard Secured Credit Card might be right for you. You’ll need to pay a $39 fee, but you’ll also get access to a higher credit limit than the other cards on this page.

Security Deposit

You’ll need to make a minimum security deposit of $300 with the BankAmericard Secured. Your maximum security deposit will determined by your creditworthiness, up to a potential $4,900 at the most. Your credit limit will be equal to the amount you deposit.

So this security deposit upper limit is almost twice as much as what you’d get with the Citi Secured Mastercard. If you’re looking for a secured card with a high credit limit, the BankAmericard should be a contender. But, as mentioned, your maximum limit will be based on your credit, so it might not be as high as $4,900.

Bank of America will review your account account periodically, along with your credit history in general. If you’ve been a responsible credit user, they may refund your security deposit and allow you to continue using the card.

Although you may hesitate to deposit a lot for a secured card, in this case you may be able to get your money back without needing to close out the card. But not all cardholders will qualify to have the deposit returned, so there’s no guarantee this will happen.

Benefits

The BankAmericard Secured is a Platinum Mastercard, just like the Citi Secured card. That means they’ll have basically the same set of extra features, potentially including benefits like Purchase Protection and an Extended Warranty.

Bank of America credit card users can also check their FICO 8 Credit Score any time, for free, based on their TransUnion credit report. This is a pretty common benefit to find these days, although we’re not sure if you’ll get credit score monitoring with the Citi Secured Mastercard.

Costs & Fees

At $39 per year, the BankAmericard Secured will cost more than the Citi Secured Mastercard (which has no fee).

Other than the annual fee, the costs and terms of these cards are basically the same.

Are you building or rebuilding your credit with the Citi Secured Mastercard? How’s it going? Let us know how you feel by leaving your own review!

Learn all about secured credit cards and how you can use them to help establish and improve your credit.
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