Citi Secured Mastercard review |

Review: Citi® Secured Mastercard® — November 2018

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A basic credit card from a reputable provider that you can apply for even with zero or poor credit.

If you’ve shied away from applying for a credit card due to having poor or no credit, the Citi® Secured Mastercard® could be the right card for you. You’re welcome to apply even with no credit history, as you’ll need to submit a security deposit of at least $200 as collateral.
The Citi® Secured Mastercard® may not come with travel or cash-back rewards, but it offers an attractive reward in its own right: the opportunity to build reliable credit with timely payments and responsible spending.

Product NameCiti® Secured Mastercard®
Card TypeMastercard
Annual Fee$0
APR (Annual Percentage Rate) for Purchases24.49% variable
Balance Transfer APR24.49% variable
Balance Transfer Fee$5 or 3% of the transaction, whichever is greater
Cash Advance Rate27.24% variable
Foreign Transaction Fee3% of the transaction value
Cash Advance Fee$10 or 5% of the cash advance amount, whichever is greater
Interest Free PeriodUp to 23 days
Late Payment FeeUp to $35
Returned Payment FeeUp to $35
Additional Cardholder Fee$0
Minimum Age18 years of age

The Basics

Applying for a credit card can be tough if you have zero or poor credit. In that case, consider applying for a card like the Citi® Secured Mastercard®. Because it’s a secured card, it requires an initial deposit of $200-$2,500, which will act as your credit limit. Your deposit will not accrue interest.

You won’t receive rewards like cash back or travel miles with the card; instead, the value of the card comes from the opportunity to build credit without having to worry about an annual fee. Each month, your payment history will be reported to various credit bureaus. By keeping up with payments, you’ll steadily build solid credit that you can later leverage for better rates on home and car loans and applications for more value-packed credit cards.

Though the Citi® Secured Mastercard® doesn’t come with rewards, it’s backed by several helpful services by Citi. Citi Identity Theft Solutions will protect you from fraud; travel services offer accident insurance, trip cancellation protection, and more; purchase protection gives you perks like extended warranties on purchases; and the Roadside Assistance Dispatch Service can help you if you ever have car problems on the road.

Benefits of the Citi® Secured Mastercard®

  • Apply even with no credit history. Because it’s a secured credit card, the Citi card allows those with little or no credit history to apply.
  • Build your credit. A secured credit card is a great way for you to build your credit with timely monthly payments.
  • No annual fee. You can use your Citi® Secured Mastercard® without worrying about paying annual fees.
  • Citi Identity Theft Solutions. If you are a victim of identity theft, Citi will assist you with identifying stolen accounts, filing police reports, and repairing your credit.
  • Travel protection. With the Citi card, you’ll receive travel services like accident insurance, car rental insurance, and trip cancellation protection.
  • Purchase protection. With Citi’s purchase protection, you’ll receive extended warranties on your purchases, damage and theft protection on purchases, and no liability for unauthorized charges to your card.
  • Roadside Assistance Dispatch Service. If you need assistance with your car while in the United States, Citi can dispatch roadside assistance to you. (You will need to pay for roadside-assistance services.)

What to watch out for

  • Not available to those with bankruptcies within the previous two years. If you’ve had a bankruptcy within the previous two years, you will be ineligible to obtain the Citi® Secured Mastercard®.
  • 24.49% variable APR. The purchase APR is a higher-than-average 24.49% variable. That said, strongly consider paying off your balance each month to avoid accruing interest on your balance.
  • Higher APR for cash advances. Keep in mind that cash advances come with a higher APR of 27.24% variable (versus the card’s purchase APR of 24.49% variable). You will also need to pay a fee of 24.49% variable.

How to apply for the Citi® Secured Mastercard®

Eligibility criteria

  • You are at least 18 years of age
  • You must not have had any bankruptcies within the past two years

Required documents & information

  • Your name, residential status, and residential address
  • Your Social Security number
  • Your email address, phone number, and date of birth
  • Financial information like your annual salary, wages, bank routing number, and bank account number

Steps to apply

  1. Hop over to Citi’s secured credit card landing page.
  2. Click Apply Now.
  3. Fill out your personal and financial info, including how much money you will be putting down for your security deposit.
  4. Carefully review the terms and conditions and then check the two boxes if you agree.
  5. Click Submit.

I got the card, now what?

  • How to make payments. You can make your monthly payment online, over the phone or by mailing a check or money order.
  • How to avoid interest. To avoid paying interest, pay your balance in full each month.
  • How to avoid fees. Avoid the late payment fee by making your monthly payment on time.
  • Customer service. You can reach customer support by calling 1-800-374-9700 or by logging into your account and initiating a chat.

What customers say

The Citi® Secured Mastercard® gets great reviews online, with cardholders praising the ability to get approved with poor credit. Some mediocre reviews call the card “just average.”

Bottom line

With responsible spending and on-time payments, the Citi® Secured Mastercard® can help you get your credit score back on track. Its no annual fee is a plus, but watch out for the the high APR on purchases. Pay your balance in full each month if possible to avoid racking up new debt.
Compare other secured credit cards

Compare other Citi credit cards

Name Product Filter values Annual Fee APR for Purchases (Purchase Rate) Intro APR for Balance Transfer
15.49% to 25.49% variable
0% for the first 18 months (then 15.49% to 25.49% variable)
Earn 1% cash back for payments on purchases, on top of the 1% cash back on purchases. No annual fee.
15.49% to 25.49% variable
0% for the first 15 months (then 15.49% to 25.49% variable)
Enjoy our low intro APR for 15 months on purchases and balance transfers.
24.49% variable
Start building credit for tomorrow with a secured credit card.
15.74% to 24.74% variable
Get rewarded for purchases you're already making with the AT&T Access Card, a top rewards credit card from Citi. Apply for the AT&T credit card today and start earning ThankYou® Points redeemable for gift cards, travel rewards electronics and much more.
15.99% to 25.99% variable
0% for the first 21 months (then 15.99% to 25.99% variable)
The Best Interest Is No Interest. Take advantage of our low Intro APR for 21 months on balance transfers and for 12 months on purchases with the Citi Simplicity® Card.
17.24% variable
Earn Costco cash rewards everywhere Visa® is accepted.
17.79% to 25.74% variable
Earn 50,000 American Airlines AAdvantage® bonus miles after making $5,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening.
$0 annual fee for the first year ($99 thereafter)
17.99% to 25.99% variable
Earn 50,000 AAdvantage® bonus miles after you spend $2,500 in the first 3 months.
16.49% to 26.49% variable
Earn 2,500 bonus points after spending $500 within the first 3 months of account opening.
$0 annual fee for the first year ($95 thereafter)
16.49% to 25.49% variable
Enjoy Great Rewards and Earn ThankYou® Points on Dining, Entertainment, Travel and more

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Kevin Joey Chen

Kevin Chen is a world-travelin', copy-writin', Game of Thrones-watchin' credit cards writer for When he's not crunching the numbers on bonus points and comparing APRs, you can find him flying around the world in search of the perfect beer.

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