Citi® Secured Mastercard® Review: Build Credit with Ease

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The Citi Secured Mastercard requires a $200 security deposit, but the fee is worth it if you are trying to build credit and form good financial habits.
  • Annual Fee:
    $0
  • Regular APR:
    22.49% Variable APR
  • Recommended Credit Score:
    Limit Credit History, New to Credit

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Healthy credit scores entitle borrowers to favorable loan terms, lower interest rates, and higher limits.

Although you can’t build a perfect credit score overnight, you can set yourself up for success by utilizing a secured credit card to lay a firm credit foundation.

Secured credit cards help consumers establish a credit score by offering a line of credit that is secured by a security deposit.

Deposits can range from $200 to $10,000 depending on the credit card, and the deposit acts as the credit limit for the card.

So, if you have a $2,000 security deposit, you will have a $2,000 credit limit to work with.

Today, we are going to discuss the Citi® Secured Mastercard® – a $0 annual fee secured credit card designed to help applicants build a credit score from the ground up.

Citi® Secured Mastercard® Pros and Cons

Pros:

  • No annual fee.
  • Potential for an unsecured card upgrade.
  • Reports credit activity to all three major credit bureaus.

Cons:

  • Longer review period than competitors.
  • No rewards potential.
  • Lower maximum limits.

What Is the Citi® Secured Mastercard®?

The Citi® Secured Mastercard® is a secured credit card offered by Citi to help new borrowers with little to no credit history build a healthy credit score.

With a deposit range of $200 to $2,500 and no annual fee, the Citi® Secured Mastercard® is unique among other secured credit cards because it offers reasonable security deposits without added costs.

How Does the Citi® Secured Mastercard® Work?

Cardholders can immediately begin building credit once they are approved for the Citi® Secured Mastercard®.

Once you are approved, you can select your payment due date and security deposit limit. It’s crucial to select the highest limit you are comfortable with because if you consistently max out your card, it will show a high utilization rate to the credit bureaus, which can be detrimental to your credit score.

Citi® Secured Mastercard® Review

  • Annual Fee: $0
  • Regular APR: 22.49% variable (up to 29.99%)
  • Security Deposit Requirements: Minimum deposit of $200 up to a $2,500 maximum.
  • Rewards: None
  • Sign-Up Bonus: None

Citi® Secured Mastercard® Features and Benefits

No Annual Fee

Most secured credit cards carry an annual fee plus the security deposit, but the Citi® Secured Mastercard® does not, making it one of the best bargains when you are trying to establish your credit score.

Safe Way to Establish & Build Credit

There are so many benefits attached to a great credit score, and it’s essential to make sure you start on the right foot at the beginning of your credit journey.

The Citi® Secured Mastercard® is a great way to build your credit, thanks to the credit monitoring and reporting benefits included with the card.

Free Credit Score Monitoring

Since the Citi® Secured Mastercard® is designed to help you build credit, you get complimentary credit monitoring to ensure you stay on track as you build your credit score.

Make sure that you check your credit score and take advantage of the complimentary credit monitoring so you can Benchmark your progress and fully understand how different factors affect your credit score.

Citi® Identity Theft Solutions

Citi® offers a full identity theft protection service with all of its credit cards. If someone uses your credit card information to attack your personal data, call Citi®, and they will work with you to retrieve your data.

24/7 Customer Service

Cardholders have access to customer service wherever they need them. The Citi customer service can help by giving you your balance, make a payment, or file a claim for fraudulent charges.

How Does the Citi® Secured Mastercard® Compare?

The Citi® Secured Mastercard® is a great secured credit card for applicants seeking to establish credit, but if you want to know how it stacks up against its competitors, check out these alternatives:

#1. Discover it® Secured Credit Card vs. Citi® Secured Mastercard®

The Discover it® Secured Credit Card is one of the only secured credit cards that offer rewards for new cardmembers.

