If you are looking for a miracle increase/boost to your credit scores from this card...I think you will be disappointed with the results. If you give it time you may be happy.
Would I Recommend:
I say you have nothing to lose but some points on your CB if you apply and get turned down. Citi is one of the mammoths so I'm sure there are great benefits to having them in your wallet. I will update once I see what those are. I do not believe these claims of scores jumping 60+ points in 6 months. I paid off a $19k car and my score only increased 24 points. Literally, balance went from over $19k to $0 and my score only went up 24 points. I had that car longer than some of these folks claim to have had this "wonder card" in their wallet. This card is part of my 3 year plan so we shall see how that pans out.
I'm providing [hopefully] a more thorough review of this card.
I applied for this card 2 times. First on 11/08, then on 11/16. My CK scores were 506 and 513 on 11/08, then 482 and 513 on 11/16. For TX, Citi pulls TU and it is a hard pull (hence the drastic drop on 11/16).
In a word ... it's horrible. It gives you a lot of anxiety and if you are not a patient person, you will likely crack under the pressure. There is no instant decision from what I can tell. I have checked several credit boards and people with scores into the 800's still get the "We have received your application and further processing is required at this time..." message. Getting this message is not an indication of denial. Calling the application status line (888-201-4523) doesn't really get you much additional information. Calling the credit department (800-695-5171) was far more helpful, despite the fact that you are not able to speak with a credit analyst in the "secured card" department. You must explicitly ask to have them reach out to that department to see if there is any further information. Be calm, keep a calm tone and they'll likely put you on hold and then contact that department for you. If they refuse, politely and calmly ask to speak to a supervisor and then reiterate your request in a calm and gentle manner. No matter what, they will not tell you over the phone if you are approved but they will definitely tell you over the phone if you are denied. At least, that has been my experience. So if you call and they are being tight lipped ... you're probably approved.
The Security Deposit:
I have had secured cards in the early 2000's and have never had a card that I could not add funds to the deposit and increase my credit limit. Please be VERY aware that Citi does NOT allow this. I applied on 11/08 and by 11/11, the funds were withdrawn from my bank. On 11/21 I received the approval letter in the mail, with an additional packet on the deposit account. It states very clearly on the first page that you cannot add funds to the deposit account, you cannot withdraw funds from the deposit account, and the account reaches the date of maturity on xx. They are very specific.
I have not received the card yet (as of 11/22/2016). It will probably come after Thanksgiving.
I was not sure I would get approved, so I applied with a small secured deposit of $200. If I had known I was not able to add funds to this deposit account, I would have applied with a higher limit. Submitting the 2nd application tanked my score. After 6 calls to various recon lines, I found the 5171# most helpful and was able to find out that the 2nd application was denied because the bank information could not be verified. An easily rectifiable problem. I get the feeling that the "secured card" department could be relatively new or a specialty offshoot that Citi tries out every now and then (i.e. they are not a regular part of Citi Group or something) because there is no way to speak to this department directly and the associates do not seem to proactively want to contact them. Then again this could just be Citi suffering from "Pretty Woman" syndrome...where they feel if you have to apply for a secured card then ... well ... you may not be worth the effort. I am not sure. All of the associates I spoke with were nice, had personable tones of voice but just seemed really in the dark about communication with that department. Doesn't really make for a good experience.