So I've only had this card for over three weeks. Back in college, I abused my credit cards, so I had a very poor score of 585 when I applied, and was turned down by Wells Fargo for their Secured Credit Card. Wells Fargo used to be my main brick and mortar until that happened--I felt betrayed. When I found out about that, I applied for a secured card with Citibank, my backup brick and mortar. I used to LOATHE Citibank, and actually referred to them as "Sh**tybank"! Oddly enough, my checking account there only had a penny--again it was only my backup bank, so I instructed them to take the deposit from my FMA account. Well, after a long wait of over a week, with a daily e-mail stating that they hadn't made a decision yet, I finally got the e-mail that I was approved. Well, that took a month to complete.
When my card arrived in the mail, I used it within a few days for dining, shopping, paying bills, but I constantly paid it off after each charge has settled onto the credit card account. Their web interface is AWESOME for a secured card! Unlike other credit cards, they seem to accept payments and count the credit score increase immediately, even when I use an "external account". If you have a Citibank account, paying for this card is basically just like a transfer from checking to savings, but when I found out that I could use my FMA account to just pay for it online, I felt like I didn't even need to make an ATM cash deposit every day. So that's what I've been doing since the first week.
WELL, I logged into my Credit Karma and saw that my score went up to 617 last weekend! For both TransUnion and Equifax! I was so happy that I went to my local Citibank and decided to switch my debit card to a chip card so that I can stop using my Wells Fargo and start using Citibank as my main brick and mortar bank again! AND, btdubs, the banker found that she could--and then offered me--to switch my card to unsecured right then and there... although I said no because I was scared. haha
Other benefits of the card include a very detailed but colourful and easy to read credit card agreement packet, which show exactly when my card is supposed to graduate (1.5 years from opening), and even explains travel insurance, purchased goods insurance, etc. The card's interest rate (i.e., "APR") is pretty low too, and the $25 annual fee seems pretty sensible for someone who had sh***y credit upon applying. They also have a discount site, and I love how they give me a pie chart of my spending, which turns out to better predict the type of transactions I made with my card.
They also appear to have a very hyperactive credit alerting system that self-fixes obvious account charge discrepancies; Shell charged me twice--one in California and another in Texas, but Citi found that and automatically credited the account for the Texas charge such that when I called them to ask what happened, they were like "OH we already took care of it!" BUT HERE'S MY FAVOURITE BENEFIT OF ALL: VIRTUAL ACCOUNT NUMBERS!!! Citibank Online Banking's Account Management tab offers that feature, which you can use to mask your real credit card account number behind a virtual one when making card-not-present purchases (e.g., online, by phone), which you can revoke/cancel any time! It even tracks which virtual number was used, when, and for how much! So purchasing at Amazon or even sketchy websites, aHem Pr0n lol, will be much easier to trace, and you can totally block recurring charges that you might have accidentally missed when authorizing--y'know because people don't read! lol and if someone hacks into an online retailer and decides to replicate your card, they'll totally be caught red-handed!
However, there is no interest rate (i.e., "APY") on the security deposit. Bad call, Citi! But also, thanks for giving me a chance, Citi! I can't wait until you graduate my card! And I can't wait to see how my credit score will look like when that finally happens! Oh, and the whole denying bad credit discourse is a myth--they totally approved me with my bad credit history! (JUST BE PREPARED TO WAIT A LONG A** TIME)