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
Credit limit as high as $3,000
Account may qualify for credit line increases
Reports to the major credit bureaus
$36 annual fee
No rewards or bonus for new customers
- 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.
- $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
Motivated to create positive credit history
According to Experian, 39% of Americans have credit scores between 300 and 660, 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.
This card has standard benefits you’d expect of any secured credit card, including:
- Online and mobile account access
- Access to monthly FICO score
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.
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.
This card provides fairly standard security features, including account alerts and zero liability for unauthorized use.
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.