Citi Secured Credit Card Review (Updated For 2014)

Posted by CreditCardGuru

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?

citibank secured credit cardI’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.

For those reasons, you may also may want to consider a different issuer like this one:

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.

2014 verdict?

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 form to see if you might be matched for something better:
This post was written or last updated June 10, 2014


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Editorial Disclosure: The editorial content on this page is not provided by any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities. Opinions expressed here are author's alone, not those of the bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

36 comments... read them below or add your own

  1. nora September 23, 2014 at 9:37PM

    Hi my name is nora and I will be turning 18 next month and I want to start building my credit so I can get a car a house etc. In the future. I currently have no credit what so ever. I’m trying to find a bank that I can start an account with and a secured card for a reasonable amount.I’m not sure what bank I should go for and I was hoping I’d be able to go with this one. Is this bank the best one will I get denied? Help

  2. winarski August 3, 2014 at 9:09AM

    i lovvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvve this bank . i have nothing to say about them they are polite and never had any problems.

  3. Diz April 16, 2014 at 8:24PM

    This card was a pain in the arse to actually get…but I WAS approved after being rejected almost everywhere else (yes, even for secured and student cards). I think all the errors citibank made actually helped me in the long run. I have mostly non-credit- not much in my credit history (couple student cards that closed from non-use years ago) and low low income. The guy at the branch really did try his best to help me get it. Nonetheless, it took me about 10 times going to resolve this and other issues at the branch, and finally a couple, increasingly angry, phone calls. I am excited to finally start building my credit history.

  4. Maurice March 6, 2014 at 4:11PM

    I went to Citi Bank to open an account seeing as how i had accounts with nearly every other bank that ended badly… i deposited a good amount of money $1500 in savings and $5300 in checking and was told by the banker about the card and she recommended that i put at least $500 down which i did and i was approved which was surprising to me seeing as how my credit is about a 514 and im unemployed but i do get a lot for unemployment… hopefully this will be a good way to build my credit, my guess is as long as you have a few thousand in a CitiBank account they shouldnt deny you because they hold your money any way

  5. WallyPalo January 25, 2014 at 11:02AM

    I went down to my local Citibank and told them I wanted to rebuild my credit (after a bankruptcy). I applied for a secure card, and deposited $1,000. My application was denied a few weeks later, and the stated reason was because of the bankruptcy. Looks like they could have mentioned that during the conversation about my bankruptcy during the application process.

    Furthermore, they still have my $1,000, and it has been nearly 3 months since my declined application. I’ve called many times and visited, and keep being told that it is coming soon. After another week, I will have to file in small claims court. I’d think twice before applying for a secure card at Citibank.

    • Dvd October 19, 2014 at 8:24PM

      I believe Citibank requires 2 years post bk before they will approve you for the card.

  6. Carlos November 28, 2013 at 9:56PM

    does Citi Bank reports to the 3 major credit bureaus? (Trans, Exp & Equ.) that’s the most important thing to know before applying for any credit card if we are trying to build credit.

    • Lucy March 31, 2014 at 9:17AM

      Yes, they do Carlos, and they do it right away.

    • Robert n Rodriguez July 1, 2014 at 9:54AM

      No you can still get deny it’s all base on your credit score

  7. Brett November 15, 2013 at 11:06AM

    Where can I find the application for this card?

    • Teerie87 November 16, 2013 at 2:56PM

      You have to go to a Citi branch.

    • Lucy March 31, 2014 at 9:18AM

      You have to go into a branch

  8. Eric Irwin November 12, 2013 at 10:56AM

    I have a social insurance number from Canada and live in the USA for 5 months a year. Every time that I apply for a credit card here in (USA), they won’t accept me because I don”t have a social security number. Can you tell me how I get around this problem about social security number on the applications. I own a home in south Florida with approximate value of $150,000.00 fully paid for. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

    • Stasi November 24, 2013 at 5:01PM

      You don’t need a SSN to be approved for a credit card. You may be required to send in proof of identification/citizenship but as long as everything else passes, Citibank offers Global cards to other residents who are not originally from the United States. Citibank even has college cards for college students coming from other countries to school in the U.S. The options are out there.

