If you want to build your credit, the USAA Secured Card American Express can help if you use your card wisely and make on-time payments. It’s not a debit or pre-paid card, but a true credit card, which means it reports to all three credit agencies. It’s issued by USAA Bank – a company that has been helping military members and their families since 1922.
The card is secured by a CD that you open when you sign up. The money that’s in the CD stays there, and even earns interest. The CD acts as the security deposit for your line of credit and sets your credit limit.
|Product Name||USAA Secured Card American Express®|
|Balance Transfer Rate (not intro)||11.15% to 21.15% variable|
|APR for Purchases ( Purchase Rate )||11.15% to 21.15% variable|
|Cash Advance Rate||11.15% to 21.15% variable|
|Card Type||American Express|
|Interest Free Period|
The interest-free period on purchases is the period or number of days you do not have to pay interest on your card purchases. You will be charged interest either from the day you make a purchase or from the statement date, unless you pay the closing balance in full by the due date (or within the interest-free period) on your statement.
|Up to 25 days|
|Returned Payment Fee||$35|
|Minimum Credit Score||Poor (Below 660)|
|Minimum Age||18 years of age|
|Min credit limit|
This is the lowest credit card limit that you can request. It is possible to apply for a higher credit card limit but not a lower one than this figure.
|Max credit limit|
This credit limit may not be issued to you immediately on application. This is the maximum credit limit for this card which must be applied for or offered to you after you are approved and have already opened the account.
|Returned Payment Fee||$35|
|Over The Credit Line Fee||$0|
|Late Payment Fee||$35|
|Cash Advance Fee||3% of the amount of each cash advance (maximum fee for each convenience check: $200)|
The USAA Secured Card American Express can help you build credit when you keep your credit utilization ratio low and consistently make payments before the due date. To get the secured card, you must open a two-year CD, which earns a .54% variable APY. The annual percentage yield will change periodically throughout the 2-year term. The money deposited into the CD acts as a security deposit and becomes your credit limit. A minimum deposit of $250 is required, with a max of up to $5,000.
Expect a 11.15% to 21.15% variable APR, and a $35 annual fee. To be eligible for the card you must be affiliated with the military and qualify for a USAA membership. The card offers special military rates for those on active military duty and deployment. It also includes a variety of security, retail and travel benefits, which is not typical of most secured cards.
- Build credit. As you use the card and make consistent on-time payments, you’ll build creditworthiness.
- Travel benefits. While you’re traveling, don’t worry about paying foreign transaction fees.
- Retail benefits. Your manufacturer’s and US store brand warranties are extended for up to one year when you make the purchase with your card.
- Collision damage waiver coverage. You’re covered by a collision damage waiver when you use this card to pay for a rental car. This coverage pays for physical damage or theft to your rental car.
You’ll also like
- Secure. The card includes chip technology for added security. You’re also protected by the Zero Liability Policy, and are not responsible for unauthorized purchases.
- Military rebate. USAA Bank will rebate all finance charges during your qualified military campaign.
- Military bonuses. During deployment/PCS, you have access to a 4% APR on all balances for up to 12 months. If you’re on active military duty, you get a special 4% rate on your balance until one year after you complete active duty. USAA will also help you before, during and after deployment.
What to watch out for
- High APR. The interest you pay on this card can be anywhere from 11.15% to 21.15% variable.
- Members only. You have to be a member of USAA.
How to apply for the USAA Secured Card American Express
Always consider your options and your financial situation before you apply for a credit card.
To apply for the USAA Secured Card American Express, you must be at least 18 years old, a US resident and a member of the military, a veteran who was honorably discharged, or an eligible family member of military personnel.
Required documents & information:
- Full name and address
- Marital status
- Contact information
- Proof of employment and income amount
Steps to apply
Once you’ve gathered your info, here are the steps to follow:
- Head over to the USAA Secured Card American Express landing page.
- Click the “Get Started” button.
- If you’re already a member of USAA, you’ll then log in to your account. If you’re new to USAA, click the “Get Started Now” link toward the bottom of the page.
- If you followed the “Get Started Now” link, they’ll take you through some steps to determine if you are eligible for USAA membership.
- If you qualify, sign up for a USAA membership and navigate back to the USAA Secured Card American Express lading page and click the “Get Started” button.
- Once you log in to your USAA account, you can begin the application process.
- Provide the information requested in the online application and learn whether you qualify for the USAA Secured Card American Express.
I got the card! Now what?
- Avoiding interest. To avoid paying interest on your purchases, pay your entire balance by the due date each month.
- Avoiding fees. There is a transaction fee of 3% on cash advances, but this fee is waived when you transfer funds electronically from your USAA credit card to your USAA Bank deposit account.
- Customer service. You can reach USAA at 800-531-USAA (or 800-531-8722).
- Graduating to a secured card. The USAA Secured Card does not provide a direct path to an unsecured card. However, once you use this card to raise your credit score, you can then go on to apply for an unsecured card.
What are customers saying about the USAA Secured Card American Express?
You won’t find many negative online comments about the USAA Secure Card American Express, which is fairly unusual in the secured credit card world. And the Better Business Bureau gives USAA an A+. Trustpilot lists some negative reviews abut USAA in general, but those are few and far between when you look at the whole picture.
If you’re affiliated with the military and are looking for a credit card to help you build your credit, the USAA Secured Card American Express could be a helpful solution if you use it responsibly and keep your credit utilization ratio low and make your monthly payments on time. Its rewards and high customer satisfaction make it a solid choice, but be sure to compare it with other credit cards before choosing this card.