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BankAmericard Secured Card Review: $39 Annual Fee, 21.74% Variable APR

Editorial Note: The content of this article is based on the author’s opinions and recommendations alone. It has not been previewed, commissioned or otherwise endorsed by any of our network partners.

The information related to BankAmericard® Secured Credit Card has been collected by MagnifyMoney and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of this card prior to publication.

Building credit when you’re starting from zero can be difficult. One way to build credit is by opening up a secured card. Secured cards are an introduction into the world of credit. You deposit a certain amount of money to establish your credit limit. Then, you pay off your balance in full every month to establish a good credit history and avoid late fees.

If you prove you can use a secured card responsibly, you will likely be offered a traditional credit card.

Today we’ll review Bank of America’s secured credit card. Bank of America is not the only financial institution that offers secured credit cards. In fact, you may find better terms elsewhere. Check out our full review for more details:

BankAmericard® Secured Credit Card Details

BankAmericard® Secured credit card from Bank Of America

Minimum deposit

To open a BankAmericard® Secured Credit Card, you have to make a minimum deposit of $300. The maximum you can deposit is $4,900. BankAmericard® Secured Credit Card users do not earn interest on their deposits. For this reason, it may make sense to make a smaller deposit to open your secured card and store any extra funds you have in a savings account where you can earn interest.

Determining your credit limit

Your credit limit is determined by your security deposit, your income, and your ability to repay. Some users will only be able to spend as much as they originally deposited to open the card. However, if you prove that you have the income to repay, you may have a larger line of credit extended to you, making the card only partially secured. For example, if you deposit $300, but Bank of America looks at your income and decides you’re able to pay $700 back, your line of credit would exceed your deposit by $400.

Building your credit

Once you’ve had the card for 12 months, Bank of America will re-evaluate your credit history and ability to repay. If both of these things are trending to the positive, they may return your deposit, making the card fully unsecured. This is an ideal situation for those trying to establish or rebuild their credit.

Because Bank of America does report their secured card customers to each of the three credit bureaus monthly, you are likely to see an uptick in your score if you’re using the card responsibly. This increases the likelihood that you’ll get your deposit back at the end of the 12-month period.

Interest rates and fees

The BankAmericard® Secured Credit Card is not without fees. In fact, its fees are probably the least attractive thing about it:

  • $0 annual fee
  • 25.24% variable APR on transactions, balance transfers, direct deposit, and check cash advances
  • Cash Advance Rate: 27.24% for Direct Deposit and Check Cash Advances, and 27.24% for Bank Cash Advances.
  • Cash Advance Fee: Either $10 or 3% of the amount of each transaction, whichever is greater.
  • Foreign Transaction Fee: 3% of the U.S. dollar amount of each transaction
  • Maximum late payment penalty fee of $39
  • Maximum returned payment penalty fee of up to $27

In addition to these fees, you have an option to set up overdraft protection with your secured card if you have a Bank of America checking account. If the card is used for overdraft protection, you will be charged a $12 fee each time. While this is better than the typical $35 overdraft fee, it’s still not ideal. Many financial institutions offer free overdraft protection when you are linked to a savings account; however, Bank of America charges $12 every time, whether you’re linked to your savings account or your secured card.

Safety and benefits of the BankAmericard® Secured Credit Card:

The BankAmericard® Secured Credit Card does come with some security benefits. For one, you have $0 liability protection. This means that if anyone uses your card fraudulently, you won’t have to pay a dime as long as you report it and provide any requested information to Bank of America.

It also comes with chip technology and ShopSafe. ShopSafe is a program that generates a temporary card number for use when shopping online. It links directly to your card, but protects you from having your real card number stolen.

Another benefit is signing up for email and text alerts. These can either provide you with the information you want at the drop of a hat or remind you when your bill is due so you don’t rack up those nasty interest charges and late fees.

