The Harley-Davidson Visa Secured card is best for members of the Harley Owners Group (H.O.G.) and other motorcycle enthusiasts who don’t qualify for the unsecured version of this rewards card, but who want to show off their fandom and earn Harley-Davidson gift cards good toward gear or repairs. You’re an especially good match if you enjoy participating in sweepstakes: Every time you use your card you’ll be entered in a drawing for a brand new Harley (anyone, even non-cardholders, can enter).
Like any secured credit card, this is an option for first-time cardholders and borrowers with bad credit who are unable to get approved for mainstream, unsecured cards. If approved, U.S. Bank will typically offer you a credit line in the same amount as your one-time refundable deposit.
No annual fee
Relatively high credit limit
Rewards on purchases
A chance to win free prizes
High interest rate
Expensive security deposit
Rewards restricted to Harley-Davidson purchases
- No annual fee: Unlike many secured credit cards, this low commitment card doesn’t charge an annual fee, saving you anywhere from $25 to $49 (or maybe more) in unnecessary charges.
- Relatively high credit limit: If you’ve got the cash available, you could fund a credit limit as high as $5,000—which could be helpful to your developing credit score. A low credit utilization ratio, in which you only use a small portion of your total available credit, is a key component of a healthy credit score.
- Rewards on purchases: Not many secured cards offer a rewards program. Even fewer offer rewards that are simple to use. Rather than force cardholders to navigate complicated rules or a confusing array of options, this card keeps it simple with gift cards you can use to buy Harley-Davidson gear or help pay for your bike’s maintenance.
- A chance to win free prizes: More fun than practical, this unusual card benefit will add a unique twist to every purchase: each time you use your card, your name will be entered into a drawing to win a brand-new bike or a $500 Harley-Davidson gift card. (Of course, you don't need to make purchases, nor even be a cardholder, to enter the sweepstakes.)
- Above-average benefits: While credit-builder cards don’t typically offer many benefits, this one isn’t as bare bones as some. You’ll at least get secondary rental car insurance—which is no longer the ubiquitous credit card perk it used to be—and free access to your VantageScore credit score.
- High interest rate: Like other secured cards without an annual fee, the Harley-Davidson Visa Secured card charges a hefty interest rate that can wind up costing you a lot more than the typical secured card annual fee. If you plan to carry a balance, you may be better off paying an annual fee on a card with a lower interest rate.
- Expensive security deposit: While deposits on secured cards are refundable, you still need to have that money to spare. Some secured cards require as little as $49 to $200 down, but the Harley-Davidson Visa Secured card requires you to commit at least $300.
- Rewards restricted to Harley-Davidson purchases: Even if you’re a committed Harley fan, you may still wish you had more flexibility in how you use your rewards. Harley- Davidson credit cards don’t give you any choice in how to use your points. You’re out of luck if you decide you’d like cash back or a credit on your statement.
A secured credit card is one that requires a security deposit to open the account. The deposit acts as a kind of insurance for the bank in case the cardholder defaults. With unsecured cards, which are far more commonplace, lenders rely on credit score and other factors to determine how likely the applicant will be to repay their loan.
Earning Points & Rewards
Compared to most big-bank rewards cards, the rewards rate on the Harley-Davidson Visa Secured card—1 point per $1 spent—is pretty modest. But it’s not bad for a credit builder card and is a big improvement over secured cards that don’t offer any rewards at all.
There are a few secured cards that offer a more generous return, but their rewards programs may not be nearly as attractive to motorcycle enthusiasts.
Unlike many credit card rewards programs, the Harley-Davidson Visa Secured card keeps things fairly simple: Points can only be redeemed for Harley-Davidson gift cards at a rate of 1 cent per point. You’ll have to wait until you’ve saved up at least 2,500 points (worth $25) before you can get anything back, and you’ll be restricted to $25 increments. So, for example, if you have 6,000 points saved up, you’ll get a $50 gift card and will have 1,000 points left over.
Redemption isn’t automatic; you’ll need to request your gift card online, through a mobile app, or over the phone.
Once you have your gift card, you can use it for a wide variety of Harley-Davidson purchases, including motor parts and accessories, gifts and apparel, Harley-Davidson museum and factory tours, and motorcycle maintenance and repairs. You can even put your gift card toward the down payment on your next Harley. You don’t have to wait for a physical gift card either. If you’re in a rush, you can opt for an immediate e-gift card.
Harley-Davidson points don’t last forever, so don’t wait too long before redeeming them for a gift card. If you don’t, they’ll expire three years after you earn them (on Dec. 31 of that third year). Gift cards, on the other hand, never expire.
How to Get the Most Out of This Card
Your credit limit will typically be equal to the refundable deposit you use to fund and secure your new credit card. So if you plan to use this card regularly (which is a good idea if you want to earn a significant amount back), set aside as large a down payment as you can afford. That way, your everyday purchases don’t cause you to bump up against your credit limit and negatively affect your credit score.
For example, if your credit limit is $350 and you’ve charged $200 in groceries, your credit utilization ratio—which is an important credit scoring metric—will be over 57%.
A commonly recommended rule of thumb is to keep your credit usage to below 30% of your total available credit. But you’re better off using even less. Set up a text alert that notifies you when your balance has reached a certain amount. For example, if you have $1,000 in credit available and you’re trying to keep your utilization rate below 20%, ask U.S. Bank to alert you when your balance reaches $200.
- Rental car collision insurance (secondary to your own policy)
U.S. Bank doesn’t have the best reputation for customer service. According to J.D. Power’s latest credit card satisfaction survey, for example, it ranked near the bottom among the biggest issuers and garnered especially mediocre marks for customer communication and interaction. However, it does offer a mobile app you can use to pay bills and keep track of your secured card. It also offers custom payment tools to help turbocharge your debt payments, revise your payment due date, or get free customizable alerts about your credit card. You can also review your VantageScore credit score—but only via your account online.
The Harley-Davidson Visa Secured card offers standard security features, including zero liability for fraudulent purchases.
Fees to Watch Out For
The fees for this card are fairly standard, including the late payment fee of up to $40. Unlike some competitors, however, U.S. Bank doesn’t forgive your first late payment. The card’s minimum interest charge of $2 is also fairly high compared to similar cards.