UNITY Visa® Secured Credit Card

Robin Saks Frankel  in  No Credit History Advertising Disclosure
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Recommended Credit Score

Bad to Fair (300 - 670)

A FICO score/credit score is used to represent the creditworthiness of a person and may be one indicator to the credit type you are eligible for. However, credit score alone does not guarantee or imply approval for any financial product.

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Annual Fee:
$39
Purchase Intro APR:
N/A
Balance Transfer Intro APR:
9.95% for 6 months
Regular APR:
17.99% (Fixed)
Terms and Restrictions Apply
Bankrate Score: 71 out of 100

Commonly used for: Fair Credit, No Credit History.

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.

Review

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.

Advantages
  • The maximum credit limit is $10,000, which is higher than that of most other secured cards.
  • Late payments won’t affect your APR.
Disadvantages
  • The amount you put into a security deposit is 100% of your credit limit, so if you want a high credit limit, you have to fork over a lot of cash.
  • There's no interest earned on your security deposit.
  • There's a $39 annual fee.
  • There’s a balance transfer fee of 3%, which can eat into the benefit of the balance transfer promo rate. The fee is capped at $150.
  • There’s a $10 charge for credit limit increases.
  • There’s a foreign transaction fee of 2%.

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.