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Best of, Eliminating Fees, Reviews

Capital One 360 Checking Account Review

The editorial content on this page is not provided by any financial institution and has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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If you’re searching for a checking account with minimal fees, you’ve likely considered depositing your money into an online bank. But with so many online banks vying for your business, you may wonder which account is best suited for your needs.

The Capital One 360 Checking Account boasts no fees and no minimum balance to open which is pretty standard in the online banking world. However, there are other unique features of this account that set it apart.

The Capital One 360 Checking Account At A Glance

Let’s start with the basics. To qualify for 360 Checking you must be 18 years or older and a U.S. citizen or permanent resident with a social security number.

These are the perks of opening a 360 Checking Account:

  • No monthly fees
  • FDIC insurance coverage
  • A free MasterCard debit card
  • No minimum balance to open or earn interest. Rates are variable and account APY ranges from 0.20% to 0.90% depending on your balance.
  • Use of Bill Pay. Send bill payments directly from your checking account for free. And set up eBills to receive electronic bills from participating merchants.
  • Person2Person payments. Send money free of charge to people who bank with Capital One 360 and elsewhere. Transfers to Capital One 360 accounts occur instantaneously. Transfers outside of the bank take up to two business days to authorize once the recipient approves it.
  • Access to 38,000+ Allpoint and Capital One ATMs for free. Drawing cash from an online account or making a deposit is a breeze, just search for an in-network ATM on Capital One’s mobile app or website.
  • Use of CheckMate for check deposits. Take photos of your checks from your mobile phone to make deposits. No standing in line or locating an ATM necessary.
  • Turn your card on and off. You can deactivate a card yourself online which is helpful if it’s stolen or missing.
  • No overdraft fees. Instead of a fee they offer an Overdraft Line of Credit that charges you a competitive interest rate if your account falls below zero.

Depositing Cash and Checks

Before taking the leap to online banking you may feel apprehensive about giving up access to a live teller for bank deposits. Fortunately, 360 Checking offers several simple ways to fund your account.

You can transfer money from another bank or set up direct deposit from your employer. You can also deposit cash and checks at 360 Cafe and Capital One branch ATMs. Find deposit locations near you with its ATM locator map.

Avoid using an ATM altogether for deposits and take snaps of your checks and upload them using CheckMate. The 360 Checking website offers a short demo to show you exactly what’s involved with depositing remotely.

A Closer Look at Overdraft Protection

promo-checking-halfThe 360 Checking account has a pretty lenient overdraft policy. If you apply for the Overdraft Line of Credit the daily interest on overdrafts will cost you pennies. Though you should keep in mind that during the application process for the line of credit, Capital One will perform a “hard pull” and it can affect your credit score. However, this dip of 5 to 10 points is well worth the protection to avoid overdraft charges.

The rate for overdraft is currently 12.25% APR variable and Capital One offers a convenient overdraft calculator to show you how much you can expect to be charged if your account goes into the red. For example, an overdraft of $100 for 10 days will cost you just $0.31 based on its estimate.

What happens if you pass on the Overdraft Line of Credit and your account goes into the negative? There’s no mention of the repercussions on the 360 Checking website. However, customer service confirmed there’s still no fee, the transaction is simply declined. They do advise transferring funds into your account promptly, otherwise you run the risk of having your account shut down. Keep in mind that while it’s great you don’t have a fee levied against you, declining a charge could mean an important bill goes unpaid.

Additional Fees to Consider

Although 360 Checking has no monthly fee, it’s important to note that there are some other fees for extra services associated with the account. For instance, sending out overnight checks will cost you $20 and an overnight card replacement costs $25. Your first checks are free, but future checkbooks cost $5. Additionally, if a check is returned for insufficient funds you’ll incur a $9 Rejected Check Charge. And to place a stop payment on a check you’ll have to pay $25.

What Sets 360 Checking Apart From Other Online Accounts?

The ability to make cash deposits at select ATM machines is a key differentiator of this checking account. Other popular online banks like Ally, The Bank of Interest USA, EverBank and Charles Schwab don’t currently accept cash deposits.

In other areas like customer service and fees, 360 Checking has some stiff competition. The Ally Bank Interest Checking Account has no monthly fee or minimum balance requirement as well, but they offer 24/7 customer service. Capital One 360 provides customer service from 8 am to 8 pm.  Furthermore, miscellaneous fees for checkbooks, stop payments and expedited delivery services are higher with 360 Checking than Ally Interest Checking.

How does the Capital One 360 Stack Up With Interest?

This account is decent for earning interest if you can’t put more than $100 into it initially. If you have a little bit more money to deposit, there are other options that will earn you more interest.

For instance, the Bank 5 Connect High-Interest Checking Account currently offers APY of 0.76% for balances over $100 at opening. In order for you to make that type of interest with a 360 Checking account you need to maintain a balance over $50,000.

Just keep in mind that you shouldn’t be hoarding tons of cashing in your checking account. It’s much better to keep high amounts of cash in a savings account, which offers better fraud protection.

