Start Building Your Credit History with the Citi Secured Mastercard

By Kris Majaski. Last updated 7 January 2021. 0 comments

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If you are just starting out and haven’t yet established enough of a credit history, you may find it difficult getting approved for most traditional credit cards (as well as other loans). In many cases, you’ll need a secured card like the Citi® Secured Mastercard®, from our partner Citi, to build a positive credit history, in order to increase your credit score. The world of secured credit cards, however, can be confusing and in many cases, expensive. But, if you’re looking for a secured card to help you start building your credit score, this card could be your ticket to good credit. (See also: Best Secured Credit Cards for Building Credit)

How This Card Works

This card requires a security deposit of at least $200, which is held in a non-interest bearing Collateral Holding Account for 18 months. Once you are approved for the card and you have made your security deposit, you receive a card with a credit limit in the amount of your security deposit. Your account activity is reported to the major credit bureaus and after managing your account responsibly can lead to a better credit rating. (See also: Secured Cards without Annual Fees)


No interest on the deposit. Your deposit is held for at least 18 months, but you won’t earn any interest on it. There are other secured credit cards which allow you to earn interest on your security deposit while it is being held. Although it may not end up making you rich, you do end up with a little extra with secured cards that earn interest on your security deposit. (See also: Secured Cards that Pay Interest on the Security Deposit)

High APR. Although it’s typical for a secured credit card to carry a higher than average interest rate, the APR is among the highest. If you carry a balance from month to month rather than pay in full each month, your interest is going to add up and become costly. If you typically carry a balance, it’s best to select a secured credit card with a low APR.

Foreign transaction fee. The 3% foreign transaction fee is only a problem if you plan to use your card for foreign transactions. If you frequently travel outside of the U.S., this fee can become expensive. You can save a significant amount of money with a secured card that charges a lower or no foreign transaction fee. (See also: Secured Cards with No Foreign Transaction Fee)

Who This Card Is Best For

This card is best for those who are in the process of building a positive credit rating, are diligent in paying balances in full each month, and will use the card primarily for domestic purchases. There are limited fees, and you can start out with a deposit as low as $200. Citi is also an established credit card issuer and cardholders will be able to access their customer service and other benefits.

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