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High interest rate – For the secured card, the APR will be between 17.45% and 29.70% with a cash advance APR up to 34.70%. For the unsecured card your interest rate will be 17.45%.
Account set-up fee for the unsecured card ranges from $0 to $75 for the first year. Combined with the annual fee, this immediately puts a balance of $147 on your card before you use it. There are no account set-up fees for the unsecured cards.
Annual fee for the unsecured card is between $0 and $72. After your first year, you’ll be billed $1 to $6 per month thereafter. For the secured card, the annual fee is a more reasonable $36 per year, billed at $3 per month thereafter.
Additional card fee of $0 to $12 per additional card, per year, which is billed $0 to $1 monthly after the first year. For the secured card, this fee is a flat $12 per year.
Credit limit increases – Most Merrick Bank cardholders report frequent credit limit increases and a high starting limit, even with poor credit and a past bankruptcy.
Lenient requirements – These credit cards are very easy to qualify for, even shortly after bankruptcy. Be aware that you may qualify for the card with a very high annual fee and account set-up fee if your credit score is very low.
Benefits of the Merrick Bank Credit Cards
Both the unsecured and secured Merrick Bank cards are good for building or rebuilding credit as they offer frequent automatic credit limit increases. Because they report to all three credit bureaus, these cards can be a good tool if used properly, which means paying on time and not carrying a balance.
The secured card offers better rates and fees than the unsecured, although it of course requires a security deposit that isn’t refunded until you close your account and pay your balance in full.
The Fine Print Exposed…
Like most credit cards designed for consumers with bad credit, there are numerous downsides to the credit cards from Merrick. To begin with, many people report sub-par customer service from Merrick Bank and issues with payments being processed quickly when sent through the mail.
You may also find your account closed if you go over your limit even once or twice. Some cardholders even report new annual fees after having a credit card through Merrick Bank for years.
The interest rates on these cards is incredibly high, even for a bad credit card. Never carry a balance on a Merrick Bank card unless you’re happy with paying hundreds of dollars per year in interest.
Final Thoughts – Should You Accept That Mail Offer?
The Merrick Bank credit cards are basic cards with no real perks or rewards. They’re intended to rebuild or establish credit and have very lenient requirements for acceptance. They also offer frequent credit limit increases which can help your credit score.
Unfortunately, the very high fees and interest rates make them far from a top recommendation to improve your credit. The secured card is better than the unsecured in terms of fees, although it still doesn’t compare to other cards like the Capital One Secured card.
If you have poor or limited credit, we recommend you check out either or Recommended Cards to Build Credit or our Guide to Secure Credit Cards.
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.