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Chartway Federal Credit Union Review: Checking, Savings, CD, Money Market and IRA Accounts

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.

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Chartway Federal Credit Union’s checking account options

LifePlus Checking

These low rates won’t help overcome high minimum balance requirements and fees.
APY Minimum Balance to Earn APY
0.02%$1,500
0.05%$10,000
0.15%$50,000
0.30%$100,000
  • Minimum opening deposit: $15
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: $6, though this fee can be waived with regular direct deposits, 10 monthly debit card purchases or $500 average monthly balance.
  • ATM fee: $1 at out-of-network ATMs
  • ATM fee refund: Available upon written request.
  • Overdraft fee: $6 if you sign up for overdraft protection; $30 if you do not.

LifePlus Checking comes with low dividend rates on large minimum balances for a checking account. If you’re going to stash away tens of thousands of dollars, a checking account may not be the best place to put it to begin with, especially when APY offerings are so low. Instead, you may want to turn to a savings or money market account — and you might even want to look at a certificate, depending on when you need to access the money.

This account does come with a $6 monthly maintenance fee, though this fee can be waived in one of three ways. The first option is to set up regular direct deposit with at least one deposit per month. An alternative is maintaining an average daily balance of $500, and your final option is to make at least 10 purchases with your debit card each month.

You will automatically be granted overdraft privilege, which will charge you $30 for each overdraft; if your account is only overdrawn by $10 or less, there will be no fee. You can also choose to request overdraft protection. Under this program, Chartway Federal Credit Union will transfer money from another one of your accounts or a line of credit in order to cover the difference between your withdrawal and your actual balance. There is a $6 fee every time the financial institution makes a transfer like this for you, though.

How to get Chartway Federal Credit Union’s LifePlus Checking

You can open this account online or at your local branch. You will need to provide your name, date of birth, current address (and previous address, if you have moved in the past two years), government-issued I.D. number, Social Security number and work address in order to apply.

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How Chartway Federal Credit Union’s checking accounts compare

If you want your checking account to earn you a decent amount of interest, LifePlus Checking isn’t a good option. The accounts on our list of the best checking accounts include ones with higher APY offerings than LifePlus Checking’s highest rate tier, at a lower balance and without all the fees. The combination of fees and lack of perks makes this checking account rank fairly low when held up to the competition.

Chartway Federal Credit Union’s savings account options

Prime Share Savings

This account is mandatory, but the dividends are low.
APYMinimum Balance to Earn APY
0.10% $100
  • Minimum opening deposit: $5
  • Minimum balance to earn APY: $100
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: $6, though this fee can be waived with regular direct deposits, 10 monthly debit card purchases, $200 average monthly balance or possessing a qualifying Chartway Federal Credit Union account or product.
  • ATM fee: $1 at out-of-network ATMs
  • ATM fee refund: Available upon written request.
  • Overdraft fee: $6 if you sign up for overdraft protection; $30 if you do not.

This account is required to establish your credit union membership and represents your ownership share. While the dividend offering is low and the minimum balance requirement a bit high, you don’t really have a choice. If you want to open any other account with Chartway Federal Credit Union, you’re going to have to open this one first (a standard practice at credit unions).

The good news is that the minimum opening balance requirement is incredibly reasonable. Even if you choose to keep the bulk of your savings with another financial institution where it could earn a higher yield, you don’t need that much to keep this mandatory account open.

In fact, if you’re going to have this account open, it’s wise to pair it with another. That’s because the monthly maintenance fee can be waived if you have both a Prime Share Savings account and another deposit or loan product with the credit union. This fee can also be waived if you maintain an average daily balance of $200 or more or if you set up direct deposit.

Prime Share Savings, along with all savings accounts at all American financial institutions, is governed by federal Regulation D. This rule says that you can only make six withdrawals from your savings account in any given month without penalty imposed by the credit union. If you exceed this limit, you may be charged an excessive withdrawal fee, have your account converted into a checking account or even have the account shut down altogether.

