The Unity Secured Visa is a credit card aimed at people with bad credit or those looking to rebuild their credit. It differs from a prepaid card by reporting your payment history each month to the three major credit bureaus plus allows you to manage your account online. Your credit limit is equal to the amount of security deposit which you give at the time of approval. The Unity Secured Visa is issued by One United Bank and has an annual fee of $39.
Card members do not earn rewards with the Unity Secured Visa. Its terms and benefits are specifically designed for people who want to establish credit or for consumers who want to rebuild a less-than-perfect credit history. While there is technically no signup bonus available with this card, new members do receive an introductory APR of 9.95% for the first six months on all balance transfers. This is a fixed rate which will go to the standard rate of 17.99% (also fixed) after the first six billing cycles of your account. The fixed rate on purchases is 17.99% and is valid through the expiration date of your card.
Note: There is a balance transfer fee of either $10 or 3% of the total amount of the transfer (whichever is greater) applied to all balance transfers which post to your account (maximum fee is $150). This fee is not waived during the promotional time period.
Although there is no application fee associated with this card, the Unity Secured Visa does require applicants to provide a security deposit in order to open an account. The minimum amount needed is $250 and the maximum allowed is $10,000. Your security deposit is FDIC insured but does not earn interest. It is fully refundable whenever you choose to close your account (which must be in good standing and have a zero balance).
Since this card is secured with your deposit, your credit limit is equal to whatever amount you give at the time you apply. There is no minimum credit score required so people with low FICO scores may be approved for the Unity Secured Visa.
Here are the main highlights of the card:
- No application fee or penalty interest rate
- Access to How to Rebuild Credit Program
- Reports monthly to the three major credit bureaus
- 24/7 online access to your account
- Use anywhere Visa is accepted
- Low fixed interest rate of 17.99% valid through the expiration date of your card
- Fixed rate of 9.95% on balance transfers for the first six billing cycles of your account
- Low annual fee of $39
Members are charged a foreign transaction fee of 2% on all transactions made on the card while traveling outside of the U.S.
Below we have broken down the specific details of the Unity Secured Visa to help you determine if it’s the right card for you.
Designed for people with bad credit:
Applicants with poor or bad credit as well as people who have no credit history can apply for this card. There is no minimum FICO score required to be approved.
No application fee:
The Unity Secured Visa does not charge an application fee. (Many secured cards do and with no guarantee of approval).
Higher credit limit:
Most secured credit cards cap your credit limit to around $5,000. This card has a maximum limit of $10,000 which is good news for people who need a higher credit limit to meet their needs.
The card offers new members an introductory fixed rate of 9.95% on balance transfers for the first six months that your account is open. After this time, the standard rate of 17.99% (fixed) will apply to any balance transfers which post to your account. A fee of $10 or 3% of the total amount of the transfer (whichever is greater) is charged for all balance transfers (maximum fee: $150). This fee is not waived during the promotional time period.
Not a prepaid card:
The Unity Secured Visa is an actual Visa credit card and can be used throughout the world wherever Visa is accepted. The only difference is it is secured with whatever amount of security deposit you choose to deposit once you are approved. Unlike with a prepaid card, your payment history is reported monthly to the three major credit bureaus. Over time, making consistent, timely payments can help improve your credit score.
Security deposit equals credit limit:
Whatever amount you give as a security deposit will equal your credit limit. The minimum amount you must deposit upon approval is $250 and the maximum is $10,000. This money is FDIC insured but does not earn interest. It is fully refundable if and when you want to close your account. However, your account must be in good standing and have a zero balance at that time.
Fixed rate APR:
The fixed APR on purchases and balance transfers is 17.99% (applies to balance transfers once the six month introductory APR of 9.95% expires). This rate is valid through the expiration date of your credit card.
Security deposit earns no interest:
Whatever amount of money you give as a security deposit is held in an FDIC insured account but it does not earn interest and you have no access to the funds. United One Bank holds this money as security should you ever default on your account.
Foreign transaction fees:
Members are charged a 2% foreign transaction fee on all purchases made while traveling internationally.
This is not a rewards card so members do not earn cash back, points or miles on purchases.
Overabundance of fees:
This card has a long list of fees:
- Late Payment – up to $10
- Returned Payment – up to $25
- Expedited Card Delivery – $35
- Credit Limit Increase – $10
- Replacement/Additional Card – $10
- Stop Payment – $25
As long as you never plan to make a late payment or want to increase your credit limit, these fees may not be of importance to you. But the idea of having to pay a fee to add to your security deposit (to increase your credit limit) seems, at the very least, annoying (even for those with bad credit).
Card does not upgrade to an unsecured card:
No matter how long you have this card or how well you manage your account, there is no possibility of upgrading to an unsecured card.
The Unity Secured Visa is a decent enough secured card for people with poor or bad credit or who want to establish a credit history. There’s no application fee and the fixed APR of 17.99% is ok considering many secured cards charge an APR of well over 22% to people with bad credit. Plus it does offer the possibility of a high credit limit ($10,000). The best use of this card would be to show consistent on-time payments and the ability to manage your account – thus improving your credit score. Once this happens, you can apply for an unsecured card which rewards you for purchases.