UNITY Visa Secured Credit Card
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If you have no credit history, you could do considerably worse than the UNITY Visa Secured Credit Card.
It has two features not commonly found in secured credit cards: a fixed-rate APR of 17.99% on purchases and a six-month introductory APR of 9.95% on balance transfers, after which it’s the same fixed rate as purchases. But because your credit limit is tied to your deposit, we’re unsure what value a balance transfer has here for most people.
Offered through Boston-based OneUnited Bank, the UNITY Visa Secured Credit Card offers some meaty features — starting with that fixed-rate APR. What would really make this card shine is if it let you eventually graduate to an unsecured card — the holy grail of secured credit cards.
We like that it isn’t laden with hidden fees and charges, and if you need it, you can get a hefty credit limit. The range is from $250 to $10,000 — it’s up to you how much as the amount you put into a security deposit is 100% of your credit limit. Want a five-figure limit? Then be prepared to fork over the cash.
Also, know that you’ll hand over $39 annually for the right to own the card. Although fee-free is ideal, we’re happy that this card doesn’t also tack on the gratuitous “maintenance” charges like some competitors.
There are other secured credit cards that have no ownership fees and offer rewards, too, so unless you’re looking to take advantage of UNITY’s balance transfer offer, you’d likely be better off with one of those.
Who should get this card
Anyone looking to build or rebuild credit and wants access to a high credit limit should consider the UNITY Visa Secured Credit Card.
Fees and APR
• This card has a fixed rate APR of 17.99%
• There’s a six-month 9.95% introductory APR offer on balance transfers. After that it’s a fixed rate of 17.99%.
• You’ll pay a $39 annual fee.
• There’s a 3% balance transfer fee.
• You’ll pay a 3% foreign transaction fee for all purchases made outside the U.S.
• If you request a credit limit increase, there’s a $10 fee.
Extras and perks
The card website offers a “How to rebuild credit program,” which includes step-by-step instructions for improving your credit score. There’s also an electronic book that goes into detail about how a credit score is built and explains some of the factors that can negatively impact your credit score.
How this card compares
The two reasons you may want to apply for the OpenSky Secured Visa Credit Card is if you don’t own a checking account, but still want access to a credit card, or if you’re looking for a secured card with a decent annual percentage rate.
There’s a very narrow band of consumers this applies to, we imagine.
The Capital One Secured MasterCard has no annual fee, and if you qualify, you can put down as little as $49 to get a credit limit of $200. Or, if you have to put down $200 to get a limit of $200, this card lets you pay that amount in installments.
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.
A better choice all-around would be the no-fee Discover it Secured Card. This is the only unsecured credit card on the market that offers cash-back rewards — and generous ones at that, too. Not only does this card earn 2% back on dining and gas, and 1% on everything else, but Discover will match those rewards at the end of the first year.
We also like that you can quickly graduate to an unsecured Discover card with just eight months of good payment behavior.
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.