BankAmericard® Secured Credit Card review: A chance to get ahead if you have limited options

This is a solid pick if you need to establish credit history and can pay your balances in full each month.

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Snapshot

3.3

Bankrate rating
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Bottom line

This no-frills secured credit card can help many gain access to credit and the time needed to qualify for an unsecured card.

Bank of America Image

BankAmericard® Secured Credit Card

Rewards rate

N/A

Annual fee

None

Intro offer

N/A

Regular APR

25.74% Variable

BankAmericard Secured Credit Card Overview

The BankAmericard Secured Credit Card is a no-frills secured card that could prove valuable if you have bad credit or a limited credit history. While it’s thin on perks, it carries no annual fee and gives you access to your FICO credit score. These are nice entry-level features that could help if you want to use a credit card to improve your financial future.

But this card won’t be a good fit for everyone. Since it’s a secured credit card, it requires a refundable deposit to open the account, which will also act as your credit limit. This card’s minimum deposit is $200, which could put it out of reach if you can’t afford to tie up that much money for months as you work on your score. Plus, the card’s variable APR of (See Terms) percent could cause problems for subprime card holders who aren’t able to pay their balances in full each month.

Read on to learn more about the BankAmericard secured card and see our top picks for low-interest alternatives that could help you minimize the burden of interest charges.

What are the pros and cons?

Pros

  • Applicants with no and low credit scores can use this card to grow their credit scores
  • No annual fee unlike some secured cards
  • With good credit habits, Bank of America may return your security deposit and convert this card to an unsecured card

Cons

  • The interest charges from the card’s high APR could make it hard to pay balances off
  • No additional benefits like cash back rewards or purchase protections

A deeper look into the current card offer

Quick highlights

  • Rate: N/A
  • Welcome Offer: Deposit return after successful assessment
  • Annual Fee: $0
  • Purchase Intro APR: (See Terms)
  • Balance Transfer Intro APR: (See Terms)
  • Regular APR: (See Terms) percent variable

Welcome offer

Like most credit-building cards, the BankAmericard secured card doesn’t have a sign-up bonus. If you’re looking for a sign-up bonus, consider the Discover it® Secured Credit Card. It’s one of the few secured cards that not only offers rewards, but also a valuable welcome offer: Discover matches all the cash back you earn in your first year.

Rewards rate

You also won’t get a chance to earn rewards with the BankAmericard Secured card. But this may not be a problem if you’re focused on building credit. To get the best value out of this card, only use a small portion of your available credit at a time to keep your credit utilization low and pay your balance off before the grace period ends to avoid interest charges.

If you feel comfortable managing credit basics and would still like to earn rewards, the Discover it Secured card and Capital One Quicksilver Secured Cash Rewards Credit Card are solid picks that will help you earn cash back on all your purchases.

Other cardholder perks

While this card is focused on helping cardholders build a credit score, it also addresses some other concerns cardholders might have such as card safety and the access to convenient payment solutions.

This card is also useful when you have an existing credit card balance on a card that doesn’t have a good rating and you’re looking to pay off the balance without incurring further credit bureau issues.

Graduate to an unsecured card

Bank of America states that some BankAmericard secured cardholders may qualify to have their security deposit returned, which would make your card an unsecured credit card. This is a nice feature that will allow you to get your deposit back and keep your credit card account open long after you’ve outgrown this card, which could be beneficial to protecting your credit score.

Access to balance transfer

This is an unusual feature on a secured credit card. However, it provides the cardholder with the opportunity to rebuild their credit from scratch without worrying that an existing credit card with a bad history will delay their progress. While the APR and balance transfer fees are substantial, it does provide a good opportunity.

Access to FICO score

An advantage of being a Bank of America customer is that you’ll have access to your FICO score. This helps in your journey to rebuild your score because you can see which elements on your credit history affect your credit rating.

Overdraft protection

This optional feature helps prevent card declines when you’re making a purchase by linking your credit card to your checking account. If there are funds in your checking account, the transaction will be approved.

$0 liability guarantee

This guarantee ensures cardholders aren’t held liable for fraudulent transactions. Cardholders are required to keep their card details secure.

Rates and fees

Credit cards designed to help people build credit often have inflated fees and costs since lenders see people with poor credit or a limited credit history as more of a risk. While the BankAmericard Secured Credit Card reduces costs by doing away with the annual fee and penalty APR, it does come with other common credit card fees you’ll have to watch out for, such as late payment and balance transfer fees. Plus, its APR of (See Terms) percent is well above the average credit card interest rate.

When using a credit card, it’s important to pay your balance in full each month to avoid interest charges and improve your credit score as quickly as possible. But that’s not always possible, and with more people feeling the impact of inflation, credit card debt has been on the rise.

