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The card_name works differently from other secured credit cards. Instead of immediately putting down a deposit to cover your credit line, you must first open a Credit Builder Account. After making at least three on-time deposits totaling $100, you may be eligible1 for the card_name.
The biggest benefit of this unusual approach is you can forego the typical hard credit inquiry. In addition, you can build your deposit with several smaller deposits instead of putting down one lump sum. However, this card does have fees that can be excessive, and you may have to wait a while before you have access to a line of credit. We’ll dive into the pros and cons and whether you should consider this card, plus the alternatives if it isn’t the right fit.
The card_name uses a non-traditional approach that can make it easier for credit builders to gain access to a line of credit. Plus, it allows customers to make monthly deposits into their accounts, which can be helpful for those who don’t have a lot of funds. However, its high fees and waiting period mean that some of the alternatives could be a better fit for some.
Pros and Cons
No hard inquiry to qualify
Fees can be high
Build security deposit over time
Waiting period to get the card
Reports all payment activity to three major credit bureaus, including missed payments
Doesn’t earn rewards
Who is the card for?
The card_name is best for those who want to build their credit but currently have a poor—or no—credit history. There is no hard credit check when you apply, and there isn’t a specific credit score requirement. It’s also ideal for those who don’t have the cash for a large security deposit—you can deposit as little as $25 a month to increase your account balance.
The card is also for those who can wait a while, as you must first open a Credit Builder Account, then wait at least three months before you’ll be eligible for a card_name. What’s more, you also must have at least $100 in savings in the Credit Builder account. This means that if you make $25 monthly payments, you’ll have to wait four months before you can get the card. In addition, your account must be in good standing.
Another important note is that the Credit Builder Account is a secured installment loan that places your money in a certificate of deposit (CD). You must make monthly payments on the loan, with a term of 24 months. You won’t have access to the money in the account until the end of the term minus any fees and interest.
The card_name is a somewhat complicated and expensive alternative for those who might otherwise apply for a traditional secured credit card. While it’s an intriguing option, you should consider it alongside other options, such as personal loans and other secured cards. Features of the card_name include:
The card_name reports your payments or missed payments to the three major credit bureaus in the U.S.—Experian, TransUnion, and Equifax. Making consistent, on-time payments will allow you to build a healthy credit profile. This is one of the main draws of this card, as it allows those who don’t currently have good credit to build their credit.
card_name uses standard security features to help keep your data safe. These include disk and database encryption, HTTPS/SSL 256-bit encryption, and API encryption. In addition, it hires experts who regularly perform vulnerability scans and penetration tests on its systems.
card_name also ensures its employees are trustworthy, performing regular criminal background checks and by encrypting employee computers. The card is a Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) member and Equal Housing Lender.
If you’re looking for a no-fee credit card, you may want to look elsewhere. In addition to the annual_fees annual fee, the following fees may apply:
- Late fee of up to $15 per payment.
- Returned payment fee of up to $15 per failed bank account payment.
- Administrative fee is $9.
- Interest if you don’t pay the full statement balance each month by the due date.
- Expedited payment fee if paying by debit card.
Even if you make timely payments on your Credit Builder Account, the fees are nothing to sneeze at. For example, paying annual_fees per month for 24 months results in $89 in fees versus your $600 in total payments2. Any way you slice it, this account is expensive to use.
Barriers to entry
The card_name is a bit of a double-edged sword. One of its biggest benefits is the ability to access credit without putting down a large security deposit upfront. However, you must wait a minimum of three months before you can even become eligible for the card. And if you pay annual_fees, you must wait at least four months, assuming you don’t miss any payments.
This barrier really weighs down a feature that could otherwise make this a really intriguing choice for credit builders. It makes it difficult to recommend despite its pros, like reporting to the three major credit bureaus.
High potential for interest charges
As of this writing, the purchase annual percentage rate (APR) on the card_name is 28.24%, which is already among the highest APRs in the credit card industry. But it gets worse because there is also a double-digit APR on the Credit Builder Account, which you must have to be eligible for the card_name. APRs on the Credit Builder Account vary, but they are typically in the 14% to 16% range.