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on Chartway Federal Credit Union’s secure website

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CustomShare Savings

Set up separate savings accounts for separate savings goals, but don’t expect a high yield.
APYMinimum Balance to Earn APY
0.05%$100
  • Minimum opening deposit: None
  • Minimum balance to earn APY: $100
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: None
  • ATM fee: $1 at out-of-network ATMs
  • ATM fee refund: Available upon written request.
  • Overdraft fee: $6 if you sign up for overdraft protection; $30 if you do not.

Custom Share Savings is available to people who want to open an additional savings account. The APY on this account is even lower than Prime Share Savings, so dividends would not be a great reason to open it up. However, if you want to have several savings accounts in order to keep track of several independent savings goals, opening this account can be a good way to go about it if you don’t care about your returns.

How to get Chartway Federal Credit Union’s Savings Accounts

You can open these accounts online or in person. For Prime Share Savings, even if you apply online, you’ll be prompted to open this account before all others as it is required for membership. Before you apply, prepare personal identifying information such as your name, current address, any past addresses over the past two years, Social Security number, date of birth, government-issued I.D. number and work address.

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How Chartway Federal Credit Union’s savings accounts compare

Chartway Federal Credit Union’s dividend offerings on savings accounts are extremely low. While you are required to open a Prime Share Savings account in order to gain membership into the credit union, it would be wise to keep your savings somewhere else if you’d like to see it grow through a higher APY. You can find accounts that help you do just that by checking out our list of the top savings accounts on the market.

Chartway Federal Credit Union’s CD rates

Share Certificate

This CD offers average rates, but its low opening deposit requirements and penalty-free withdrawals are nice.
TermAPY
12 Months0.60%
  • Minimum opening deposit: $500
  • Minimum balance amount to earn APY: $500
  • Early withdrawal penalty: None

The current rate offered on this 12-month certificate is just OK. It’s not the highest, but it’s not the lowest, either. The strength of this certificate does not lie in its APY, though. Nor is it the low minimum opening deposit and balance requirements. Rather, the biggest draw of this account is the fact that it’s penalty-free, meaning you can withdraw your money without incurring any restrictive fees.

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Flex-Term Share Certificate

Competitive rates and flexible term lengths make these certificates attractive.
TermAPY
6-11 Months1.00%
12-17 Months1.25%
18-23 Months1.25%
24-35 Months1.25%
36-47 Months1.25%
48-59 Months1.30%
60-71 Months1.35%
  • Minimum opening deposit: $500
  • Minimum balance amount to earn APY: $500
  • Early withdrawal penalty: Contact Chartway Federal Credit Union for exact penalties on your specific certificate.

Dividend rates on Chartway Federal Credit Union’s Flex-Term Share Certificates are competitive. You could sleep at night knowing that you got a fair rate if you chose to open one of these accounts.

These certificates also come with a low minimum opening deposit, which may make them more accessible to a larger swath of consumers. The flex-term offerings mean that you don’t have to choose between a 12-month and 18-month term if your savings goal is 15 months away. You can pick the exact term to match your ideal financial circumstances.

How to get Chartway Federal Credit Union’s Share Certificates

You can open share certificates by visiting a branch or applying online. Be sure to have your government-issued I.D.’s number, Social Security number, date of birth, home address, work address and any additional addresses you’ve lived at over the course of the past two years.

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How Chartway Federal Credit Union’s CD rates compare

Certificates are Chartway Federal Credit Union’s most competitive deposit account offering. With small minimum deposit requirements, the barrier to entry is lower than it would be at other financial institutions. On top of that, dividend rates on Flex-Term Certificates are up there with some on our list of the best CD offers on the market, and you get to choose your own term, even if it doesn’t fall on a six-month interval.

