According to their website they have 900,000 cardmembers, but should you be one of them?
Merrick Bank credit cards fall under two categories:
- Merrick Bank Secured Visa - This is a secured credit card geared towards those who can’t get approved for one that’s unsecured. At the time of this review, their secured Visa has a $36 fee for the first year and $3 per month after that. The interest rate on purchases is 17.45 percent variable. The credit line can be from $200 to $3,000 (equal to whatever your security deposit is).
- Unsecured Merrick Bank Visa / MasterCard: These are various entry-level unsecured cards. These cards are invite-only, however; you must receive a mailed invitation from Merrick Bank before you can apply.
Reviews: the good & the bad
It seems that cardholders either love their Merrick Bank card or they absolutely despise it. After reading dozens and dozens of reviews online, here’s a summary of what I found.
- Relatively easy to get – Merrick Bank cards are in reach for those with bad credit. However, they’re not the only game in town.
- Secured cards have reasonable annual/monthly fees – Other secured cards on the market charge annual fees of $75 or more.
- Customer service - the comments on the customer service seem to be a mixed bag; there are a number of complaints about bad customer service but on the other hand there are those who don’t feel it’s an issue.
- Account closure for going over limit – on Consumer Affairs, one posters alleges that Merrick Bank closed his account after he went over the limit twice and there was no notification of closure in advance.
- New annual fees for long-time customers - I saw multiple complaints about longstanding Merrick Bank cardholders suddenly getting hit with an annual fee, when they were never charged one before.
Credit Card Forum does not advertise Merrick Bank (at least at the time I’m writing this). In all fairness, I think a lot of the complaints are unwarranted or at least comparable to other credit cards in this category. Yes, the fees and high APR are high, but that is an industry-wide practice for cards designed for those with poor credit. I’m not saying a Merrick Bank card is spectacular, but I do think they are OK for what they offer (a bad credit credit card). Once you pay your dues with Merrick, you can move on to something better.
If you would like to check out some alternatives, go here to compare secured credit cards. Below are some of the best offers by credit type.
Updated: April 17, 2014