Based in Utah, online-only Merrick Bank was founded in 1997 as a subsidiary of the New York–based financial services firm CardWorks. Merrick Bank is not a traditional banking institution and offers no checking, savings, or money market accounts. Instead, the institution focuses on credit cards, loans, and certificates of deposit (CDs) and is geared toward customers with lower credit scores. This in-depth review can help you determine if Merrick Bank’s products will work for you.
- Pros & Cons
- Company Overview
High CD yields
Lower-than-average APR on secured and unsecured credit cards
Specializes in boat and RV financing
Focuses on helping customers with lower credit scores
$25,000 minimum CD deposit
Confusing credit card fees
Loan rates not listed online
No typical deposit accounts
- Year Founded 1996
- Official Website www.merrickbank.com
- Banking Products Offered CDs, credit cards
- Customer Support Phone line: 1-800-204-5936
- High CD yields – Merrick Bank offers CDs in terms ranging from six months to two years, with annual percentage yields (APYs) that range from 0.65% to 0.85%. These rates outpace the national average, which range from 0.16% for a six-month term to 0.32% for a two-year term (as of July 6, 2020).
- Lower-than-average APR on secured and unsecured credit cards – The secured credit card, which is Merrick Bank’s most popular product, has an annual percentage rate (APR) of 17.45% for card purchases (as of July 10, 2020), which is below the national average of 19.29% APR on secured credit cards. The unsecured card has an APR that ranges from 19.45% to 27.70% (as of July 1, 2020), compared with the national average of 24.59%.
- Specializes in boat and RV financing – While Merrick Bank also offers personal loans, the institution is known for its boat, RV, and horse trailer loans. This makes it an attractive choice for borrowers who might otherwise have trouble finding a lender, either because of the specificity of their purchase or their credit history. Merrick Bank works with thousands of approved dealers across the United States.
- Focuses on helping customers with lower credit scores – Though Merrick Bank does not accept all comers regardless of credit history, it is very open to helping those with either no credit record or a poor credit record build their credit history.
- $25,000 minimum CD deposit – The impressive yields for Merrick Bank CDs come with a cost—you can only open one with a $25,000 minimum deposit, placing it out of reach for the average customer.
- Confusing credit card fees – Setup and maintenance fees for the secured credit card are “removed” from your credit limit, which can be somewhat confusing. In addition, the unsecured card has an annual fee and a setup fee that range from $0 to $72 and $0 to $75, respectively, but the website does not clarify how your exact fee amount is calculated. There is also a $0 to $12 additional card fee on the unsecured card.
- Loan rates not listed online – Neither the recreational vehicle loans nor the personal loans have their rates listed on the Merrick Bank website, making it more difficult to do an apples-to-apples comparison with other lenders.
- No typical deposit accounts – Merrick Bank is not a traditional bank, and you cannot open a checking account, savings account, or money market account with it. This makes Merrick Bank a poor choice for any customer looking for a one-stop shop.
Who Is Merrick Bank Best For?
Merrick Bank is going to work best for customers who are looking to get a credit card or loan despite a lackluster credit history. It will especially appeal to customers who:
- Want to build their credit history
- Do not need to pair their general banking needs with their lender or credit card issuer
- Are comfortable with an online-only banking experience
What Does Merrick Bank Offer?
This institution only offers a few of the products and services you might expect from a bank. These include:
- Credit cards
- Banking experience
- Customer service
Merrick Bank’s CDs offer a higher-than-usual rate compared with the national average for CDs. However, the minimum deposit to open a CD is a steep $25,000, which may put this product out of reach for many potential customers.
You can purchase a CD in any one of the following terms:
|Merrick Bank CD Rates|
Merrick Bank also levies a fairly stiff penalty for early withdrawal. CDs with a term of 364 days or less will pay a penalty equal to 1% of the account balance or seven days’ interest, whichever is greater. CDs with a term of 365 days to 729 days have an early withdrawal penalty equal to 2% of the account balance or seven days’ interest, whichever is greater. And CDs with a term of 730 days or more have a penalty equal to 3% of the account balance or seven days’ interest, whichever is greater.
Customers have access to two credit cards through Merrick Bank: the Platinum Visa and the Secured Visa.
- Platinum Visa – The Platinum Visa was created to help you establish or rebuild your credit. This card’s big claim to fame is the fact that Merrick Bank will regularly review your account to increase your credit line.
- Secured Visa – The secured card only has a $200 minimum deposit, which is similar to other secured cards on the market. You also have the option to add to your deposit over time, up to $3,000, thereby giving you more purchasing power.
Merrick Bank Customer Service
Merrick Bank boasts only one physical location in the country, its corporate headquarters in South Jordan, Utah. However, you can reach a customer service agent by phone at 1-800-204-5936, although it’s unclear as to what hours the phones are staffed.
Merrick Bank also has a mobile app on which you can make payments, contact customer service, check your balance, manage account notifications, access your FICO score once per month, and even freeze your card in case of loss or theft. However, the app is not highly rated on the Apple Store, with an average rating of 2.7 stars out of five. Google Play users appear to like the app better, rating it 4.1 stars out of five.
How to Bank With Merrick Bank
Potential credit card customers can see if they are prequalified for the Platinum Visa online. If you are not, you can apply for the Secured Visa online.
Borrowers can apply for a loan online, and customers who wish to purchase a CD can do so online as well. Customers looking for a boat, an RV, or a horse trailer loan may see if they qualify and apply at one of the thousands of participating dealers across the country.
Once you have set up your credit card, loan, or CD, you can access information about your account either online or through the smartphone app.
Customers with less-than-perfect credit may find that Merrick Bank’s offerings fit their needs quite well. The bank’s credit cards and loans are created with credit-building in mind, and these products are available even to many customers who might otherwise be shut out of borrowing. In addition, the impressive yields on CDs may tempt well-heeled customers to grow their money with Merrick Bank. However, the costs of Merrick Bank’s offerings are both unclear and potentially higher than you might find elsewhere, even for those with a spotty credit history. Add in that Merrick offers no other deposit accounts and has a high minimum deposit requirement for CDs, and this bank may not be a good fit, even for the demographic that Merrick specifically courts. You may be able to find less expensive and more-convenient credit cards and loans elsewhere, even if you don’t have great credit.
Investopedia is dedicated to providing consumers with unbiased, comprehensive reviews of banks. We collected over 20 data points across more than 80 banks—including products available, interest rates, fees, and accessibility—to ensure that our content helps users make the right decision for their savings and banking needs.
Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation. "Weekly National Rates and Rate Caps - Weekly Update." Accessed July 9, 2020.
U.S. News and World Report. "Average Credit Card APR." Accessed July 9, 2020.
Apple.com. "Merrick Bank Mobile." Accessed July 9, 2020.
Google.com. "Merrick Bank Mobile." Accessed July 9, 2020.