A Good Deal if You Value Convenience

Overall Capital 360 checking may not be your first choice if your primary goal is to find a checking account with the highest interest. But it should be at the top of your list if you value conveniences like easy access to your money at thousands of ATMs for free, the option to deposit cash, the ease of bank transfers and no overdraft fees.

Capital One

 

Taylor Gordon
Taylor Gordon |

Taylor Gordon is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email Taylor at taylor@magnifymoney.com

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Best of

Best Checking Accounts With No Overdraft Fees

The editorial content on this page is not provided by any financial institution and has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Woman trying to protect her saving

Overdraft fees can be one of the worst bank fees to deal with. According to research by the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau, overdraft fees are typically triggered from smaller transactions – the median amount is $24 for debit cards.

When you factor in that the median overdraft fee is $34, you’re paying double what you intended!

If you’re tired of worrying about overdraft fees, we have five banks that offer a solution: they don’t charge overdraft fees, and many of them decline charges that would cause you to overdraft, so you’re not at risk for incurring a fee.

Bank of Internet USA: Rewards Checking

Bank of Internet USA

This rewards checking account from Bank of Internet has no overdraft fee or non-sufficient funds fee. Instead, charges are declined if you don’t have overdraft protection.

Overdraft protection is free to set up and use – it just requires you to link a checking account to an online savings or money market account.

In addition to having no overdraft fees, Bank of Internet is an excellent choice for a checking account because there are no maintenance fees, no minimum monthly balance requirement, unlimited ATM reimbursements, and free bill pay.

Fidelity Cash Management Account

Fidelity

The Fidelity Cash Management Account’s tagline is “all the features you need from a traditional checking account, without the bank fees.” Fidelity holds true to this with no overdraft fees and no charge to use overdraft protection. Fidelity declines charges if there’s no overdraft protection in place.

To enroll in overdraft protection, you can link a savings or brokerage account to your cash management account. Funds will automatically be transferred to cover a pending transaction if you don’t have enough in your account.

There’s no line of credit option.

Ally Bank – Interest Checking Account

 

Ally Financial

There is no overdraft fee when you have an Ally Interest Checking account if you have overdraft protection. You can enroll in overdraft protection by linking an Ally savings or money market account to your checking account. Funds are moved in increments of $100.

If you don’t have overdraft protection and go overdraft, you will get a once-a-day charge of $9. That means if you have more than one overdraft item in a single day, the most you’ll be charged is $9 – you won’t get charged a fee every time an overdraft occurs.

On the plus side, there aren’t any maintenance fees, there’s no minimum to open an account, and there are no fees incurred when transferring money to a non-Ally bank account.

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on Ally Financial’s secure website

Capital One 360 Checking Account

Capital One

By opening an overdraft line of credit with Capital One 360, you can borrow money against a set interest rate (currently 12.25% variable APR), and pay it back over time, rather than paying a flat overdraft fee. The maximum line of credit is $1,000.

For example, if you overdraw your account by $50, and leave it overdrawn for 5 days, you’ll only be charged $0.08, versus the average overdraft fee of $27.

You’ll know you’re in overdraft as Capital One 360 displays the negative amount you owe on your checking account balance, and they also send you an email alert. Check out the FAQ here.

In addition to this, Capital One 360 checking has no fees and no minimums.

Simple

Simple mobile bank

Similar to Bank of Internet, Simple’s checking account doesn’t charge for overdraft fees or returned item fees. There are no minimums, no monthly fees, and you get access to 55,000 fee-free ATMs.

Be aware that Simple is extremely mobile friendly. You can access most features (except its photo check deposits) from the web, but Simple recommends having a smartphone to use its mobile app.

Overall, Simple offers a different kind of banking experience, as it provides tools to help you manage your money. With its “Safe-to-Spend” program, Simple takes into account any upcoming bills or scheduled transfers you have, and does the math and tell you what you can afford to spend. You can also track your financial goals within its mobile app.

Multiple Fees in a Day

Overdraft fees aren’t just a simple one-time charge at many banks. In fact, you could end up racking up more than $100 in fees (perhaps even $140) in a single day. Depending on bank policy, each overdraft charge will result in a fee with a maximum cap being three or four fees per day. If each overdraft fee comes at $35 and you don’t max out until four charges, that’s $140!

Best practice is of course to keep tabs on when you’re dipping low in a checking account and could be going overdraft (or set up account alerts), but sometimes everything aligns against you and bills could be taken out of your account right when you’re making a few purchases resulting in overdraft fees.

So, You Think You’re “Protected”

Plenty of banks provide overdraft protection services to help provide support to customers who find themselves in an overdraft situation. The premise is simple: the customer links her checking account to her savings or money market account. If the checking account goes overdraft, then the bank automatically pulls money from savings to checking in order to cover the difference. Typically, the money is moved in increments of $50 or $100.

Sounds reasonable enough. Except what many banks charge for this protection isn’t reasonable. This transaction costs the bank pennies on the dollar and yet some of the biggest banks charge $10 or more. You’re still paying unreasonable fees, even with protection.

