Credit Cards Credit Card Reviews

Merrick Bank Secured Visa Review

overall rating
2.2

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If you have little to no credit history or have had credit issues in the past, a secured credit card, which uses a security deposit as collateral, is a way to build or rebuild your credit. The Merrick Bank Secured Visa offers credit lines between $200 and $3,000 and reports your account information to the three major credit bureaus. It does have a $36 annual fee and some other fees, but you may qualify for a credit line increase without having to make an additional security deposit.

The Secured Visa® from Merrick Bank

Overall Rating
2.2
The Secured Visa® from Merrick Bank
On Merrick Bank's Secured Site.
Recommended Credit Score Our recommended ranges are based off of the FICO® Score 8 credit-scoring model. Credit score is one of the many factors lenders review in considering your application.
350 579
580 669
670 739
740 799
800 850
Poor - Excellent
Regular APR (%) 17.45% variable
Annual Fee $36 first year, then $3 monthly.
Minimum Deposit to Activate $200
Pay deposit in installments No
Allows upgrade to unsecured card No
Rewards Earning Rate This card does not offer a rewards program.
how this card stacks up
When compared among all secured cards in our database:
Secured Features
Security/Customer Experience
Low Interest
Rewards
Benefits
worst best

The Merrick Bank Secured is not one of Investopedia's top rated rated secured cards. Please see our list of the best secured credit cards for what we consider to be better options.

Full Review of Merrick Bank Secured Visa

Pros
  • Credit limit as high as $3,000

  • Account may qualify for credit line increases

  • Reports to the major credit bureaus

Cons
  • $36 annual fee

  • No rewards or bonus for new customers

  • Extra fees

Pros Explained

  • Credit Limit as High as $3,000: With the Merrick Bank Secured Visa, you can put down a security deposit ranging from $200 to $3,000, which then serves as your credit limit. Many secured cards have much lower credit limits. A higher limit gives you more spending power and can also help you maintain a good credit utilization ratio.
  • Account May Qualify for Credit Line Increases: Merrick Bank will regularly review your account activity. Depending on your credit habits, you may qualify for a credit line increase without having to make an additional security deposit. 
  • Reports to the Three Major Credit Bureaus: Merrick Bank reports your account activity, including your payment history, to the three major credit bureaus: Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion. Over time, making all of your payments by the due date can improve your credit score and help you qualify for other forms of credit, such as a non-secured card. 

Cons Explained

  • $36 Annual Fee: The Merrick Bank Secured Visa has a $36 annual fee for the first year, which is deducted from your initial credit limit. For example, if your credit limit is $200, your initial available credit limit will be $164. After the first year, the fee is $3 per month. That’s a costly fee for a secured card, and there are many such cards that don’t charge annual fees. For example,the BankAmericard Secured credit card doesn’t have an annual fee, and the minimum deposit is $300. Bank of America will periodically review your account and, if you qualify, return your security deposit and transition your account to an unsecured credit card. 
    • No Rewards or Bonus Offers: This card doesn’t have a rewards program, nor does it have any bonuses for new customers. While that’s fairly typical for a secured card, there are some cards that do offer rewards. For example, with the Discover it Secured credit card, you’ll earn 2% cash back at gas stations and restaurants on up to $1,000 in spending each quarter, and unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases. Plus, at the end of your first year as a cardholder, Discover will match all of the cash back you earned.
      Extra Fees. The Merrick Bank Secured Visa also has some other fees:
      Foreign transaction fee. You’ll pay a 2% foreign transaction fee whenever you use the card outside of the United States. 
    • Late payment fee. Late payments incur a $40 fee. 
    • Returned payment fee. If a payment is returned to you due to insufficient funds, you’ll also have to pay a $40 fee. 

One alternative with fewer fees is the Capital One Secured Mastercard. It has no annual fee, and it doesn’t charge foreign transaction fees or returned payment fees. The minimum security deposit is $49, $99, or $200, depending on your credit profile. The card also has benefits the Merrick Bank Secured Visa doesn’t, such as travel accident insurance, secondary auto rental damage collision damage waiver, and extended warranty protection. 

This Card is Best For

  • Avatar for Credit Builder Persona
    Motivated to create positive credit history
    Credit Builder

According to Experian, 33% of Americans have credit scores between 300 and 669, which is considered the “very poor” to “fair” range. If your score falls in that range, you may struggle to qualify for credit cards or loans. Secured credit cards like the Merrick Bank Secured Visa can be a useful tool to improve your credit score with responsible card use.

Merrick Bank will report your account activity to the three major credit bureaus, so using the card responsibly can help you potentially qualify for unsecured cards—including ones that offer rewards and benefits like travel insurance—later on. 

Standard Benefits

This card has standard benefits you’d expect of any secured credit card, including:

  • Online and mobile account access
  • Access to monthly FICO score

Cardholder Experience

Merrick Bank is a card issuer that specializes in programs for individuals building their credit from scratch or rebuilding it after past problems. Founded in 1997, the Utah-based company serves more than 3 million cardholders nationwide. 