What You Need to Get Approved for a BankAmericard® Secured Credit Card

To determine approval, Bank of America looks at several factors, including:

  • Your ability to pay the security deposit
  • Your ability to make monthly payments
  • Information pulled from all three credit bureaus
  • Past management of other Bank of America accounts for current members

Pros and Cons of the BankAmericard® Secured Credit Card:

Pros

  • Option for partially secured card for those with adequate income
  • Status regularly reported to all three credit bureaus to help you build or rebuild your credit
  • Potential to turn into an unsecured card after twelve months if used responsibly, removing the need for the hard credit pull that would be involved in opening a new card

Cons

  • Annual fee of $0
  • Interest rates are high — once you qualify for an unsecured card, it may be worth the hard pull and shopping around for lower rates
  • Associated overdraft protection is not free
  • Deposit does not earn interest

How the BankAmericard® Secured Credit Card Stacks Up to the Competition

Bank of America is not the only financial institution that offers secured credit cards. In fact, you may find better terms elsewhere.

Another option is the Discover it® Secured, a minimum deposit of $200 and a maximum of $2,500. This card earns you cash back rewards points on all your purchases as you build your credit. Depending on how much you spend, you could yield more in cash back rewards than the CD with USAA would yield you. It comes with a $0 annual fee, no penalty APR, and no foreign transaction fee. They also won’t charge you a late fee the first time you miss a payment. After that, you pay up to $39.

While it lacks many fees, interest rates are actually higher than the Bank of America option at 25.24% Variable APR on purchases and balance transfers. Balance transfers also incur a 3% intro balance transfer fee, up to 5% fee on future balance transfers (see terms)*. (Currently, there is an introductory offer for 10.99% for 6 months on balance transfers.) The APR for cash advances is 27.24% Variable. The fee for cash advances is either $10 or 5% of the amount of each cash advance — whichever is more.

Don’t Focus on Rewards

Maybe the fact that the BankAmericard® Secured Credit Card doesn’t offer you cash back is actually a positive. It won’t reward you for spending more money, and that’s a very good thing from a psychological perspective — especially if you are recovering from past credit follies.

Your exclusive goal when using a secured card should be to rebuild your credit by using it and paying it off in full every month so you don’t incur interest or late charges. If rewards would entice you to do otherwise, sticking with Bank of America could be a smart move.

Advertiser Disclosure: The products that appear on this site may be from companies from which MagnifyMoney receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). MagnifyMoney does not include all financial institutions or all products offered available in the marketplace.

Brynne Conroy
Brynne Conroy |

Brynne Conroy is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email Brynne here

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How to Request a Credit Limit Increase With Chase

Editorial Note: The content of this article is based on the author’s opinions and recommendations alone. It has not been previewed, commissioned or otherwise endorsed by any of our network partners.

If you’re interested in requesting a credit limit increase with Chase, the good news is that it’s fairly simple to do. Before you pick up the phone, however, be sure you’re requesting a credit limit increase for the right reasons. Are you looking to get a higher limit so you can make a large purchase and pay it off over time? Are you constantly finding yourself maxing out your cards? A higher limit might help you in the short-term by giving you more breathing room, but it won’t solve the larger issue that is driving you to charge purchases you can’t afford to pay off each month.

But a credit limit increase can also be a strategic move to decrease your credit utilization rate and, as a result, possibly boost your credit score.

In this post, we’ll provide instructions for requesting a credit limit increase with Chase.

Option 1: Over the phone

The only way to request a credit limit increase is to speak with a representative over the phone. Simply call the number on the back of your card and someone can assist you in requesting a higher credit limit. Have your account and financial information ready.

A Chase representative tells MagnifyMoney there is no limit to how many times you can request a credit limit increase. However, be aware that a request will result in a hard pull on your credit report, which can ding your credit score.

Option 2: Automatic credit limit increases

On occasion, you may receive a notice from Chase in the mail saying your credit limit has been increased automatically. If you receive an increased credit limit, there is no action required on your part and your new credit limit is available for use. Your odds of receiving an automatic credit limit increase may be amplified if you follow some of the tips below.

