"CreditShout is a community of personal finance experts dedicated to helping you save money and make smart financial decisions. Learn how to master your credit card rewards, improve your credit score and start eliminating your debt."
The Citi® Secured Mastercard® is what we refer to as a “secured credit card,” meaning it’s not like a traditional credit card. It’s a credit card that is specifically designed to help you start your credit or help you rebuild your credit.
Secured credit cards require a deposit before you’ll receive the card. For example, if you want a $500 credit line, you’ll be required to deposit $500 down on the secured credit card. Once you do, the secured card will be sent to you and you’ll be able to begin using it.
It doesn’t matter if you have no credit or you have bad credit, your odds of being approved for the Citi® Secured Mastercard® is high.
Citi® Secured Mastercard® Overview
Credit Card Type: Secured Credit Card
Annual Fee: $0
Recommended Credit Score: 450
Foreign Transaction Fee: 3% of each purchase transaction after it’s conversion into US dollars
Balance Transfer Fee: Either $5 or 3% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
Establishing New Credit: The biggest benefit of the Citi® Secured Mastercard® is the fact that it helps you build new credit. This is what secured credit cards were designed for. Make no mistake, all secured credit cards are not equal. The Citi® Secured Mastercard® has perks that other secured credit cards don’t have.
Reports To All 3 Credit Bureaus: The Citi® Secured Mastercard® reports to all 3 major credit bureaus. That would include Equifax, Experian, and Transunion. This is super important because different lenders use different credit bureaus. If your secured credit card reports to only one credit bureau, that can hurt you from getting credit from lenders that use the other credit reporting bureaus.
Decent Range Of Credit: The lowest amount that you can deposit is $200, the highest amount you can deposit is $2,500. Some secured credit cards only allow you to deposit $300, $500, $1,000, so having a capacity of $2,500 is a really good benefit.
Identity Theft: Things happen and identity theft is no joke, so having some protections under the Citi umbrella is a benefit. You also have access to Purchase Protection through Citi.
Fico Score Monitoring: When you’re building your credit, it’s super important to monitor your credit scores. While CreditKarma and Credit Sesame allow you to monitor your credit for free, FICO usually cost money to monitor. If you didn’t know, FICO is the most common scoring model used. With this card, you get the opportunity to monitor your FICO score, which is certainly another cool perk with the card.
No Rewards: This secured card, as well as the majority of all secured credit cards, you don’t get any rewards for spending. If you’re looking for rewards, you need a reward credit card. If you don’t have good credit, you may not be approved for a rewards credit card. Build your credit first and you can always apply for rewards cards later.
High APR: One of the common downfalls of having a secured credit card is the high APR. That’s normal with secured credit cards.
Application Process: There’s been a lot of talk about the application process online. When I was reviewing “reviews,” many people talked about the application process being a hassle. I decided to begin the application process myself and was transferred to several departments. I spent around 15 minutes waiting before I finally talked to the right department. Just be prepared for that if you’ll be applying for this card.
About Some Secured Credit Cards
The best secured credit cards to get are secured credit cards that allow you to change over to a real credit card after you show responsible use. Some credit card lenders allow you to get your security deposit back after you show them you can be responsible with a credit card.
With the Citi® Secured Mastercard®, I couldn’t find any information on this, so I couldn’t confirm if Citi will do that.
Why is it important? For starters, it’s great to get your deposit back, right? If you’re showing responsible use, they should give that option. When I had to rely on secured credit cards, the majority of them do not give you the deposit back. Plus, they keep you on the secured credit card.
If you can find a credit card lender that will turn your secured card into a credit card, that’s a big perk. Back of America was the only one that upgraded my secured card for a credit card, although it took 4 years to happen, which is way too long.
In the end, I’d recommend looking for that perk, it may be hard to find but it’s possible. That would be the best scenario for you if you can find a lender with that option.
Citi® Secured Mastercard® Requirements
Must be 18 to apply
Personal identifying information, including SSN, email address, and phone number
Total annual income, and source of income
Monthly mortgage payment/rent
Bank account information for the security deposit, like account number and routing number
The amount you’d like to deposit
You must not have declared bankruptcy in the last two years
Citi® Secured Mastercard® In Closing
If you have bad credit or no credit, getting the Citi® Secured Mastercard® is going to help you build your credit scores.
If you already have credit and a fair credit score, you should be able to apply for much better credit cards, such as a rewards card or cashback credit card. Furthermore, you won’t have to put down a deposit on a secured credit card, you can get a card without the deposit.
This card is specifically for those that have no credit or bad credit. Period. Nothing fancy, nothing flashy, just business and straight to the point.
For those with no credit or bad credit, your path forward has to be a secured credit card. You’re going to need that to begin building your credit scores. At the least, deposit $200 and get started, that’s the most important thing you can do right now if you’re in that scenario. Be responsible, pay the card off every month and show them you can be creditworthy.
Credit Shout is a community of personal finance experts dedicated to helping you save money and make smart financial decisions. Learn how to master your credit card rewards, improve your credit score and start eliminating your debt.