The bottom line: The card is for a narrow audience: those with thin or damaged credit files who don't mind paying an annual fee in order to earn SKYPASS miles. Otherwise, there are several options that make more sense.
SKYPASS Visa® Secured Card
Recommended Credit Score
Quick FactsView rates and fees
Pros & Cons
Qualify with limited / bad credit
Has annual fee
Alternate Pick: No annual fee, lower minimum deposit
Discover it® Secured Credit Card
Higher rewards in bonus categories
With a deposit as low as $200, this card can earn you 2% cash back at gas stations and restaurants on up to $1,000 in combined purchases every quarter. All other purchases earn 1% cash back. The annual fee is $0. There's also a sign-up bonus: INTRO OFFER: Unlimited Cashback Match – only from Discover. Discover will automatically match all the cash back you’ve earned at the end of your first year! There’s no minimum spending or maximum rewards. Just a dollar-for-dollar match. Discover will also review your account starting at eight months to see if you qualify to graduate to an unsecured card.
Compare to Other Cards
22.99% Variable APR
17.39% Variable APR
10.99% intro APR on Balance Transfers for 6 months
Recommended Credit Score
Recommended Credit Score
Recommended Credit Score
Get more smart money moves — straight to your inbox
Become a NerdWallet member, and we’ll send you tailored articles we think you’ll love.
The U.S. Bank-issued SKYPASS Visa® Secured Card offers two hard-to-find perks for a secured credit card: travel rewards and a sign-up bonus. But if your main priority is building or repairing your credit, you'll want to look elsewhere.
That's because this card charges a $50 annual fee and also has a high required minimum deposit. You can find other secured cards that earn rewards with no annual fee, and you might even qualify for an alternative credit card that requires no deposit either.
SKYPASS Visa® Secured Card: Basics and benefits
Card type: Secured.
Annual fee: $50.
Minimum opening deposit: $300
Maximum deposit/credit limit: $5,000
Sign-up bonus: 5,000 SKYPASS bonus miles after your first purchase.
As its name implies, the SKYPASS Visa® Secured Card earns miles toward SKYPASS, Korean Air’s frequent flyer program. Korean Air is part of the SkyTeam alliance, so miles earned with this card can be transferred to one of 18 other member airlines, including Delta.
Earn one SKYPASS mile for every $1 spent on eligible net purchases.
Earn 1,000 bonus miles each year upon card membership renewal.
APR: The ongoing APR is 18.24% Variable.
Foreign exchange fees:
2% of each foreign purchase transaction or foreign ATM advance transaction in U.S. dollars.
3% of each foreign purchase transaction or foreign ATM advance transaction in a foreign currency.
Travel accident insurance.
Collision damage waiver coverage for car rentals.
Benefits of the SKYPASS Visa® Secured Card
Earn unlimited travel rewards
Secured cards don't often come with any kind of rewards at all, and it's even harder to find a secured card that specifically earns travel rewards. The SKYPASS Visa® Secured Card earns a respectable 1 SKYPASS mile per dollar spent. Plus, there's no earnings cap.
Easy-to-snag sign-up bonus
With many travel rewards cards, you have to hit a minimum spending threshold (often into the thousands of dollars) to earn the sign-up bonus. But with the SKYPASS Visa® Secured Card, you'll earn 5,000 SKYPASS bonus miles after your first purchase.
Potential to build or repair credit
The SKYPASS Visa® Secured Card reports your activity to the three major credit bureaus — Equifax, Experian and TransUnion — so responsible credit behavior can help you in your quest for improved credit. Keep it up for 12 months and your account will be considered for "graduation" to an unsecured card. This can give a boost to your credit profile and free up the cash that was being held as a security deposit on your card.
Customer service in Korean
For recent immigrants and college students for whom Korean is their first language, being able to connect with a customer service rep who speaks their native tongue can be a big plus.
Drawbacks and alternatives
High annual fee
While this card's sign-up bonus can help offset its annual fee in the first year, it's hard to justify paying that fee at all when there are other rewards-earning secured cards that don't charge one. One example is the Discover it® Secured Credit Card. It has an annual fee of $0, and while it doesn't pay in travel miles, it does earn 2% cash back at gas stations and restaurants on up to $1,000 in combined purchases every quarter, automatically. All other purchases earn an unlimited 1% cash back. There's also a sign-up bonus: INTRO OFFER: Unlimited Cashback Match – only from Discover. Discover will automatically match all the cash back you’ve earned at the end of your first year! There’s no minimum spending or maximum rewards. Just a dollar-for-dollar match. Your deposit can be as low as $200, and the Discover it® Secured Credit Card will also review your account starting at eight months to see if you qualify to graduate to an unsecured card. One thing to keep in mind is that the maximum credit limit is $2,500 — half as high as the maximum credit limit for the SKYPASS Visa® Secured Card.
High security deposit
You'll have to put up a minimum of $300. That's on the high side for a secured card, many of which charge a $200 minimum. In some cases, depending on your credit profile, you can get started for even less than that. With the Secured Mastercard® from Capital One, for instance, you can get a $200 credit line after making a security deposit of $49, $99 or $200 if you qualify. It doesn't earn rewards, but on the other hand, its annual fee is $0.
Limited redemption options
Generally, SKYPASS miles can be redeemed toward award travel or flight upgrades on Korean Air or on SkyTeam partners, or at a handful of hotel partners. There are a few other options, but they're poor choices for mileage redemption (coat check and Korean Air-branded merchandise, for example). There's no option for cash back, and you cannot purchase SKYPASS miles. Delta is the only domestic carrier in the SkyTeam alliance, and if a flight or upgrade on Delta or another a SkyTeam Alliance airline isn't in your plans, your rewards will go unused. If you're looking for the most flexible reward of all — cash back — and you'd like higher rates than 1X back on everything, the Deserve® Pro Mastercard is worth a look. The card is aimed at those with established credit, but the issuer may allow exceptions for those who meet income and employment verification requirements. The card earns 3% cash back on travel and entertainment and 2% cash back at restaurants (on up to $500 in combined spending per billing cycle), and 1% cash back on all other purchases. The annual fee is $0.
Not ideal for international travel
Thanks to its foreign transaction fees, the SKYPASS Visa® Secured Card isn't the best travel companion. If overseas travel is on your horizon but your credit score has yet to take flight, a better choice could be the AvantCard Credit Card. It doesn't earn rewards, but it also doesn't have any foreign transaction fees. Its annual fee is also lower — $39 — plus it's an unsecured card, meaning you won't have to pony up for a deposit.
Should you get the SKYPASS Visa® Secured Card?
The SKYPASS Visa® Secured Card is best for a very specific card-seeker: someone with a thin or damaged credit profile who's OK with paying an annual fee in order to earn SKYPASS miles and/or to have access to bilingual customer service.