The Secured Visa from Merrick Bank

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A high credit limit could help some consumers improve their credit faster.

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The Secured Visa from Merrick Bank is a basic secured credit card, without any rewards or particularly rapacious fees. Because this card is targeting people with poor or no credit history, your credit limit is determined by your security deposit. This is just one way for the bank to protect its assets.

Almost anyone can be approved for this card barring certain circumstances, such as a pending bankruptcy filing or outstanding tax obligations. This might be a good option for people who don’t have a bank account and are serious about fixing or establishing credit, as this card offers a relatively high credit limit of $3,000. However, your limit must be backed by a security deposit of equal value, which can be paid online or with a money order.

Review

This is a product specifically designed to help people build or repair credit. Your account information, including payment history, outstanding balance, and any late payments, are reported to the three major credit reporting bureaus: Experian, TransUnion and Equifax. This is not a unique benefit, as most card companies report this information as an incentive to pay on time, but it is an important one for people who need to get their credit on the right track.

To get this card you would have to match the credit limit you wish to have in a cash security deposit, which can be between $200 and $3,000. The good thing about this card is that you can opt for a higher credit limit, which will reflect on your credit reports as having more credit extended to you. Many secured cards have lower limits, usually maxing out at about $500.

We also like that after the first year, the issuer will regularly review your account for credit line increases. These increases would be unsecured, meaning no additional security deposit would be required.

If you keep your balance low or nil each month, this will help boost your credit score over time. Many lenders look at your credit-to-debt ratio as a metric in determining how creditworthy you are. The lower your debt and the more credit you have, the better your score will be. So if you were to put the $3,000 max security deposit on this card and pay off your balance each month, your reports would show that you have $3,000 in available credit.

Another plus is that you don’t have to have a bank account to get this card. The security deposit can be funded with a money order through USPS, Western Union or MoneyGram.

The main drawback of this card is the $36 annual fee. It’s not as much as some other secured cards, but there are cards out there that don’t have annual fees. The Capital One Secured Mastercard, for instance, does not have an annual fee. But the initial maximum credit line is low, just $200, so there’s a trade-off.

The Discover it Secured Card might be the best option for people who have a bank account. Not only are there no annual fees, but you can earn 2% cash back on restaurants and gas. Keep in mind, the only way that cash-back bonuses makes sense – and money – is if you pay your balance in full each month; otherwise the interest rate will eat through any bonuses you earn.

Who should get this card

This card is a good choice for people who don’t have a bank account and are serious about establishing good credit. The high credit limit — up to $3,000, which must be backed by a security deposit of equal value — is a great tool in repairing credit. By taking advantage of that option, cardholders can show that they have a good amount of credit extended to them.

Once you begin qualifying for better cards, you can close this account and get your security deposit back.

Advantages
  • The high credit limit is a great way to help fast-track your credit-repair or credit-building efforts.
  • You will get your security deposit back when you close your card.
  • A bank account is not required to get this card.
  • Almost anyone is eligible, as long as they don’t have a few eliminating strikes against them -- such as owing Uncle Sam or a pending bankruptcy.
Disadvantages
  • You have to put down a security deposit equal to the credit limit.
  • There is an annual fee of $36.

Fees and APR

  • The APR is 18.45%.
  • For cash advances, the APR is 23.45%.
  • The annual fee is $36.
  • Returned and late payment fees are $38.
  • There is a 2% foreign transaction fee.

Extras and perks

You can manage your account online.

