BankAmericard® Secured Credit Card
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Editor’s note: Bank of America rates updated April 19, 2018
If you’re exploring secured cards, you likely either have poor credit or no credit history. And while the BankAmericard Secured Credit Card is an OK option, there are other secured cards that will give you a little more for your money.
If the goal is to improve your credit profile so you can qualify for an unsecured card, then the BankAmericard Secured Credit Card will deliver if you use it responsibly. With this card, your payment behavior is reported to all three of the credit bureaus, an absolute must-have attribute of any secured card. Like other cards of this ilk, the line of credit granted is equal to the amount of your security deposit, starting at a minimum of $300 up to a maximum of $4,900. You should know that the amount you deposit will not earn interest, a standard practice among secured cards.
But this card has an interesting twist: you may get approved for a partially secured card, where you can receive a credit line that exceeds the amount you deposit. Bank of America says that it considers three factors in determining who is eligible: the amount of the security deposit you are able to provide, your income, and your ability to pay the credit line established.
Even if you’re willing to fork over more cash to get a higher credit limit, don’t bother without bank approval. On their application page, Bank of America clearly states that if you provide a deposit that exceeds the calculated maximum amount based on your ability to pay, a check will be returned to you for the difference.
After 12 months, your account can be reviewed and you may qualify to have your deposit returned to you, turning your card into an unsecured card. Not all secured cards have this option and it’s a huge benefit. Having to apply for a new card can adversely affect that credit standing you worked so hard to build up.
But it’s not all rainbows and sunshine with this card. For starters, there’s a $39 annual fee, which can eat away at the amount of useable credit you’ll actually have. For example, if you get approved for the lowest limit of $300, you’ll only start out with $261 of credit you can use.
There are also other secured cards on the market, like the Discover it® Secured, that offer more favorable terms including no annual fee, cash-back rewards, and no foreign transaction fees.
If you’re determined to bank with Bank of America, this card is an average choice—not the worst, but not the best. We think you can do better.
Who should get this card
Someone with less-than-stellar credit who wants to stay with Bank of America.
Fees and APR
- There’s a $39 annual fee.
- This card has a variable APR on purchases and balance transfers of 21.24 percent.
- Balance transfers incur a fee of 3 percent or $10 of the total amount being transferred, whichever is greater.
- Foreign transactions will be assessed a 3 percent charge.
- Late payments won’t affect your APR, but you may be subject to a late fee of up to $38.
Extras, perks and using points
You can link this card to your eligible Bank of America deposit account to protect you from overdrafts. Funds will be transferred in multiples of $100 from your credit card to your bank account. A fee of $12 will apply for each transfer unless the amount being covered totals less than $12.
This card comes with Bank of America’s ShopSafe service, which lets you can generate a temporary account number to use while shopping online.
How this card compares
The Discover it® Secured 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 in, to see if you qualify to graduate to an unsecured card.
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.
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 Indigo Platinum Mastercard is aimed at those with fair credit, which means it’s easier to be approved for than many other cards. It also reports to all three of the major credit bureaus, so with regular on-time payments, you can improve your score and eligibility for credit cards with lower APRs. This card has three different fee structures, and the one you’ll be offered is dependent on your credit.