UNITY Visa® Secured Credit Card review

Bankrate Staff  in  Credit History How we rate our cards  | 

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OneUnited Image

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.

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 Rating

This card offer is currently unavailable on Bankrate. To see more cards in this category, please visit our fair credit category page.

 

Best for building credit

  • Rewards rate: N/A
  • Welcome offer: N/A
  • Annual fee: $39
  • Purchase intro APR: N/A
  • Balance transfer intro APR: 9.95 percent fixed rate for the first 6 months (17.99 percent fixed-rate thereafter)
  • Regular APR: 17.99 percent fixed rate (remains fixed through the expiration date of the card)

The UNITY Visa Secured Credit Card is good for building credit, and your refundable security deposit (between $250 to $10,000) also becomes your line of credit. The UNITY Visa Secured Credit Card’s introductory rate for balance transfers is also a selling point, as it’s less than the regular balance transfer fixed rate. The card comes with no major perks, but if you need a credit card to build your credit score, this is an option that might work.

Current sign-up bonus

Unfortunately, there’s no current welcome offer or sign-up bonus with this card.

Benefits

The main benefit of the UNITY Visa Secured Credit Card is that it helps you build your credit score, meaning it’s an accessible card for those with no credit history or bad credit.

Credit-building benefits

With responsible use, cardholders can build their credit score with the UNITY Visa Secured Credit Card. This card reports to the three major credit bureaus, so making on-time payments and keeping your balances low can really give your score a boost.

Balance transfer benefits

The UNITY Visa Secured Credit Card has a relatively low intro APR period for balance transfers—a 9.95 percent fixed rate for six months from the date of the account opening (17.99 percent fixed-rate thereafter). Many secured credit cards don’t offer any type of lower APR period for balance transfers, so if you want to make a balance transfer onto a secured credit card this could be a good option.

Option to use Speedpay

The UNITY Visa makes it easy to pay your bill with a service called Speedpay. This system takes one-time card payments online or over the phone so you never miss a payment date.

Rates and fees

The UNITY Visa Secured Credit Card has a $39 annual fee. The regular APR for purchases, balance transfers and cash advances is 17.99 percent, and it stays fixed through the expiration date of the card. The card’s transaction fees for both balance transfers and cash advances are 3 percent of the amount of each transfer or $10, whichever’s greater (maximum fee: $150). Foreign transaction fees are 3 percent of each transaction in U.S. dollars. The late payment penalty fee is up to $10 and the returned payment fee is up to $37.

There are other fees associated with this card. It costs $35 for expedited card delivery and $10 for a replacement or additional card. There is also a $10 credit limit increase fee. With some secured credit cards, you might get considered and approved for a credit limit increase automatically, which could benefit your credit score. With this card, that’s not an option.

How the UNITY Visa Secured Credit Card compares to other credit-building cards

When you’re comparing cards for credit-building or credit cards for bad credit, you may be better off with a different choice depending on your needs. The Secured Mastercard® from Capital One is another secured credit card but it comes with no annual fee. The max starting line of credit is considerably lower than the UNITY Visa Secured Credit Card at $200 but if you increase the amount of your security deposit (up to a credit limit of $1,000) within the first 35 days of approval, you’ll automatically be considered for a higher line of credit in as few as six months with on-time monthly payments . There’s no fee for this line of credit increase consideration, as opposed to the UNITY Visa secured credit card. However, there’s no balance transfer intro APR with this card—it’s a variable 26.99 percent APR, just like the purchase APR.

The Bank of America® Cash Back Secured credit card is another secured credit card with no annual fee. The nice perk with this card is you earn cash back rewards automatically with all purchases, up to 3 percent in a category of your choosing every quarter and 2 percent cash back at grocery stores and wholesale clubs (3% and 2% cash back on the first $2,500 in combined choice category/grocery store/wholesale club purchases each quarter, then earn 1%). You can get a credit line of between $300 to $4,900 depending on your refundable security deposit. With this card, there’s also no intro balance transfer APR and the variable APR is 23.99 percent.

Card name Line of credit Rewards rate Regular purchase and balance transfer APR Introductory balance transfer APR Annual fee
UNITY Visa® Secured Credit Card Same amount as refundable security deposit: $250-$10,000 N/A 17.99% fixed rate (remains fixed through the expiration date of the card) 9.95% fixed rate for 6 months from date of the account opening; after that, 17.99% fixed rate $39
Secured Mastercard® from Capital One $200, with refundable security deposit of $49, $99 or $200 N/A 26.99% variable APR N/A $0
Bank of America® Cash Back Secured credit card Same amount as refundable security deposit: $300-$4,900 3% cash back in the category of your choice: gas, online shopping, dining, travel, drug stores, or home improvement/furnishings. 2% cash back at grocery stores and wholesale clubs. You’ll earn 3% and 2% cash back on the first $2,500 in combined choice category/grocery store/wholesale club purchases each quarter, then earn 1% 23.99% variable APR N/A $0

Best cards to pair with the UNITY Visa Secured Credit Card

As you’re building credit, you don’t want to get too many cards at once because that can negatively impact your credit score. If you choose to get the UNITY Visa Secured Credit Card for the intro balance transfer period, you might want to pair it with a rewards credit card or travel credit card if you qualify. You could pair this with the Bank of America® Cash Back Secured credit card, for example, to get both cash rewards and balance transfer benefits from both cards.

Bankrate’s take—Is the UNITY Visa secured credit card worth it?

If you need a secured credit card and want one to make a balance transfer on it, you might consider the UNITY Visa Secured Credit Card. Though it doesn’t provide any welcome offer or rewards, it can help you build your credit score if you use it responsibly.

If you qualify for a card that offers something like cash back rewards or travel points, that may be a better choice. If you need a secured credit card but don’t need to make a balance transfer, it might be better to look for a secured credit card with no annual fee that gives you a chance to increase your line of credit without charging fees.

Pros

  • Build your credit score with responsible use
  • Lower intro balance transfer APR

Cons

  • Annual fee and fee for increasing your credit limit
  • Must provide a refundable security deposit to get a line of credit
  • No rewards or welcome offer

The information about Bank of America® Cash Back Secured card has been collected independently by Bankrate.com. The card details have not been reviewed or approved by the card issuer.