Secured credit cards offer the optimum way for those with a poor credit history to re-establish their financial reputation and regain access to credit. Selecting a secured credit card from a mainstream lender is a more viable alternative than using sub prime lenders specifically marketing cards for bad credit. The secured Visa card from U.S. Bank is an option available to those not only with poor credit, but to those that also need to establish credit for the first time.
Applicants need to secure their line of credit with a security deposit retained by the bank whilst the card remains open. The minimum deposit required is $300 though lines of credit can extend to $5,000 if backed by an equivalent deposit. The U.S. bank pays interest on deposits held which are FDIC insured. There is an annual fee of $35 for card holders, though responsible use of the card which results in improved credit will allow the bank to consider moving account holders to unsecured credit after 12 months.
Unusually for a secured credit card, balance transfers are available. However, the current APR on balance transfers is a high 20.99%, thus really only of appeal to those switching from a specific bad credit card which carries an even higher rate, or to those seeking an exit from a penalty interest rate. The standard ARP on the card is also 20.99%, whilst the cash advance ARP is 23.99%. Typical fees are $5 or 4% for balance transfers, whichever is the greatest, and $10 or 4% for cash advances. Foreign exchange fees are 2% for dollar transactions and 3% for foreign currency transactions. Accounts can be managed through free online banking.
The U.S. Bank secured Visa card offers discounts on car rental costs to card holders. Available discounts can be obtained from participating agencies Avis, Alamo, Hertz and National.
Card applicants should be wary of giving cell phone or wireless device numbers to the bank as their terms and conditions expressly state that by doing so card holders are giving permission to be contacted regardless of the banks purpose for doing so. Those who choose to disclose these numbers may receive calls from both affiliates and agents of the bank. Calls and messages can incur additional fees for the cardholder from cellular providers.
The advantage of secured credit cards is the ability they offer to improve or establish credit when traditional unsecured credit is not an available option. Using the U.S. Bank Visa in a responsible manner, by ensuring all payments are met on time and only a limited amount of available credit is utilized, is a useful way to gain access to unsecured credit. Rates should be compared with other secured cards available if card holders intend to carry a balance, in order to secure the most competitive APR.