The Ultimate Guide to Credit Cards
Thursday, May 30, 2024

Applied Bank® Secured Visa® Gold Preferred® Credit Card Review

Eric Bank

By: Eric Bank

Eric Bank
Eric Bank

Eric Bank is an M.B.A. who has covered financial and business topics since 1985, appearing regularly on Credible, eHow, WiseBread, The Nest, Zacks, Chron, BadCredit.org and dozens of other outlets. Eric specializes in taking complex subject matters and explaining them in simple terms for consumer audiences, particularly in the world of personal finance. Eric holds a Master's in Business Administration from New York University and a Master's in Finance from DePaul University.

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Editor: Ashley Fricker

Ashley Fricker
Ashley Fricker

Ashley Fricker has more than a decade of experience as a finance contributor and editor, and has specialized in the credit card industry since 2015. Her credit card commentary is featured on national media outlets that include CNBC, MarketWatch, Investopedia, and Reader's Digest, among many others. She has worked closely with the world’s largest banks and financial institutions, up-and-coming fintech companies, and press and news outlets to curate comprehensive content and media. Ashley holds a bachelor's degree in multimedia journalism from Florida Atlantic University.

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Reviewer: Danielle Spurlin

Danielle Spurlin
Danielle Spurlin

With more than 10 years of accounting experience, Danielle Marshall has a deep understanding of many financial disciplines, including personal and commercial lending, retirement annuities, financial forecasting, and general bookkeeping. She has a bachelor's degree from the University of Florida's Fisher School of Accounting and currently manages all accounts receivable and payable for the parent company of CardRates.com. She works directly with credit card issuers and advertising partners to ensure our content meets compliance expectations and regulatory standards.

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Applied Bank® Secured Visa® Gold Preferred® Credit Card Review

Rated 4.0 /5.0 ★★★★

I’m on my computer every day, and the first thing I do after signing in is to pay my credit card bills. Sure, I can wait until the due date, but to me, keeping a zero daily balance seems as natural as brushing my teeth.

I bring up this fascinating factoid to illustrate the perfect candidate for the Applied Bank® Secured Visa® Gold Preferred® Credit Card, which charges interest immediately. But if you’re not as neurotic a bill payer as me, you can take some comfort in the card’s low APR.

In this review, we’ll examine this credit card and three of its best alternatives. We’ll give you the information you need to decide which of these secured cards should occupy space in your wallet.

A Low-APR Credit Card With No Grace Period

The Applied Bank® Secured Visa® Gold Preferred® Credit Card has a low interest rate and no grace period. We’ll unpack how this works later on, but for now, know that you can get this card even if your credit is really poor (or non-existent). The bank makes this possible by collecting a security deposit instead of checking your credit.

You can use the card to build credit efficiently because it reports your account history to all three major credit bureaus. But the card offers only the most basic features, including account security and mobile banking.

Its reasonable annual fee and lack of a monthly maintenance charge make it a viable card for credit newbies and consumers looking to resurrect their credit.

Card Terms and Conditions

The card charges a $48 annual fee and a 9.99% Fixed APR, which is about the lowest ongoing APR you’ll find anywhere. You can open an account (just click on the Apply Now link below) with a security deposit ranging from $200 to $1,000. Your deposit defines your credit limit, which you can eventually increase to as much as $5,000.

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Applied Bank® Secured Visa® Gold Preferred® Credit Card Review

at the issuer'ssecure website

BEST OVERALL RATING

★★★★

4.0

OVERALL RATING

  • Better than Prepaid...Go with a Secured Card! Load One Time - Keep On Using
  • Absolutely No Credit Check or Minimum Credit Score Required
  • Automatic Reporting to All Three National Credit Bureaus
  • 9.99% Low Fixed APR - Your Rate Won’t Go Up Even if You Are Late
  • Activate Today with a $200 Minimum Deposit - Maximum $1,000.
  • Increase Your Credit Limit up to $5,000 by Adding Additional Deposits Anytime
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
9.99% Fixed
$48
Poor/Fair/Limited/Damaged

The card has various charges, including for additional or replacement cards, cash advances, late or returned payments, and foreign transactions.

To qualify for this secured card, you must be a US resident, 18 or older, with enough income to afford the monthly minimum payment. You can apply by providing your name, address, phone number, and email address. You also must supply your date of birth, Social Security Number, and your monthly income and expenses.

The credit card issuer does not check credit, so you can apply without impacting your credit score. You must lay out the security deposit before you can obtain the card. The online application lets you charge the deposit to a debit card or another credit card. The issuer will refund your deposit, less any owed interest or fees, when you or it closes the account.

Benefits & Drawbacks

The card’s biggest benefits are a low interest rate and easy acceptance. On the downside, it charges various fees and does not offer a grace period on purchases. Here are the details:

Benefits

    • Credit building: This card reports to all three major credit bureaus, which is essential for building or improving your credit score. Regular, on-time payments can rebuild your credit profile over time.

    • Low APR: It offers a low fixed Annual Percentage Rate (APR) for purchases. This rate is particularly helpful if you occasionally carry a balance, as the interest charges are lower than virtually all other secured credit cards.

