Is The Public Savings Bank Secured Card a Scam?

Q: Given my terrible credit history, I have come to the conclusion the only credit cards I will qualify for are secured. I was reading a review of the Public Savings Bank and their secured card offer. Are they a scam or not?

Public Savings Bank secured cardLATEST UPDATE FOR 2013: This bank has been shut down by the FDIC and is no longer in business. What a bombshell! That’s just one more reason why you should stick with the big guys like Cap One and others for a card that’s secured. Small startups like Public Savings are just too risky!

A: You are wise to be skeptical of secured credit cards in general, because indeed, many of them are unscrupulous to say the least.However when it comes to Public Savings Bank they are a legitimate company. In fact, they are one of the very few secured card issuers that CreditCardForum advertises. With that said though, let’s review the pros and cons:

Pros:

  • The security deposit amount is flexible: One of the biggest complaints of secured cards is that many require a minimum security deposit of $500. Depending on your circumstances, that high of an amount might not be in your budget. Fortunately the Public Savings Open Sky Visa card allows you to have a secured limit ranging from $200 to $3,000. So you have the ability to start small and build a bigger limit by adding to your deposit over time.
  • Your security deposit is FDIC insured: Whatever amount you decide for your security deposit, rest assured knowing that it will be placed into an FDIC-insured deposit account. This is important, because some other secured card issuers are not banks, and hence, their deposits are not insured.
  • The annual fee is reasonable: The Public Savings Bank secured card charges a $50 annual fee. While that’s not cheap compared to a traditional unsecured card, it is a reasonable amount for the secured category. Many other issuers charge similar annual fees, PLUS monthly fees, application fees, etc.
  • Reports to TransUnion, Experian, Equifax: Your account will be reported to all 3 credit bureaus, which of course is very important if you are trying to establish or re-build credit.
  • There is no penalty APR: Ideally you shouldn’t be carrying a balance anyway but in the event that you do, at least there’s no penalty APR for late payments (but you will still be charged a late fee).

Cons:

  • Paper statement fee: After the first 2 billing cycles, accounts are charged a $3 monthly fee for paper statements. Fortunately though you can avoid this be enrolling in online statements instead.
  • Possible holds on payments: Generally the customer credit card reviews are quite favorable for Public Savings Bank, however I heard a complaint from someone regarding the standard practice of holding payments for 5 days to ensure they are cleared. Because I have only heard that from one person I cannot confirm whether that’s accurate or not, but to play it safe, I would just recommend making your payments as early as possible in case there is any sort of delay.

Verdict?

Unlike some other secured card issuers, Public Savings is a real physical bank in Pennsylvania which is re-assuring. The cost of the their Open Sky secured card is reasonable and I definitely would not classify it as a scam.

Interested in other options? Check out these secured card reviews!

Update: Public Savings has been shut down

On August 18th, 2011 Public Savings Bank was closed by the FDIC for being undercapitalized. It was unclear what exactly will happen to their secured cardholders though rest assured, your deposit account was FDIC insured so it should be safe. However people that were considering applying for a new card probably won’t be able to and it’s unlikely this current secured card will continue as it is (if at all).

Latest update: Megan McMahon, the marketing coordinator for Capital Bank (not to be confused with Capital One) emailed to let me know they have acquired certain deposits and assets of Public Savings. Unfortunately, this new owner has jacked up the fees and now they report the card as secured, which makes it a lot less attractive than before.

What’s the best alternative for 2013?

The Capital One Secured MasterCard® has been the highest rated on CreditCardForum for 3 years in a row.

 
Comments
The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

1st
you will send them a securit deposit
they will hold that AND will not issue the card for up to 6 weeks
2cond
they will charge you the annual fee three weeks before you actually RECIEVE the card AND they will expect you to pay this fee even though you have NO card and NO ACCESS to the funds

3rd and final issue
you can easily pay your bill online AND I DID
they will note that you paid
they will take the money from your chacking account via ach
ok
BUT THEY WILL HOLD YOUR PAYMENT EVEN THOUG IT WAS POSTED IN YOUR OWN BAK AND CLEARLY THEY GOT PAID THEY WILLL HOLD IT FOR 10 DAYS

i opened this card
and cosed it because they never disclosed these things beore i signed up
never giving me the customer the choice as to whether or not i would be ok with these itms
they need to disclose these things
i suspect they wont change so
if you decide you want to get this card be prepared for these things
the card irself was fine
the online portal ok
i just didnt feel comfotable staying with them

fyi the apr is 17.something and annual fee 29 $ reasonable

Hi Craig,

I just want to say that your strategy is very smart.

Very impressive.

Thanks for the tip!

I have had this card for over two years now, it WAS a great card until the Capitol Bank takeover. It had low interest, no fees and was generally a great card. Since the takeover they now charge a $50 annual fee plus $3 a month for a “paper statement fee” until you cancel it. They hit me with these fees with no warning and I wouldn’t have known if it wasn’t for the Mint app on my phone. I wonder how many people took a credit hit or paid late payment fees because they thought they had a zero balance!