If you can’t pay your balance in full, a low-interest credit card could prove a safer credit-building alternative. Take a look at how much interest you might pay with two alternatives: The Merrick Bank Secured Credit Card, which comes with an annual fee but a much lower APR, and the DCU Visa® Platinum Secured Credit Card*, which has an impressive APR range of 13.75 percent to 18 percent.

BankAmericard Secured Merrick Bank Secured Credit Card DCU Visa® Platinum Secured Credit Card
Balance $1,500 $1,500 $1,500
APR 24.24 percent 21.20 percent (variable) 13.75 percent
Minimum payment $100 $100 $100
Months to pay off 19 18 17
Total interest $305 $236 $155
Annual fee $0 $36 $0
Total cost $305 $272 $155

As you can see, if you qualified for the low end of the DCU secured card, you could save a lot of money. And in some cases, even a secured card with an annual fee could be a cheaper option than the BankAmericard secured card, such as if you carried a high balance and it took you more than a year to pay it off.

To get a better idea of how important it is to use a low-interest credit card when you carry a balance, use a credit card payoff calculator to see how much interest you’d pay based on your expected balance and minimum payment.

How BankAmericard Secured Credit Card compares to other secured credit cards

If you can pay your balance in full each month, the BankAmericard Secured Credit Card is a good option that can help you grow your credit score and improve your chances of getting an unsecured card with more features.

But if you’re worried about the minimum security deposit or want a secured card with a lower interest rate, here are two alternatives that may be within reach.

Bank of America Image

BankAmericard® Secured Credit Card

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3.3

Annual fee

None

Intro offer

N/A

Rewards rate

N/A

Recommended credit

Capital One Image

Capital One Platinum Secured Credit Card

Annual fee

$0

Intro offer

N/A

Rewards rate

N/A

Recommended credit

No Credit History
Capital Bank Image

OpenSky® Secured Visa® Credit Card

Annual fee

$35

Intro offer

N/A

Rewards rate

N/A

Recommended credit

No Credit History

BankAmericard Secured Credit Card Vs. Capital One Platinum Secured Credit Card

The Capital One Platinum Secured Credit Card and the BankAmericard both charge no annual fee, offer access to your credit score, and come with the chance to get your deposit back and change to an unsecured card after you show responsible card use.

Both cards have high APRs, but the Capital One Platinum card goes further with its credit-building features, giving some cardholders access to a $200 credit limit with a security deposit as low as $49. There aren’t a lot of secured credit cards around that go this far to try to make it easier to gain access to secured credit.

The Capital One Platinum card also comes with automatic credit line reviews, which could help you grow your credit limit within six months. This is an important feature that could help you maintain a good credit utilization ratio and grow your credit score. Plus, on top of getting your credit score for free, Capital One’s CreditWise program monitors your credit information and sends out alerts when there are changes to your credit or if someone tries to use your Social Security number under a different name or address.

BankAmericard Secured Credit Card vs. OpenSky® Secured Visa® Credit Card

The OpenSky Secured Visa card charges an annual fee of $35, which puts it at a disadvantage against the BankAmericard secured card, especially if you pay your balance in full each month.

But the OpenSky card stands out because it lets you apply with no credit check needed and comes with an impressively low variable APR of 20.39 percent. This is a rare combination of features to find on one card, making it more accessible to people who need help building credit while also helping to minimize the amount you might have to pay in interest charges if you carry a balance. These features help make this OpenSky card a top option for a secured card and one of the best credit cards for bad credit.

Best cards to pair with BankAmericard Secured Credit Card

It’s a good idea to focus on one credit-builder card, making sure you pay on time and keeping your balance as low as possible, even paid in full if you can. Once you’ve managed to build up your credit score, then you may want to consider carrying multiple credit cards, including rewards cards like the Wells Fargo Autograph℠ Card, which offers bonus rewards in multiple everyday categories like gas stations, restaurants, travel and transit. This is a great all-rounder card that doesn’t charge an annual fee, and the points earned don’t expire as long as the account remains open.

Bankrate’s take—Is the BankAmericard Secured Credit Card worth it?

The BankAmericard Secured Credit Card is a good fit for credit builders who are confident they know the best ways to use a credit card and can take advantage of it to save money while they work on their credit score.

It doesn’t come with many features and may not provide much value once you’re able to get approved for credit cards for fair credit and beyond, but it does what it sets out to do: assist people who need to improve their score before they can qualify for unsecured credit cards.

All information about the BankAmericard® Secured Credit Card and the Wells Fargo Propel American Express® Card has been collected independently by Bankrate and has not been reviewed or approved by the issuer.