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Updated on Friday, August 28, 2015
Need to repair your credit history and score? Then a secured card is a good place to start. These secured cards are offered to consumers with no credit or poor credit as a tool to build positive history with limited risk for the lender. You’ll put a deposit into a savings account, which then acts as your credit line. If you fail to repay your debts, then the lender will simply keep your deposit.
If you make consistent, on-time payments the card issuer may bump up your credit limit. Or you can eventually apply for a regular credit card and have a better chance of getting approved. The Visa Classic Secured Credit Card by Justice FCU can help you boost your credit history. It requires a low minimum deposit, but it is a little heavy on fine print details.
Basics of the Credit Card Offer
The Justice FCU Visa Classic Secured Card has 16.90% APR and requires a minimum deposit of $110. The card offers cash advances for a fee, worldwide acceptance, travel assistance and emergency card replacement.
You must be a member of the credit union to apply. Justice FCU provides financial services to people affiliated with the Justice Department, Homeland Security and other law enforcement agencies. If you’re a part of that community (or have relatives who are) you can join with a $5 deposit into a Justice FCU share savings account. For a full list of Justice FCU eligibility requirements head over to its membership page.
Don’t worry, if you’re not affiliated with any of the organizations or companies on the list. Anyone can become eligible for membership by joining the National Sheriffs’ Association as an auxiliary or student member for $38. So in this scenario you should expect to pay at least $153 in dues and deposits to open an account.
Fine Print and Fees
You should be aware of a few details in the miscellaneous fees section of the credit card terms especially when it comes to disputing charges.
If you dispute a bill you can be charged $15 per hour for account research if the charges are found to be correct. If you request statement copies that aren’t related to a valid credit card dispute it’ll cost you $1 per page. You may also be held liable for unauthorized charges to the card that occur before you notify the credit union. However your liability won’t exceed $50.
Requested replacement cards cost $10. The late fee is $25 and applies if your payment is over 10 days late. You may be subject to a finance charge if the minimum payment isn’t received within 23 to 26 days of the card closing date. The returned payment fee is $30. The foreign transaction fee is 1%. There are no balance transfer fees or annual fees.
Pros and Cons
This card requires a low minimum deposit, which is a benefit if you don’t want to use up a lot of cash to rebuild your credit. Keep in mind that if you close your account in good standing you’ll get your deposit back. You’re also given a decent grace period before late fees and finance charges kick in. Plus there’s no balance transfer fee or annual fee.
On the flip side, the interest offered is higher than the interest of some other secured card competitors. Of course to rebuild your credit you should avoid interest altogether by paying your card off in full each month. But if you do carry a balance you can find lower interest elsewhere. Lastly, as mentioned this secured card has fine print fees and conditions that you need to consider.
Alternatives to the Visa Classic Secured Credit Card by Justice FCU
The Visa® Secured Card from MidSouth Community FCU and the Savings Secured Visa Platinum Card from State Department Federal are two cards that we’ve given a top transparency score here at MagnifyMoney because of the straightforward terms.
First the Visa® Secured Card from MidSouth Community FCU requires a $200 minimum deposit and offers APR at 8.90% Variable. This card has a $0 annual fee and the foreign transaction fee may be up to 1% depending on the transaction. Membership to the MidSouth FCU is limited to people who work, live, worship or go to school in Middle Georgia and you have to be a member to qualify for the card. If you’re not eligible for this offer the EMV Savings Secured Card is another good option that anyone can apply for.
The Savings Secured Visa Platinum Card from State Department Federal requires a $250 minimum deposit and offers 11.99% Variable APR. There’s a $0 annual fee, balance transfer fee or foreign transaction fee. Anyone can gain membership to the credit union by joining the American Consumer Council for $15. You may also qualify if you’re an employee (or family member of an employee) who works at one of the affiliated organizations.
Who Will Benefit from the Visa Classic Secured by Justice FCU?
If you’re looking for a secured card to build credit with a low minimum deposit and no annual fee this one should be on your shopping list. It is a little heavy on the fine print so you should still take care to understand the ins and outs of the terms before committing. But if you plan to carry a balance, which you shouldn’t, you can save yourself some money with the EMV Savings Secured Card because it has a lower interest rate.