There are some banks and credit unions that offer a line of credit for overdraft charges, which provides a loan at a set interest rate instead of a flat fee. So, if you go overdraft you’ll just be borrowing against your line of credit instead of getting smacked with a flat fee.

Ditch Overdraft Fees Forever

Overdraft fees are extremely expensive. Think about it – buying an item that costs $5, and getting hit with a $27 fee, isn’t fun at all. Incurring bank fees means your money is being thrown out the window. If you’re particularly prone to overdrawing your account, plug that leak by signing up with one of these five no overdraft fee checking accounts.

promo-checking-wide-v2

Erin Millard
Erin Millard |

Erin Millard is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email Erin at erinm@magnifymoney.com

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Best of, News

The Safest Banks for Apple Pay

The editorial content on this page is not provided by any financial institution and has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

hacker with credit card

This week, it was reported that 6% of all transactions made with Apple Pay were fraudulent. The problem: some banks make it too easy to load credit cards into an iPhone that does not belong to the cardholder. It is up to the bank to determine the amount of authentication required before a credit card is loaded onto the iPhone.

At MagnifyMoney, we did an experiment. We tried to load credit cards of the major credit card issuers (Citi, Chase, American Express and Barclaycard) onto an iPhone. There was only 1 credit card company that had an added level of verification, making it the safest card for Apple Pay: Chase.

Below is the information required by Chase, and all of the others.

Chase

In order to load the Chase credit card onto the iPhone, you have to take a picture of the front of the card. In addition, you have to input the expiration date and security information.

But here is where Chase provides extra protection, without much hassle. Chase will then send either a text message or an email to the number or email address on file. That text or email would contain a code that is required to complete the registration.

That adds a very important extra layer of security. Simply skimming a credit card in a bar is not sufficient to use the card on an iPhone. This is called second-factor authentication, and we salute Chase for making it a part of Apple Pay registration.

Citi, Amex and Barclaycard

All 3 of these providers followed Step 1 of Chase: you take a picture and input the expiration date and security code. However, that was enough to load the credit card. There was no second factor authentication.

The lack of this second factor authentication is why 6% of transactions could be fraudulent. We hope that all issuers move towards 2-factor very soon.

What does this mean for you?

As we reported previously, using Apple Pay does not increase your risk of fraud. Hackers have not penetrated the Apple systems, and registering your credit card on your iPhone (even with Citi, Amex and Barclaycard) does not increase your risk of fraud.

However, the weakness in iPhone registration makes it easier for already stolen credit cards to be used.

The best way to protect yourself is to sign up for regular alerts, so that you can see an additional stream of data about your accounts (ideally via text message or email). And, as soon as you see a transaction you don’t recognize, you should call your credit card issuer to dispute it. The good news: you are not liable for fraudulent transactions that you report immediately.

And credit cards remain a safer alternative than debit cards, which have fewer protections for fraud, and even with those protections can leave you in the lurch.

That’s because thieves have direct access to the funds in your checking account with a debit card, and unlike a credit card, where you simply do not pay for fraudulent charges, fraudulent debit withdrawals immediately leave your checking account and it’s up to you to work with your bank to request funds to cover the missing amount.

While big banks like Bank of America promise to credit fraudulent withdrawals as soon as the next business day, there are no guarantees of that, making a debit card breach more disruptive than a credit card breach via Apple Pay.

Nick Clements
Nick Clements |

Nick Clements is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email Nick at nick@magnifymoney.com

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Best of

Credit Unions Anyone Can Join

The editorial content on this page is not provided by any financial institution and has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Geeting advice on future investments

Credit Unions offer Americans alternatives to doing business with the big banks (or even local banks). Instead of answering to shareholders, a credit union must act in the best interest of its members — who also happen to be the customers. By joining a credit union, you own a share in the financial institution and thus have voting rights. Credit unions are often a slightly exclusive, with membership eligibility requirements being strict and often focused geographically.

Take one of these paths if you’re interested in joining a credit union:

  1. See if you’re eligible for a credit union because you live, work, worship, volunteer in its region or belong to an organization/work for an employer with membership privileges.
  2. If not, you can join any of the credit unions below by making a donation to join an organization with membership privileges or in some cases, by registering to volunteer or pledge support to a credit union approved organization.

A List Credit Unions Anyone Can Join

Affinity Plus Federal Credit Union

  • You can join with a one time $25 donation to Affinity Plus Foundation

Agriculture Federal Credit Union

  • You can join by first becoming a member of The Friends of CityDance Association – $20 dues.

