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

How Does LendingTree Get Paid?

LendingTree is compensated by companies on this site and this compensation may impact how and where offers appear 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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LendingTree is an advertising-supported comparison service. The site features products from our partners as well as institutions which are not advertising partners. While we make an effort to include the best deals available to the general public, we make no warranty that such information represents all available products. We are compensated by companies on this site and this compensation may impact how and where offers appear on this site (such as the order).

Advertising Disclosure

LendingTree is an advertising-supported comparison service. The site features products from our partners as well as institutions which are not advertising partners. While we make an effort to include the best deals available to the general public, we make no warranty that such information represents all available products. We are compensated by companies on this site and this compensation may impact how and where offers appear on this site (such as the order).
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American Express Disclosure
Terms apply to American Express benefits and offers. Visit americanexpress.com to learn more.

American Express Disclosure

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Citi® Secured Mastercard® Review

LendingTree's Review

How LendingTree Rates Credit Cards?

Our experts rate credit cards based on several factors including card benefits, bonus offers and independent research. Credit card issuers do not influence or have a say in our card ratings. Read our credit card methodology here.
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Citi<sup>®</sup> Secured Mastercard<sup>®</sup>
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 was not reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuer. This site may be compensated through a credit card issuer partnership.

Our take: The Citi® Secured Mastercard® is a solid choice for building credit without high fees, but those seeking rewards or a lower deposit may want to look at other cards.

Is the Citi® Secured Mastercard® a good credit card?

Citi is an advertising partner.
The Citi® Secured Mastercard® is a good credit card for building credit with no annual or monthly fees. It made our list of best Citi credit cards for 2023, and it’s a solid choice for anyone who is aiming to establish credit affordably.

Citi reports to all three major credit bureaus, and the Citi® Secured Mastercard® comes with free FICO® score access so you can keep tabs on your credit-building progress.

But the Citi® Secured Mastercard® doesn’t have a rewards program. Also, applicants with bad credit or a checkered financial past may get turned down for the card. It’s designed specifically for building credit — rather than rebuilding — and it’s not available to anyone who’s had a bankruptcy in the past two years.

Quick facts

    • 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.
  • Recommended Credit
    Credit scores ranges may vary. Your individual chance at approval may vary due to factors such as creditors using a particular variation at their discretion
  • N/A
  • 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

27.74% (Variable)

Intro BT APR

N/A

Regular BT APR

27.74% (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

  • Qualify with a low credit score
  • $0 annual fee
  • Secure a credit line up to $2,500
  • Free FICO® score access
  • Choose your own payment due date
  • Requires at least a $200 deposit
  • No rewards
  • High APR

Citi® Secured Mastercard® benefits

  • Qualify with a low credit score

    The Citi® Secured Mastercard® is designed for people who are trying to establish credit, so those with a low score or a limited credit history will have an easier time qualifying. Citi doesn’t publish a minimum credit score needed for the card, and they consider a variety of factors, including your credit score, income and outstanding debt.

    Note that applicants with bad credit due to past financial issues may be less likely to get approved than those with no credit or thin credit files. In fact, anyone who has had a bankruptcy in the past two years is not eligible for this card.

  • No annual fee

    A $0 annual fee is one of the best benefits of the Citi® Secured Mastercard®. Many credit-builder cards charge high annual fees along with hefty monthly maintenance charges, which can add up to more than $100 per year.

    You do have to pay an initial security deposit of at least $200 with the Citi® Secured Mastercard® card, which will tie up some of your cash. But you’ll save money in the long run by having a card with low fees.

  • Secure a credit line up to $2,500

    You get a credit line of between $200 and $2,500 on the Citi® Secured Mastercard®, based on the amount of your security deposit. You choose the amount between the minimum and the maximum in $100 increments. You pay the deposit by bank transfer within 14 days of getting approved for the card, and it will be returned when you establish a good track record on the card or close the account.

    A larger credit line may appeal to those who can afford a higher deposit and want to avoid bumping up against a low limit. This could be helpful for people who use their card for business travel or want to make a big ticket purchase with the protection of a credit card.

  • Free FICO® score access

    The Citi® Secured Mastercard® offers a helpful perk for credit builders: free FICO® score access. The card reports to the three major credit bureaus monthly, and you can use the free FICO® score feature to check your score regularly and watch it improve with responsible use of your credit card. That means you use your card regularly, then pay at least the minimum payment due by the due date every time.

    Tip: If you’re building credit, it’s best to pay your balance in full each month to avoid racking up interest charges and to maintain good control of your finances.
  • Choose your own payment due date

    As a Citi® Secured Mastercard® cardholder, you get to choose your own payment due date. This means you can choose a date that works well with your finances. For example, choosing a payment due date the week after payday could help you make sure you always have the money to pay your bill in full on the due date. You can choose any available payment due date at the beginning, middle or end of the month.

Citi® Secured Mastercard® drawbacks

  • Requires at least a $200 deposit

    The Citi® Secured Mastercard® requires you to put down a security deposit of at least $200 when you get approved. You can choose your deposit amount, in $100 increments, between $200 and $2,500.

    The high deposit may be a stretch for some who are new to credit. Those who don’t have an extra $200 in the bank may want to consider other cards, as some secured credit cards accept less than a $50 initial deposit for applicants who qualify.

  • No rewards

    One of the downsides of the Citi® Secured Mastercard® is that it doesn’t offer rewards. That means you can’t earn cash back, points or miles for spending on the card.