I was going to keep this card as a little reserve as I have a $1500 deposit on it, but there are other better options now with no annual fee and some, like the Orchard Bank card turn into unsecured cards if you use them responsibly and they pay you interest on your deposit.

Avoid this one!!!

Yes, it was a great card. I am also having problems getting my deposit back. I paid as scheduled and when Capital Bank took offer I disagreed with the new fees and requested them close the account, it has been well over three months and I have not gotten my deposit back yet. I recommend Orchard Bank as well.

I myself have has this card for over 15 months and have to say it has done wonders to my credit. Yes it does take some time for your payment to post on your balance. But that’s why I have the automatic payment feature which automatically withdraws my current pending balance and pays it 5 days prior to the due date. Have yet to be charged a late fee and it has improved my credit that I now have an American Express card and Discover. Still have this one just because it did so much for me when everyone else refused me or was trying to take me for everything I had left. So if you have bad credit and want to rebuild at a reasonable cost this one is your ticket. Hope everyone reaches there credit goals I know I’m right on track on hitting hat magical 750 beacon score. Thank you all for your time.

The way to avoid the 5 working day hold on your funds is to write all you payment checks for amounts less the $100.00 and mail them all in the same envelope. For example if you want to make a $250 payment, the way to do it is to write 3 checks. One for $84 and two for $83. This equals $250 and all the funds become available at the same time, upon receipt by the bank; without a hold or delay. There is an unpublished policy that the bank does not hold checks for amounts of less than $100 i.e. write you checks for amount no greater than $99.99. I have had a Public Savings Visa card account for 18 months and used this strategy and it has always worked for me without failure. Hopefully this will work for you too.

Wow thank you, does this work every time for you?

Public Savings Bank was closed and aquired by Capital Bank, which assumed all deposits. They have since reopened as a branch of Capital Bank. Here is Capital Bank’s contact info:

http://www.capitalbankmd.com/content/contact-us

Good luck.

I’m with Kenyah on this one. What do I do about paying my bill? I’ve looked everywhere for an answer.

My cc bill is due in a few days How do I pay it the website is shut down

This bank is terrible their customer services is the worse

I too am very nervous about Public Saving Bank recent take over… I have a $2,000 secured account with them and am also frustrated with ridiculous delays in credits to my account. Especially when I have to pay 2-3 times a month so have enough CC funds.
I recently opened a Capital One Sec CC, and have no complaints… YET!

They do hold payments for ridiculous amounts of time. If you make a payment it takes 5 business days to clear,. If you make a payment of over 500.00 it takes them 14 days to clear even though the payment clears your own bank within 2 days. I consider the company to be a good one they are just extremely slow with processing payments and also very very difficult to talk to. If you send e-mails to customer service you will be lucky to receive an e-mail back withing 3-4 days if at all.

Public Savings Bank does hold payments for approx. five days. I don’t know why since the account is secured.

In any event, please be advised that this bank was closed and taken over by Capital Bank, NA as of 8-18-11.

I have no idea if the secured card program will continue, or be closed out.

I would like to leave a comment and additional information on Public Savings Bank especially to confirm an early review of holds on payments by this forum.

I opened a secured credit card with this bank more than 6 months ago. As far as I was concerned they were highly rated back then, but after six months of superb credit card payments history with as many 5 payments made in one given month, my last payment of $300.00 initiated on 07/22/11 was held on pending until 08/01/11, incredibly beyond belief that it took eleven days before Public Savings Bank would release that payment to my Visa credit card balance, a SECURED ACCOUNT, I mind you.

The payment of $300.00 would have made possible for me to pay off an item I had put on hold with a store but because Public Savings Bank held that payment on pending for so long, I had to ask the seller to let me pay the item off on short layaway terms or until Public Savings Bank would release that payment from pending status. Very embarrassing to me, fortunately, the seller was very understanding and agreeable.

I wrote a long letter to Public Savings Bank informing them my payment had already cleared my account. When they replied to my letter several days later, they showed no concern in addressing the issue after I emphasized to them that I had exceptional payment records and that my Visa credit card was, after all, a secured account and that I at least expected timely credit transactions be fully posted when payments were already cleared by my banking account.

Also, more than two weeks ago, I requested Public Savings Bank to send a duplicate credit card for my wife to use and to this date that card has not arrived. Obviously, I am no longer interested to have the card since they do not appreciate faithful customers with superb payments history.

Until you research their secured credit card thoroughly, don’t be fooled by the excellent reviews you read online from Public Savings Bank. Like so many other secured credit cards, this one is already going by the way side with unfavorable records of negative feed backs from users and very poor customer service. Unless Public Savings Bank improves their credit card services considerably, I am filing further complaints with the BBB, report it to media attention and close my account.

Watch out, Public Savings Bank Secured Credit Card will bite you back. I have records to back my statements up.

Anthony.