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Credit Builder Secured Visa® Credit Card review

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Earn interest on your deposit while you build credit with this no-frills secured card.

For those who’ve recently served as members of the Armed Forces to civilians simply weighing their personal banking options, the Armed Forces Bank caters to customers from all walks of life.


Annual fee


Purchase APR (variable)


Recommended credit score


Product NameCredit Builder Secured Visa® Credit Card
Card typeVisa
Annual fee$35
Purchase APR20.99% variable
Balance transfer APR20.99% variable
Cash advance rate20.99% variable
Cash advance fee$5 or 2% of the cash advance amount, whichever is greater
Penalty APR24.99% fixed
Foreign transaction fee1% of the transaction value
Interest free periodUp to 25 days
Late payment feeUp to $25
Returned payment feeUp to $25
Additional cardholder fee$0

Expert review

Peter Carleton

Review by

Peter Carleton is a writer that covers banking and investing, breaking down what you need to know about where you put your money. When Peter's not thinking about cutting-edge banking apps and robo-advisors, he runs a creative agency and spends his spare time cooking or reading.

Expert review

The Credit Builder Secured Visa® Credit Card is a flexible, affordable way to build or rebuild your credit with the convenience of swiping for everyday purchases. It comes with adjustable credit limits, custom payment dates and automatic reporting to all three major credit bureaus — you could be on your way to positive credit in no time.

As secured cards go, the Credit Builder Secured Visa® Credit Card is about as bare bones as it gets. You won’t find rewards, signup bonuses or flashy features — but the fee schedule reflects that.

Add in a low annual fee, and this card’s a solid option for veterans and civilians alike. And with on-time payments, you might be eligible to graduate to an unsecured card with the bank.

Card benefits

  • Custom credit line. You can set your credit limit by adding funds in increments of $50 to your savings account.
  • Accrue interest on savings. You’ll earn interest in your security deposit.
  • Low annual fee. You’ll pay $35 each year to use the card.

What to watch out for

This card offers low fees and a reasonable annual cost, but look out for a few potential drawbacks that include:

  • No rewards program.
    They’re primarily designed to help you build credit, but a few secured cards offer rewards as an incentive. This one doesn’t.
  • High APR.
    Compared with other secured credit cards, this one’s APR is pretty high. However, you can cut the APR in half if you already hold an account with the bank.
  • $35 annual fee.
    The fee is reasonable compared to other options, but not as good as no fee.
  • Annoying fees.
    Unless you enroll in the bank’s e-statements, you’ll pay a $4.50 quarterly fee. You’ll also pay $5 for each $50 increase in your credit limit.

How to apply for the Credit Builder Secured Visa® Credit Card

Get started with applying through Armed Forces Bank’s straightforward site.

1. Visit Armed Forces Bank online and find the Credit Builder Secured Visa® Credit Card in the Credit Cards tab. Then click Apply Now.

2. Complete the application with your personal contact, housing and financial information. Add any authorized users, and then supply your deposit information, including your bank account details. Click Continue.

3. Proceed through the application, confirming the information you’ve entered. Carefully read the terms and conditions of the card, and then submit your application.

Credit Builder Secured Visa® Credit Card application process

You’ll receive confirmation of your approval status after submitting your application.

How likely is my approval?

This card doesn’t require a minimum credit score, so approval is likely.

How long will it take to be approved?

Approvals typically take four to five business days, then it could be another two weeks before you receive your card. However, you can pay an $35 for expedited processing and delivery.

I got the card. Now what?

Now that you’re approved, it’s time to take advantage of your card.

Here’s how to get the most out of your new Secured Visa with First National Bank:

  • Activate your card.
    Once it arrives, activate your card through your online account or by setting one up to fund your card deposit.
  • Make timely payments.
    Pay online or by mail, and avoid interest on your purchases by paying your balance in full.
  • Set up autopay.
    Avoid unnecessary fees and interest by setting up automatic withdrawals for your monthly payments.
  • Set up e-statements.
    Avoid a $4.50 quarterly fee by opting for electronic statements immediately.
  • Customer service.
    Support is available by phone or secure email through your online account.
  • Graduate to an unsecured card.
    With responsible payments, you might be eligible for an upgrade to the bank’s unsecured cards.

What do customers say?

Curiously, First National Bank isn’t rated on Trustpilot. But the bank is accredited by the Better Business Bureau (BBB) since 2014 with an A+ rating.

Despite the great rating, you’ll find a handful of reviews and complaints with BBB. Most reviews report issues with undisclosed fees and frustrations in reversing them. Others mention trouble communicating with customer service agents and overly complicated interactions.

Reviews on other sites talk about extra charges, even in instances where accounts were supposed to have closed months ago. Despite frustrations, many users report positive experiences with customer service and praise the bank for helpful and friendly service.

Compare secured credit cards

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Assent Platinum 0% Intro Rate Mastercard® Secured Credit Card
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First Progress Platinum Elite MasterCard® Secured Credit Card
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Applied Bank® Secured Visa® Gold Preferred® Credit Card
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No credit check is required for this secured card. Make a deposit of at least $200 to open this card and get a low 9.99% fixed APR on purchases.
Self Visa® Credit Card
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Build your credit with a low minimum security deposit of $100 and no credit score required.

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Bottom line

The Credit Builder Secured Visa® Credit Card is a solid option for those looking to build a positive credit history on a limited budget. Despite its $35 annual fee, the card offers low fees and a surprisingly low APR, if you open an associated bank account. Flexible credit limits, custom payment dates and no transaction fees make it an everyday card that can help build your credit. And if you play your cards right, you just might graduate to an unsecured card.

Frequently asked questions about Credit Builder Secured Visa® Credit Card

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