  • Pay on time and more than the minimum. Having good payment history shows issuers you’re responsible with your credit card and may lead to an increase in your credit limit. That means don’t be late on payments and avoid carrying a balance whenever possible.
  • Keep your income up to date. For example, if you get a raise, record your new salary on your account profile so your financial information will be current. If issuers see you’re making more money, they may raise your credit limit.

Currently, you can’t request a credit limit increase with Chase online.

Understanding credit limit increases

Hard or soft pull on your credit? If you receive an automatic credit limit increase, there will be no harm to your credit score since you didn’t initiate anything. However, if you request an increase by phone, Chase will request a credit bureau report, resulting in a hard pull.

A higher credit limit has the potential to improve your credit score. Increasing your credit limit has the potential to boost your credit score by allowing you to maintain a low utilization rate more easily. Your utilization rate is the amount of credit you’re using divided by the total credit you have. An increase in the limit while maintaining the same spending will lower your utilization rate, and may raise your credit score.

For example, if you spend $1,000 a month on a card with a $4,000 credit limit, your utilization rate is 25%. But, if you request a credit limit increase and receive a new line of credit at $5,000, your utilization rate will drop to 20% as long as you still spend $1,000 a month.

Increased buying power. Your current credit limit may not be enough to cover the cost of large purchases, and that’s where a credit limit increase can come in handy. An increase in your credit limit can provide you with the buying power necessary for large purchases. However, take your increased credit limit with a grain of salt. While it can be tempting to spend more, keep new purchases to a minimum and pay them off as soon as possible so you avoid interest charges.

Advertiser Disclosure: The products that appear on this site may be from companies from which MagnifyMoney receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). MagnifyMoney does not include all financial institutions or all products offered available in the marketplace.

Alexandria White
Alexandria White |

Alexandria White is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email Alexandria at [email protected]

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Review of Edward Jones CD Rates

Editorial Note: The content of this article is based on the author’s opinions and recommendations alone. It has not been previewed, commissioned or otherwise endorsed by any of our network partners.

What are brokered CDs?

Edward Jones offers brokered CDs, which are a bit different from the standard bank-issued CDs that most investors are familiar with. Bank-issued CDs, as the name implies, are issued by individual banks for their customers. Since Edward Jones is a broker and not a bank, it cannot issue its own CDs. Instead, the firm offers a range of CDs issued by other banks and thrifts but sold via Edward Jones.

For the casual investor, it can be hard at first glance to tell the difference between bank-issued and brokered CDs. However, there are some important distinctions:

  • No early withdrawal penalties: Brokered CDs don’t have early withdrawal penalties. If you need to get out of your CD, you can usually sell it back to another investor through a brokerage firm. This means that brokered CDs carry some additional risk, as the price of these CDs may fluctuate on the open market.
  • Higher APYs: You can often get higher yields on a brokered CD than with a bank-issued CD. Brokers are able to negotiate higher CD rates since they can guarantee a large pool of buyers to CD issuers. In the era of online banking, however, even brokered CDs do not always garner the absolute highest rates.
  • Longer-term options: Brokered CDs often have longer-term options than are available with traditional bank-issued CDs, which are generally short-term investments only.

CD rates from Edward Jones

Edward Jones offers a fairly comprehensive range of CD maturities, ranging from three months to 10 years, although the firm doesn’t offer 6-year CDs, 8-year CDs or 9-year CDs. Rates and availability change frequently, oftentimes daily. The longer-duration CDs offered by the firm aren’t traditionally available at banks.
Edward Jones CD Rates
TermMinimum deposit to earn APYAPY
3 months$1,0001.95%
6 months$1,0002.00%
9 months$1,0002.00%
1 year$1,0001.95%
18 months$1,0001.90%
2 years$1,0002.05%
3 years$1,0002.15%
5 years$1,0002.20%
7 years$1,0002.45%
10 years$1,0002.60%

For all maturities, Edward Jones requires a $1,000 opening deposit, which is the same minimum required to earn the stated APY. As these are brokered CDs, there is no early withdrawal penalty. However, investors are subject to current market prices if they need to get out of a CD prematurely. If interest rates have risen since the date of purchase, you’re likely to get less money back than you originally invested in the CD.

