UNITY® Visa Secured Credit Card Review

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If you have poor credit, the UNITY® Visa Secured Credit Card can help you get back on track. The UNITY® Visa Secured Credit Card is not a prepaid debit card. Instead, the card’s line of credit — anywhere from $250 to $10,000 — is tied to the amount you have on deposit with OneUnited Bank. The card has a 17.99% (Fixed) APR, meaning it is far less likely that the interest rate will increase over time. Unlike a prepaid debit card, it reports to three main credit bureaus, so using the card responsibly will improve your credit score over time.

What we like about the UNITY® Visa Secured Credit Card

  • The 17.99% (Fixed) APR is lower than interest rates on many other credit cards for bad credit
  • The card’s program for rebuilding credit provides solid financial advice
  • UNITY® Visa Secured Credit Card reports to three major credit bureaus
  • The card carries the Visa insignia and is accepted at millions of stores worldwide

Things to consider

  • This card has an annual fee of $39
  • You must be able to put down a security deposit of at least $250 to open the card account
  • You’ll pay a 3% fee to make foreign purchases and for cash advances either a $10 or 3% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater
  • There’s a $10 fee to increase your credit limit
  • You cannot pay the card balance online unless you are using your bank’s bill pay service

UNITY® Visa Secured Credit Card details

The UNITY® Visa Secured Credit Card allows you to open an account with a deposit of as little as $250, but you can put down as much as $10,000, which gives you a lot of purchase flexibility and a lower credit utilization ratio. You’ll then have a line of credit for the amount deposited. If you want to increase your limit down the road, you’ll need to pay $10.

Although some people think there is a stigma attached to having a secured card, that’s not the case. You can use the UNITY® Visa Secured Credit Card the same way you would use any other credit card, and unlike prepaid cards, which don’t report to credit bureaus, you are actively rebuilding credit in the process.

Fee details

Secured cards have fewer fees than unsecured cards, which can help you to maintain both a lower balance and a lower credit utilization ratio. UNITY® Visa Secured Credit Card has an annual fee of $39. While the annual fee is higher than you would pay for some secured cards, it is balanced by the fact that you can deposit up to $10,000.

The card’s other basic purchase fees are reasonable — up to $10 per late payment and up to $37 for a returned payment. There are no fees to set up or use the card, and no fee when you charge over the credit limit.

You will pay a 3% fee on foreign transactions, though, and the charge for balance transfers and cash advances is also 3% or $10 of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater. Restricting this card to everyday purchases is the best way to avoid costly fees.

How does it compare to other credit cards for rebuilding credit?

Compared to the Discover it® Secured and Capital One® Secured Mastercard®, UNITY® Visa Secured Credit Card offers a lower fixed rate APR. That means you’ll pay less interest if you carry a card balance. UNITY® Visa Secured Credit Card also offers the most flexibility when it comes to the amount of credit you can have. If you deposit enough cash upfront, you may lower your credit utilization score with the UNITY® Visa Secured Credit Card. However, the Capital One® Secured Mastercard® charges an annual fee. In fact, Capital One® Secured Mastercard® approves some cardholders for a deposit lower than their initial line of credit. Discover it® Secured has a different perk — you get 2% cash back on the first $1,000 you spend at gas stations and restaurants each quarter and 1% back on all other purchases.

Card Annual Fee Intro Bonus Credit Needed Key features
UNITY® Visa Secured Credit Card $39 None No Credit History
  • How to Rebuild Credit Program included
  • Reports to three main credit bureaus
Discover it® Secured See Terms Cash back match on all purchases made at the end of the first year No Credit History
  • 2% cash back at gas stations and restaurants and 1% on everything else
  • No foreign transaction fee
  • Redeem your rewards for cash at any time, no matter the amount
Capital One® Secured Mastercard® $0 None No Credit History
  • Zero fraud liability
  • AutoPay and personalized monthly payments
  • Get access to a higher credit line after five on-time monthly payments

The bottom line

The UNITY® Visa Secured Credit Card is great for people who are serious about rebuilding credit and willing to pay their balance in full each month. This inexpensive card is flexible to own by reporting to the main credit bureaus and offering useful educational resources to help you get your finances in order. Cardholders do need to be aware, though, that they will pay an annual fee to hold this card, which is an uncommon feature of secured cards. If you are willing to accept the annual fee, this no-frills card can get you started on your credit journey and help you qualify for better credit cards and lower interest rate loans down the road.

Please Note: Information about the Discover it® Secured and Capital One® Secured Mastercard® has been collected independently by TheSimpleDollar.com. The issuer did not provide the details, nor is it responsible for their accuracy.

Editorial Note: Compensation does not influence our recommendations. However, we may earn a commission on sales from the companies featured in this post. To view a list of partners, click here. Opinions expressed here are the author's alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by our advertisers. Reasonable efforts are made to present accurate info, however all information is presented without warranty. Consult our advertiser's page for terms & conditions.

Valerie Fulton
Valerie Fulton
Contributing Writer

Valerie Fulton is a freelance writer who specializes in personal finance, real estate, higher education, home improvement and business copy. Her work has been published at Veros Real Estate Solutions, Bluehost, Sears, UPS, Movoto, Peak Communications and the University of Tennessee. Every summer, she travels from Austin, Texas to the coast of Maine with her two standard poodles in order to manage the vacation property she bought for a steal several years ago.

The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

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