Bank of America Secured Credit Card Review
The BankAmericard Secured Credit Card is a decent secured card because it offers flexibility with your credit line and charges no annual fee. Unlike some other secured cards, however, you can’t earn any rewards.
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BankAmericard Secured Credit Card
BankAmericard Secured Credit Card
What we like:
Great card to get started with credit
- No annual fee
- Range of credit lines based on security deposit between $300 and $4,900 (income and ability to repay will determine your maximum credit limit)
- Free FICO score and access to credit education tools
- Potential to have security deposit returned
- $0 liability and optional overdraft protection when you link an eligible checking account
- ShopSafe service (generates temporary credit card number when shopping online)
- No rewards program
- 3% foreign transaction fee
- Line of credit equal to the amount of the security deposit (some secured cards allow borrowers to get a credit line slightly higher than their deposited collateral)
- No introductory APR on purchases or balance transfers
Recommended Credit Score
- Poor credit or building credit
Is the Bank of America Secured Credit Card a Good Option?
The BankAmericard Secured Credit Card is designed for people who need to build credit and who can’t qualify for an unsecured card (like the regular BankAmericard, for example). If you think you can get approved for a standard credit card or even a student credit card, either of those could be a better option than the BankAmericard Secured — but if you can’t get a card without providing collateral, this one is a decent choice.
In this review:
- Benefits of the Bank of America Secured Card
- Downsides of the Bank of America Secured Card
- How it Compares to Similar Cards
Benefits of the Bank of America Secured Card
There are some advantages to the BankAmericard Secured Credit Card compared to other secured credit cards.
No Annual Fee
The BankAmericard Secured Mastercard doesn’t charge an annual fee just for being a cardholder. Some secured cards charge very high fees.
Rebuild Your Credit
Secured cards such as this one are intended for people who have no credit history or who have made past credit mistakes. Many card issuers won’t lend to customers with poor credit because there’s a bigger risk of not being paid back. But with secured cards, approval is easy because cardholders are required to provide a security deposit equal to their credit line. If they don’t pay, the credit card issuer can simply keep the deposit.
The BankAmericard Secured card is a decent option for building credit because you can get a high credit limit if you’re willing to place a large deposit. Having a higher limit can help with your credit utilization ratio, which accounts for about 30% of your credit score. BoA also reports to the three major credit bureaus (TransUnion, Experian, and Equifax) and provides you with free access to your FICO score via the mobile banking app so you can monitor your progress.
Further, your payment history and credit report are periodically reviewed to see if you qualify to have your security deposit returned, essentially converting you to an unsecured card with which you can continue to demonstrate responsible use.
Another big benefit of the BankAmericard Secured card is the ShopSafe program, which generates a short-term virtual credit card number for online purchases. Since you aren’t providing your real credit card number, you can shop online knowing the real number won’t be compromised in the event of a security breach.
Downsides of the Bank of America Secured Card
Unfortunately, there are also some big downsides to the BankAmericard Secured card you should consider before applying.
All secured cards require you to place a security deposit. However, the BankAmericard requires a minimum deposit of $300, while some competitor cards allow you to deposit as little as $200. There are also some secured cards that allow you to place a deposit slightly below your credit limit, depending on your credit score, but the BankAmericard Secured isn’t one of them.
The BankAmericard Secured card has a standard variable APR of 25.24%. Many other cards offer lower interest rates, which means it is an especially bad idea to carry a balance on the BankAmericard Secured card. Of course, since you’re using a secured card to rebuild your credit, you shouldn’t be carrying a balance on the card anyway. There is no penalty APR associated with this card.
No Rewards or Signup Bonus
Most secured credit cards don’t have offer signup bonuses for new cardholders, but some — such as the Discover it Secured Card — come with cash back rewards. The BankAmericard Secured Credit Card offers no rewards at all.
How it Compares to Similar Cards
Although the BoA secured credit card is an OK option thanks to no annual fee and flexibility in your security deposit, it offers much less than some of its competitors.
BankAmericard Secured Card vs. Discover it Secured
Like the BankAmericard Secured Card, the Discover it Secured charges no annual fee. However, the Discover it Secured provides cardholders with the chance to earn 2% cash back at gas stations and restaurants on up to $1,000 in combined purchases each quarter. Discover also provides 1% cash back on all other purchases and matches all of your cash back earned at the end of your first year.
Because of this rewards program, the Discover it Secured is almost always a better choice for anyone looking for a secured card to help them build credit.
If you want a simple secured credit card with no fees to help you build credit, the BankAmericard Secured Credit Card is an OK choice — but it’s not a great one. Consider the Discover it Secured rewards card or another secured card to earn cash back as you build credit.
Author: Christy Rakoczy
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