US Bank Secured Credit Card Review (Updated for 2013)

credit in toiletWhen it comes to your job, having to start at the bottom and work your way up just plain sucks, right? The same can be said about credit. Having to build (or rebuild) it from scratch is rarely enjoyable!

If your credit is in the toilet, a secured credit card from a bank or credit union might be all you can qualify for. So how does the US Bank Secured Visa compare to what else is out there?

What are the requirements?

Duh! That’s the whole point of secured… there are no qualifications to be met! Well, almost none.

You still have to be a legal US resident who’s 18 or older. Aside from that, it doesn’t matter how jacked up your credit history may be.

What are the fees?

There are no application fees, processing fees, or any of that nonsense. But there is an annual fee and that’s $35.

Reasonable? I would say so. There are one or two other secured cards which might be less but only by a small amount.

How much for the security deposit?

This is a fully secured card, meaning your deposit and credit limit will be the exact same amount.

  • Minimum Deposit: $300
  • Maximum Deposit: $5,000

Most secured accounts have $200-500 for the minimum, so the US Bank secured card is right in line with what is customary. It can be funded with a certified check, money order, or cashier’s check payable to US Bank.

Are there any noteworthy benefits?

The reason I put “noteworthy” in the header is because as is the case with most credit card applications, you will see a lot of benefits which are mainly fluff. For example, “zero fraud liability” is listed as a benefit, but practically all cards issued in this country come with that (there are laws for that) so I wouldn’t qualify that as noteworthy!

But there are couple perks that are definitely worth mentioning:

  • Access to Experian PLUS Score: This is actually offered to all internet banking customers at US Bank. So if you’re already one, you might have access and not even know it! Keep in mind the Experian PLUS Score is not the same as FICO, but it is still a good way to gauge your general creditworthiness as you work on improving it.
  • Car rental discounts: This benefit is listed on the marketing material but all they say is you get this with “companies like Avis, Alamo, Hertz, and National.” Beyond that, there are no details and since I’m not a US Bank customer myself, I can’t really judge whether these savings are worthwhile (when compared to coupon codes you can find elsewhere).
  • Deposit earns interest: Not many secured cards pay interest on your deposit, but the US Bank Secured Visa card does. This is definitely nice to see but keep in mind interest rates are at an almost all-time low right now…

interest rate on savings account

Translation? If you had the above rate, that’s 50 cents interest per $1,000 (per year).

What’s the APR?

You pay interest to borrow from yourself? Yep, that’s the way almost every secured credit card account works (sorry). When I checked the APR listed for this one it was 20.99% which is more or less the going rate for this type of card.

Should you apply or avoid it?

All things considered I would say it’s a great choice. Sure, it’s not exactly the Rolls-Royce of credit cards but remember, your credit score and history right now is basically comparable to a used Ford Fiesta. Don’t expect luxury features because you’re not going to find them. That being said, US Bank does have a secured version avail for their Korean Air and Harley Davidson cards which are a step-up from their regular secured Visa.

Keep in mind if you apply for the US Bank secured credit card, that’s still only one account. You may want to add another so you can build a beefier credit report. Here are some of my favorite secured cards for building and rebuilding credit that you may want to take a peek at.

Written or last updated in 2013

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US Bank pulled the required $300 from my account and will not send me a card or refund me. They are rude thieves. I have reported them for fraud with my bank.