For those who can’t qualify for an unsecured credit card, the BankAmericard Secured is a viable entry into the world of credit. Its credit qualifications are more lenient since you’re required to make a cash deposit.
It’s a solid choice for a secured credit card if you don’t want to pay an annual fee, but you won’t find benefits like cash-back rewards, no foreign transaction fee, or one-time late payment fee forgiveness that other secured cards offer.
Like most secured cards, it reports your activity to the three credit bureaus, which can help you build positive payment history. Your goal should be to make small purchases with the card, then pay your bill in full and on time each month. Bank of America will keep tabs on your account, and eventually, you may qualify to have your security deposit returned and your account upgraded.
Once you’re eligible for an upgrade to a traditional unsecured account, you may not want to stick with the BankAmericard. You’ll likely find one that can offer you more bang for your swipe.
No annual fee
Free FICO score, updated monthly
Automatic review for security deposit return
High ongoing APR
Foreign transaction fee
- No annual fee: Many secured cards charge an annual fee, which makes the BankAmericard Secured stand out. Since you’re already paying a security deposit, it’s nice to know that you don’t have to cough up any additional money to use this card.
- Free FICO Score, updated monthly: Credit improvement is the name of the game for secured cardholders. Being able to track your progress by accessing your free FICO score—online or on the Bank of America mobile app—can be a great motivator, and a helpful tool.
- Automatic review for security deposit return: Bank of America will occasionally review your credit activity to see if you qualify to have your security deposit returned and get upgraded to an unsecured card. Not all secured credit cards offer this; in some cases, you must request an upgrade.
Since the BankAmericard Secured doesn’t offer rewards, its biggest benefits are that it doesn’t charge an annual fee, and that it automatically evaluates whether you’re ready to upgrade to an unsecured card.
- High ongoing APR: Your best bet is to pay off your balance in full each month—especially when you’re trying to build credit. But hefty interest charges as a result of this card’s high APR is another reason to avoid carrying a balance.
- No rewards: Some secured credit cards let you earn rewards like cash back, or if they don’t, they offer benefits like the option to make a low security deposit. The BankAmericard Secured isn’t one of them. It’s simply a tool for building credit, sans the perks.
- Foreign transaction fee: If you want the flexibility to use a credit card while traveling abroad, a secured card that doesn’t charge foreign transaction fees would be a better bet.
Bank of America earned a below-average rating in J.D. Power’s 2019 U.S. Online Credit Card Satisfaction Study, although its mobile app and online banking experience have been certified by J.D. Power for providing "An Outstanding Customer Experience."
The BankAmericard Secured offers most security features that are standard in the industry, including the option to set up balance and due-date alerts via text or email, a $0 liability guarantee if fraudulent charges are made with the card, and 24/7 help with free card replacement if it’s lost or stolen.
Unlike most other secured cards, though, the BankAmericard Secured does not let you lock or freeze your account from the website or mobile app if you lose it.
BankAmericard Secured’s Fees
This card does not have an annual fee or penalty APR, meaning your APR won’t increase if you fall behind on payments. Unlike some secured cards, it does charge foreign transaction fees. Other than that, its fees are in line with industry standards.