Citi® Secured Mastercard®

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Even with no annual fee, we can't recommend this card.

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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.

Although this card offers opportunities for someone to incur fees or penalties if they make a late payment, it can be a great tool for rebuilding credit with responsible use.

Review

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.

Advantages
  • The credit limit range is between $200 to $2,500. If you have the cash to put down, this is a higher credit limit option than some other secured cards offer.
  • There’s no annual or monthly maintenance fees -- charges levied by several other secured card issuers.
  • This card comes with some travel and auto protections.
Disadvantages
  • The security deposit will be held in a non-interest bearing account for 18 months.
  • If you’ve declared bankruptcy within the past two years, you’ll be automatically declined.
  • Citi does not offer to graduate you to an unsecured card after proving your creditworthiness.

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 24.49%.

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

Capital One® Secured MasterCard®
  • 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

Limited, Bad

Regular APR

24.99% (Variable)

Annual Fee

$0

Purchase Intro APR

N/A

Balance Transfers Intro APR

N/A

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.

OpenSky® Secured Visa® Credit Card
  • No credit check necessary to apply. OpenSky believes in giving an opportunity to everyone.
  • The refundable* deposit you provide becomes your credit line limit on your Visa card. Choose it yourself, from as low as $200.
  • Build credit quickly. OpenSky reports to all 3 major credit bureaus.
  • 99% of our customers who started without a credit score earned a credit score record with the credit bureaus in as little as 6 months.
  • We have a Facebook community of people just like you; there is a forum for shared experiences, and insights from others on our Facebook Fan page. (Search "OpenSky Card" in Facebook.)
  • OpenSky provides credit tips and a dedicated credit education page on our website to support you along the way.
  • *View our Cardholder Agreement located at the bottom of the application page for details of the card.
Credit Needed

No credit check

Regular APR

19.14% (variable)

Annual Fee

$35

Purchase Intro APR

N/A

Balance Transfers Intro APR

N/A

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.

Discover it® Secured
  • No Annual Fee, earn cash back, and build your credit with responsible use.
  • It's a real credit card. You can build a credit history with the three major credit bureaus. Generally, debit and prepaid cards can't help you build a credit history.
  • Establish your credit line by providing a refundable security deposit from $200-$2500 after being approved. Bank information must be provided when submitting your deposit.
  • Automatic reviews starting at 8 months to see if we can transition you to an unsecured line of credit and return your deposit.
  • 2% cash back at gas stations and restaurants on up to $1,000 in combined purchases every quarter, automatically. Plus, earn unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases.
  • Get 100% U.S. based customer service & get your free Credit Scorecard with your FICO® Credit Score
  • We automatically match all the cash back you've earned at the end of your first year.
  • Receive Free Social Security number alerts— Discover will monitor thousands of risky websites when you sign up.
Credit Needed

Limited/Bad Credit

Regular APR

24.99% Variable

Annual Fee

$0

Purchase Intro APR

N/A

Balance Transfers Intro APR

10.99% for 6 months

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.

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.