By the way, if there’s a card you’re interested in that’s not on my secured credit cards list, just ask and I’ll put it on my Card Reviews To-Do List. Yes, I really do have such a thing!
Okay, let’s get down to business. The required deposit for the Wells Fargo Secured Card is $300, but you can go up to a maximum of $10,000, if you wish to.
Your money goes into a Wells Fargo account, which they refer to as a “collateral account.” You do not earn interest on your deposit.
The website states that “Wells Fargo reviews Secured Credit Card accounts for upgrade periodically.” If you’re upgraded to an unsecured card, your security deposit will be returned (see the “Bottom Line” section below for more details about this). You know, many secured cards don’t even want to hint that this is a possibility. So I like it that Wells Fargo is willing to put this out there.
Now, having said that, I’ve received both good and bad comments from consumers about the graduation process. Some say that graduation occurred at 12 months and they didn’t even have to make a request for it. Others say they had to make the phone call. Some were graduated to an unsecured card, but some were turned down. These cases are viewed on an individual basis, so it depends on what’s in your credit report and if you’ve made payments on time.
Wells Fargo reports your payment history to the major credit bureaus, so you can rebuild (or establish) your credit history if you use this card responsibly. Now, the card is reported as “secured,” but don’t let that freak you out. To understand how this affects your credit, read this post: Does the FICO Score Treat Secured Credit Cards Differently?
Okay, enough chit chat. Let’s take a look at the numbers you need to know about.
Rates and fees for the Wells Fargo Secured Card
With the Wells Fargo Secured Card, you get a variable 19.24 percent APR on purchases, which is a teeny bit higher than it used to be. It still isn’t too shabby for this category, but try not to carry a balance. Use the card to show you can handle credit responsibly and avoid paying interest expense if at all possible. Your goal is to get back on track with your credit and raise your credit score. Note that this card offers a 25-day grace period, which is excellent.
APR for purchases: You get a variable 19.24 percent.
Balance transfers: Unless you’re offered a promotional rate, the balance transfer APR is a variable 19.24 percent. The transfer fee is 5 percent, which is on the high side.
Annual Fee: It’s $25.
APR for cash advances: You get a variable 24.24 percent. There’s also a 5 percent cash advance fee. Interest starts accruing immediately, so absolutely do not get a cash advance unless it’s a freaking emergency. Seriously.
Foreign transaction fee: It’s 3 percent.
Overdraft protection advances: If you decide to link your account to a checking account for overdraft protection, here’s the fee structure:
If the total of overdraft protection advances for the day is $50 or less, then the fee is $12.50. If the total of overdraft protection advances for the day is greater than $50, then it’s $20. These advances are treated like a cash advance, so that means the interest clock starts ticking immediately. So please don’t opt in for overdraft protection.
If your expenses exceed the amount you have in your checking account, don’t compound the problem by getting into debt with this credit card. Take a look at your budget and track your spending so you live within your means. Wells Fargo offers Rapid Alerts so you can track spending and get notifications of suspected fraudulent activity.
Deposit required: You must deposit an amount between $300 – $10,000.
Credit limit: Your limit equals the amount of your security deposit.
Overall, the Wells Fargo Secured Card is a pretty good choice, especially if you already bank with Wells Fargo. And you get a unique benefit if you pay your cell phone bill with your Wells Fargo Secured Card. You get protection for up to $600 on a cell phone against covered damage or theft. There’s a $25 deductible, but really, that’s a nice benefit. But if you lose your card, it isn’t covered.
Since I originally reviewed this card several years ago, there’s a wealth of information in the comments section below. You’ll find a few comments that state that the deposit was difficult to get back in a timely manner. I found a section in the fine print that says that Wells Fargo might hold the funds in your collateral account for up to 60 days to make sure there aren’t any remaining transactions that need to clear. So just be aware that getting the deposit back may take awhile. It’s certainly not ideal, but it isn’t unusual for a secured card.
Another thing I like about this card is that you get a lot of Visa benefits, such as auto collision damage waiver and roadside assistance. And be sure to check out the credit management section on their website. I love seeing a bank make an effort to educate folks about credit.