Sign up Bonus
On Citi’s Secure Website
Citi Secured Mastercard
On Citi’s Secure Website
Sign up Bonus
Balance Transfer Fee
$5 or 3%
Limited / No Credit
Anyone with limited credit or absolutely no credit at all can find plenty of comfort in the Citi® Secured Mastercard®. It lets you put down a deposit upon signing up that equals your credit line, allowing you to easily build a strong credit score from there.
The card’s appeal stems from its secured status, meaning you can easily sign up for it by paying a cash deposit up front. You receive that deposit back once you make enough monthly payments to move on to an unsecured card requiring a more substantial credit score.
But what the card offers in accessibility it lacks in just about everything else. It’s specifically designed for beginners not concerned with the salacious perks that customers with elite credit look for, including rewards and sign-up bonuses. Not to mention the card’s secured status entails a APR of 26.74% (Variable) , which is above average.
- Build Your Credit
- No Annual Fee
- No Rewards
- Put Down a Refundable Deposit
- No Intro 0% APR Periods / Sign Up Bonus
What Is The Initial Credit Limit?
You can determine your own initial credit limit as your credit limit is determined by your deposit, dollar for dollar. Citi allows Secured customers to provide a security deposit of $200 to $2,500, which will provide a credit limit of $200 to $2,500 respectively.
Can I Add An Authorized User?
Citi does allow you to add authorized users to Secured card accounts. You can call customer service or log into your account and will need to provide the person’s details including full name, address and date of birth.
How Long Does It Take To Get Approved?
The average processing time for Citi credit card applications is seven to 10 days. Upon approval, you will need to wait up to 14 days to receive your new card.
Does It Report Payments To All Credit Bureaus?
Citi reports cardholder’s payment activities to all three credit bureaus. This means that with responsible use, you can expect to see an improvement across all credit scoring platforms.
When Shouldn't You Consider It?
If you are looking for a secured card with a low credit limit, there are other available cards that offer a $200 limit without needing to pay a $200 deposit. It may be possible to access this line of credit with a deposit as low as $39.
In This Review..
Let’s take a look at the benefits of the Citi Secured card and see if it’s the right one for your wallet or not.
Exceptional card for Customers with limited credit histories – secured credit cards are often backed by a collateral payment, which for the Citi Secured Mastercard is your deposit between $200 and $2,500.
This structure reduces the risk for the issuer and makes the card a prime choice for those with limited or no credit, as it allows you to set your own parameters for strengthening your creditworthiness.
For example, let’s say you pay an initial deposit of $400 when you sign up. Once you receive your Citi Secured Mastercard, your limit – or the most you can spend on your card in a given period – is equal to $400.
As you continue to pay off the card and build credit, you’ll eventually receive that deposit back once you upgrade to an unsecured card with higher credit requirements.
The card boasts a $0 annual fee, meaning you don’t have to worry about swiping your card enough to cover a fixed yearly payment.
Citi Secured Mastercard offers extended warranties, extended returns protection, identity theft protection, and security chips to make sure cardholders are protected when using the card.
Here are the most important cons you should consider before apply:
The Citi Secured Mastercard doesn’t have any kind of rewards system in place. That’s a huge repellent for American customers, considering purchases on rewards cards make up more than 25% of all card purchases a year.
While rewards are rare among secured credit cards, many others stand out with generous rewards structures. For example, the nRewards Secure Credit Card lets you earn 1 point per every dollar spent, which can be redeemed for gift cards or merchandise.
In order to use the Citi Secured credit card, you’ll be required to open an account and put down a refundable deposit.
However, the larger deposit you put down, the larger your credit line limit will be up to the amount you are approved for.
Another perk common among standard unsecured cards yet not often found across secured cards like the Citi Secured Mastercard is intro 0% APR periods. Many issuers typically provide an initial grace period – often ranging anywhere from 6 to 21 months – in which customers don’t pay interest on purchases and/or balance transfers.
This incentivizes new customers to swipe as much as possible without paying interest fees. Also, The card doesn’t offer any kind of sign-up bonus, a benefit commonly used to show generosity and attract new customers to sign up.
Many of the Citi Secured Mastercard’s peers offer sign-up bonuses, including the Best Western Rewards Secured Mastercard, which gives you 5,000 points after your very first purchase.
Is the Citi Secured Credit Card Right for You?
The card’s no-frills nature will surely deter any elite-credit customers looking for a long-term option with rewards and bonuses.
But if you have a limited credit history that’s stifling your credit-card applications, the Citi Secured Mastercard is an effective and easy way to quickly build credit in order to graduate to an unsecured and more rewards-friendly card.
Compare The Alternatives
Though the Citi Secured Card stands is one of the best secured cards out there, but there are a couple of alternatives worth mentioning:
Capital One Secured
Discover It Secured
1-2% 2% cash back at gas stations and restaurants on up to $1,000 in combined purchases each quarter and unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases
Match Bonus Discover automatically matches the cash back you've earned at the end of your first year, no limits
Foreign Transaction Fee
Citi does have a 24/7 customer service phone line, so you can receive immediate assistance, regardless of the day of the week and time of day.
The answer to this will depend on your circumstances and why you need the credit. If you’re planning on making a large purchase, a personal loan is likely to be a better choice.
However, if you have the funds for a deposit and are simply looking for credit card functions or want to improve your credit score, the Citi Secured card is a more appropriate choice.
Citi does not supply details of a minimum income requirement for the Citi Secured card, but you will need to demonstrate some form of income to support your application and show your creditworthiness.
This is a decent secured card choice if you need a card and don’t have a particularly high income to support your application.