2018 Citi Secured Credit Card Review – WalletHub Editors
This content is not provided or commissioned by any issuer. Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of an issuer, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by an issuer.
The Verdict: Placing a deposit on the Citi® Secured Mastercard® Credit Card (Citi is a WalletHub partner) is neither an outright mistake nor an ideal decision. You see, it’s a solid credit-building tool with the potential to help you reach a higher credit tier without charging an annual fee, as long as you use it responsibly. But this isn’t the only option you have if you wish to avoid the burden of an annual fee.
So if a low-cost means of credit improvement is what you’re looking for, this middle-of-the-road offer might be for you. The only stipulation is that you can’t have gone through bankruptcy in the past two years. And you can learn everything else you need to know below.
Relatively Low $200 Minimum Deposit: This secured Citicard’s required security deposit is fairly unobtrusive, at least compared to other offers that ask you to part with $500 or $600. This, in other words, makes credit-improvement more affordable in the short term.
You’ll get your deposit back (minus any outstanding balance) when you close your account, after all. You can also add to your available credit with subsequent deposits up to a maximum of $2,500, which should help to speed up the improvement process. Just make sure to keep your credit utilization low.
- No Annual Fee: Some of the best secured cards don't charge an annual fee, so it's a good thing that the Citi® Secured Mastercard® doesn't have the additional initial cost which some people with a low credit score would consider a barrier to entry. Thus you would avoid the roughly $35 annual fee charged by the average secured card, according to WalletHub data.
Expensive Financing: This should be a moot point, as secured-card financing is ill-advised, but this card’s 23.74%* (V) APR is well above the 18.96% secured-card average, according to WalletHub’s latest Credit Card Landscape Report.
Perhaps that will provide a bit of extra discouragement the next time you think about carrying a balance from month to month. The 3% fee for transferring a balance should dispel you of the desire to perform that type of transaction, too.
- Your Deposit Won’t Accrue Interest: It’s not common, but some secured-card issuers place cardholder deposits in an interest-accruing savings vehicle so that funds can at least try to keep pace with inflation. But that’s not the case with this secured Citicard, as your deposit will be stowed in a “Collateral Holding Account” that yields nothing.
- Recent Bankruptcy Disqualifies You: Check your credit report. If it shows a bankruptcy from the past two years, you’ll have to take your credit-building business elsewhere. You can find out which issuers will approve applicants despite a recent bankruptcy in our annual Secured Card Report.
Other Things To Consider
- 3% Foreign-Transaction Fee: If you’re planning to travel abroad or purchase something from an international merchant, this isn’t the card for you. After all, there’s no sense in paying 3% more than you have to.
- Pricey Cash Advances: Although cash advances are never cheap, those done with the Citi® Secured Mastercard® will be especially expensive, thanks to a 26.49% APR and a fee equal to $10 or 5% of the amount advanced, whichever is higher. The average cash-advance rate is 20.54% and the average fee is 3.62%.
Compared To The Competition
Citi® Secured Mastercard®
Discover it® Secured Card - No Annual Fee
Wells Fargo Secured Credit Card
Capital One® Secured Mastercard®
|Rewards Rate||N/A||1 - 2% Cash Back||N/A||N/A|
|Purchase Intro APR||Not Offered||Not Offered||Not Offered||Not Offered|
|Transfer Intro APR||Not Offered||10.99% for 6 months|
Transfer Fee: 3%
|Not Offered||Not Offered|
|Regular APR||23.74%* (V)||24.24% (V)||20.24% (V)||24.99% (V)|
|Editors’ Rating||4.6 / 5||5.0 / 5||3.3 / 5||5.0 / 5|
|Details, Rates & Fees||Learn More||Learn More|
Rates & Fees
Rates & Fees
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