Union Bank Secured Visa Credit Card review | finder.com

Review: Union Bank® Secured Visa® Credit Card – November 2018

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For a $25 annual fee, this no-frills card might help you get on the road to financial health.

Secured cards can help you build or repair your credit score through everyday spending. When you open the card, you simply put down a deposit that then typically becomes your credit limit.

The Union Bank® Secured Visa® Credit Card is just one card designed to jumpstart your journey toward stronger credit, and it’s backed by a big-name bank.

Product NameUnion Bank® Secured Visa® Credit Card
Card TypeVisa
Annual Fee$25
APR (Annual Percentage Rate) for Purchases20.99% variable
Balance Transfer APR20.99% variable
Balance Transfer Fee$10 or 5% of the transaction, whichever is greater
Cash Advance Rate27.25% variable
Foreign Transaction Fee3% of the transaction value
Cash Advance Fee$15 or 5% of the cash advance amount, whichever is greater
Interest Free PeriodUp to 21 days
Late Payment FeeUp to $37
Returned Payment FeeUp to $35
Additional Cardholder Fee$0
Minimum Age18 years of age

What’s great about this card?

At just $25 a year, this secured card is an affordable and flexible option for building your credit through your everyday purchases. While you won’t know your credit limit until you apply, by staying within your approved limit and paying your statements on time, you could see credit increase and even a return on your deposit after an initial waiting period.

Union Bank also reports your responsible spending to all three major credit bureaus, along with free credit checks to keep track of your score. The bank may even reward responsible payments with an upgrade to an unsecured card.

Add to this the benefits that come with most Visa cards — like cell phone protection, roadside dispatch and auto rental collision damage — and it’s a card worth weighing among your other options.

How to make this card worth it

Unlike a few secured card options in the market, this one doesn’t include a rewards program. But a low $25 annual fee makes it easy to get started on improving your credit — the main purpose for a card like this one.

To make the most of this card, stay within your credit limit and promptly pay all statements monthly.

Take advantage of free credit checks to ensure you’re on the right track, then ask about graduating to an unsecured card after a year or more of responsible payments.

Finally, you can conveniently manage your account online. Sign up for an online account and you’ll be able to view statements, make payments, set up alerts and monitor your card activity.

What to watch out for

The Union Bank® Secured Visa® Credit Card doesn’t come with a rewards program

  • No online application. You can manage your Union Bank account online, there’s no way for you to apply for a credit card. Instead, you’ll need to visit a branch in California, Georgia, Illinois, New York, Oregon, Texas or Washington.
  • No rewards or interest on deposit. Some secured credit cards offer perks like a rewards program or interest on your security deposit. Not so with this one.
  • No clear credit limits. Union Bank doesn’t advertise the lowest or highest credit limit you could be approved for. You’ll have to apply to learn your limit.
  • Foreign transaction fees. If you do a lot of traveling, you may want to consider a different card for your international purchases to avoid potentially hefty fees.
  • High penalty and cash advance APR. Do your best to avoid cash advances, late payments, returned payments or exceeding your credit limit. Any of these circumstances can cause your APR to jump.

How to apply for the Union Bank® Secured Visa® Credit Card

You can’t apply for this credit card online. To apply, visit your local Union Bank branch with such information as:

  • Your personal contact information, including whether you rent or own.
  • Your date of birth, Social Security number and mother’s maiden name.
  • Your employer, annual income and savings.
  • Information for any authorized users you’d like to add to your account.
  • The amount you plan to deposit from your Union Bank account.

Once you’ve completed your application, wait for a confirmation of approval and delivery of your card within two weeks.

How likely is my approval?

Secured cards are generally designed to help those with poor credit improve their creditworthiness and overall financial health. Because a deposit secures your card against default on payments, approval is typically more lenient than an unsecured card.

How long will it take to be approved?

Because Union Bank processes its applications manually, expect to wait anywhere from a few hours to a few weeks before hearing back about your application.

I got the card. Now what?

Now that you’re approved, it’s time to start using your card. Activate it online or by phone to start taking advantage of your new Union Bank® Secured Visa® Credit Card.

To make sure you never miss a payment, consider signing up for autopay through your Union Bank online account. You can avoid unnecessary interest by paying your bill in full each month.

Watch out for high fees for late or returned payment, balance transfers, cash advances and foreign transactions, which can quickly add up.

After paying your bills consistently and on time for a year or longer, ask a bank representative if you’re eligible for graduating to an unsecured card.

If you lose your card, you’re protected by Visa’s worldwide emergency card replacement and cash disbursement through any of Visa’s Global Customer Assistant Services toll-free numbers worldwide.

What other customers have to say

Union Bank is accredited by the Better Business Bureau (BBB) and earns an A+ overall rating. However, customers on online forums and message boards report poor customer service, issues with credit limit increases and trouble graduating to unsecured cards.

Bottom line

Union Bank’s secured card is a solid option if you’re looking to build a positive credit history. It reports your on-time payments to the major credit bureaus, which can get you on the road to financial health more quickly.

But by comparing other secured credit cards out there, you could find one with no annual fee or even rewards — even with poor credit.

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