You Should Probably Pass on Merrick Bank’s Credit Cards. Here Are Three Better Options for Bad Credit

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Merrick Bank specializes in credit card options for people looking to build or rebuild their credit, but its cards come with fees and other unfavorable terms that can make them more costly than other credit-building options on the market.

Merrick has three credit card offerings: the Platinum Visa® Credit Card*, the Secured Visa® Credit Card*, and the Double Your Line® Secured Visa® Credit Card*. Like other cards for building credit, your payment history with any Merrick Bank card is reported to all three credit bureaus.  

Here’s what you need to know about each of Merrick Bank’s credit cards, and why other cards — like our picks for the best cards for people with bad credit or best secured credit cards — are a better choice for most people. 

Merrick Bank Credit Card Details

The Platinum Visa Credit Card

The Platinum Visa is Merrick Bank’s only unsecured credit card. It offers no rewards, and charges a very high variable APR of 23.45%-28.45% for a card with no added benefits . 

You’ll be subject to set-up and maintenance fees which are determined based on your creditworthiness. These fees include:

  • $0-$72 annual fee in your first year, billed at $0 to $6 per month thereafter
  • $0-$75 account set-up fee

These fees are automatically deducted from your credit limit upon approval. If you’re approved for a credit limit of $500, for example, with a $72 annual fee and $75 set-up fee, your actual starting credit line is just $353. 

You can double your credit limit automatically if you pay on time for the first seven months, but if you have poor credit to begin with, you’ll probably start off with a low credit limit and higher fees, which means it’ll be even more important to keep an eye on your credit utilization ratio to improve your credit.

The card also charges foreign transaction fees (2% of the transaction in U.S. dollars), monthly fees for any additional cards you add to your account, late and returned payment fees, and cash advance fees. 

Unlike many other cards, there’s not a direct application for the Merrick Bank Platinum Visa online. Instead, you can apply for a pre-approval offer you receive by mail or fill out a form on Merrick Bank’s site to see if you qualify for an online offer. 

The Secured Visa® Credit Card and the Double Your Line® Secured Visa® Credit Card

Merrick’s two secured card offerings both have the same terms. You’ll be subject to a variable 17.45% APR and an annual fee of $36. The annual fee is charged upfront the first year, then billed at $3 dollars per month thereafter. 

Both cards require a minimum initial security deposit of $200, which acts as your credit limit. With either card, your account is reviewed periodically (Merrick Bank doesn’t specify how often) to see if you’re eligible for a credit line increase without an additional deposit. You can also increase your limit by depositing more at any time, up to $3,000. 

If you’re approved for the Double Your Line Secured Visa Credit Card, you can double your credit line to $400 without another deposit as long as you make at least your minimum payment on time each month for the first seven months your account is open. 

But remember, you’ll want to pay more than just your minimum payment on your card to avoid paying interest. Any balance left on your credit card at the end of the month will result in an interest charge. 

While the chance to increase your credit limit is nice, if you’re looking for a secured credit card, look for options that don’t charge annual fees, and offer benefits or opportunities to upgrade to an unsecured card in the future.

Merrick Bank Credit Cards Review Summary 

Variable APRMinimum Initial Deposit Annual/Start Up Fees
The Platinum Visa23.45%-28.45%N/A$0-$72 annual fee$0-$75 account set-up fee
The Secured Visa Credit Card17.45%$200$36 annual fee
The Double Your Line Secured Visa Credit Card17.45%$200$36 annual fee

Alternatives to Merrick Bank Credit Cards

If you have bad credit, or little or no credit history, it’s unlikely you’ll be able to qualify for top-tier credit cards with rewards or perks. Instead, you should focus on building credit and establishing good credit habits, and there are better secured and unsecured card options than Merrick Bank cards to help. 

Here are a few to consider: 

Discover it® Secured Credit Card

The Discover it Secured Credit Card offers cash back rewards, a rarity among secured cards. You can earn 2% cash back at gas stations and restaurants on up to $1,000 in combined purchases each quarter, plus 1% on all other purchases.

You’ll also be able to double the cash back you earn in your first year with Discover’s Cashback Match bonus at the end of your first year. The card has no annual fee, a variable 26.74% APR, and a minimum $200 security deposit.

Capital One Platinum Secured Credit Card

You can secure your credit line for less than $200 with this card. After you’re approved, you’ll be assigned a minimum required deposit starting at $49 to get a $200 line of credit. Capital One automatically begins reviewing your account after six months to determine if you’re eligible for credit line increases or a returned security deposit. There’s no annual fee and a variable APR of 29.74%. 

Petal® 2 “Cash Back, No Fees” Visa® Credit Card

With the Petal® 2 “Cash Back, No Fees” Visa® Credit Card issued by WebBank, you’ll earn a baseline 1% cash back on eligible purchases, and up to 1.5% cash back on eligible purchases after you make 12 on-time payments. Because the issuer may use alternative information in its approval process — including your savings and spending history — you don’t have to rely on only your credit score for access. There’s no annual fee, a variable APR from 16.74% – 30.74%, and you’ll be able to access a credit limit between $300-$10,000. 

Discover it® Secured Credit Card

Discover it® Secured Credit Card

  • Intro offer:
    Cashback Match™
  • Annual fee:
  • Regular APR:
    27.24% Variable APR
  • Recommended credit:
    (No Credit History)
Learn More externa link icon
Petal® 2

Petal® 2 “Cash Back, No Fees” Visa® Credit Card

  • Intro offer:
  • Annual fee:
  • Regular APR:
    16.74% – 30.74% (Variable)
  • Recommended credit:
    (No Credit History)
  • Apply Now externa link icon At Petal’s secure site

Bottom Line

Merrick Bank’s cards charge higher fees and offer fewer benefits than many other options for building credit. Before you apply or respond to a pre-approval offer from Merrick, compare other card options available that cost less and can help you achieve your credit goals faster.

If you need to repair your credit or have little credit history, a card geared toward people with bad credit can help you earn the credit you need to graduate to a better product as quickly as possible. In the meantime, the most important habits you can practice include paying all of your monthly payments on time and in full, monitoring your credit report frequently, and keeping your credit utilization low.

*All information about the Platinum Visa® Credit Card, Secured Visa® Credit Card, Double Your Line® Secured Visa® Credit Card and Discover It Secured Credit Card have been collected independently by NextAdvisor and has not been reviewed by the issuer.