GET.com's Review of Citi® Secured Mastercard®
|Highlights||Credit Card Feature|
|Things We Like||The $0 annual fee|
|Our Least Favorite||The high APR|
|Our Verdict||Great card for card benefits with no annual fee|
- No Annual Fee, and unlike a prepaid card, it helps build credit history with monthly notifications to the credit bureaus
- A security deposit is required for this product (minimum $200)
- Pay your bill on time every month to avoid damaging your credit. Citi can help keep you on track with Auto Pay, online Bill Pay and alerts.
- Use the card anywhere Mastercard® is accepted — worldwide
- Intro APR
- Annual Fee
- Regular APR
- Credit Required
Limited History, No Credit, New-to-Credit, Good
Citi® Secured Mastercard®, a partner card, is a secured card, which means that you have to pay down a deposit when you are approved for the card. The size of your deposit determines your line of credit. A secured card is a smart choice if you do not have much of a credit history or a good credit score, and would like to build your credit. It can also work well if you prefer not to use actual "credit", because purchases you charge to the card are secured by your deposit.
If you haven't already noticed, there are a lot of secured credit cards out there to choose from. Some are good, and some are dreadful. Citi® Secured Mastercard® obviously stands out because it is issued by a major bank. But what else has it got to offer?
We will answer that in this review, and also take a look at how Citi® Secured Mastercard® compares to other secured credit cards on offer.
Things We Like About Citi® Secured Mastercard®
The $0 annual fee. Unlike other secured cards, this one doesn't have an annual fee.
You can get a credit line of up to $2,500. Your security deposit can be anywhere between a minimum of $200 and a maximum of $2,500. You submit this deposit when completing the application process. Once you are approved, your credit limit will be equal to the amount of the security deposit you've submitted.
It can help you build credit. If you are new to credit, you might be tempted to get a prepaid card with guaranteed acceptance. But the difference here is that Citi® Secured Mastercard® and other good secured cards help you build your credit history because they send monthly notifications to credit bureaus. As long as you make your payments on time every month, you can build credit faster by using a credit card than almost any other way.
You probably won't be turned down. You will have to pass Citi's eligibility criteria which includes a review of your income, your debt and whether you have had any bankruptcy history within the last two years (if you have, apply for a prepaid card instead). But there is much less chance of you being turned down for this card than there is of your application for an unsecured card being rejected. If you are new to credit and don't want to risk damaging it even more by applying for a "real" credit card and being rejected, then a secured card should be your first stop. You get complimentary travel insurance. When you use this card to pay for travel bookings, you benefit from complimentary travel insurance. Surprisingly, the travel insurance you get with this card is better than what many cards for excellent credit give you.
- Trip cancellation and interruption protection. If eligible unforeseen events cause you to have to cancel a trip you've already paid for, you may be reimbursed (up to $1,500 per rolling year) for non-refundable trip expenses like change fees.
- Worldwide travel accident insurance. If a tragic accident occur (i.e. death or permanent dismemberment) while you are traveling with a common carrier (an airline, for example), you may receive up to $250,000 in compensation.
- Worldwide car rental insurance. This coverage against theft or damage for any rental car in any country may save your neck to the tune of up to $50,000 if a car you rent is damaged or stolen. Most of all, it can save you money since you can decline the rental company's collision loss/damage insurance.
Stuff you buy is covered by purchase protection. The damage and theft purchase protection you get with this card covers up to $1,000 per item, up to a total of $50,000 per calendar year. You can claim this protection if purchases made with your Citi® Secured Mastercard® are damaged or stolen within 120 days of purchase (within 90 days for New York residents, tough luck folks).
You get a longer warranty on stuff you buy. The extended warranty benefit adds up to 1 year on your warranty, for warranties of 5 years or less. If something you buy with this card breaks down within this added time, you may be covered for up to $10,000 per calendar year.
Your wallet's protected with $0 liability on unauthorized charges. If somebody uses your lost or stolen card to make purchases or other transactions without your authorization, you won't be held liable to pay for those transactions. Make sure you report your card as lost or stolen to Citi immediately.
You can enroll to make your card payment automatically. If you enroll with AutoPay from Citi, you can link your bank account so that your Citi® Secured Mastercard® bill is paid automatically by your due date. If you run on a strict budget, the option to choose the exact amount you want to pay each month may appeal to you. This benefit can help you to never miss a credit card payment (paying late hurts your credit).
You won't accumulate debt. If you hate debt, a secured credit card offers the perfect midway solution because you get the advantages of using a credit card like easy payment for online shopping or travel bookings and not having to carry a wad of cash around when traveling to dangerous areas. But at the same time, you don't need to worry about getting into debt, since your line of credit never is higher than the security deposit you put down. If for any reason you can't make your payments, the deposit will cover them (but it will hurt your credit).
You can manage your account online. One of the perks of getting a credit card from a big bank like Citi is that you get to enjoy cutting-edge technology. You can make a payment, check your balance or view transactions at any time of day, night or week. You can also enroll to use Online Bill Payment, which lets you make your card payment online, or even schedule payments in advance. The online banking tools are completely free.
It's a Mastercard credit card, which means you can use it at any merchant or ATM that accepts Mastercard credit cards, anywhere in the world. That sets it apart from some prepaid cards and debit cards that can only be used within the US, or worse, only at a certain store or bank.
Our Least Favorite Things About Citi® Secured Mastercard®
The high APR. The downside of secured credit cards is that they almost always have a very high APR. Citi® Secured Mastercard® has a 24.74%* variable APR for purchases. But think of it this way: Carrying a big balance isn't a good way to build credit. Use this card for making payments and always square off with Citi at the due date each month, and the APR won't affect you at all.
How Other Cards Compare With Citi® Secured Mastercard®
|Regular APR:||24.74%* (Variable)|
|Credit Required:||Limited History, No Credit, New-to-Credit, Good|
Citi® Secured Mastercard® gives you solid benefits and doesn't charge an annual fee.
Citi® Secured Mastercard® is a solid secured credit card and does everything you would need a secured credit card to do with a $0 annual fee.
For its part, Citi® Secured Mastercard® gives you exceptional complimentary travel insurance benefits and many other benefits which you would normally get with a credit card for excellent credit holders. In our opinion, this card is worth it if you use it's benefits, for example, if you travel a lot, and get trip cancellation and interruption insurance when you do, that could help you save money.See more Citi credit cards.