    • Echo February 9, 2014 at 2:38AM

      I use to work in the credit world… Did you purchase your house in Fl in cash or credit? If credit… go to the bank that you financed it with. Use your Social insurance number… it is the same amount of numbers as the SS #

      I knew many several Canadians that got credit like that. You can also take a small loan on your house… Foreigners are allowed to purchase houses and many do so on credit. Again… your social insurance numbers are the same amount of digits they are just called something different.

      GOod luck

  9. OntheRox September 16, 2013 at 2:58PM

    Has anyone been approved on this card that is currently unemployed? I just came back from another country and Im trying to re-establish my credit again after 3 years of being gone.

    • Stasi November 24, 2013 at 4:57PM

      You need to have a source of income to be approved for any credit card. Being unemployed is okay as long as you have unemployment benefits to cover your expenses. Be sure to include household, spouses, and asset income to help you meet income qualifications. There is a minimum you need to meet.

      Also, you can be declined for the Citibank Secured Credit Card due to recent collections or derogatory marks on your CBR which show as a risk that you will not pay back Citibank which is a factor for Secured Cards as well, especially when interest is accrued. Just because you put in a deposit, does not mean you’re automatically allowed a card. This card is giving you credentials, interest, and history which you need. Citibank doesn’t owe you anything.

      This may be a tough card to be approved for considering it is a Secured card, but it is also the best card out there right now for Secured cards.

  10. infoguy February 25, 2013 at 6:12PM

    Ive had this Citi secured card for 15 months. I just got a letter in the mail from citi saying that they no longer needed my deposit to secure the card and that my account was just going to convert to a regular Citi Classic card (didn’t know they still offered this) when my current card expires(5/13). Also they are going to return my $200 plus interest in April when my CD matures. I’ve made payments on time every month. Just thought I would share cause I never read of anyone else having this same experience and I was surprised by the letter.

  11. Denied February 21, 2013 at 8:42PM

    If Citi’s credit card is secured with my deposit, why did they deny me? I have very low credit score but the card is secured with my money.

  12. wescream1 February 21, 2013 at 3:11AM

    i dont have any credit whatsoever and no job but i do have a good amount of savings with citibank . i applied for this card to start getting my credit going and spoke to a personal banker who helped me apply, after about 3 weeks i recieved a call saying i was approved. i only put 200$ deposit. im suprised i got approved after reading all the people getting rejected, but ive been with citibank for about 7 years now with their checking and savings accounts, maybe that helped me out..

  13. Strawberry February 1, 2013 at 11:57PM

    I was interested in applying for the secured Citibank card but I was told that I had to come in to the bank to apply. Anyway, I hear that the card is really hard to get. I just got approved for the capital one secured card but I’m skeptical about the Citibank card. I don’t have a Citibank account and my credit is in the 500′s and I’m only using $200 for my deposit. So tell me, would I be wasting my time trying to getting their card?

  14. Joe January 29, 2013 at 6:59PM

    I would love to get a secured card.

  15. ed lovelace November 2, 2012 at 8:30PM

    This is a sham that Citibank is perpetrating on the general public. At the initial meeting with the bank branch manager, I was told credit history didn’t matter and that the card is secured with the $1000.00 I was using. After 2 weeks I was called to discuss my qualifications. I was told on the front end that the $1000.00 was my qualification…..after going to the bank and raising questions about this I was then told that a refund would be issued in 2 to 3 weeks (they had already had my money for 2 weeks)….I insisted the funds come back to me immediately and was told it would be in the mail on Monday (today is Friday)…..think about all the people around the country they are doing this to……this amounts to interest free loans to Citibank at the publics’ expense.

    • George November 8, 2012 at 6:03AM

      Yes, it is a difficult card to obtain. I had a secured card (Capital One) for over a year, and an unsecured card (also with Capital One) for six months before I applied for their card. I had applied once before then and the same thing happened. I was denied and they refunded my money (then $3000) but after opening a seucred card with Capital one for $3000 I learned not to make such large deposits. Wait six months and try again. As you can see, Citi doesn’t market this card. It is not easy to obtain. It is a secured card, but probably not a starter card, if that makes sense?

