Citi® Secured Mastercard®
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The Citi Secured Mastercard is an oddity among credit cards for people with no credit history as it charges no annual fee.
But we can’t recommend this card because it offers too many opportunities for someone to incur fees or penalties if they slip up, from a high late fee to a penalty APR if you miss a payment.
Indeed, there are better options out there. Choose a secured card that gives you more bang for your buck, like cash rewards, the ability to graduate to an unsecured card or a lower APR.
When it comes to building credit, you need to walk before you can run. If you need credit, but don’t have the history to qualify for an unsecured card, a Citi Secured Mastercard can help you boost your credit ratings with regular on-time payments.
Your credit limit with this card is determined by the amount of collateral you put down as your secured payment. Determine how much credit you want, from $200 and $2,500, as long as you have the cash to back it up.
Although this card doesn’t charge a lot of extra fees for things like ownership or account maintenance, it does have an unforgiving late policy that will inflate your APR to the penalty rate indefinitely after one missed payment. This is also not a good choice for someone looking to rebuild their finances, as applications for this card are not accepted from anyone who has declared bankruptcy within two years prior to applying.
Who should get this card
If you’re in the market for a secured card, and you want the included auto and travel protections, you may want to consider Citi Secured.
Fees and APR
- There’s no annual fee with this card.
- You’ll pay a 3% foreign transaction fee on all purchases made outside the U.S.
- The balance transfer fee is either $5 or 3% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
- If you make a late payment, a penalty APR of 29.99% may apply indefinitely, plus a late fee of up to $35.
- This card has a variable APR of 24.24%.
Extras, perks and using points
This card comes with roadside assistance dispatch service and damage and theft purchase protections. It also comes with travel protections, including trip accident insurance, car rental collision insurance and trip cancellation or interruption protection.
There are no rewards with this card.
How this card compares
We give kudos to the Capital One Secured Mastercard for not charging an annual fee and being one of the only secured cards that potentially lets you deposit less than your credit limit.
If you can’t afford a $200 security deposit all at once, Capital One Secured is a great option for its installment plan. This makes the Capital One card a solid choice for someone trying build (or rebuild) their credit history.
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.
If you have a bank account but limited or poor credit history, the Discover it® Secured card is a terrific choice to help build your credit and earn cash-back rewards, too.
We also like that you can quickly graduate to an unsecured Discover card with just seven months of good payment behavior.