How to use the card
Using the Citi® Secured MasterCard®, you may learn a lot about patience and a responsible attitude towards credit. Since this is a secured card, you have to pay any deposit within the range of $200 – $2,500 to protect Citi from your possible default. Once you’ve done it, you get a credit line equal to the paid deposit . And here starts your 18-month journey to an unsecured credit card. Note that after this period Citi claims to return your deposit but you may close your account earlier and receive it back anyway.
From this point treat your deposit as if it were Citi’s money. This will help you build your credit history avoiding pitfalls:
- Make all payments on time. If you make even one late payment or one of your payments returns, the bank may indefinitely apply a really high penalty APR of 29.99% to your account. And what’s even more important, on-time payments are crucial for building a good credit score.
- Make sure you pay off the entire balance in full on a monthly basis as the APR for purchases is only slightly lower than the penalty one – 23.49%.
- Making the previous point easier, do your best to never use more than a third of your credit limit. A low utilization rate is another key factor for growing your credit score.
This card has strict rules. But following them may build you a great credit history and significantly increase your credit score. Since this is a real credit card, even though a secured one, Citi reports on your credit behaviour to the three national credit bureaus. This is where all your efforts or failures are recorded as your credit history, and therefore contribute to your credit score.
If everything goes right, in 18 months the bank will return your deposit. And that will be a double victory since you get a solid credit score while holding a card at one of the most reputable US banks.
Who qualifies for Citi® Secured MasterCard®
To apply for this secured credit card, you need to be at least 18 years old. And if it’s not your first credit experience, make sure that you had no bankruptcies within the past two years.
How much it costs
The Citi® Secured MasterCard® claims to have no annual fee, so in a good standing it may cost you $0. Neither has it rewards, but that is common for many secured credit cards. Still, unlike smaller card issuers, Citi offers various benefits to its cardholders. Once you’ve got the card, you will be able to see the available options on the Citi’s website.
The bottom line
The Citi® Secured MasterCard® is designed for building your credit history from scratch. It takes a year and a half to get your deposit back but in return you may receive a solid credit score and an account in one of the most reputable banks of the US.
Ready to work responsibly on your credit score? Take your chances with the Citi® Secured MasterCard®.