How this card compares

Discover it® Secured Card
Card Details
  • No Annual Fee, cash back on every purchase, and helps you build your credit with responsible use.
  • Your Secured Credit Card requires a refundable security deposit up to the amount we can approve of at least $200 which will establish your credit line.
  • You will need to provide your bank information when submitting your security deposit.
  • We will automatically begin reviewing your account starting at 8 months to see if we can transition you to an unsecured line of credit.
  • Earn 2% cash back at restaurants & gas stations on up to $1,000 in combined purchases each quarter. Plus, 1% cash back on all your other purchases.
  • Get a dollar-for-dollar match of all the cash back you've earned at the end of your first year, automatically.
  • New! Receive Free Social Security number alerts-Discover will monitor thousands of risky websites when you sign up.
Credit Needed No Credit
Regular APR 23.99% Variable
Annual Fee $0
Purchase Intro APR N/A
Balance Transfers Intro APR 10.99% for 6 months

The Discover it Secured Card packs a powerful punch of attributes not typically seen in secured cards. For starters, you earn cash back with the card — something no other secured card on the market offers. And it will double your cash back at the end of the first year. The bank will also review your account, starting at eight months to see if you qualify to graduate to an unsecured card.

Capital One® QuicksilverOne® Cash Rewards Credit Card
Card Details
  • Earn unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase, every day
  • Use your QuicksilverOne card and get 50% back as a statement credit on your monthly Spotify Premium subscription, now through April 2018
  • No rotating categories or sign-ups needed to earn cash rewards; plus, cash back won't expire for the life of the account and there's no limit to how much you can earn
  • Get access to a higher credit line after making your first 5 monthly payments on time
  • Fraud coverage if your card is ever lost or stolen
  • Use online banking to access your account, even from your smartphone, with our mobile app
  • Help strengthen your credit for the future with responsible card use
Credit Needed Fair
Regular APR 24.99% (Variable)
Annual Fee $39
Purchase Intro APR N/A
Balance Transfers Intro APR N/A

The Capital One QuicksilverOne Cash Rewards Credit Card is a decent choice for a consumer trying to rebuild (or build for the first time) their credit and earn rewards at the same time. A word of caution here, though. This card is not right for you if you plan to carry a balance. The interest you accrue will cancel out any rewards you earn. That, and the APR is fairly unforgiving.

Credit One Bank® Platinum Card
Card Details
  • Credit One Bank automatically monitors every account for credit line increase opportunities each month. We'll let you know as soon as you're eligible for a higher credit line. A fee may apply.
  • See if you Pre-Qualify without harming your credit score. Find the card that's right for you in less than 60 seconds.
  • Eligible purchases will automatically get you 1% cash back, terms apply.
  • This is a fully functional, unsecured credit card—not a debit, prepaid, or secured card. No need to load funds or tie up cash in deposits. There are no out-of-pocket costs to open your account.
  • Enjoy peace of mind with $0 Fraud Liability
  • Email and text alerts remind you when your bill is due, your payment posts, or your available credit is running low
Credit Needed No Credit
Regular APR 16.99% - 24.99% Variable
Annual Fee $0 - $99
Purchase Intro APR N/A
Balance Transfers Intro APR N/A

The Credit One Bank Platinum Card offers some rewards, and offers decent APRs for a secured card. A major drawback of the Credit One Bank Platinum Card is that you won’t know the exact terms of your offer until you’ve applied.

Capital One® Secured MasterCard®
Card Details
  • No annual fee, and all the credit building benefits with responsible card use
  • Unlike a prepaid card, it builds credit when used responsibly, with regular reporting to the 3 major credit bureaus
  • You will get an initial $200 credit line after making a security deposit of $49, $99, or $200, determined based on your creditworthiness
  • Get access to a higher credit line after making your first 5 monthly payments on time with no additional deposit needed
  • Easily manage your account 24/7 with online access, by phone or using our mobile app
  • It's a credit card accepted at millions of locations worldwide
Credit Needed No Credit
Regular APR 24.99% (Variable)
Annual Fee $0
Purchase Intro APR N/A
Balance Transfers Intro APR N/A

The Capital One Secured MasterCard has flexible opening options that other secured cards do
not. If you qualify, you can put down as little as $49 to get a credit limit of
$200. Or, you can pay the $200 security deposit in installments. This card can
give you access to a higher credit line after you make five on-time monthly
payments.

EDITORIAL NOTE

Opinions expressed here are author's alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines, or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.