Chartway Federal Credit Union’s money market account options

Money Market Account

Low fees don’t compensate for low APY offerings.
APYMinimum Balance to Earn APY
0.05%$2,500
0.10%$5,000
0.10%$10,000
0.20%$25,000
0.30%$50,000
0.40%$100,000
  • Minimum opening deposit: $2,500
  • Minimum balance to earn APY: $2,500
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: None
  • ATM fee: $1 at out-of-network ATMs
  • ATM fee refund: Available upon written request.
  • Overdraft fee: $6 if you sign up for overdraft protection; $30 if you do not.

Chartway Federal Credit Union has a minimum balance requirement that’s below many other money market accounts, but unfortunately you won’t be earning competitive dividends when you keep your money in this account. Traditionally, money market accounts have offered higher rates than savings accounts, but in recent years that gap has quickly closed. That means that not only can you find money market accounts with better rates, you also can find savings accounts at other financial institutions that will offer you a higher yield.

Money market accounts fall under Regulation D just like traditional savings accounts — which means you’ll only be able to make six withdrawals per month before potentially incurring negative consequences like excessive withdrawal fees, conversion of your account into a checking account or closure of your account altogether.

How to get Chartway Federal Credit Union’s Money Market Account

You can open this account online or in person with your address, date of birth, government-issued I.D. number, Social Security number, any additional addresses where you’ve lived over the past two years and your work address.

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How Chartway Federal Credit Union’s money market accounts compare

Money market rates at Chartway Federal Credit Union are not competitive. You can find significantly higher APY offerings on our list of the best money market accounts. Really, you could even find far more competitive rates via savings accounts, and these accounts tend to have lower minimum balance requirements than money market accounts.

Chartway Federal Credit Union’s IRA account options

IRA Share Certificates

These offer competitive rates, especially on terms of at least five years.
Term  APY
6-11 Months1.00%
12-17 Months1.25%
18-23 Months1.25%
24-35 Months1.25%
36-47 Months1.25%
48-59 Months1.30%
60-71 Months1.35%
  • Minimum opening deposit: $500
  • Minimum balance amount to earn APY: $500
  • Early withdrawal penalty: Contact Chartway Federal Credit Union for exact penalties on your specific certificate.

Rates on IRA Share Certificates are the same as Flex-Term Certificates, and just as competitive. On 60 month to 71 month certificates, this financial institution actually sits near the top of the charts. There is a bit more competition for other terms, though.

Minimum deposits and balances are reasonable on this account as well. It is important to note that should you make a withdrawal from your IRA Share Certificate, you won’t just face early withdrawal penalties. You’ll also have to pay taxes and penalties to the IRS in most situations if you are under the age of 59 ½.

How to get Chartway Federal Credit Union’s IRA Share Certificates.

You can apply for this account in person or get the process started online. While Chartway Federal Credit Union is likely to request further paper documentation from you, it is unique that you can apply for this account online at all.

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How Chartway Federal Credit Union’s IRA CD rates compare

Chartway Federal Credit Union is competitive in this arena. In fact, on 60- to 71-month IRA Share Certificates, you will find that this financial institution offers one of the highest APYs at the time of this writing. For all other terms, it would be advisable to check out our list of the top IRA CD rates. Chartway Federal Credit Union’s rates certainly aren’t abysmal across these terms, but they’re not the absolute highest either.

IRA savings account

Low rates on an already conservative investment.
APYMinimum Balance to Earn APY
0.25% $100
  • Minimum opening deposit: None
  • Minimum balance to earn APY: $100
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: None

An IRA savings account is an extremely low-risk, and therefore conservative, portfolio holding. Because your returns are going to be low, you want to make sure you don’t further hinder yourself by opening an account with an uncompetitive APY.

Unfortunately, that’s exactly what you’d be doing by opening an IRA savings account with Chartway Federal Credit Union. You can find dramatically higher rates with other financial institutions.

How to get Chartway Federal Credit Union’s IRA savings account

Unlike many other financial institutions, you can start the application process for your IRA savings account online. There will likely be more documentation that will be requested in hard copy after you’ve initiated your application, but it is nice to have an option in addition to visiting a physical branch in person.

