We recommend this card if you’d like to try your hand at earning cash-back rewards while building your credit. After all, there are very few secured cards out there that also offer rewards. And, when you close the card and get your deposit back, SunTrust will pay you interest on your deposit—something most other secured cards don’t offer.
This card is also relatively affordable compared to other secured cards, although there are cheaper options out there if you’re willing to sacrifice some of the good features that come with this card.
You’ll need to make a deposit to a SunTrust secured savings account as part of your application. The amount of the deposit will be your credit limit.
At least a 10% rewards bonus for SunTrust customers
Pays interest on your security deposit
- Offers rewards: It’s relatively rare to see a secured card that offers rewards, especially in such useful areas as gas and groceries. Chances are, if you spend a fair amount in these areas, you can earn more in rewards than you pay for the annual fee.
- At least a 10% rewards bonus for SunTrust customers: If you deposit your rewards to a SunTrust account, the bank will credit you at least an additional 10% of what you deposited. This perk is rare among secured cards.
- SunTrust Deals: You can pre-activate certain offers to earn even more cash back through the SunTrust Deals portal. There are lots of retailers to choose from such as Five Guys, Airbnb, Michael’s, Walgreens, and more.
- Pays interest on your security deposit: Most secured credit cards don’t pay any interest on your security deposit but the SunTrust secured card does, although SunTrust doesn't tell you the rate until after you
- Annual fee: Secured cards generally charge an annual fee but there are multiple options available that have no annual fee, including the Discover it Secured.
Earning Points & Rewards
For a secured card, the rewards program is pretty solid. You’ll earn 2% cash back on the first $6,000 you spend every year on gas and groceries, and 1% cash back on everything else.
If you use this card just for groceries and gas, you could earn up to $120 back each year on those two things alone if you spend up to the $6,000 limit. But if you spend at least $1,600 each year on gas and groceries (or $134 per month), you’ll earn enough cash back to offset the card’s annual fee.
You can redeem your rewards as soon as you have at least $5 in cash back accumulated in your account. You have two main options for how to redeem your cash rewards: Apply them as a statement credit to your card, or deposit them into the checking or savings account of your choice.
It may be worth opening a SunTrust account just to redeem your cash rewards. Reward deposits you send to a SunTrust bank account get a 10% bonus no matter what your balance is. You can boost your bonus to 25% if you have at least $25,000 in your SunTrust accounts, or 50% if you have at least $100,000.01 in your accounts.
SunTrust Bank doesn’t list the redemption rates for your other redemption options (travel or merchandise), so be sure to check how valuable your cash back is if you redeem it this way. In some cases, for example, $100 in rewards may be worth less than $100 in travel or merchandise, or your $100 could be worth more.
How to Get the Most Out of This Card
Use the card for all of your grocery and gas purchases so that you can maximize the 2% cash-back rate. Also, consider opening a SunTrust checking or savings account to take advantage of the 10% SunTrust redemption bonus. You don’t have to actually use the account for your everyday transactions; you could open it just to get the bonus, then transfer your cash back to the bank account you regularly use for direct deposit, bill pay, and other everyday tasks.
We really like this card, but it’s also important to remember that it’s just a stepping stone. When your credit is better, we recommend upgrading to a better rewards card. If you’ve been enjoying earning extra on gas and groceries, there are many great cards out there that offer even more rewards on these same purchases.
SunTrust Secured Card’s Excellent Perks
This card comes with some top-notch features that you’d typically see with fancier credit cards. To get these benefits, you’ll need to pay for a trip with your SunTrust card:
- Travel accident insurance: If an accident during transit causes death or loss of limb, sight, speech or hearing, your partner and/or your unmarried dependents, you or your beneficiaries could receive up to $250,000 in compensation.
- Baggage delay insurance: If your bags are delayed by four hours or more, you can file for reimbursement for up to $100 per day (three days max) for the things you need to buy to tide yourself over.
- Trip cancellation or interruption insurance: If your trip is canceled or interrupted while you’re on the way to your departure point or you’ve already departed, you can file for reimbursement for up to $1,500 worth of expenses.
Keep in mind that secured credit card limits are typically low, so depending on where you’re going, you may not be able to put the entire cost on this card. Hawaiian vacations and flights to Europe are expensive, after all. This somewhat limits the value of these benefits.
- Insurance for stolen or damaged purchases
While SunTrust’s credit card customer service hasn’t received a J.D. Power rating, it’s banking services (which may come into play if you open an account to earn a rewards bonus) ranked in the bottom third of the three regions in which J.D. Power rated it.
SunTrust Bank offers relatively standard customer-support features, such as 24/7 phone support and live-chat support. You’ll get complimentary monthly access to your FICO credit score, which can help you track your credit score as you try to build a positive credit history. You can also see up to 12 months’ worth of credit score history, so you can watch how your score changes over time with good use.
SunTrust Bank’s security features are relatively standard, with a few nice additions: identity theft monitoring through Experian’s IDNotify program, dark web monitoring of your social security number, and identity theft assistance.
SunTrust Secured Card’s Fees
While the SunTrust Secured Card does charge an annual fee, it’s not too high. It has a relatively friendly fee schedule for the rest of its potential charges, too. Also, it’s a decent card if you travel often because it doesn’t charge a foreign transaction fee.