Air Force Federal Credit Union

  • You can join with a one time $25 donation to the Airman Heritage Museum

Alliant Credit Union

  • You can join by making a $10 or greater donation to Foster Care to Success (FCS)

Altra Federal Credit Union

  • You can become a member by joining the Altra Foundation with a one time $5 lifetime membership dues

America’s Christian Credit Union

  • You can join with a one time membership fee of $5, along with an initial deposit of $25 for individuals and $100 for Ministries and Businesses into your regular share savings account

American Heritage Federal Credit Union

  • You can join by depositing $15 into a share savings account and maintaining this minimum balance

America’s Credit Union

  • You can join with a minimum deposit of $25 to a Regular Savings account and a submission of notarized copy of your Washington State drivers license or outside the state of Washington, notarized copies of two forms of ID.

Andrews Federal Credit Union

  • If you aren’t eligible based on military affiliation, you can join American Consumer Council with a $5 donation if you currently use or have used a major consumer product or service in the past 12 months. Lifetime membership costs $15.

Aspire Federal Credit Union

  • You can join by accepting the stipulations of the following agreement on the membership form: I agree to become a member of American Consumer Council through Aspire Federal Credit Union. There is no fee for ACC membership when I join Aspire Federal Credit Union. I further understand that the information above will be provided to ACC to establish my membership with their organization.

Capital Educators Federal Credit Union

  • To qualify for membership with CapEd you can join the Idaho CapEd Foundation as a Sustaining Member Volunteer. The Idaho CapEd Foundation is a non-profit organization that funds worthwhile educational endeavors that include the CapEd Teacher Grant Program. Minimum donations are $1 for students and $10 for non-students

Chartway Federal Credit Union

  • You can join by making a $10 donation to Chartway Federal Credit Union’s philanthropic arm, the We Promise Foundation

Communitywide Federal Credit Union

Connexus Credit Union

Corporate America Family Credit Union

  • You can join by making a $5 donation to The Hope Group. You must also maintain $25 in your savings account.

Credit Union of New Jersey

  • Membership in one of over 200 groups makes you eligible. If you don’t fit into one of those groups, CUNJ offers to get in touch with them to see if they can find a way for you to be eligible. The application offers the ability to make a one time donation $5 to the CUNJ foundation

Digital Credit Union

  • You can join an organization with member privileges. Joining these organizations range in membership cost from $25 to $120. Once you join DCU, you have a lifelong membership, so you could cancel a membership with the other organization after joining.

First Flight Federal Credit Union

  • You can join one of the following associations with a small donation of $5-$10 to qualify for First Flight membership.  You can easily join one of these associations while you open your account online or at one of our financial center locations.
    • Capital Area Preservation Club
    • Holly Springs Arts Council
    • Beaufort Historical Society

First New England Federal Credit Union

Fort Knox Federal Credit Union

  • You might not have heard of this credit union, but anyone can join. You just need to pay $5 to join the American Consumer Council / Kentucky and you’re eligible.

Garden Savings Federal Credit Union

  • If you aren’t eligible based on military affiliation, you can join American Consumer Council with a $5 donation if you currently use or have used a major consumer product or service in the past 12 months. Lifetime membership costs $15.

Great Lakes Credit Union

  • The online application system will automatically qualify you if you click “let us help”

GTE Financial Credit Union

  • CUSavers for a one-time $10 membership fee qualifies you for credit union membership.

Hanscom Federal Credit Union

HeritageWest Credit Union (division of Chartway)

Hughes Federal Credit Union

INOVA Federal Credit Union

Justice Federal Credit Union

  • One of the eligible associations for membership is the National Sheriff’s Association. It costs $38 to join the NSA as an auxiliary member or student. By joining the NSA first, anyone can then become a member of the Justice Federal Credit Union. This brings the cost of membership to $43.

Kinecta Federal Credit Union

  • You can join through the Consumers Cooperative Society of Santa Monica. Kinecta will process the enrollment into CCSSM for you. A $10 fee applies CCSSM.

Lake Michigan Credit Union

  • If you are a donor to the Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) Association, West Michigan Chapter, you can be eligible to apple.

McGraw-Hill Federal Credit Union

  • A one time minimum donation of $25 to become a member of the Voice Foundation

Melrose Credit Union

  • Regardless of where you live or how you earn a living, you may qualify for membership. There is a $1.00 one time membership fee and a minimum opening deposit of $25.00.

Money One Federal Credit Union

  • You can become eligible simply by making a one-time donation to Gifts for Easter Seals. Use this Easter Seals Donation Form. However you do have to bring it to any Money One location to complete your application, which does make this credit union pretty regional specific.

NASA Federal Credit Union

  • A complimentary membership to the National Space Society (NSS) entitles you to join NASA FCU.

Northrop Grumman Federal Credit Union

Northwest Federal Credit Union

  • You would select employer/organization: Financial Awareness Network. They will sponsor you for a onetime $10.00 fee.

Nusenda Credit Union

  • Anyone can join the Nusenda Credit Union (formerly the New Mexico Educators Credit Union) by becoming a member of the La Montanita Food Co-op, which costs $15 for three adults who share a kitchen.

NuVision Credit Union

  • If you aren’t eligible based on military affiliation, you can join American Consumer Council with a $5 donation if you currently use or have used a major consumer product or service in the past 12 months. Lifetime membership costs $15.