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Overall review of Chartway Federal Credit Union’s banking products

The only products worth further examination at Chartway Federal Credit Union are its certificates, whether they’re in an IRA or not. These certificates are the only deposit account products from the credit union to offer competitive rates, and they do so while keeping minimum balance requirements low and terms flexible.

Otherwise, you’re going to want to shop elsewhere for your banking needs. There’s just too big of a gap between what Chartway Federal Credit Union offers in ways of dividends and the best APY offers by other financial institutions.

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.

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Auto Loan, Reviews

LightStream Auto Loan Review

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.

Written By

Reviewed By

If you’re in the market for a quick, affordable and hassle-free way to finance your next car, a LightStream auto loan should definitely be on your radar. It’s particularly well-suited for deal-seekers with good credit who don’t mind working with an online company when it comes to financing their cars. If you’d rather work with a local company that can offer in-person support, however, you might want to skip this lender.

How LightStream auto loans work

LightStream offers a wide range of options for financing your next ride, including:

  • Purchase of a new or used car, either from a dealer or an individual
  • Auto loan refinance (except it does not refinance its own loans)
  • Auto lease buyouts
  • Loans for motorcycles, as well as boats and RVs
  • Classic car loans

Auto loans at a glance:

  • Starting APR range: 3.49%–9.49%
  • Fees: None
  • Loan amounts: $5,000–$100,000
  • Terms: 24–84 months
  • Credit requirements: Minimum 660 credit score
  • Mileage or vehicle restrictions: None

LightStream offers the same starting rate whether you’re buying a new or used car from a dealer, something you don’t see at other lenders. But keep in mind that the lowest rates go to those with the best credit who opt for the shortest loan terms possible and use autopay to make their car payments.

Satisfaction guarantee

If you see a lower rate elsewhere, LightStream will beat any verified offer with a rate that is .10 percentage points lower. It also promises a $100 guarantee within 30 days if you aren’t satisfied with your loan experience.

How to apply for a LightStream auto loan

The only way you can apply for a LightStream auto loan is through its online form. It is an online lender, after all, so you should be comfortable with handling your business details — including the loan application — online. You’ll need to:

  1. Acknowledge receipt of LightStream’s statement on the use of electronic records.
  2. Agree to receive electronic records.
  3. Agree to use electronic signatures to sign your loan documents.

You’ll also need to have a Visa or Mastercard credit card to apply, which LightStream uses during the verification process.

You will be asked to provide:

  • The purpose, term and amount of desired loan
  • Your name
  • Your address
  • Phone number
  • Social Security number
  • Employment information
  • Annual income
  • Total amount of assets and equity in your home

From there, LightStream may contact you for more details and documentation. If approved, you’ll need to sign your loan documents electronically and provide LightStream with your bank account details. The money will then be deposited into your bank account, which means you’ll need to pass it along to the seller, whether that’s a dealer or private seller. LightStream will not send the money to the seller directly.

It’s important to note that LightStream doesn’t offer any preapproval options, but if you apply and are approved for a loan, you are under no obligation to accept the loan.

How to qualify for the best rates

LightStream requires good credit at a minimum, but looks for excellent credit when giving the best rates. It defines excellent credit as:

  • Five or more years of significant credit history.
  • A credit history with a variety of account types such as major credit cards (for example, Visa, MasterCard, Amex), installment debt (vehicle loans) and mortgage debt if applicable.
  • An excellent payment history with no delinquencies or other problems repaying debt obligations.
  • A proven ability to save as shown by some or all of the following: liquid assets (stocks, bonds, bank deposits, etc.), cash down payments on real estate, retirement savings and little, if any, revolving credit card debt.
  • Stable and sufficient income and assets to easily repay current debt obligations and any new loan with LightStream.

Pros and cons of LightStream auto loans

LightStream offers the convenience of an online lender with the backing of a brick-and-mortar bank as the online arm of Truist, the bank created by the merger of  SunTrust Bank and BB&T. But it’s important to weigh all of your options carefully when choosing an auto loan. It’s one of the biggest purchases you’ll make, after all.

