How Does LendingTree Get Paid?
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How Does LendingTree Get Paid?

LendingTree is compensated by companies on this site and this compensation may impact how and where offers appears on this site (such as the order). LendingTree does not include all lenders, savings products, or loan options available in the marketplace.

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Citi® Secured Mastercard® Review

Citi<sup>®</sup> Secured Mastercard<sup>®</sup>

Citi® Secured Mastercard® Review

Build Your Credit
Monthly reporting to the three major credit bureaus
Perks and Features
Auto Pay can help you stay on top of your bill
Worldwide Acceptance
Use your card anywhere that accepts Mastercard®
Editorial Note: The content of this article is based on the author’s opinions and recommendations alone. It may not have been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuer. This site may be compensated through a credit card issuer partnership.

Who is the Citi® Secured Mastercard® best for?

Consumers who are looking for a no-frills, no-annual-fee secured credit card with which to build credit history might find the Citi® Secured Mastercard® offers just what they need. It doesn’t earn rewards and doesn’t have many benefits, but it charges a $0 annual fee and reports account and payment activity to the major consumer credit bureaus.

With a secured credit card, you have to submit a security deposit to the issuer that generally equals your credit limit. A minimum deposit of $200 is usually required, which is the case with the Citi® Secured Mastercard®. In all other regards, secured cards work the same as regular credit cards (unsecured cards). You can use the Citi® Secured Mastercard® wherever Mastercard is accepted.

Note that a secured card is not the same as a prepaid card. With a prepaid card, you load money and spend what you’ve loaded — there’s no borrowing and you won’t build credit. A prepaid card is more like a debit card than a credit card. By contrast, a secured card is a line of revolving credit that lets you borrow as you need (up to your credit limit) and pay off what you borrow on a regular basis, just like any other credit card.

Citi® Secured Mastercard® overview

    • The Citi® Secured Mastercard® is a no annual fee credit card that helps you build your credit when used responsibly.
    • Unlike a debit card, it helps build your credit history with monthly reporting to all 3 major credit bureaus. Once available, you will also have free access to your FICO score online.
    • Use your card anywhere Mastercard® is accepted — worldwide.
    • A security deposit is required. Once approved, your credit limit will be equal to your security deposit (minimum of $200).
    • Get help staying on track with Auto Pay and account alerts.
    • With Flexible Payment Due Dates, you can choose any available due date in the beginning, middle or end of the month.
    • Manage your account 24/7 online, by phone, or in our mobile app.
  • Credit needed:
    500 669
    Limited
  • Set up alerts for things such as balance levels and payments due
  • Use your card with digital wallets such as Apple Pay®, Google Pay™ and Samsung Pay
  • Citi® Identity Theft Solutions to help resolve instances of identity theft

Intro Purchase APR

N/A

Regular Purchase APR

24.74% (Variable)

Intro BT APR

N/A

Regular BT APR

24.74% (Variable)

Annual Fee

$0

Cash Advance Fee

5% of each cash advance; $10 minimum

Foreign Transaction Fee

3%

Balance Transfer Fee

Balance transfer fee applies with this offer 5% of each balance transfer; $5 minimum.

Pros and cons

Pros

  • Reports to the credit bureaus
  • Chance to get your deposit back
  • Get your FICO® Score for free
  • $0 annual fee

Cons

  • High APR
  • Security deposit required
  • No rewards
  • Foreign transaction fee

What we like about the Citi® Secured Mastercard®

  • Usage is reported to the credit bureaus

    The Citi® Secured Mastercard® reports your spending and payment activity to the three major credit bureaus — Equifax, Experian and TransUnion. This allows you to build a good credit score by always paying on time and keeping your utilization low. Just remember that missing a payment can tank your credit score significantly, and maxing your card out will hurt your score as well.

  • You might get your deposit refunded

    Citi puts your security deposit into a Collateral Holding Account for an initial term of up to 18 months. If it’s determined you qualify to graduate to an unsecured credit card, you’ll get your deposit refunded. However, note that you’re not guaranteed to graduate to an unsecured card, but you can always get your deposit back once you close the card (minus any outstanding balance and fees).

  • Access your credit score for free

    The Citi® Secured Mastercard® offers free access to your FICO® Score, meaning as you work to improve your credit score, you can check in on your progress with ease.

  • There's no annual fee

    While some cards for people who need to build credit charge an annual fee, the Citi® Secured Mastercard®‘s annual fee is $0. That means you can build credit without draining your bank account.

What to watch out for with the Citi® Secured Mastercard®

  • The card's interest rate is high

    The Citi® Secured Mastercard® has a 24.74% (variable) APR. We advise paying off your card in full every billing cycle so as to avoid incurring interest charges. 

  • You'll have to submit a security deposit

    The way secured credit cards work is that the applicant must submit a security deposit in the amount of their desired credit limit to the issuer. You still have to pay off what you charge to the card — what the deposit does is protect the issuer should you default on what you owe. With the Citi® Secured Mastercard®, the minimum deposit is $200 and the maximum deposit is $2,500.