Pen Air Credit Union

  • Become a member of the Friends of the Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society by making a $3 donation to qualify for membership with Pen Air FCU.

Pentagon Federal Credit Union

  • Members of the National Military Family Association and Voices for America’s Troops are among those eligible for PenFed membership. PenFed makes it easy for you to join one of these associations, and subsequently join PenFed. You pay a one time dues to Voices for America’s Troops for $14 or National Military Family Association for $15.

People’s Trust Credit Union

  • You can become eligible with a $5 minimum donation to the People’s Trust Foundation

Pinnacle Federal Credit Union

  • You can join Pinnacle FCU by becoming a member of the American Consumer Council in which they will pay your membership fee of $5.00.

Premier America Credit Union

  • You can qualify for membership by joining the Alliance for the Arts From $50 – $1200

RTN Federal Credit Union

  • Membership in any one of the organizations listed below qualifies you for RTN membership. The Credit Union handles the process for you to join whichever organization you choose.
    • Amesbury Carriage Museum
    • Danvers Historical Society
    • Greater Boston Sickle Cell Association, Inc.
    • Gore Place
    • Tewksbury Historical Society
    • Waltham Historical Society
    • Wakefield Repertory Theatre

Sandia Laboratory Federal Credit Union

San Diego County Credit Union

  • You can be eligible by becoming a Financial Fitness Association Member. To become a Financial Fitness Association Member, click on Open an Account and select the Financial Fitness Association Member button.

SCE Federal Credit Union

  • You can become eligibile with a $10 is a tax-deductible donation to the credit union’s non-profit Center for Financial Empowerment.

Sierra Point Credit Union

  • You can be eligible by becoming a Financial Fitness Association Member. You have to mail in or bring the form into a local branch. There is no online option.

Self-Help Credit Union

  • Apply for mission supportive membership by joining the credit union’s founding charitable sponsor, the Center for Community Self-Help, for a one-time $5 fee.

Signal Financial Federal Credit Union

South Division Credit Union

  • A Membership Share Savings Account with a minimum deposit balance of $50 is required to become a Member and open any other account type.

Southeast Financial Federal Credit Union

  • Make a $5.00 donation to the Autism Society of Middle Tennessee to automatically qualify for Southeast Financial membership.

Stanford Federal Credit Union

State Department Federal Credit Union

  • You are eligible to join the SDFCU if you’re an employee of the Department of State or one of the extensive organizations with ties to the credit union (all listed here under “who can join”). If you don’t work for the Department of State, you may also be eligible through the American Consumer Council. You can join the ACC for only $5 if you’ve used any major consumer product or service within the past 12 months

The Golden 1 Credit Union

  • You can apply by becoming a Financial Fitness Association Member with an $8 fee. To become a Financial Fitness Association Member please click on Open an Account and select the Financial Fitness Association Member button.

Tobyhanna Federal Credit Union

  • Join the American Consumer Council through the website. Enter the promo code “consumer” to waive the membership fee. TFCU can also enroll you when it opens your account. Become a member of the Tobyhanna Army Depot Chapter of the Association of the United States Army: $14+ for military affiliation and $34 for civilians.

United States Senate Federal Credit Union

  • You can become eligible through a contribution to the US Capitol Historical Society (USCHS) and you must open a primary savings account with a minimum of $5 and one-time-only membership fee of $1.

University Federal Credit Union

  • Join the University of Texas Longhorn Foundation for instant eligibility to join UFCU. A one-time $20 donation to The University of Texas is required to become a member.

Western Federal Credit Union

  • Western Federal Credit Union will allow potential members to join through a complimentary membership with a partnering nonprofit organization: Surfrider Foundation or Friends of Hobbs.

Xceed Financial Credit Union (online application)

XCEL Credit Union

  • Click associate member or volunteer when filling out the application to fulfill eligibility requirements.

Let’s keep in touch! Follow us on Twitter @Magnify_Money and on Facebook.

Erin Lowry
Erin Lowry |

Erin Lowry is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email Erin at erin@magnifymoney.com

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Best of, Building Credit

Best Secured Credit Cards When You Don’t Have Any Credit History

The editorial content on this page is not provided by any financial institution and has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

storecard - lg

Updated: June 1, 2017

There is a difference between “no credit” and “poor credit.” No credit means you’ve never taken out a line of credit. It’s common with recent college graduates who didn’t take out student loans or 18 year olds leaving the nest and entering the workforce. Poor credit is typically the result of a slip up: missing a credit card payment, defaulting on a loan, a medical bill going to collections.

A secured card offers a solution to building credit from scratch. Because you don’t have any credit history, a lender isn’t inclined to trust you. A secured card is a way to prove to a lender you can be responsible while the lender minimizes risk.

[Make sure you understand HOW to use a secured card before you get one.]

In order to open a secured card, you put down a deposit and the lender gives you a line of credit – typically the same as the amount you put down. Not all secured cards operate the same way. Some secured cards charge an annual fee while others require steep deposits.

