The Verdict: The SECU Shared Secured card is perhaps the perfect option for members of the credit union that can’t qualify for most credit cards. This card is secured with funds held in a special savings account and helps to reestablish or start a good credit history. Unlike most secured cards on the market, this card has no annual fee or hidden fees. The APR is a very reasonable 10.99% on purchases, balance transfers and cash advances and cardholders can enjoy many of the same benefits of the Visa Platinum card, including travel insurance.

Overview: The State Employees Credit Union in Maryland offers two different credit cards to members: a Platinum Visa card with rewards and the Shared Secured card for members that want to improve or reestablish credit. The Share Secured card is secured with money held in a SECU savings account and has credit limits starting at $300. The card has no annual fee and no hidden charges, which makes it an excellent choice over traditional secured cards offered by most banks.

How These Cards Work: This credit card is secured with funds held in a special SECU savings account. The amount of secured funds will be equal to the credit limit of the card, with limits starting at $300. Although it is secured, the card works like any other Visa card and may be used worldwide. There is a 25 day grace period on purchases, which allows cardholders to avoid any interest charges by paying off balances in full during this time. There are no fees for cash advances and balance transfers, so members may also choose to transfer balances from high-interest rate cards to their secured card to save money in the long run. Online access is available 24/7, making it possible to check balances, credit limits and more at any time.

Travel & Shopping Benefits: The Shared Secured card from SECU includes up to $500,000 in travel accident insurance for the cardholder and family members, as long as tickets were purchased with the card. Although there is no rewards system, cardholders can still qualify for discounts at special retailers like Dell and Home Depot.

Fees: There is no annual fee associated with the SECU Shared Secured card. The variable APR on purchases, cash advances and balance transfers is 10.99%. SECU will never raise the APR on the secured card to a default interest rate due to delinquencies as well. Balance transfers and cash advances have no fees. There are no hidden fees with the SECU card at all. The only charges a cardholder may incur are a late payment fee up to $25 and a returned payment fee up to $15. An outside foreign transaction fee of 1.00% may apply through Visa.

Pros:

  • Great secured card to rebuild or begin credit
  • No annual fee or APR
  • APR as low as 10.99%
  • Balance transfers and cash advances are fee-free
  • Up to $500,000 in travel accident insurance
  • No hidden fees

Cons:

  • Must be a member of SECU to apply
  • Credit limit must be secured by funds in a special savings account