As a smaller card issuer, Merrick Bank is not rated in the J.D. Power Credit Card Satisfaction Study. However, Merrick Bank is accredited by the Better Business Bureau, which gives it an A+ rating. 

If you’re a cardholder, you can make payments online or through the Merrick Bank mobile app. The customer service department is available by phone at 800-204-5936. Customer support is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. 

Security Features

This card provides fairly standard security features, including account alerts and zero liability for unauthorized use.

Our Verdict

If you need to build or restore your credit, the Merrick Bank Secured Visa could help you get started. It offers the option of a high credit limit, with a matching security deposit, and it reports your activity to all three major credit bureaus. It can be a practical choice, especially if you have trouble qualifying for other cards. 

However, this card does charge an annual fee, as well as foreign transaction fees, and it doesn’t offer any rewards or extra benefits. If you’re eligible for another secured card, consider shopping around for one with lower fees to save some money while you build your credit with responsible card use.

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For The Secured Visa® from Merrick Bank
on Merrick Bank's Secured Site.
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CURRENT CARD
The Secured Visa® from Merrick Bank
overall rating
2.2
Recommended Credit Score Our recommended ranges are based off of the FICO® Score 8 credit-scoring model. Credit score is one of the many factors lenders review in considering your application.
350 579
580 669
670 739
740 799
800 850
Poor - Excellent
Regular APR (%) 17.45% variable
Annual Fee $36 first year, then $3 monthly.
Minimum Deposit to Activate $200
Investopedia Credit Card Rating Methodology
Investopedia is committed to delivering the best credit card recommendations in the industry. We’ll tell you when a card is good, we’ll tell you when a card is bad, and we’ll only call a card the best if we would recommend it to our friends or family members.
Overall Star Rating Explained
To rate credit cards we objectively assess, score and weight nearly 100 individual card features which roll up into five major feature sets: fees, interest, rewards, benefits and security/customer service. Here’s how we weighted those feature sets for the overall star rating of a card:
We have applied our proprietary rating methodology to every generally-accepted credit card in the U.S. domestic market to allow consumers to make fully informed choices. It’s important to note that for our overall score that we make a number of assumptions about how you would be using your credit card:
  1. While we make no assumption as to whether balances are carried on a given card we do assign varying weights to all credit cards’ introductory APR (if present) in addition to the regular, long term purchase and balance transfer interest rates.
  2. We utilize BLS (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics) income and average category spending data to calculate annual earnings rates for rewards cards that offer cash back, points or miles rewards at a set rate on all spending or in consideration of bonus rewards for certain spending categories, like gasoline, groceries, restaurants or travel.
  3. We determine the maximum points value of rewards cards by dividing the points, cash back or miles required to exchange for the retail price of the most valuable redemption option (for example, in the case of a card that offers a domestic roundtrip airline ticket as a redemption option vs. another redemption option of lesser value that requires the same amount of points or miles to acquire, we would base the rewards value on the airline ticket).
  • Cards that are selected best overall in their respective categories generally feature most if not all of the following attributes:
  • Low or Reasonable Fees Credit card fees come in many forms but the primary ones involve those for annual card membership and balance transfer. There are a myriad of reward and non-reward card options that charge no annual fee but for the many that do assess an annual fee the cost is often justified by their lucrative ongoing rewards and initial signup bonuses. Balance transfer fees are occasionally waived during introductory periods with certain cards, a factor which is heavily and positively weighted in our scoring model for cards offering this benefit. When charged, balance transfer fees range between 3% - 5%, which we grade accordingly. Other standard fees can generally be avoided, such as those for paying late or taking cash advances but we rate those relative to other cards in the market for reference, though with less weight assigned
  • Competitive Interest Many cards offer 0% introductory APR on purchases and balance transfers for varying lengths and then revert to a permanent or regular APR (based on a variable rate tied to the prime rate) that applies to any balances not paid in full. We rate both introductory APR percentage and length (in months) along with the midpoint of the variable regular APR interest rate range.
  • Valuable Rewards Credit card reward programs can be based on cash back, points or travel rewards (which can be generic or travel partner-specific, as with airline and hotel co-brand card programs). For cards that offer rewards we determine the value per dollar spent along with average redemption values and assign more favorable ratings to cards that offer superior consumer value. We also assign value to sign-up bonus offers and their initial spending requirements, when present.
  • Excellent Benefits Credit card benefits cover a range of offerings like concierge service, TSA Pre-check, auto rental coverage, travel accident insurance, lost luggage assistance and free credit scores. We rate cards on the number and level of over a dozen standard and upscale benefits and provide extra weighting emphasis for those travel-related perks that apply to premium travel cards when present.
  • Solid Security/Customer Service Security and customer service features like lost or stolen card replacement, being able to lock one’s card from an issuer app and 24 hour customer support are becoming more standard across the card market and we provide a significant amount of weighting to features in this area.
  • You can also read the full version of our methodology for a more in-depth look at how we assess cards and award them the best in various categories.