Before you start applying haphazardly, see if your local bank or credit union offers a competitive secured card. With no credit, you may have an easier time being approved with a financial institution you’ve already established a relationship with. If the fees and deposit required from your local bank or credit union seem to steep, be sure to check out the options below.

Below, we’ve outlined secured cards with a variety of conditions, but all of which tend to approve people with no credit history.

If you’re a current college student looking to build credit, then apply first for a student credit card instead of a secured card.

Discover it® Secured Card – No Annual Fee

Discover it® Secured Card - No Annual Fee
Discover has a market leading secured credit card and even if you don’t have any credit history at all, it is still possible to get approved. This card is best for people with no credit, or scores of 670 or less.

There is no annual fee, but you need to make a security deposit of $200 or more to establish your credit line. Our favorite feature is the automatic review process. Discover offers automatic monthly reviews starting at 8 months to see if you can be transitioned to an account with no security deposit.

You also get to earn earn cash back: 2% at restaurants and gas stations (on up to $1,000 in combined purchases each quarter). Plus, you get 1% cash back on all your other purchases. To avoid paying interest, pay your balance in full and on time every month.

APPLY NOW Secured

on Discover’s secure website

Rates & Fees

State Department Federal Credit Union

Savings Secured Visa Platinum Card from State Department Federal
SDFCU’s EMV Savings Secured Visa Platinum Card sounds elite, but you can be eligible for as little as $5, as long as you have the $250 for the deposit.

You are eligible to join the SDFCU if you’re an employee of the Department of State or one of the extensive organizations with ties to the credit union (all listed here under “who can join”). If you don’t work for the Department of State, you may also be eligible through the American Consumer Council. You can join the ACC for only $5 if you’ve used any major consumer product or service within the past 12 months – and you probably have.

USAA Secured Card

USAA Secured Card® Platinum Visa®
The comes with one big catch, you have to be a USAA member or have military affiliation personally or through family in order to become a member.

USAA’s secured card comes with a $35 annual fee and you must put a deposit of $250 – $5,000 into a CD in order to open the secured card. This deposit will be your credit limit. The APR can range from 9.9% to 19.90%, so never carry a balance on the card.

Navy Federal nRewards Secured Card

nRewards Secured Credit Card from Navy FCU
Navy Federal Credit Union also requires military affiliation to be eligible for it’s nRewards Secured Card. It also comes with the hefty deposit of $500. There is no annual fee and a variable APR starting at 8.99%.

While there is a rewards aspect of this card, we recommend ignoring it and focusing on building your credit score above 700 so you’re eligible for a truly competitive rewards credit card.

DCU Visa Platinum Secured Card

DCU Visa Platinum Secured from Digital FCU The Visa Platinum Secured Card comes with a hefty minimum deposit of $500, but doesn’t have an annual fee. However, you will need to pay to join this credit union if you aren’t already a member.

  • Cost to join – $5 to join DCU + membership costs to join eligible organization if you aren’t eligible
  • Minimum deposit – $500

Just like with USAA and Navy Federal, you must be a member to be eligible. Except with the DCU, it’s easy to become a member. You can be eligible to join DCU if a relative is already member, if your employer offers membership or your community is included within field of membership. If none of these apply, you can join an organization with member privileges. Joining these organizations range in membership cost from $25 to $120. Once you join DCU, you have a lifelong membership, so you could cancel a membership with the other organization after joining.

Capital One Secured Mastercard

If you can’t afford a hefty deposit of $110 – $500, consider the Capital One secured card.

Capital One® Secured Mastercard® Capital One offers a secured card with a $49 minimum deposit for a $200 line of credit.

Unfortunately, the $49 deposit isn’t a guarantee because it’s based on “creditworthiness.” It is possible Capital One will ask for a deposit of $99 or $200, especially if you have no credit history.

APPLY NOW Secured

on Capital One’s secure website

 

Harley Davidson Visa Secured Card from U.S. Bank

Harley-Davidson Visa Secured Card from US Bank
We know it seems a little strange, but the Harley Davidson Visa Secured Card from US Bank offers a good option for those not interested in paying to join a credit union and trying to avoid an annual fee (aren’t we all?).

Here are the details:

  • 22.99% APR – so don’t carry a balance
  • Minimum deposit – $300
  • No annual fee

View other options on our Secured Credit Card Comparison Table

Erin Lowry
Erin Lowry |

Erin Lowry is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email Erin at erin@magnifymoney.com

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Best of

The Most Transparent Credit Cards

The editorial content on this page is not provided by any financial institution and has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

MagnifyA+

At MagnifyMoney, we want to help create a simpler, cheaper and more transparent banking system. Part of that mission means finding ways to praise products that remove complexity, while punishing those products that add layers of fine print and confusing terms. In order to make it easy for our users to sort the good from the bad, we created the MagnifyMoney Transparency Score.

We have a very simple approach: the more fees, fine print and complexity, the lower the score.

We have made a small change to the Transparency Score for our Balance Transfer Credit Cards, and we wanted to explain that change to you today.