Pros

  • Wide variety of loans: New, used, refinance and lease buyouts loans are available on a wide range of vehicles. Unlike other lenders, LightStream doesn’t place restrictions on your vehicle’s age, make, model or mileage.
  • Decent rates: We’ve seen lower starting rates at credit unions, but you’ll have to meet membership requirements. LightStream has no membership requirements and provides the same starting rates for new and used vehicles as well as refinance loans.
  • No down payment required: LightStream finances up to 100% of the car’s cost. Of course, it’s always best to put down as much as you can afford on an auto loan. This will help you save money over the life of your loan and avoid becoming underwater on that loan.
  • Quick funding: If you complete the application process and are approved by 2:30 p.m. EST, you could receive funds the same day.
  • Good reviews: LightStream auto loan reviews are generally positive.

Cons

  • Good credit required: To qualify for a LightStream auto loan you’ll need a credit score of at least 660 or better.
  • No preapproval process: Unlike many lenders, you’ll have to complete a full application in order to see your rates and terms. Still, the process is fast, and if you complete your rate shopping within a certain time period, multiple applications should not impact your credit any more than a single application.
  • No face-to-face service: If you’re the type of person who likes to seal the deal with a handshake after signing the documents, you’ll want to stick with some place local.

LightStream vs. Capital One

If you’d like a bit more of a guided approach to the car-buying process,  Capital One’s Auto Navigator loan options might be better for you. Rather than sending you cash directly that you can use on whatever car you want to buy, Capital One’s Auto Navigator service lets you first get prequalified for financing, and then shows you which dealers in your area may offer based on the type of car you want to buy and the financing you can afford.

If any of the offerings pique your interest, you can then finish the application and buy the car. It’s still a good idea to compare the offer with other new and used car loan rates.

LightStream vs. Carvana

Carvana works similarly to Capital One Auto Navigator in that you can prequalify for financing and browse real cars in your area that you may then be able to buy. It’s important to remember that Carvana only sells used cars and its financing is only available on Carvana cars. But it is possible to finance here with poor credit — Carvana requires borrowers to be 18 years old, have no active bankruptcies on their credit report and earn at least $4,000 per year.

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.

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Credit Cards, Reviews

CreditStacks Mastercard Review

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 credit card issuer. This site may be compensated through a credit card issuer partnership.

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The CreditStacks Mastercard offers a unique opportunity for individuals with little or no U.S. credit history – such as recent college graduates or professionals relocating to the U.S. for employment – to be approved for a credit card.

That’s because instead of requiring a Social Security number (SSN) or individual taxpayer identification number (ITIN) as most traditional credit cards do, the CreditStacks Mastercard allows applicants to apply using a valid passport or U.S. government-issued ID, a U.S. visa or a permanent resident “green” card (if applicable), as well as proof of income. The CreditStacks Mastercard also allows you to apply up to 60 days prior to starting your new job in the U.S.

We break down the pros and cons of the CreditStacks Mastercard, and show how it compares to the Capital One® Secured Mastercard®, which is also designed to help individuals establish or rebuild credit.

CreditStacks Mastercard pros

No credit history required. With the CreditStacks Mastercard, you can apply without a Social Security number and with little or no U.S. credit history. Once you obtain your Social Security number, you must provide it within 60 days of account opening. At that point, CreditStacks will begin reporting your credit activity to the Equifax and TransUnion credit bureaus.

Note, if you have been living in the U.S. for more than one year, you will be required to provide a Social Security number when applying for the card. A credit check may also be performed.

Decent credit limit. The CreditStacks Mastercard offers a credit line of up to $5,000 – which is a generous amount for an unsecured credit card that doesn’t require credit history.

Your credit limit will be determined by the proprietary underwriting procedures of CreditStacks, which will consider your current employment situation and additional factors, instead of your credit score.

No annual fee. The CreditStacks Mastercard comes with a $0 annual fee.

