If you need to build or rebuild your credit history, using a secured credit card is one way to do it.
Even with no credit or bad credit, you could potentially get approved if you have an income, aren’t in bankruptcy, don’t have unpaid tax obligations, and can make a cash deposit equal to the credit line you want.
Merrick Bank specializes in working with this type of consumer and offers two secured cards.
Merrick Bank Double Your Line™ Visa® Credit Card
The Merrick Bank Double Your Line™ Visa® Credit Card gets its name from the card’s most unique feature:
When you make at least your minimum payment on time each month for the first 7 months your account is open, your credit line will automatically double.
On-time payments have the biggest effect of the five components that make up your credit score.
The percentage of your credit line that you’ve used is another big component.
So when your credit line doubles, if you keep your spending at the same level as before, your score may go up even more than it would from just making on-time payments.
And Merrick Bank does report your payment history to all three major credit bureaus — an important feature in any secured card.
As a cardholder, you’ll also get your FICO score for free each month.
The biggest drawback of this Merrick Bank credit card is that it’s available by invitation only.
You must receive a notice in the mail that has an acceptance certificate number before you can complete an application online.
The second drawback of the Double Your Line Visa card is that its terms and conditions are not available online.
However, this information should be included with any prescreened offer you receive in the mail and made available for you to review online when you fill out the acceptance certificate.
Merrick Bank Secured Visa®
Merrick Bank also offers a secured Visa® card that you can apply for online without receiving a preapproval offer, and this card’s terms and conditions are available online.
It comes with a secured credit line of $200 to $3,000 if you’re approved.
Merrick Bank must receive your deposit within 30 days of receiving your application.
This credit card’s annual fee is $36 for the first year, and $0 thereafter. But it’s then replaced by a $3 monthly fee.
The regular APR is 18.7% variable based on the prime rate. There is no penalty APR, and balance transfers are not available.
The cash advance fee is $4 or 10%, whichever is greater, and cash advances have a 23.7% variable APR.
The foreign transaction fee is 2%, and the late payment fee is $38.
Neither card offers rewards, but if you use your card responsibly, you may eventually establish a strong enough credit profile that you’ll qualify for the cash back savings and other benefits that come with higher-tier credit cards.