Citi Secured Mastercard Review

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The Citi Secured Mastercard offers easy approval requirements, though, as with any secured credit card, you do have to put down a cash deposit to secure your line of credit. The fact that this card doesn’t charge an annual fee makes it a winner among many comparable secured credit cards.

Citi® Secured Mastercard®

overall rating
3.4
Citi® Secured Mastercard®
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 (%) 24.49% variable
Annual Fee No Annual Fee
Minimum Deposit to Activate $200
Allows upgrade to unsecured card Yes
Ratings Breakdown
for Interest
1.8
for Fees
4.1
for Rewards
2.8
for Credit
4.4

Top Rated For

  • Credit Cards for Bad Credit
  • Credit Cards for No Credit

Who is This Credit Card Best For?

  • Avatar for Savvy Saver Persona
    Prioritizes sticking to their budget while buying what they want and need
    Savvy Saver
  • Avatar for Credit Builder Persona
    Takes improving their finances seriously and wants recognition for using credit responsibly
    Credit Builder

The Citi Secured Mastercard is best for consumers with a limited credit history who need to build credit but can’t get approved for a traditional credit card. Ideally, someone who applies for this card will use it to improve their credit score, so they can transition to an unsecured credit card with better rates and perks.

Pros

  • No annual fee

  • Easy qualification requirements

  • Reports to all three credit bureaus

Cons

  • No rewards

  • Requires a bank account

Pros Explained

  • No annual fee: It is common for secured cards to charge annual fees (some even charge monthly fees)—but not this one. With the money saved you might be able to leave a bigger deposit or pay off other bills.   
  • Easy qualification requirements: As with all secured credit cards, you won’t need to have excellent credit to qualify.
  • Reports to all three credit bureaus: The Citi Secured Mastercard will report your payment and usage history to all three credit reporting agencies—Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion. If you use credit responsibly and make all your payments early or on time, this can help you boost your credit score. 

Secured credit card fees can hit you twice—first in the wallet and next in the credit score. That’s because those fees are added to your account balance, which reduces your total available credit. You want to use as little of your available credit as possible—definitely less than 30%—to avoid risk to your credit score. 

Cons Explained

  • No rewards: While earning rewards is not a priority if you’re trying to build your credit score, note that some secured credit cards do offer cash back for each dollar you spend. 
  • Requires a bank account: To apply online you’ll need a bank account—or access to one—to transfer the security deposit to Citibank. If not, you’ll need to visit a Citibank branch. By contrast, some secured cards will allow you to fund the deposit via check sent by mail.  

Customer Experience

Citi was ranked sixth out of 11 major U.S. credit card issuers in J.D. Power’s 2019 U.S. Credit Card Satisfaction Study. The bank earned 799 out of 1,000 possible points, near the industry average of 806. 

The card issuer does offer a mobile app with features like mobile bill payment, but J.D. Power’s 2019 U.S. Credit Card Mobile App Satisfaction Study gave Citi the seventh spot on that list. 

One nice feature the Citi Secured Mastercard does give you is access to your FICO credit score for free on your credit card statement, making it easier to monitor your progress over time.

Security Features

Citi offers basic protection against fraud for customers, including account monitoring and zero liability for fraudulent purchases. Citi credit cards also come with Citi Identity Theft Solutions, which can help you identify and remove fraudulent accounts and information from your credit reports once fraud has taken place. 

Citi Secured Mastercard Fees to Watch Out For

While the Citi Secured Mastercard doesn’t charge annual or account maintenance fees, you’ll want to be careful if you plan to use your credit card abroad. You’ll pay a 3% foreign transaction fee on every purchase you make outside the United States. 

For Citi® Secured Mastercard®

Compare This Card

See how this card stacks up to the competition
CURRENT CARD
Citi® Secured Mastercard®
overall rating
3.4
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 (%) 24.49% variable
Annual Fee No Annual Fee
Minimum Deposit to Activate $200
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    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
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    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.
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    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.
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    580 669
    670 739
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    670 739
    740 799
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    overall rating
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    350 579
    580 669
    670 739
    740 799
    800 850
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    350 579
    580 669
    670 739
    740 799
    800 850
    Poor - Excellent
    Regular APR (%) 17.15% variable
    Annual Fee $25
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    350 579
    580 669
    670 739
    740 799
    800 850
    Poor - Excellent
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    Minimum Deposit to Activate $200
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    670 739
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    800 850
    Poor - Excellent
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  • At The Balance, we are dedicated to giving you unbiased, comprehensive credit card reviews. To do this, we collect data on hundreds of cards and score more than 55 features that affect your finances.
  • Our Reviews Are Always Impartial: No one can influence which cards we review, the way we present them to you, or the ratings they receive. The scores and reviews come directly from the data we collect and our editorial expertise, and we focus on three areas:
  • How Much Does It Cost? With credit card debt at an all-time high, we believe you should know the cost of carrying a balance. Because of that, we give regular purchase APRs significant weight in overall scores, and cards receive low marks if they have an array of pricey fees.
  • What Are the Rewards Worth? Cards accumulate rewards in different currencies—points, miles, cash back—and their values vary widely. To simplify the problem, we built a system that fairly compares rewards and gives them a dollar value. We do this by looking at the ways you can earn and use rewards, which includes evaluating Americans’ typical spending habits and analyzing common travel patterns.
  • Does It Make Your Life Easier? Our scoring system favors cards that accept a wide range of credit profiles and offer simple solutions for things like checking your credit score or contacting customer service. Finally, we give preference to credit cards that have several tools for dealing with fraudulent charges.
  • For every review on The Balance, we hold the credit cards to these standards, and we set the bar high. While we recognize the appeal of splashy features like six-digit sign-up bonuses, our approach ensures that credit cards with the best combination of value, affordability, and accessibility receive the highest scores. See our full methodology for more details.