Just from reading the reviews on this website; It appears that the majority of the people who have this card, or have considered applying for it don't fully understand what a secured credit card is. Allow me to clarify a few things...
Unfourtanatly the American economy is no longer built around people spending money that they physically have in their bank account or in their wallet, instead we base our economic well being on our ability to spend money we don't have. Credit card companies are very much aware of this, and will do everything in their power to exploit this flaw in our society.
With the way our system is set up now, you need credit to do just about anything. From buying a cell phone to financing a car, you will need to have a decent FICO score, and at least a 6 month old credit profile. Most people already know that the easiest way to build credit is by using a credit card responsibly. So how exactly does one go about aquiring said card? Well, thats the hard part....
In order to establish a credit profile/improve scores you will need a credit card, but to get a credit card you need a seasoned credit profile/good scores. This is where secured credit cards come in handy. Unlike other companies(Citi, CapitalOne, Chase) they will approve pretty much anyone just so long as they don't have a ton of delinquencies on their account. Because I'm tired of typing, here is a breakdown of what secured cards do, and what they dont:
In conclusion, I think the biggest problem with cards such as this one isn't so much the card itself, nor is the predatory fees and rediculously high interest rates, but it's the people who use them. This card should be seen as a tool used for rebuilding credit, or establishing a credit history. If you apply for this card expecting a generous credit limit, and a tolerable interest rate you will be sorely dissapointed.
Will this card help you to establish, or improve your credit score. Yes.
Are you essentially paying to use your own money? Absolutely.
Predatory Fees? Of course :)
Are there better secured cards to get than this one? Definatly(see below)
If you plan on going the secured card route, there is really only one card that I would reccomend, and thats the CapitalOne Secured Mastercard. I am 20 with absolutely no credit history whatsoever and I was approved with a $50 security deposit, and was given a $200 CL...not bad for my first card. Of course interest is going to be high, but as long as you pay off your balance every month that shouldn't be a problem. Again, so long as you use this card responsibly, and you don't look at it as a free $150 your scores should increase dramatically. Just my two cents.