Wells Fargo Secured Visa Credit Card Review

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The Wells Fargo Secured Visa® Card, like most secured cards, is geared toward consumers baby-stepping their way to improved credit. Just don’t expect any wow-worthy perks. For starters, it carries an annual fee and there aren’t rewards to sweeten the deal. The high credit limit potential, though, can help fast-track a credit rebuild for consumers who qualify and can manage it properly. Finally, nonresidents can use the card if they’re only in the U.S. temporarily and want access to a U.S.-based Visa credit card.

Wells Fargo Secured Credit Card

overall rating
3.4
Wells Fargo Secured Credit Card
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 20.99% variable
  • Annual Fee $25.00
  • Minimum Deposit to Activate $300
  • Allows upgrade to unsecured card No
Ratings Breakdown
for Interest
4.4
for Fees
3.7
for Rewards
2.8
for Credit
4.4

Top Rated For

  • Credit Cards for No Credit
  • Secured Credit Cards

Who is This Credit Card Best For?

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

If you want to build (or rebuild) credit, then the Wells Fargo Secured Visa card is a viable option if you’re not looking for any bells and whistles. It has decent terms for a secured card (a not-too-terrible annual fee and APR), but other cards in this category offer better benefits, such as rewards. Nonresident aliens can also apply for this card, although only U.S. citizens and permanent residents can upgrade to an unsecured credit card. 

Because the card is designed for those who wish to improve their credit, more leeway is given with credit qualifications than you’d find with an unsecured card application. 

A higher credit limit can be helpful if building credit is your primary goal. You’ll have more wiggle room when it comes to credit utilization (the amount of available credit that you are using at any given time). Credit experts advise staying below 30% utilization when you’re trying to increase your credit score—the lower the better. It’s easier to do that with, say, a $6,000 limit (just keep your balance below $2,000) versus a $300 limit (for which you’d want to stay under $100).

Pros

  • Reports to all three credit bureaus

  • Solid perks

  • Higher credit limit than many secured credit cards

Cons

  • Annual fee

  • No rewards or sign-up offers

Pros Explained

  • Reports to all three credit bureaus: The Wells Fargo Secured card reports your account activity to all three major credit bureaus—Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion. This guarantees that you’ll get “credit” for your good behavior.
  • Solid perks: Because it’s a Visa card, you’ll get access to a couple of strong perks, such as rental car and cell phone insurance.
  • Higher credit limit than many secured credit cards: You may be approved for a credit limit as high as $10,000 on this card—higher than many secured cards offer. Of course, your deposit amount must match your credit line, and you should only put down a sum of money that you can truly afford to part ways with for a while.

Cons Explained

  • Annual fee: It’s only $25, but considering that there are some secured cards without any annual fee, this is a turnoff. 
  • No rewards or sign-up offers: You won’t earn cash back, points or bonuses of any kind, but those are things you can strive for when you reach a higher tier of credit. 

How to Get the Most Out of This Card

Make no mistake—this card is a temporary solution for your credit woes. Make sure you use the card, but keep your credit utilization low, and pay your balance on time and in full each month. Hopefully, over time, you’ll improve your credit score. Use Wells Fargo’s bill pay, free alerts, and budgeting and spending tracking tools to ensure you don’t miss payments.

Wells Fargo will periodically review your account and will automatically upgrade you and return your security deposit (within 30 days) once you meet their qualifications.

Wells Fargo Secured Card’s Excellent Perks 

There are scores of potential perks you could get from your credit card company. But some stand out for their exceptional value. The Wells Fargo Secured Card offers a couple of perks our editors have deemed “excellent”:

  • Travel accident insurance: Get coverage of up to $150,000 for you and your family members for accidental death and dismemberment when you use your card to purchase travel tickets.
  • Cell phone protection: If you pay your cell phone bill using your Wells Fargo Secured card, you can be reimbursed up to $600 if your phone is damaged or stolen, less a $25 deductible, up to $1,200 per year. 

Wells Fargo Secured Card’s Other Features

  • Roadside assistance, and travel and emergency assistance service via hotlines 
  • Secondary auto rental collision damage waiver

Customer Experience

Wells Fargo ranked No. 9 out of 11 credit card companies in J.D. Power’s 2018 Credit Card Satisfaction Study. That said, the company still provides some valuable tools to help you build credit, including access to your FICO credit score. 

You can log in to your account online and via the Wells Fargo mobile app, which was rated above average in a 2019 J.D. Power study. And customer service is available via the 24/7 hotline and on Twitter and Facebook. Wells Fargo also offers cardholders a complimentary conversation with a Wells Fargo Financial Health banker to discuss financial goals.

Security Features 

  • Account alerts can notify you via text or email of activity on your account to help you spot potential fraud.
  • If you lose your card, Wells Fargo will ship a new one to you immediately for free. But if you need it expedited, additional fees may apply.

Wells Fargo Secured Visa Card’s Fees That Stand Out

The Wells Fargo Secured Card doesn’t really do its customers any favors when it comes to fees. For instance, it charges an annual fee. That’s not unusual among secured cards, but there are a couple of that don’t have annual fees. A 3% foreign transaction fee also makes it extra pricey if you plan to use the card abroad.  

For Wells Fargo Secured Credit Card

Compare This Card

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CURRENT CARD
Wells Fargo Secured Credit Card
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 20.99% variable
  • Annual Fee $25.00
  • Minimum Deposit to Activate $300
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    580 669
    670 739
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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.