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Review: TCF Bank Secured Visa® Card

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For a $25 annual fee and a $300 minimum deposit, you can work your way towards good credit.

  • Get this card if… you want to upgrade to an unsecured card by maintaining a good payment history.
  • Pick something else if…you don’t want to pay annual fees or wish to earn rewards.
  • Poor to fair credit score of 300 to 579 recommended.


Annual fee


Purchase APR (variable)


Recommended credit score


Product NameTCF Bank Secured Visa® Card
Card typeVisa
Annual fee$25
Purchase APR23.99% variable
Balance transfer APR23.99% variable
Balance transfer fee$10 or 5% of the transaction, whichever is greater
Cash advance rate25.24% variable
Cash advance fee$15 or 5% of the cash advance amount, whichever is greater
Foreign transaction fee3% of the transaction value
Interest free periodUp to 21 days
Late payment feeUp to $40
Returned payment feeUp to $35
Additional cardholder fee$0

Expert review

Adrienne Fuller

Review by

Adrienne Fuller is the head of publishing at Finder US. With a decade of experience creating guides in finance and education, she aims to deliver the accurate and transparent information she wishes she had when she made some of life's important financial decisions. For the past 3 years she has been the publisher of money transfers, helping readers save when they send money all over the globe. She has a BA from Colorado College and loves to hike with her two Catahoula dogs around her home in San Diego.

Expert review

If you have poor or no credit, it may be difficult to qualify for a credit card. Secure cards can help by requiring a deposit that also becomes your credit limit. This is helpful if you’re looking to get your credit back on track.

The TCF Bank Secured Visa® Card lets you set your credit limit from $300 to $5,000, a deposit you’ll get back after you move to an unsecured card. It also gives you the chance to check your FICO score for free once a month.

If you need a card that comes with a lower minimum deposit, you might want to check what the Capital One® Secured Mastercard® has to offer.

How to apply for the card

  1. On the TCF Bank Secured Visa Card website, click Apply Online.
    TCF Bank Secured Visa Card step 1
  2. Provide the required personal, employment and financial information and review your information.

    TCF Bank Secured Visa Card step 2a

    TCF Bank Secured Visa Card step 2b

    TCF Bank Secured Visa Card step 2c

    TCF Bank Secured Visa Card step 2d

  3. Verify the information is correct and click Submit.

How long will it take to be approved?

TCF Bank processes its applications online, and you’ll typically learn your application’s conditional approval soon after submitting it.

The perks

  • Build or repair your credit. If you use this card responsibly by making on time, monthly payments, you’ll be on your way to building or repairing your credit.
  • Set your own credit limit. By making a deposit between $300 and $5,000 you set your own credit limit.
  • Qualify for an unsecured card. If you maintain a good payment history, you may qualify for a secured TCF Bank Secured Visa® Card in as little as 11 months. You’ll then get your security deposit back.

You’ll also like…

  • Access to FICO score. Use the TCF Bank online banking system to view your updated FICO score each month, for free.
  • Personalize your card. Make the card truly yours by using any photo to personalize your TCF Bank Secured Visa® Card.
  • Safety and security. This chip enabled Visa card comes with fraud monitoring and zero liability.

How to make this card worth it

The card doesn’t offer cash back or rewards so you won’t be able to offset its annual fee. Although, by making on time payments, you can improve your creditworthiness and qualify for an unsecured card within a year. In addition, you can also improve your credit utilization ratio by using only a small portion of the card’s available limit.

Compare credit cards

Name Product Filter values Rewards Purchase APR Annual fee
Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express
6% on select US streaming services, 3% on transit and US gas stations, 6% at US supermarkets on up to $6,000 annually, then 1% after that and on all other purchases
0% intro for the first 12 months (then 13.99% to 23.99% variable)
Perfect for families: Get up to 6% on everyday purchases and a welcome offer worth $250. This heavy-hitter rewards card has uncontested value. Rates & fees
Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express
20% at up to $200 back in the first 6 months, 2% at US gas stations and select US department stores, 3% at US supermarkets on up to $6,000 per year, then 1% after that and on all other purchases
0% intro for the first 15 months (then 13.99% to 23.99% variable)
This everyday cashback card is ideal for Black Friday and holiday shopping with 20% back at up to $200 back in the first 6 months. Rates & fees
Chase Freedom Flex℠
5% back in rotating categories up to $1,500 combined each activated quarter (then 1%), 5% on travel purchased through Chase, 3% on dining and drugstores, and 1% on all other purchases
0% intro for the first 15 months (then 14.99% to 23.74% variable)
Get up to 5% cashback in rotating and newly added everyday categories. The refreshed Freedom Flex card has lots of earning potential.
Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
5x points on Lyft, 2x points on travel and dining and 1x points on all other purchases
15.99% to 22.99% variable
Earn a signup bonus worth $750 with this popular travel card. Combine with other Chase Ultimate Rewards cards for even greater value.
Citi® Diamond Preferred® Card
0% intro for the first 18 months (then 14.74% to 24.74% variable)
An impressive 18 months intro APR on balance transfers and purchases, as well as no annual fee make this one of the top 0% APR cards available.

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What to watch out for

  • Annual fee. You’ll pay an annual fee of $25 for the life of the card.
  • Penalties and fees. Late and returned payments come with penalties of up to $40. Foreign transactions, balance transfers and cash advances attract fees as well.

You’ll need to make a deposit of at least $300 when you apply in order to be considered a potential cardholder.

Always consider your options and your financial situation before you apply for a credit card.

Information you’ll need

In order to apply for the TCF Bank Secured Visa® Card, you’ll need to provide the following information:

  • Your full name, Social Security number and contact information.
  • Housing status and monthly rent or mortgage payment.
  • Employment status and gross annual income from all sources.
  • Bank account information you want to use to make your initial deposit.

What credit score do I need?

Applying with a credit score of 300 or higher increases the possibility of your application’s approval.

I got the card. Now what?

  • Make timely payments. Register your account online to monitor your spending and make payments.
  • Avoid interest. Make use of the 21-day grace period after each billing cycle to avoid paying interest on purchases.
  • Avoid unnecessary fees. Ensure that there are adequate funds in your bank account when making payments to avoid stiff late fees and bounced-payment penalties.
  • Customer service. Online help is available on the TCF banking platform, or call 800-823-2265 for support. You can also connect with Twitter @TCFCares or Facebook @TCFbank.

Bottom line

It’s important to rebuild your credit, and getting a secured card is a good start. However, TCF Bank claims this is a card to help ‘build and rebuild your credit.’ But it’s not easy to find whether it reports your responsible use to any of the three major credit bureaus. If you’re looking to increase your credit score, choose a different secure card that specifically advertises its reporting to help you get your credit score back on track.

Common questions about TCF Bank Secured Visa® Card

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    Default Gravatar
    January 9, 2018

    I have the TCF secured credit card and have made on time payments for a year, how do I convince them to convert it to an unsecured credit card?

      Avatarfinder Customer Care
      January 9, 2018

      Hi AJ,

      Thanks for your inquiry. Please note that we are not affiliated with TCF or any company we feature on our site and so we can only offer you general advice.

      For TCF Bank Secured Visa® Card, if you maintain a good payment history, you may qualify for a secured TCF Bank credit card in as little as 11 months. You’ll then get your security deposit back. By making on time payments, you can improve your creditworthiness and qualify for an unsecured card within a year.

      Please contact TFC bank directly to further inquire how you can qualify to upgrade to an unsecured card.

      Best regards,

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