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US Bank Secured Card: A Decent Choice for Rebuilding Credit

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US Bank Secured

If you’re looking for a no-frills secured credit card to help you build or rebuild your credit, the Secured Visa is a good place to start. Among its attributes: flexible bill pay options and a somewhat longer grace period for payments, which can help you avoid credit-killing late payments.

Secured Visa: Benefits and basics

The Secured Visa is fairly ordinary among secured credit cards. It can work well for people with limited or bad credit. Like most secured cards, this card requires applicants to put down a deposit when the account is opened. Your credit line will be equal to the amount you deposit.

Now that we’ve covered the basics, let’s dive into the features that really make this card stand out.

Build or re-establish your credit

Whether you’re just starting to build your credit or trying to rebound from a poor credit history, applying for a secured card like the Secured Visa is a good first step. People with bad to average credit are more likely to be approved for a secured card than for higher-tier cards. This makes secured credit cards a good option for people seeking to establish good credit habits and ultimately graduate to better options.

Slightly longer payment grace period

The Secured Visa gives cardholders a range of 24 to 30 days after every billing cycle to pay their bills, whereas the grace period of most cards ranges from 20 to 25 days. For some cardholders, those extra days could mean avoiding interest or a late payment.

US Bank flex control

With the Secured Visa you’ll also get access to US Bank’s online flex control tool which helps cardholders schedule payments, allows them to select their monthly payment date and ultimately reduce balances while mitigating interest. The level of control and automation this tool affords is perfect for those who don’t want to risk missing a payment and potentially paying hefty penalties. If you decide to set up auto-pay, be sure that you have money in your bank account to cover the balance.

Nerd note: We always recommend paying off your credit card balance on time and in full. Carrying a balance means paying interest. Submitting a payment late could also hurt your efforts to build or rebuild credit.

Secured Visa: Pitfalls and other possibilities

No rewards

People often use secured cards for building credit before moving on to more flexible cards with better benefits. Still, it would be nice to have some reward structure. Although the Secured Visa doesn’t offer rewards, a handful of secured cards do.

For instance, the Lanpass Visa Secured earns an unlimited 1 LANPASS Mile for every $1 spent and a 5,000 Bonus - with first purchase. LANPASS Miles can be used to book flights all over Latin America through the LATAM Airlines Group. Plus, cardholders get a yearly 10% discount on a LAN purchase (up to $500).

This card requires a minimum deposit of $300. The annual fee is waived the first year and $25 every year thereafter. But if you’re looking to build your credit and earn miles for LAN and LAN affiliates, this card is a solid choice.

>>More: NerdWallet’s Best Secured Credit Cards

Higher minimum deposit amount

The Secured Visa notes that applicants who contribute a security deposit amount less than $300 may not be approved for the card. That amount, though not staggering, is certainly higher than the required or recommended deposit amounts from other cards on the market.

The Capital One® Secured Mastercard®, for example, allows cardholders to start off with deposits of $49, $99 or $200 based on your creditworthiness. Making one of the minimum deposits grants a credit line of $200, though depositing more than the minimum requirement before your account opens can extend that amount up to $3,000.

The annual fee is $0, so added yearly costs are of little concern with the Capital One® Secured Mastercard®.

High annual fee

The Secured Visa’s annual fee is waived the first year and $29 every year thereafter, which is definitely higher than some of the other options available. Plenty of other secured cards start off with lower annual fees, or none at all.

The Secured Visa: Is it right for you?

If you’re trying to build your credit up from nothing, or you’re looking to repair past credit mistakes, the Secured Visa will do the job. It is a no-flash, no-rewards secured card that will work well for most people, but may leave others wanting more.

Kevin Cash is a staff writer at NerdWallet, a personal finance website. Email: kcash@nerdwallet.com. Twitter: @kevin_cash.


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