Secured Visa From Merrick Bank Review

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If you’re establishing or rebuilding your credit, the Merrick Bank Secured Visa Card is a decent option with a pretty high credit limit and the possibility of getting a bigger credit line without making an additional deposit.

The Secured Visa® from Merrick Bank

Overall Rating
2.5
The Secured Visa® from Merrick Bank
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 (%) 17.45% variable
Annual Fee $36 first year, then $3 monthly.
Minimum Deposit to Activate $200
Allows upgrade to unsecured card No
Pay deposit in installments No
Ratings Breakdown
for Interest
2.1
for Fees
2.9
for Rewards
1.8
for Credit
5.0

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

The Merrick Bank Secured Visa Card gives people with imperfect credit more spending power than many secured cards, with the ability to secure an initial credit limit as high as $3,000 and then fund a limit as high as $5,000 over time. This is an appealing feature for cardholders who want to charge bigger ticket purchases, such as plane tickets, without worrying about bumping up against their limit.

However, a $36 annual fee and no chance to earn rewards on purchases make this secured card less appealing than competing cards with rewards and no annual fee. If you’re a new borrower with a modest budget, you may want to choose a secured card with no annual fee to help you build your credit history.

Pros
  • High credit limit

  • Bank account not required to apply

  • Complimentary access to FICO score

Cons
  • High annual fee

  • No rewards

Pros Explained

  • High credit limit: Right off the bat, you can have a credit limit as high as $3,000, as long as you supply an equal deposit. Not only can this be useful if you plan to use your card regularly, but a higher limit can help you build your credit score. (Lenders like to see a nice cushion between your available credit and how much you owe.) Many secured cards, by contrast, cap credit limits at $1,000 to $2,500. 
  • Bank account not required to apply: It’s always great when a credit card has fewer rules and restrictions, but it’s especially nice for a secured card. Unlike some secured cards, Merrick Bank doesn’t require applicants to have a savings or checking account before they apply. 
  • Complimentary access to FICO score: Merrick Bank offers all cardholders complimentary credit-score access, which isn’t standard among issuers of secured cards. Regularly checking your score may help motivate you to treat your credit with care.

Cons Explained

  • High annual fee: The $36 annual fee isn’t the highest we’ve seen on a secured card, but many charge less, or none at all.
  • No rewards: Although it’s unusual for a secured card to offer rewards, it’s still disappointing not to be able to earn cash back, miles, or points. If you get one of the few secured cards with a modest rewards program, you can learn the basics of how rewards work to prepare you for future, non-secured cards.

The Merrick Bank Secured Visa is not available to residents of Wisconsin.

How to Get the Most Out of This Card

A secured card typically has a credit limit equal to the amount you’ve deposited as security. So, in the case of the Merrick Bank Secured Visa Card, you’ll be allowed to charge as much as your credit limit: between $200 and $3,000.

What happens after that is almost more important, though. Merrick Bank will automatically and regularly review your account to see if you’re eligible for a credit line increase that doesn’t require an additional deposit.

It's crucial that you form good payment habits and stick with them: Always pay your bill on time, and if at all possible, in full. Checking your FICO score every month can help keep you motivated to stay on track as you rebuild your credit.  

Credit scoring systems look favorably on people who use no more than 30% of their available credit. So as your credit limit grows, it should become much easier for you to stick to your goal of using up less of your credit. Beware, though: Don’t get caught up in using more of your credit limit just because you have extra space on your card. Not only could it lower your credit score, but if you can’t pay the balance off on the due date, you’ll pay interest, too.

Customer Experience

Merrick Bank offers customer support by phone 24 hours a day, seven days a week. It also has a mobile banking app that you can use to check your credit score or pay your credit card bills.

Security Features 

The Merrick Bank Secured Visa Card offers standard security features, including account alerts and zero liability for fraudulent purchases. 

Fees to Watch Out For

While there are secured card options with no annual fee, this one charges $36. The fee for new applicants is deducted from their deposit, and after the first year, charged at $3 a month. Otherwise, the fees for this card are relatively standard. It’s worth noting that you will have to pay a foreign transaction fee if you make purchases in other currencies. (Although at 2% of the purchase amount, it’s lower than some card issuers charge.)

Next Steps
For The Secured Visa® from Merrick Bank
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CURRENT CARD
The Secured Visa® from Merrick Bank
overall rating
2.5
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 (%) 17.45% variable
Annual Fee $36 first year, then $3 monthly.
Minimum Deposit to Activate $200
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.

Article Sources

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  1. Merrick Bank. "Merrick Bank Credit Card Application." Accessed July 29, 2020.