  • You won't earn rewards

    The Citi® Secured Mastercard® doesn’t earn rewards. However, that’s not unusual for a card aimed at people with limited. If you’re applying for a secured card to improve your credit score, your focus should be on building a positive payment history and keeping your utilization low rather than earning points or cash back. That said, the Discover it® Secured Credit Card is a competing secured card that does earn cash back, which we’ll examine in more detail in the alternate card section.

  • Beware the foreign transaction fee

    If you use this card while traveling abroad, prepare for a 3% foreign transaction fee on every purchase.

Alternate credit-building card

Compare it to the discover it® secured credit card

| Disclosures
Discover it® Secured Credit Card
Discover it® Secured Credit Card
on Discover's secure site
N/A
24.49% Variable APR
$0
2% cash back at Gas Stations and Restaurants on up to $1,000
  • No credit score required to apply.
  • No Annual Fee, earn cash back, and build your credit with responsible use.
  • Establish your credit line by providing a refundable security deposit of at least $200. That means a $200 deposit for a $200 credit line. Or a $500 deposit for a $500 credit line. Bank information must be provided when submitting your deposit, and the security deposit equals your credit limit.
  • Automatic reviews starting at 7 months to see if we can transition you to an unsecured line of credit and return your deposit.
  • Earn 2% cash back at Gas Stations and Restaurants on up to $1,000 in combined purchases each quarter. Plus, earn unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases – automatically.
  • NEW! Discover helps remove your personal information from select people-search websites. Activate by mobile app for free.
  • Get an alert if we find your Social Security number on any of thousands of Dark Web sites.* Activate for free.
  • Click "Apply Now" to see terms and conditions.
300 659

How Does LendingTree Get Paid?

LendingTree is compensated by companies on this site and this compensation may impact how and where offers appears on this site (such as the order). LendingTree does not include all lenders, savings products, or loan options available in the marketplace.

 

If you need to build or rebuild your credit, a standout card for credit building is the Discover it® Secured Credit Card. It’s aimed at folks with poor/limited credit and also charges a $0 annual fee.

While secured credit cards don’t typically offer rewards programs, cardholders with the Discover it® Secured Credit Card earn 2% cash back at gas stations and restaurants on up to $1,000 in combined purchases each quarter. 1% unlimited cash back on all other purchases - automatically. Plus: Discover will match all the cash back you’ve earned at the end of your first year.

However, don’t let the allure of cash back cause you to spend more than you’ve budgeted. Remember that the main goal with your card is to pay on time and keep utilization low, building a good credit score.

The minimum deposit for the Discover it® Secured Credit Card is $200 and the maximum deposit is $2,500. After you’ve used your card for seven months, Discover will begin conducting automatic monthly account reviews to see if you qualify to get your deposit refunded and transition to an unsecured card.

Compare the Citi® Secured Mastercard® to similar cards

Comparison of four different credit cards
Citi<sup>®</sup> Secured Mastercard<sup>®</sup> Discover it<sup>®</sup> Secured Credit Card Capital One Platinum Secured Credit Card Capital One Platinum Credit Card
Citi® Secured Mastercard® Discover it® Secured Credit Card Capital One Platinum Secured Credit Card Capital One Platinum Credit Card
Apply Now
on Citibank's secure site
Apply Now
on Discover's secure site
Apply Now
on Capital One's secure site
Apply Now
on Capital One's secure site
Recommended Credit
Limited Poor/Limited Poor/Limited Fair/Limited
Annual Fee
$0 $0 $0 $0
Regular APR
24.74% (Variable) 24.49% Variable APR 26.99% (Variable) 26.99% (Variable)
Rewards Rate
Non-rewards card 2% cash back at Gas Stations and Restaurants on up to $1,000 in combined purchases each quarter. 1% unlimited cash back on all other purchases - automatically Non-rewards Card Non-rewards Card
Welcome Offer
N/A Discover will match all the cash back you’ve earned at the end of your first year. No bonus No bonus
Card Details
Citi® Secured Mastercard®

Discover it® Secured Credit Card

Capital One Platinum Secured Credit Card Capital One Platinum Credit Card

Is the Citi® Secured Mastercard® right for you?

The Citi® Secured Mastercard® is a fine choice for consumers who want to build credit history and have $200 available for the minimum security deposit. Note that to be eligible, Citi specifies applicants must not have a pending bankruptcy, or bankruptcy history in the past two years. Also, if approved, make sure to provide your bank account information within 14 days to fund the deposit.

If you’re not quite sure the Citi® Secured Mastercard® is what you’re looking for, the Discover it® Secured Credit Card is an alternative secured card with a cashback program and guaranteed monthly reviews (starting after eight months) of your account to see if you qualify to get your deposit back. 

Apply Now
on Citibank's secure site