The Citi Secured MasterCard is designed for people who are working to rebuild their credit history or have little or no credit at all. Like most secured credit cards, you are required to make a deposit which is held as collateral for as long as your account remains open. Unlike pre-paid or debit cards, your payment history is reported to the three main credit bureaus each month. There are no signup bonuses or rewards offered with this card. The annual fee of $25 is not waived.
There is no fee to apply for the Citi Secured MasterCard but you will be asked to provide a security deposit of $200 – $5,000 when submitting an application. Once your security deposit is received and you are approved for the card, your credit limit will be equal to the amount of your security deposit. Deposits are held in a Collateral Holding Account for 18 months and do not earn interest. If you ever default on your credit card account, funds from your security deposit will be used to pay the outstanding balance and your account will be closed.
Citi requires the following information in order to process your application:
- You must have a social security number
- You must disclose your income and debt levels to determine if you qualify
- You must not have had a bankruptcy within the past two years
The APR for all cardmembers is a variable 21.99% based on the Prime Rate. This APR applies to both purchases and balance transfers. Note: Balance transfers must be completed within two months from the date your account is opened. Each balance transfer that posts to your account is subject to a fee of $5 or 3% of the total amount of the transfer (whichever is greater).
Account holders have 24/7 access to their account online. You can check balances, view transactions, and make payments using free online and mobile banking tools. Alerts can be delivered to your mobile device to help you easily monitor your account.
Members also receive additional benefits from MasterCard:
- Worldwide Car Rental Insurance – You may be covered against theft or damage up to $50,000 for any rental car in any country when you pay with your Citi Secured MasterCard and decline the rental company’s collision loss/damage insurance.
- $0 Liability on Unauthorized Charges – You are not responsible for any unauthorized charges made on your card.
- Extended Warranty – You can receive up to one additional year on your warranty of five years or less on eligible purchases made using your card. (limited to $10,000 per year)
- Trip Cancellation and Interruption Protection – If covered unforeseen events disrupt your travel plans, you may be reimbursed for non-refundable trip expenses such as change fees when you use your card to pay for your trip. (up to $1,500 per rolling year)
Card holders are charged a 3% foreign transaction fee on all purchases made while traveling outside of the U.S.
There is an annual fee of $25 for this card which is billed on your first monthly statement.
Below we have broken down the specific details of the Citi Secured MasterCard to help you decide if it’s a good choice for you.
Security deposit equals credit limit:
The minimum amount you are required to deposit is $200 with a maximum of $5,000. Your approved credit limit will be equal to whatever amount you choose to deposit.
No application fee:
Many secured credit cards charge an application fee with no guarantee of approval. The Citi Secured MasterCard does not.
Members are charged a variable APR of 21.99% on both purchases and balance transfers. While this may sound like a high rate overall, it is fairly reasonable for a secured card.
Payment history is reported:
Unlike pre-paid or debit cards, your payment history is reported each month to the three main credit bureaus. Over time, consistent on-time payments will help build your credit history or repair a damaged one.
Members also receive additional benefits from MasterCard:
- Worldwide Car Rental Insurance
- $0 Liability on Unauthorized Charges
- Extended Warranty
- Trip Cancellation and Interruption Protection
Low annual fee:
The annual fee for this card is $25. For a secured credit card, this is reasonably low. (The annual fee is billed on your first monthly statement. It is not deducted from your security deposit.)
Certain restrictions apply:
This is a secured credit card meaning it’s designed for someone with little credit or a poor credit history. However, an applicant must not have had a bankruptcy within the past two years in order to apply which potentially rules out a large group of consumers.
Security deposit must be given with application:
You are required to give your security deposit when you apply for the card. This means you must have access to the cash funds and be able to provide your social security number, bank routing number and bank account number at that time. Once you are approved your security deposit funds will be withdrawn from the bank account you provided. (This process may take up to 30 days.)
Security deposit does not earn interest:
Citi holds your security deposit in a Collateral Holding Account for an 18 month term. You do not earn interest on this account and have no access to it. In simple terms, Citi invests this money for a year and half without benefit to you.
Overall, the Citi Secured MasterCard is a decent secured credit card. The amount of your security deposit determines your credit limit. The minimum deposit is $200 and the maximum is $5,000. The card looks and acts like any other unsecured card (including having smart-chip technology) and can be used anywhere that MasterCard is accepted. The APR of 21.99% is fairly reasonable for a secured card as is the annual fee of $25. Another positive aspect of this card is that over time, consistent timely payments can improve your credit history because Citi reports your payment activity to the three main credit bureaus. A downside is that you have no access to whatever amount of money you give as a security deposit – plus it earns no interest.