For a balance transfer credit card, we look at 3 areas in order to determine the grade:

  • Fees: the more fees your charge (for example – late, over-limit, foreign exchange), the lower your score
  • Interest Rates: we don’t like when credit card companies say that your interest rate can be anywhere between 2% and 30%. And then you have to apply for the credit card (which means you accept the terms), only to be told your interest rate after you have been accepted. So, the wider the pricing band, the worse the score. So, someone who offers 9.99% – 15.99% would be rewarded more than someone who offers 4.99% – 22.99%, because you have a better indication of your interest rate before applying.
  • Marketing: we believe that the key terms should be clearly disclosed in the marketing message, and not hidden in the fine print. The easier it is for us to figure out the terms and conditions, the better the score.

These 3 pillars of our score have not changed. However, we have tweaked our highest score, which is an A+. We will award an A+ to a credit card if:

  • There are no “junk” fees of any kind. That means no balance transfer, late, over-limit, returned payment or foreign transaction fee can be charged. This remains the same as before.
  • The marketing message clearly identifies the terms, which also remains the same as before.
  • We have tweaked the criteria for pricing. Before, you could only receive an A+ if you had a single price point disclosed up front. However, we recognized that by limiting the price points, we will only ever give an A+ rating to a card that targets people with the highest credit score. So, we changed the criteria so that you are eligible for an A+ if the range of possible interest rates is fewer than 10 percentage points.

We still hope that banks and credit unions will provide more transparency on pricing before people apply.

At the moment, there is still only one credit card that meets this criteria: PenFed Promise.  We applaud the simplicity of PenFed Promise, and we hope that other products will join Promise over time, as the banking system becomes simpler, cheaper and more transparent.

Nick Clements
Nick Clements |

Nick Clements is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email Nick at nick@magnifymoney.com

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Banking Apps, Best of, Consumer Watchdog

Best and Worst Mobile Banking Apps: From 100+ Banks and Credit Unions

The editorial content on this page is not provided by any financial institution and has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Overdraft_lg_mobile vs trad

Having a mobile banking app that works reliably is more important than ever as the number of consumers using mobile apps to deposit checks has grown over five times since 2011 according to a recent Pew study.

MagnifyMoney compiled the ratings of iOS and Android banking apps from over 100 of the biggest banks and credit unions, including the 50 largest banks and 50 largest credit unions along with a selection of top online direct banks.

The data, collected from iTunes and Google Play the week of November 20, was used to create a composite 1 to 5 rating factoring a weighted average of the ratings from both the iOS and Android platforms.

The best and worst mobile banking apps include:

  • Best Big Bank App: Capital One (4.1)
  • Best Credit Union App: Eastman Credit Union, ESL Credit Union, Redstone Federal, SEFCU, VyStar (tie: 4.7)
  • Best Regional Bank App: East West Bank (4.5)
  • Best Online Direct Bank App: Simple (4.6)
  • Worst Big Bank App: Citibank (3.1)
  • Worst App Overall: UMB Bank (2.5)

You can read more about the findings below these graphics…

10 Best and Worst across all banks and credit unions reviewed

MobileAppRatingsGraphic-SummaryAllSizes

 

Best and Worst among the 10 biggest banks and credit unions

MobileAppRatingsGraphic-LargestInstitutions

Credit unions top the ratings

8 of the 10 highest ranked apps were from credit unions. Five credit unions shared the very top average score of 4.7, including Eastman Credit Union, ESL, Redstone Credit Union, SEFCU, and VyStar Credit Union.

Simple was the only online direct bank in the top 10, while East West Bank was the only traditional bank in the top 10 with a 4.5 rating.

Of the 10 highest ranked apps, 9 of them used an interface from an external app developer, Digital Insight, including all 8 credit unions and East West Bank. This is in contrast to internal development favored by larger banks. The un-flashy Digital Insight interface (pictured below) was cited for simplicity and reliability by users.

DigitalInsightInterface

Bank apps have room for improvement

Across all institutions surveyed the average rating was 3.8 out of 5.0, with traditional banks averaging 3.7, online direct banks best at 4.0, and credit unions at 3.9.

Among the 10 lowest rated apps only two were from credit unions, while 7 were from traditional banks. Only one traditional bank’s app ranked among the top 10 highest rated.

Capital One has the best app among big banks, while Citibank lags.

Among the 10 largest banks in the country, the average rating ranged from a high of 4.1 for Capital One to a low of just 3.1 for Citibank. Capital One’s app was cited for its ‘Sureswipe’ feature and reliability.

Screen Shot 2014-12-08 at 3.18.53 PM

Citibank’s app was cited for crashing during check deposits and a low limit for mobile deposits of just $1,000 per day. In comparison online direct bank Ally recently raised its mobile deposit limit to $50,000 per day.

Screen Shot 2014-12-08 at 3.20.44 PM

The average for all traditional banks surveyed was 3.7.

