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The USAA® Secured Visa Platinum® Card can help you build credit when you keep your credit utilization ratio low and consistently make on-time payments. To get the secured card you must open a 2-year certificate of deposit (CD), which earns a 0.54% variable APY. The annual percentage yield will change periodically throughout the two-year term.
The money deposited into the CD acts as a security deposit and becomes your credit limit — when you open a CD with $500 your credit limit becomes $500, minus the annual fee. A minimum deposit of $250 is required, with a maximum of $5,000.
Expect a range of 11.90% to 21.90% 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 aren’t typically offered with secured cards.
- No penalty APR. You won’t be penalized for late or missed payments.
- Determine your own credit limit. When you apply you’ll open a 2-year CD with $250 to $5,000. The balance of your CD is your credit limit and acts as your security deposit.
- Earn interest. You have the benefit of earning a variable interest on the balance of the CD, currently at 0.54% APY.
- foreign transaction fees. You won’t pay a foreign transaction fee when you make purchases outside of the US.
- Collision damage waiver coverage. Covers physical damage to and theft of most rental vehicles.
- Security. Comes with chip technology and USAA provides assistance should you become the victim of identity theft.
- Extended warranty. Extend your manufacturer’s or store-brand warranties for up to one year.
- Convenience. Get your account balance and transaction history by text message, or access your account on the USAA website or mobile app.
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- Deployment/PCS Rate. Get 4% APR on all balances for up to 12 months during deployment or PCS. After 12 months the regular APR, currently from 11.90% to 21.90% variable , will apply. This rate will vary with the market, based on the prime rate.
- Special 4% SCRA Rate. You’ll get 4% APR on your existing balance when you enter active duty.
- Military Campaign Benefit. You’ll get a rebate on all finance charges accrued while you served in a qualified military campaign.
USAA® Secured Visa Platinum® Card Features
- Annual fee. As a cardholder, you can expect an annual fee of $35.
- APR. The APR ranges from 11.90% to 21.90% variable depending on creditworthiness. The percentage is based on the prime rate.
- APY. You can earn a variable 0.54% APY on the balance of the CD.
- Credit card. This card is a true credit card — not a debit or prepaid card.
- Secure. The card is installed with chip technology for added security. Additionally, you are not liable for any unauthorized purchases.
- Balance transfer fee. For all balance transfers and cash advances, you can expect a 3% fee with a maximum of $200.
How to apply for the USAA® Secured Visa Platinum® Card
In order to apply for the USAA® Secured Visa Platinum® Card, you must be a member of the military, a veteran who was honorably discharged or an eligible family member of military personnel. You also must be:
- A US citizen or permanent resident
- At least 18 years old
Always consider your options and your financial situation before you apply for a credit card.
Required documents & information
- Full name
- Physical address
- Marital status
- Contact information
- Proof of employment and income
Steps to apply
Once you’ve gathered your info, here are the steps to follow:
- Head over to the USAA® Secured Visa Platinum® Card landing page.
- Click the green “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, it’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 American Express® Card landing 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 Visa Platinum® Card.
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 Visa Platinum® Card doesn’t provide a direct path to an unsecured card. While your approval isn’t guaranteed, you can apply for an unsecured credit card once you’ve raised your credit score with the secured one.
What customers are saying about the USAA® Secured Visa Platinum® Card
You won’t find many negative online comments about the USAA® Secured Visa Platinum® Card, which is fairly unusual in the world of secured credit cards. The Better Business Bureau gives USAA an A+, and it has a composite score of 3.79 out of 5. Trustpilot lists some negative reviews about 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 looking for a card that will help you improve your credit, the USAA® Secured Visa Platinum® Card could be an ideal solution. For it to be effective, you’ll have to use it responsibly, keep your credit utilization ratio low and make your monthly payments on time. Its perks and high customer satisfaction make it a solid choice, but be sure to compare it with other credit cards before making a decision.