Additional CreditStacks Mastercard benefits:

  • Mastercard ID Theft Protection(™). Access free identity theft resolution services, as well as Mastercard ID Theft Alerts(™).
  • Extended warranty. Receive an extended warranty of up to one year past a manufacturer’s warranty of 12 months or less.
  • Purchase protection. If you are dissatisfied with a purchase, you may be eligible to receive a full refund for up to 60 days from the date of purchase.
  • Price protection. Get reimbursed for the difference if you find a lower price for an eligible new item within 60 days of purchase using your CreditStacks Mastercard.
  • Purchase assurance. Cardholders receive coverage if an item is lost, damaged or stolen within 90 days of purchase.
  • Travel protections. The CreditStacks Mastercard offers a MasterRental(R) collision damage waiver, lost or damaged luggage insurance, travel accident insurance, baggage delay insurance and trip cancellation and trip interruption insurance. Plus, receive access to exclusive experiences and offers through Priceless Cities and special travel offers through Mastercard’s online booking tool.
  • Cellphone insurance. If you use your CreditStacks Mastercard to pay your monthly cellphone bill, you can receive coverage against theft or damage of up to $600 per claim and up to $1,000 per 12-month period.

CreditStacks Mastercard cons

No rewards program. The CreditStacks Mastercard does not offer a sign-up bonus or rewards on the purchases you make using the credit card. That said, when trying to build or rebuild credit, it’s best to focus on paying your bill on time and in full (when possible) each month, rather than racking up rewards.

No intro APR on purchases. The CreditStacks Mastercard does not offer a 0% intro APR on purchases – meaning, if you don’t pay your balance in full each month, you will be subject to interest charges at a rate of 15.49% Variable APR.

That said, the card’s ongoing APR for purchases is reasonable – considering that some cards designed for individuals with little or no credit come with APRs upwards of 26.99% (variable).

Compare it to the Capital One® Secured Mastercard®

Similar to the CreditStacks Mastercard, the Capital One® Secured Mastercard® is designed for individuals with little or no credit. However, because it is a secured credit card, the Capital One® Secured Mastercard® requires a refundable security deposit of $49, $99 or $200, for an initial credit line of $200.

If you deposit more money before your account opens, you may be eligible for a higher credit line, up to $1,000. Additionally, you can be given access to a higher credit line after demonstrating responsible card usage by making your first five monthly payments on time.

While the Capital One® Secured Mastercard® does not require U.S. citizenship to apply, it does require a valid SSN or ITIN, as well as a residential address in the U.S. or a U.S. military location.

See how the cards compare side-by-side in the table below.

CreditStacks Mastercard vs. Capital One® Secured Mastercard®

 CreditStacks MastercardCapital One® Secured Mastercard®
Annual fee$0$0
Rewards rateN/AN/A
Credit lineUp to $5,000$200-$1,000
Deposit requiredNone$49, $99 or $200
Regular purchase APR15.49% Variable26.99% (Variable)

The Capital One® Secured Mastercard® also comes with a number of benefits, including auto rental collision damage waiver, travel accident insurance, extended warranty and 24-hour travel assistance services. As a Capital One member, you will also have access to virtual card numbers and account alerts from Eno, as well as access to your credit score and fraud monitoring through CreditWise.

But if you plan to carry a balance on your card, you’ll be better off with the CreditStacks Mastercard, since the Capital One® Secured Mastercard® comes with a substantially higher APR of 26.99% (Variable).

Read our: Capital One Secured Mastercard review

Which credit card is best for me?

If you haven’t yet established credit in the U.S., the CreditStacks Mastercard could be a good fit. In addition to not requiring a Social Security number for approval, the card helps build your credit by reporting to two major credit bureaus.

But if you’re in the market for a secured credit card and already have a SSN or ITIN, the Capital One® Secured Mastercard® is a good alternative. While the card offers a much lower credit line than the CreditStacks Mastercard, it does offer a variety of useful benefits that aren’t common for a secured credit card.

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.