The Discover it® Secured Credit Card offers 2% back on quarterly rotating categories such as gas and online shopping and 1% cash back on all other purchases. The security deposits range from a minimum of $200 to $2,500, depending on creditworthiness.

Discover also reviews your credit account every eight months to determine if you are eligible for an upgrade and a security deposit refund.

The Citi® Secured Mastercard® offers a security deposit limit between $250 and $2,500, but approved applicants can choose how much they want to deposit regardless of their credit score.

#2. Petal® 2 “Cash Back, No Fees” Visa® Credit Card vs. Citi® Secured Mastercard®

The Petal® 2 “Cash Back, No Fees” Visa® Credit Card is one of the most advanced beginner credit cards on the market.

Thanks to its proprietary approval system, you can open an account and a line of credit without any credit history or security deposit.

The Petal® 2 “Cash Back, No Fees” Visa® Credit Card takes your income, debt, and spending habits into account when you apply for the card instead of just debt and credit score.

Not only does this card offer an entry line of credit with no security deposit, but customers approved for the Petal® 2 “Cash Back, No Fees” Visa® Credit Card also earn between 1% and 1.5% cash back on purchases.

The Citi® Secured Mastercard® is a more traditional secured credit card designed to help applicants establish credit.

Approved customers can receive a credit line between $200 and $2,500, but the higher your limit, the easier it will be to manage your credit utilization ratio.

#3. Citi® Secured Mastercard® vs. Secured Mastercard® from Capital One®

The Secured Mastercard® from Capital One® is very similar to the Citi® Secured Mastercard®; however, the security deposit structure is very different.

Instead of selecting your own security deposit balance, the Secured Mastercard® from Capital One® requires approved applicants to make a required deposit of either $49, $99, or $200, depending on your creditworthiness.

Once you have your initial deposit, you can increase your maximum to $1,000, which would be ideal if you have the cash. This card also offers price protection which is rare for a secured credit card.

The Citi secured card Offers its entire security deposit decision up to the applicant if they are Approved.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I Get the Citi® Secured Mastercard® with Bad Credit?

While it is possible to get the Citi® Secured Mastercard® with poor credit, there is no guarantee that applicants will get it.

This card is primarily designed for customers with a blank credit slate instead of customers who need a card to help repair damaged credit.

If you need a card that can help you rebuild or repair your credit score, there are better options on the market, such as the Discover it® Secured Credit Card.

Is the Citi® Secured Mastercard® a Good Card?

The Citi® Secured Mastercard® is exclusively designed for consumers with little to no credit history who want to establish a credit score with the intent of upgrading to a better, unsecured credit card in the future.

The Citi® Secured Mastercard® can be a great option for establishing credit because it does not charge an annual fee, and the required minimum deposits can be as low as $200.

Does Citi® Secured Mastercard® Do a Hard Inquiry?

The Citi® Secured Mastercard® does run a hard credit inquiry to help determine if you qualify for this card.

Citi also asks questions about your debt and income levels since applicants may have limited or no credit history.

Since the Citi® Secured Mastercard® is meant to help build credit, your current credit score is not the only determining factor that decides if you qualify for the card.

Bottom Line: Citi® Secured Mastercard® Review

Overall, the Citi® Secured Mastercard® is an excellent choice if you have no credit history and seek to establish a credit score.

Many secured credit cards charge annual fees on top of the security deposit, but the Citi® Secured Mastercard® is one of the few secured cards on the market that does not.

Keep in mind that you should pay your balance on time every month to avoid penalties and an interest rate increase.

Additionally, you will need to consistently pay your balance for 18 consecutive months before the bank will review your account for an upgrade to an unsecured card.

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Justin Estes
Justin Estes
Justin is an experienced personal finance writer, blogger, and author. His background in accounting and finance led to a passion for helping people make the most of their money and matching them with financial products that enhance their lifestyle. When he's not working, he enjoys hiking, playing guitar, and drinking coffee.