And yes, it’s possible to incur interest on both the card and the loan. This could lead to excessive interest charges just as someone is trying to build their credit, not destroy it.
The fine print
- Regular APR: 28.24%
- APR for balance transfers: balance_transfer_rate
- APR for cash advances: cash_advance_apr
Additional hidden perks
- Lost or stolen card reporting: If your card is ever lost or stolen, call Visa Global Customer Services at 1-800-847-2911 (within the U.S. or Canada) and report the incident. They will then tell your card issuer to replace the card.
- Zero liability: With the Visa zero liability policy, you have a $0 liability for unauthorized transactions on your card.
- Roadside Dispatch: Visa gives you access to Roadside Dispatch®, a pay-per-use roadside assistance program. Just call 1-800-847-2869, and Roadside Dispatch will send someone to help, no matter what the problem.
- Cardholder inquiry service: 24/7 service available for general inquiries and product/service information for all Visa cardholders. Just call one of Visa’s toll-free numbers.
What could be improved
The biggest areas of improvement for this credit card are the high fees and the lengthy waiting period before you become eligible to use it. While it’s nice you can qualify without a hard credit check, other cards offer this with fewer fees, a simpler structure, or both. For instance, the card_name doesn’t require a hard credit check.
Another area of improvement for the Self Visa is that it doesn’t earn rewards. This isn’t exactly unusual among credit cards for building credit, but some do offer cash back. For instance, the U.S. Bank Cash+® Secured Visa® Card gives 5% cash back on up to $2,000 in combined eligible purchases in two categories of your choice each quarter.
The card_name is a secured credit card you can open after opening a Credit Builder Account and making three payments totaling at least $100. The card doesn’t require a hard credit check, making it available even if you have bad credit or no credit. However, you must have your Credit Builder Account for at least three months before you can get the card_name. This, combined with this card’s high fees, mean the alternatives might be a better choice.
Self – Credit Builder Account with Secured Visa® Credit Card
Self – Credit Builder Account with Secured Visa® Credit Card
Security deposit/credit limit:
Frequently asked questions (FAQs)
What is the highest limit on the card_name?
Credit limits for the card_name start at $100 and go up to $3,000 for eligible customers. Remember that this is a secured credit card, meaning you must have cash in your Credit Builder Account equal to the credit limit you want. If you want a $3,000 limit, you must first deposit $3,000 in cash, then move it from the Credit Builder account to your Self credit card.
What are the best secured credit cards?
As with any kind of credit card, the best choices depend on your budget, financial needs, and creditworthiness. Some of the best secured credit cards include the card_name, the card_name, and the card_name. Despite its requirements, the card_name can also be a good choice.
What is the difference between a secured and unsecured credit card?
The main difference between a secured and an unsecured credit card is the security deposit requirement. Secured credit cards typically require an upfront security deposit, which the card issuer uses as your credit limit. Because the card issuer can easily recoup the money if you default, secured credit cards can be easier for those with poor credit to obtain.
In contrast, an unsecured credit card doesn’t require a security deposit. Instead, card issuers use factors such as your income, employment status, and credit score to determine your credit limit. Due to the lack of a security deposit, you typically need a higher credit score to qualify for an unsecured credit card.
1 Card eligibility: Active Credit Builder Account in good standing, 3 on time payments, $100 or more in savings progress. Requirements subject to change.
2 Sample loans: $25/mo, 24 mos, $9 admin fee, 15.92% APR; $35/mo, 24 mos, $9 admin fee, 15.97% APR; $48/mo, 24 mos, $9 admin fee, 15.72% APR; $150/mo, 24 mos, $9 admin fee, 15.88% APR. See self.inc/pricing
Credit Builder Accounts & Certificates of Deposit made/held by Lead Bank, Sunrise Banks, N.A., SouthState Bank, N.A. each Member FDIC. Subject to credit approval.
Self Visa® Credit Card issued by Lead Bank or SouthState Bank, N.A., each Member FDIC. See self.inc for details.
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