Your only choice if you have crummy credit is often a secured account. But a lot of secured cards come with high fees and few perks. Is the Citibank secured card any better?
I’ve seen some secured credit cards that charge more than $200 in fees just for the first year! I can understand why they have to charge something, but $200?Take a look at this Citi Secured MasterCard review to see how it compares to the others…
What are their fees and interest rates?
The Citi secured card application lists the annual fee as being $29. I don’t see mentions of any other fees besides that. The APR is variable and they list 18.24% for purchases, 25.24% for cash advances, and up to 29.99% for the penalty APR when it applies. Those were their interest rates as of the date of this review.
Please be aware this card from Citi may not be easy to get approved for: Based on the reviews and comments I have received lately, some people get denied or are being asked for excessive security deposits of at least $1,000. Another drawback is that you can’t apply for it online.
How does the account from Citi work?
- You include a check or money order for an amount between $200 and $5,000 with your card’s application. That amount becomes your security deposit. You will be billed for your annual fee at a later time.
- Your security will be put into an 18 month Certificate of Deposit (CD). The credit limit on your Citi secured credit card will be up to the amount of money that’s in this CD.
- There is a grace period of at least 23 days after your credit card billing cycle closes. If you pay your entire balance in full before that time, you will not be charged any interest.
- After having and using the Citi secured MasterCard for 18 months, you “may become eligible” for an unsecured Citi Platinum MasterCard.
Who can apply?
The application for their secured credit card says you have to be at least 18 years of age and be a U.S. citizen or a resident alien. Either way, you will need to provide a copy of your government-issued photo ID (non-US citizens must provide either a copy of their passport or Mexican consular ID).
To apply you will also need to prove your address. If you are a U.S. citizen your driver’s license or passport will work. However if you are non-US citizen you need to provide a copy of your recent utility bill, bank account statement, or phone bill (cellphones don’t count).
How can you apply?
You will need to go to a local Citibank branch and bring all the required things. Previously, you could download the Citibank secured credit card application on their website and mail it in, but unfortunately that is no longer an option.
Credit Card Forum advertises some Citi products, but we don’t advertise this one. Regardless, I still think it’s an OK choice. The annual fee for the Citi secured MasterCard is pretty reasonable and the requirements are fairly standard.
But before you apply for any secured account, you should check out this card finder tool to see if you might be matched for something better.
This post was written or last updated June 10, 2014