SunTrust bank had the lowest rated iOS app among the 10 largest banks at 2.1, while PNC bank had the lowest rated Android app at 3.4.

Simple leads online direct banks.

Among the online direct banks reviewed, Simple had the highest rating at 4.6, while Ally had the lowest at 3.1. Ally’s app received complaints for mobile deposit issues following a recent update as well lacking more advanced login options.

Screen Shot 2014-12-08 at 3.23.41 PM

UMB Bank takes the bottom.

The lowest rated app overall was from UMB Bank, with a 2.5 combined rating. The app has not been updated since 2011, lacks a mobile check deposit feature and is no longer compatible with the latest devices.

Untitled

Android users are more satisfied

Across banks, credit unions, and online direct institutions, Android users were significantly more satisfied, with an average 4.0 rating versus 3.1 for iOS users. iOS users tend to have more complaints about apps not leveraging the latest hardware capabilities.

Methodology

App ratings were recorded the week of November 20, 2014 in iTunes and the Google Play store and include ratings for all app versions. Overall ratings are a weighted average of iOS and Android ratings based on the number of reviews for each platform. Institutions with no mobile apps were excluded from ranking summaries.

The 50 largest banks are defined as those with the largest deposits per FDIC data June 2014 were examined. Banks with fewer than 200 app ratings were excluded, as were those that primarily target investment accounts.

Among credit unions, the 50 largest by assets according Bauer Financial, March 2013, were examined. For online direct banks, 10 of the largest Online Direct Banks were chosen by number of app ratings.

Don’t forget to follow us on Twitter @Magnify_Money and on Facebook.

Brian Karimzad
Brian Karimzad |

Brian Karimzad is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email Brian at brian@magnifymoney.com

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Best of

MagnifyMoney Awards First A+ Transparency Score to PenFed Promise Visa Card

The editorial content on this page is not provided by any financial institution and has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

TransparencyScore

Update: As of November 1, 2014, the PenFed Promise Visa balance transfer is no longer for 48 months. It’s 4.99% APR for 12 months. While the simplicity and transparency is still great, there are other balance transfer offers that are longer and offering a lower rate. Go to our balance transfer table to review offers

Today, we announced the creation of a new grade in our MagnifyMoney Transparency Score for Balance Transfers: an A+.

MagnifyA+When we created MagnifyMoney, our goal was to help people save money, by making it easy to compare, ditch and switch financial products. But we also had a bigger goal. We wanted to reward simpler, more transparent products. So, we designed the Magnify Transparency Score.

Sometimes banks offer a great deal, but if you make just one mistake, a tsunami of fees, charges and penalties can wipe out any previous benefits that you enjoyed. Those fees and conditions are usually buried in the fine print. So, our Transparency Score is very simple: we reward credit cards that have fewer penalty fees and ambiguity.

When we created the site, we had reviewed hundreds of credit cards. And one credit card stood out from the rest. In fact, I couldn’t believe the simplicity of the card when I read the terms and conditions. It was the PenFed Promise Card.

PenFed Promise Visa® Card
They don’t just choose one fee to waive, and advertise it. With this card, PenFed has waived almost every fee imaginable, and has removed the ambiguity. Here is the summary:

  • There is a single, flat, low APR of 9.99% on purchases. You know the interest rate before applying. Most banks provide a very wide range of available interest rates, and you only know your rate after you apply. PenFed Promise discloses the APR up front.
  • There is no foreign transaction fee
  • There is no annual fee
  • There is no late fee, returned payment fee or risk-based re-pricing

When I started the product review many months ago, I never imagined we would find a card like PenFed Promise, which had literally removed all of the worst gotchas. But, given that PenFed is a credit union, we shouldn’t be surprised.

So, we decided to create a new category: an A+. Any credit card that waives all penalty fees and discloses your interest rate up-front can also receive an A+ rating. But, for now, we have only found PenFed.

mm_workbook

If you think we have missed a card, please let us know. We continue to add products to our database every day, but none have come close.

Just a few bits of advice if you decide to apply for the card:

  1. You must have a good credit score. Based upon our conversations with PenFed, it sounds like 700 is the most likely minimum (although they will be testing lower).
  2. Your debt burden should be below 50%
  3. If you are not a member of the credit union, don’t worry. You can join as part of the credit card application process online. You just need to give a donation of about $15 (and you can give more!) to support our troops.

PenFed is very aggressive with low rates on other lending products. They have great deals on mortgages, auto loans and other personal loans. If you join the credit union for this credit card, then you will have access to their other market-leading offers.

PenFed has an ambition to reach $75 billion of assets. They really want to shake up the banking market in big ways. We will continue to watch their product set closely, but so far we are impressed. And we think a lot of Americans could save a lot of money if they joined that credit union and moved their debt.

Want regular updates about the best financial products out there? Then sign up for our Price Checker Newsletter. Twice a month, we’ll deliver the best-of-the-best right to your inbox.

Nick Clements
Nick Clements |

Nick Clements is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email Nick at nick@magnifymoney.com

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