    If you’re looking for a credit-builder card with rewards, you might want to consider the Discover it® Secured Credit Card, our top pick among the best secured credit cards of 2023. It offers cash back on all your purchases and a generous match of all the cash back earned in your first year.

  • High APR

    The APR on the Citi® Secured Mastercard® is high at 27.74% (Variable), but that is a drawback common to almost all secured credit cards.

    The card also has a sky-high penalty APR, which can be triggered by making a late payment or having a payment returned. Before you apply for this card, make sure you’ll be able to pay your bill in full each month, since you could accumulate a lot of interest if you don’t.

Alternative cards

Discover it Secured

| Disclosures
Discover it® Secured Credit Card
Discover it® Secured Credit Card
apply-now-icon Apply Now
on Discover's secure site
Rates & Fees
N/A
28.24% Variable APR
$0
Earn 2% cash back at Gas Stations and Restaurants on up to
  • No credit score required to apply.
  • No Annual Fee, earn cash back, and build your credit history.
  • Your secured credit card requires a refundable security deposit, and your credit line will equal your deposit amount, starting at $200. Bank information must be provided when submitting your deposit.
  • 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, automatically. Plus earn unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases.
  • Discover could help you reduce exposure of your personal information online by helping you remove it from select people-search sites that could sell your data. It’s free, activate with the mobile app.
  • Get an alert if we find your Social Security number on any of thousands of Dark Web sites. Activate for free.
  • Terms and conditions apply.
300 600
Limited/Poor

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.

The Discover it® Secured Credit Card is an excellent choice for consumers who want to earn rewards while building or rebuilding credit. Like the Citi® Secured Mastercard®, this Discover secured card has a $0 annual fee. But this card is designed for those with little to no credit or poor credit, so it may be a better choice for rebuilding credit.

With the Discover it® Secured Credit Card, you earn 2% cash back at Gas Stations and Restaurants on up to $1,000 in combined purchases each quarter, automatically. Plus earn unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases. At the end of your first year, Discover will match all the cash back you earned, making this an especially good deal. You also get free FICO® score access with this card, as you do with the Citi® Secured Mastercard®.

Plus, Discover offers guaranteed monthly reviews (starting after seven months) of your account to see if you qualify to get your deposit back.

It’s an especially great alternative if you have the funds to put down a security deposit of $1,000 or more and plan to do a lot of regular spending on the card. A higher limit would allow you to rack up a healthy amount of cash back.

Capital One Secured

| Disclosures
Capital One Platinum Secured Credit Card
Capital One Platinum Secured Credit Card
apply-now-icon Apply Now
on Capital One's secure site
Rates & Fees
N/A
30.74% (Variable)
$0
Non-rewards Card
  • No annual or hidden fees. See if you're approved in seconds
  • Building your credit? Using the Capital One Platinum Secured card responsibly could help
  • Put down a refundable security deposit starting at $49 to get a $200 initial credit line
  • You could earn back your security deposit as a statement credit when you use your card responsibly, like making payments on time
  • Be automatically considered for a higher credit line in as little as 6 months with no additional deposit needed
  • Enjoy peace of mind with $0 Fraud Liability so that you won't be responsible for unauthorized charges
  • Monitor your credit score with CreditWise from Capital One. It's free for everyone
  • Get access to your account 24 hours a day, 7 days a week with online banking to access your account from your desktop or smartphone, with Capital One's mobile app
  • For Capital One products listed on this page, some of the benefits are provided by Visa® or Mastercard® and may vary by product. See the respective Guide to Benefits for details, as terms and exclusions apply
300 600
Limited/Poor

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.

The Capital One Platinum Secured Credit Card is a good alternative for credit rebuilders who want to minimize the amount they pay for a security deposit.

The Capital One Platinum Secured Credit Card is open to applicants with poor credit who are working on rebuilding. It also has a possibly lower security of $49, $99 or $200, depending on creditworthiness, to get an initial $200 credit limit.

The card also is a good option for applicants who are worried about their credit getting dinged if they apply for a secured card and get denied. Capital One allows you to enter your information online to find out if you’re preapproved with no risk to your credit score.

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 great cash back rewards program.

Learn More
on Citibank's secure site
For Capital One products listed on this page, some of the above benefits are provided by Visa® or Mastercard® and may vary by product. See the respective Guide to Benefits for details, as terms and exclusions apply.

Frequently asked questions

To understand how the Citi® Secured Mastercard® works, it helps to know the difference between a secured versus an unsecured credit card. A secured card is designed for building or rebuilding credit and requires a refundable deposit. To get a Citi® Secured Mastercard®, you must apply and get approved. Then you must make a deposit of between $200 and $2,500. The amount you deposit will be your credit limit, which is the maximum you can spend on the card.

Citi does not advertise a minimum credit score for the Citi® Secured Mastercard®, but the card is geared toward applicants with limited credit history who want to build their credit. Citi states that consumers with a pending bankruptcy or bankruptcy history in the past two years are not eligible for the card.

You can prequalify for a Citi credit card by entering your information on the Citi pre-screen page. The page allows you to specify the type of credit card you’re interested in, including balance transfer, cash back and low interest cards. However, it does not offer a way to specify that you want to prequalify for the Citi® Secured Mastercard® or any other specific card.

The information related to the Citi® Secured Mastercard® has been independently collected by LendingTree and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of this card prior to publication.