Note to my subscribers: If you’ve gotten this post twice, my apologies. When it went out two days ago, I had not published an updated review for it. In fact, I have no idea why that went out since the pub date was January 17, 2017. Anyway, this is now updated! Sorry for the confusion. It’s either poltergeist or I need to take another WordPress class, LOL.
It’s time to update the BankAmericard Secured Credit Card and see if there are any changes. As I’ve done with other cards when I update a review, I’ve left the comments in place. Or rather, the “intel.”
I’ve been trying to work “intel” into a sentence. Is it just me, or does it sound mysterious and intriguing? Maybe I’m just watching too many British crime dramas on Netflix.
Anyway, this used to be was a fully-secured card, which meant that your credit limit equaled your security deposit. But now BoA is embracing the concept of a partially-secured card.
This is explained on the home page for the BankAmericard Secured Credit Card: “Your maximum credit limit (up to $4,900) will be determined by the amount of the security deposit you provide, your income, and your ability to pay the credit line established. If you provide a deposit that exceeds the calculated maximum amount based on your ability to pay, a check will be returned to you for the difference.”
Keep in mind that you could still end up with a fully-secured card after your application is reviewed. But whatever your credit limit is, you have the chance to establish or rebuild credit with this card.
And more good news. After 12 months, your account will be reviewed. This isn’t an automatic upgrade, though, so use the card responsibly to improve your chances of graduating to an unsecured card. That means you’ll get your security deposit back. Yay for that!
The minimum deposit required is $300 and the maximum is $4,900. The deposit does not earn interest, which is a bummer, but not uncommon with secured cards. For that reason, I wouldn’t plop thousands of dollars into this account. Just deposit the amount you think you’ll need to use the card and rebuild credit.
Bank of America (BoA) does report your payment history to the major credit bureaus, so that’s good. Remember, if a secured card doesn’t report your payment history, then it can’t help you rebuild your credit. This card does report as “secured,” but that’s not a deal breaker, in my opinion. I explain the reason in this post: Does the FICO Score Treat Secured Credit Cards Differently?
Rates and fees
The rates for the BankAmericard Secured Credit Card aren’t too bad. It’s not awesome, for sure, but it’s a good card with decent terms.
APR: You get a variable rate of 21.24 percent. This is up a smidgeon, but we’ll let it pass since it’s an itty bitty increase.
Balance transfers: The balance transfer APR is a variable 21.24 percent. The transfer fee is 3 percent.
APR for cash advances: You get a variable 21.24 percent for direct deposit and check cash advances. The transaction fee is 3 percent.
But wait, there’s more! There’s a 25.99 percent APR for bank cash advances (for example, getting cash from an ATM). The transaction fee is 5 percent.
If have transfer an amount from your credit card to another account for overdraft protection, the fee is $12 for each transaction. This is also considered a cash advance, so interest starts ticking right away. If you’re desperate for cash, explore all other options first. I mean, all other options. And don’t use overdraft protection. I’m not a fan. If you can’t cover what you’re buying, then don’t buy it.
Penalty APR: This used to be 29.99 percent. Now? It’s zero! Way to go, BoA!
Annual fee: You pay $39 per year.
Foreign transaction fees: It’s 3 percent.
Credit limit: As I already pointed out, your limit will be determined by BoA when you apply.
The bottom line
I’m glad that BoA has made this a partially-secured card for some consumers. This possibility is one of the reasons this card is in the top tier on The Best (and Worst) Secured Credit Cards. Another reason is the 12-month review process, which gives you a chance of graduating to an unsecured card without having to apply for a new card. Awesome, right?
I also like the access to a FICO score. You’ll see a free score each month via your mobile banking app or through online banking. This is not necessarily the score that will be used by a lender when you apply for credit. But it gives you a great idea of where you stand.
The APR is nothing to write home about, so don’t carry a balance. BoA has a generous 25-day grace period, so that’s enough time to pay your whole bill. This card gives you a good opportunity to rebuild or establish your credit. So keep low balances and pay the bill in full by the due date.