BankAmericard® Secured Credit Card review

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In a Nutshell

The BankAmericard® Secured Credit Card offers free access to your monthly FICO® credit score and credit education tools, which make it a fine choice if you’re building credit — especially if you’re already a Bank of America customer. But if you’re willing to work with a different financial institution, there are better alternatives out there.
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Pros Cons
Secured cards are typically easier to qualify for High interest rate
Refundable security deposit based on a periodic review of your credit history High late payment fee
Access to your monthly FICO® score High minimum deposit of $300
Customizable credit line based on your security deposit No rewards

What you should know about the BankAmericard® Secured Credit Card

If you apply and are approved for the BankAmericard® Secured Credit Card, the first thing you’ll need to do is provide a security deposit. There’s a minimum security deposit of $300 and a maximum of $4,900. The amount you deposit will determine your credit limit, so it’s up to you to decide how much you need to deposit.

Here are some of the reasons a card like the BankAmericard® Secured Credit Card might be worth getting. 

Could be easier to qualify for

If your credit isn’t established enough to qualify for an unsecured card, the BankAmericard® Secured Credit Card could be a good starting point. Secured cards are designed for people who are new to credit or who are working on building their credit, which means they can be easier to qualify for than unsecured credit cards.

That’s because the security deposit you provide after you’re approved for the card “secures” the line of credit. This deposit reduces the risk that lenders take on when they lend to someone without a strong credit history.

Return of your security deposit

Providing a security deposit when you open a secured credit card is no fun, but the good news is that it’s possible to get that money back.

For example, Bank of America will automatically review your account and, based on your credit history, may decide to return your deposit at any time, while continuing to let you use the card. There’s no official description of when and how often your account will be reviewed, but it’s good to know that it’s a possibility.

No annual fee

One of the greatest benefits of the BankAmericard® Secured Credit Card is that there’s no annual fee.

You can find unsecured credit cards that are designed for people who are still working on their credit, but you’ll often find that these cards come with an annual fee. And unlike a security deposit, this is money you won’t get back.

So while secured cards like the BankAmericard® Secured Credit Card require money upfront — in the form of a one-time deposit — that money can be returned to you in some cases. Make sure to read the card’s fine print to learn more. 

Monthly FICO® credit score

Bank of America makes it easy for you to track your progress as you build your credit by giving you free access to your FICO® credit score with monthly updates. You’ll also get access to credit education tools and resources, including articles and calculators that you can use to learn how credit scores work and about budgeting and other financial tasks.

Things to consider before you apply

Before you apply for the BankAmericard® Secured Credit Card, here are some things you should know. 

High APR

The BankAmericard® Secured Credit Card has a high variable APR of 22.99% for purchases and balance transfers. So if you ever carry a balance, you’ll wind up paying a lot in interest. 

High late payment fee

The BankAmericard® Secured Credit Card can be a valuable option if you can use it to build your credit. If you miss the due date on a payment or two, not only will it likely hurt your credit, but the card’s late payment fee (up to $40) will add some extra pain to your wallet.

Who this card is good for

The BankAmericard® Secured Credit Card could be a good option for someone who already banks with Bank of America and needs to build or rebuild their credit. The greatest benefit of using this card is that you get to keep all of your financial activity with the same institution, which can be convenient for many.

But if you’re not already a Bank of America customer, there are other secured credit cards on the market that offer lower minimum deposits or other perks like rewards.

Not sure this is the card for you? Consider these alternatives.

If you still want a secured credit card and don’t think that the BankAmericard® Secured Credit Card is right for you, consider one of these secured cards instead.

About the author: TJ Porter is a Boston-based freelance writer who specializes in bank accounts, credit, and credit cards. He’s written for Bankrate, CardCruncher, DollarSprout and My Bank Tracker, among … Read more.