Citi Secured Review: Good for Building Credit and Moving On

This card is designed for those with no credit or limited credit, rather than folks with bad credit. There's no annual fee, but you must put down a deposit of at least $200.
Jan 27, 2020

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Our Take

4.8

NerdWallet rating 
The bottom line:

If you have no credit or limited credit, this card is a good choice: It reports to all three major credit bureaus and comes with no annual fee.

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Citibank Citi® Secured Mastercard® Credit Card
Citi® Secured Mastercard®
Annual fee
$0
Regular APR
22.49% Variable APR
Intro APR
N/A
Rec. credit score
630-689 (Average)

Methodology

NerdWallet reviews credit cards with an eye toward both the quantitative and qualitative features of a card. Quantitative features are those that boil down to dollars and cents, such as fees, interest rates, rewards (including earning rates and redemption values) and the cash value of benefits and perks. Qualitative factors are those that affect how easy or difficult it is for a typical cardholder to get good value from the card. They include such things as the ease of application, simplicity of the rewards structure, the likelihood of using certain features, and whether a card is well-suited to everyday use or is best reserved for specific purchases. Our star ratings serve as a general gauge of how each card compares with others in its class, but star ratings are intended to be just one consideration when a consumer is choosing a credit card. Learn how NerdWallet rates credit cards.

Frequently asked questions
How long will it take for the Citi Secured card to improve my credit? 

Exactly how long it takes to improve credit varies, but significant improvements can be visible after six months. The Citi® Secured Mastercard® reports account activity to all three credit bureaus (Equifax, TransUnion and Experian). Pay your bill on time and keep your balances fairly low, and you'll build your credit.

Can I get the Citi Secured card if I have bad credit? 

Probably not. This card is designed primarily for people with no credit or limited credit, rather than those with damaged credit because of past missteps or certain negative marks, like a bankruptcy in the past two years.

How much of a deposit do I need to open a Citi Secured card account? 

You can put down as little as $200 for the deposit, or as much as $2,500. Your credit limit will match your deposit.

How soon do I have to pay the deposit on the Citi secured card? 

You must pay your deposit (of at least $200) within 14 days of opening the account.

How quickly can I upgrade the Citi Secured card to an unsecured card? 

After 18 months, your account will be reviewed, and Citi may decide you’re eligible to get your deposit back. If you are, you can continue using the card as an unsecured card.