SunTrust Secured Card with Cash Rewards review

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In a Nutshell

The SunTrust Secured Card with Cash Rewards may be a good fit for those who want to earn decent cash back while building credit. Qualifying for a secured card can be easier than an unsecured card, as long as you have at least $300 to set aside for the security deposit.
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Pros Cons
Easier to qualify for than an unsecured card Annual fee
Reports to major credit bureaus High APR
Offers cash back rewards Minimum deposit of $300 required
Free access to FICO® credit score Interest rate on deposit is lackluster

What you need to know about the SunTrust Secured Card with Cash Rewards

Gives you the opportunity to build or rebuild credit

Because it’s a secured card, it’s easier to get approved for than an unsecured card. Once you’re approved and begin using the card, SunTrust will report your payment history to major consumer credit bureaus. As long as you make on-time payments and proactively manage your credit card account, you can use this card to help start building your credit. 

Allows you to earn cash back

Unlike many other secured credit cards, the SunTrust Secured Card with Cash Rewards offers cash back on the purchases you make. You’ll earn 2% cash back on the first $6,000 spent on qualifying gas and grocery purchases each year and 1% cash back on all other qualifying purchases.

Requires a $300 minimum deposit 

Coming up with the security deposit to open a secured credit card could be a challenge for some. A SunTrust representative told us in August 2020 that the card requires a minimum deposit of $300. A $300 minimum deposit isn’t outrageous, but it is more money than many people may be able to set aside without disrupting their budgets.

That said, the maximum credit limit and security deposit available is $5,000, a SunTrust representative told us in August 2020. If you have the money to leave a deposit and get approved for a higher limit, it could be useful. Higher limits could allow you to make many of your regular purchases on the card without worrying about reaching your limit. To avoid paying interest on your balance, you should pay off the balance on time and in full every month.

On the other hand, a card with a lower limit could result in your having to make payments multiple times per month if you want to continue making charges. Just make sure that you’re still able to pay off the card.

Other details to know

  • Access to a free FICO® Score updated monthly, as well as credit insights, can help you monitor your progress while building credit.
  • The card has a $32 annual fee. That annual fee could be offset with cash back by spending $1,600 on gas and grocery purchases or $3,200 in all other purchases. But you may be able to find secured cards that offer both cash back and no annual fee.
  • The 19.99% variable APR on purchases and balance transfers is high, but it is competitive with other secured credit cards that offer cash back. Even so, carrying a balance could result in large interest charges.
  • Your security deposit is held in an interest-bearing savings account, which offers a 0.01% annual percentage yield, a SunTrust representative told us in August 2020.

Who the SunTrust Secured Card with Cash Rewards is good for

The SunTrust Secured Card with Cash Rewards could be a good fit for those who want to earn cash back and work on building their credit at the same time. Because the card is secured, it can be easier to get approved for than an unsecured card. Just make sure you have enough money for the security deposit.

While the SunTrust secured credit card is a solid one, the fact that it has a $32 annual fee and a $300 minimum deposit keep it out of the running for a best-in-class secured credit card. You could easily find another secured credit card that offers cash back without an annual fee. That said, if you already do your banking with SunTrust and want to keep life simple, the downsides are relatively minor. 

Not sure this is the card for you? Consider this alternative.

About the author: Lance Cothern is a freelance writer specializing in personal finance. His work has appeared on Business Insider, USA and his website, Mone… Read more.