    • researcher November 29, 2012 at 11:13AM

      Hi Ed,

      Thank you so much for this information. I have horrible credit due to a divorce and was about to send in my $1000 deposit with application because the bank branch told me there was no credit check. Thank you, thank you for the heads up!

  16. George October 11, 2012 at 12:11PM

    I have had my Citi Secured card for a year now. Mine has no annual fee and I get the same rewards offered on their Citi Platinum Select card, their Citi Extra Cash which is changing to Citi Easy Deals starting 10/15/12. The Citi Extra Cash has virtually no monetary value. You use it to buy gift cards through their website with a 5% discount, using your Citi Extra Cash.

    My card has the possibility of converting to an unsecured card after 18 months. You start with a deposit (mine is $1,000) that earns interest (my rate was 1%, which is now at around $1012) but if you withdraw the money before your maturity date, you lose the interest. My maturity date is in March, so that’s when they decide if it converts or not. It is supposed to convert to the Citi Platinum Select card however, I think they no longer offer it in a Mastercard (as is the secured card) but as a Visa instead.

    I think you still have to have pretty decent scores and no recent charge offs to qualify. I had gotten an invitation to apply for the Diamond Preferred card, but was declined. Citi will decline you also if you apply for more than one card within a 3 month period, I believe. I printed and mailed my application and cashiers check and about 2 weeks later was notified that my card was on the way.

    Citi has bill pay and automatic payments so I use it to pay some bills and the statement amount is automatically withdrawn from my checking account…its pretty simple, however I do not carry this card.

    I would prefer their Citi Dividend Platinum Select of the Forward Card, but from what I hear, they no longer do product changes…(when you have a card switch to one with different rewards, etc). If my card is not converted in March, I will simply close it. I have accumulated enough cards and so I will accept their unsecured card, but no longer really need it. My scores were in the 620′s when I applied.

  17. Katherin July 24, 2012 at 8:02AM

    I got a secured credit card with Bank of America and it has turned out very good, after six months of having it, I started to get approved other credit cards (jcpenney, macy’s,etc). I got it because I moved to USA a couple of years ago and had no credit at all but now, I have pretty good credit thanks to Bank of America!! You can start with 300 or more, it gets approved cause you’re handling your own money and after a year and if you’ve handle the card in a good way the bank willl give you your money back and you can start using theirs and even applied to get the credit limit increase :D

  18. John July 12, 2012 at 3:50AM

    Anyone who goes through “snail mail” to apply for a credit card and put their personal information is crazy. i’m sure we all can go into a citi bank branch and apply for one. That is what I will try to do. Just my opinion.

  19. Ron April 18, 2012 at 6:40AM

    My credit is garbage. I lost my home etc. I was able to get a credit card with Applied Bank they are good.

  20. Andrew April 12, 2012 at 12:21PM

    Citibank Cards are crap. I have no bankruptcy and under $1900 in debt 570 Credit Score, have had an account with Citibank for over 14 years with direct deposit and putting over a million dollars through there bank and I was denied and they would not say why and then hung up on me when I asked to talk to a supervisor, if you are looking for a card go somewhere else. CITIBANK IS CRAP AND I WILL TAKE MY ACCOUNTS ELSE WHERE!

  21. Fernando March 9, 2012 at 10:38AM

    How do you apply for a Citi secured credit card? I do not see it on any sites and some even say it is no longer available. Any help would be appreciated.

  22. Mona Hilson Lavache February 15, 2012 at 4:05PM

    Does Citibank still have the secured credit card?

    • SachaFromLA February 29, 2012 at 7:57PM

      Yes. I applied on Feb. 22nd. Be aware that the app is only accepted through snail mail. I’m waiting to hear whether or not I was approved.

      • ZmanFromMelbourne March 5, 2012 at 10:15AM

        I didn’t know the secured cards required good credit (or any credit for that matter) since the deposit almost makes the card risk free for the bank. Were you approved?

    • Tamara March 2, 2012 at 10:23PM

      Yep

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