Commerce Bank Secured Visa Review

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The Commerce Bank Secured Visa is a secured credit card for those who are lacking credit history, or need to rebuild their credit. The card is structured like similar cards that require a security deposit, but cardholders may find higher credit lines and more leeway with this card as their credit scores improve.

Commerce Bank Secured Visa®

Overall Rating
Commerce Bank Secured Visa®
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 (%) 18.24% variable
Annual Fee $49
Minimum Deposit to Activate $400
Allows upgrade to unsecured card No
Pay deposit in installments No
Ratings Breakdown
for Interest
for Fees
for Rewards
for 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 See more cards
    Savvy Saver
  • Avatar for Credit Builder Persona
    Takes improving their finances seriously and wants recognition for using credit responsibly See more cards
    Credit Builder

This card is meant for people establishing credit for the first time or rebuilding credit after a financial mishap. You must apply in person at a branch, and open a savings account that will hold your security deposit, so you should live in the area where Commerce Bank branches are located (generally in the U.S. Midwest).

Because it's secured with a cash deposit in the amount of the credit line, the credit score requirements will not be as high as those of unsecured cards. However, Commerce Bank will evaluate your income and other factors in order to approve your application and determine your credit limit.

Commerce Bank periodically reviews secured card accounts, and over time, customers may qualify to move to an unsecured card. At that time, Commerce will send the customer an offer for a new, unsecured credit card if they qualify, and soon after return the deposit, plus interest, if any, after the secured card account is closed.

  • A few credit card perks

  • Relatively low APR and fees

  • Potential for a higher credit limit

  • High minimum deposit to activate

  • Annual and foreign transaction fees

  • No rewards

Pros Explained

  • A few credit card perks: Because it’s a Visa card, you’ll have access to consumer benefits such as secondary rental car and cellphone insurance.
  • Relatively low APR and fees: If you’re new to credit or having financial struggles, it’s good to know that you won’t get hammered if you carry a balance, or if you’re late with a payment. The purchase APR is lower than some other secured cards (although it’s still high, so try to pay your bill in full every month). The late payment fee is lower than most, and also there’s no penalty APR.
  • Potential for a higher credit limit: You might qualify for a credit line of up to $5,000 on this card, which is more than many secured cards allow.

Cons Explained

  • High minimum deposit to activate: There are several secured credit cards that require a minimum deposit around $200 to start using the card. This card requires twice as much.
  • Annual and foreign transaction fees: Many secured cards have these fees, but there are a few that do not. That’s worth considering as you shop around. 
  • No rewards: There are secured cards that allow you to earn rewards like cash back or points, but this is not one of them. You also won’t get a sign-up bonus or low introductory interest rate.

How to Get the Most Out of This Card

This card lacks many of the benefits of unsecured credit cards—rewards programs or cash back—but used wisely, it can help you improve your credit score and put those other cards within reach. In fact, Commerce Bank will upgrade you to an unsecured card (and refund your deposit, plus interest), if you demonstrate wise use of credit.

The two factors most under your control are also the two biggest contributors to your credit score. These are payment history and amounts owed. Payment history is simply whether or not you make your minimum payments on time. Improving it is simple: Make your credit card minimum payments on time.

Amounts owed (also called “utilization ratio”) is how much of your available credit you have used. The less of your available credit you use, the higher your FICO score will be. Improving it is simple, too: Keep card balances as low as possible, month-to-month.

Do both, and in a short while, your credit score may begin to improve.

A higher credit limit can give you more leeway when it comes to credit utilization. That’s the amount of available credit you are using at any given time, and it’s important to your credit score. Lower utilization is better, and it’s easier to keep your utilization low when your limit is a few thousand dollars rather than a few hundred. 

Commerce Bank Secured Visa Card’s Excellent Perks

It’s rare to find a secured credit card with a perk deemed “excellent” by the editors of The Balance, but this one has one.

  • Cellphone coverage: If you pay your cellphone bill using your Commerce Bank Secured Visa card, you can be reimbursed up to $200 for theft or damage to your cell phone that is not covered by other insurance, including your other insurance’s deductible. 

Commerce Bank Secured Visa Card’s Other Features

  • Rental car collision insurance (secondary to your own policy)
  • Roadside assistance hotline 

Customer Experience

Commerce Bank provides telephone customer support during select business hours Monday through Friday and Saturdays. You can manage your account online or via Commerce Bank’s app.

Security Features 

The Commerce Bank Secured Visa has standard security features, including Visa’s “Zero Liability Policy,” meaning if fraud takes place on your card, you’re not responsible. Commerce does note, however, that you must notify the bank within 60 days of the fraudulent activity.

Commerce Bank Secured Visa’s Fees 

The Commerce Bank Secured Visa has both an annual fee and foreign transaction fees, which is not unusual for secured cards. However, there are a handful of secured cards without them, particularly the annual fee. But other fees—including those for late and returned payments—do run lower, and there is no fee to transfer a balance or take a cash advance.

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See how this card stacks up to the competition
Commerce Bank Secured Visa®
overall rating
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 (%) 18.24% variable
Annual Fee $49
Minimum Deposit to Activate $400
Our Methodology
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.