One important difference between Edward Jones CDs and standard bank-issued CDs is that interest does not compound with Edward Jones CDs. All interest is paid directly into a money market or insured bank deposit at Edward Jones, unless you request it to be distributed. Either way, you can’t reinvest your distributions into your existing CD.

Unlike some banks, Edward Jones doesn’t offer any type of hybrid or alternative CD, such as a step-up CD or an adjustable-rate CD. There are also no bonus APR CDs available at the current time, just standard rates. Edward Jones also does not offer special rates for jumbo CDs, which traditionally require a $100,000 deposit. However, you can use the firm’s wide range of CD maturities for certain CD strategies, such as building a CD ladder. You can also buy their brokered CDs in an IRA.

Unlike bank-issued CDs, the brokered CDs offered by Edwards Jones do not automatically roll over into new CDs. At maturity, the banks that issued the CDs pay the proceeds to Edward Jones, which then forwards the money to your account. At that point, you can either select a new brokered CD to purchase, or keep the funds in your Edward Jones money market or insured bank deposit account.

How to get CDs from Edward Jones

You’ll need to open a brokerage account at Edward Jones to buy any CDs. The account minimum to open is $0, but as Edward Jones is a full-service brokerage, you’ll need to go into a branch and visit a financial advisor to open an account. There is no facility to open an account online.

You can open your Edward Jones account as rapidly as you can fill out the paperwork and fund the account. As soon as your deposit clears, you are free to buy a CD through your Edward Jones broker. If you change your mind, you can generally withdraw your funds within 4-6 business days after deposit, although this hold period may extend to 11 business days for new clients. Once you buy a CD, you can sell it at any time on the open market. As noted above, the amount you receive may be less than the amount you originally paid.

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How do CD rates from Edward Jones compare?

Edward Jones CD rates are well above the national average, but they still fall considerably short when compared with the best available rates nationwide.

Unlike with many firms, Edward Jones doesn’t currently have any special-rate CDs, where certain maturities pay dramatically higher rates. Instead, rates at Edward Jones land along a traditional curve, gradually increasing in yield as maturities lengthen.

For example, as of July 3, 2019, the Edward Jones 2-year CD rate of 2.05% is far below the best available 2-year CD rates. Three-year CD rates top out nationally at 3.00%, but Edward Jones pays 2.15%. The pattern continues throughout the maturity curve, with the top 5-year CD rates nationally hitting 3.00% or more, while the 5-year at Edward Jones pays 2.20%.

As such, all rates at Edward Jones fall in the general area of being well-above national averages but still notably short of the best available rates.

Overall review of CDs from Edward Jones

You won’t be wasting your time investing in CDs from Edward Jones, as you’ll be earning rates far above the national averages. You’ll also benefit from the ability to construct a CD or overall investment strategy with the assistance of a full-service advisor. However, if you’re looking for the absolute best CD rates for your money, there are plenty of online banks that can pay you a higher rate.

CD investors who like a wide range of products may be disappointed at Edward Jones, as popular options such as step-up or no-penalty CDs are not currently available. However, Edward Jones CDs do benefit from offering brokered CDs. This provides a range of flexibility that standard bank-issued CDs cannot offer, as you can liquidate your CD position at any time without paying an early withdrawal penalty.

The bottom line is that yield-hungry investors that enjoy managing their own portfolios may be better suited at any number of online competitors. Those looking to incorporate decent-yielding CDs into their overall investment portfolio with the help of a full-service broker might prefer working with Edward Jones.

Advertiser Disclosure: The products that appear on this site may be from companies from which MagnifyMoney receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). MagnifyMoney does not include all financial institutions or all products offered available in the marketplace.

John Csiszar
John Csiszar |

John Csiszar is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email John here