    • No credit check for approval: The application process does not require a credit check, making this card accessible even if you have a poor or limited credit history.

    • Refundable security deposit: Your credit limit is equal to the amount of your refundable security deposit. This lets you set your credit limit according to the amount you can afford to deposit, starting from a minimum of only $200.

    • Trouble-free application process: The process is straightforward, with an easy online application and an immediate decision.

    • Worldwide acceptance: Since it’s a Visa® credit card, merchants accept it virtually everywhere, enabling online and in-person purchases globally.

Because a secured credit card requires a deposit upfront, it encourages more thoughtful spending and budgeting habits, as you’re using your own money to guarantee payment.

Drawbacks

    • Annual fee: This card comes with a $48 yearly fee and foreign transaction fees.

    • Lack of a grace period: Unlike the practice of most other credit cards, interest accrues from the day you make a purchase transaction, which can increase the cost of carrying a balance.

    • Secured credit line: Your security deposit determines your credit limit. This means you need to provide cash upfront, which may be a challenge if you’re short on funds.

    • No rewards program: The card does not offer a rewards program, such as cash back or points for purchases. This card may fall short of your expectations if earning rewards is a priority for you.

    • No path to an unsecured card: Unlike some secured cards that allow you to transition to an unsecured card after a period of responsible use, this card does not offer an automatic upgrade pathway.

The primary function of this card is to help you build or rebuild credit. It lacks additional perks or benefits that many other secured cards offer. Keep in mind that you can get a good secured card without paying an annual fee.

Other Secured Cards to Consider

The following three secured cards compete head-to-head with the Applied Bank® Secured Visa® Gold Preferred® Credit Card. All three provide grace periods of at least 21 days, an important consideration if you intend to pay your entire balance each month.

OpenSky® Secured Visa® Credit Card Review

at Capital Bank N.A.'ssecure website

BEST OVERALL RATING

★★★★
4.0

OVERALL RATING

  • New feature! Earn up to 10% cash back* on everyday purchases
  • No credit check to apply. Zero credit risk to apply!
  • Looking to build or rebuild your credit? 2 out of 3 OpenSky cardholders increase their credit score by an average of 41 points in just 3 months
  • Get free monthly access to your FICO score in our mobile application
  • Build your credit history across 3 major credit reporting agencies: Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion
  • Add to your mobile wallet and make purchases using Apple Pay, Samsung Pay and Google Pay
  • Fund your card with a low $200 refundable security deposit to get a $200 credit line
  • Apply in less than 5 minutes with our mobile first application
  • Choose the due date that fits your schedule with flexible payment dates
  • Fund your security deposit over 60 days with the option to make partial payments
  • Over 1.4 Million Cardholders Have Used OpenSky Secured Credit Card To Improve Their Credit
  • *See Rewards Terms and Conditions for more information
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
25.64% (variable)
$35
Poor

You can obtain the OpenSky® Secured Visa® Credit Card without a credit check. This card has a minimum deposit of $200 and reports to all three major credit bureaus to help build or rebuild your credit.

The card also offers an average APR and a modest annual fee. It is an excellent choice if you have a battered and bruised credit history.

Discover it® Secured Credit Card Review

at Discover Card'ssecure website

BEST OVERALL RATING

★★★★
4.0

OVERALL RATING

  • No credit score required to apply.
  • No Annual Fee, earn cash back, and build your credit history.
  • Your secured credit card requires a refundable security deposit, and your credit line will equal your deposit amount, starting at $200. Bank information must be provided when submitting your deposit.
  • Automatic reviews starting at 7 months to see if we can transition you to an unsecured line of credit and return your deposit.
  • Earn 2% cash back at Gas Stations and Restaurants on up to $1,000 in combined purchases each quarter, automatically. Plus earn unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases.
  • Discover could help you reduce exposure of your personal information online by helping you remove it from select people-search sites that could sell your data. It’s free, activate with the mobile app.
  • Get an alert if we find your Social Security number on any of thousands of Dark Web sites. Activate for free.
  • Terms and conditions apply.
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
10.99% Intro APR for 6 months
28.24% Variable APR
$0
New/Rebuilding

With a straightforward cash back rewards program and no annual fee, the Discover it® Secured Credit Card helps you build credit history while keeping things simple. It reports your activity to each major credit bureau and monitors your Social Security number on suspicious sites.

This secured card account provides automatic reviews for credit line increases. It also delivers fraud protection against any unauthorized charges on your card.

BEST OVERALL RATING

★★★★
4.0

OVERALL RATING

  • No annual or hidden fees. See if you're approved in seconds
  • Building your credit? Using the Capital One Platinum Secured card responsibly could help
  • Put down a refundable security deposit starting at $49 to get a $200 initial credit line
  • You could earn back your security deposit as a statement credit when you use your card responsibly, like making payments on time
  • Be automatically considered for a higher credit line in as little as 6 months with no additional deposit needed
  • Enjoy peace of mind with $0 Fraud Liability so that you won't be responsible for unauthorized charges
  • Monitor your credit score with CreditWise from Capital One. It's free for everyone
  • Get access to your account 24 hours a day, 7 days a week with online banking to access your account from your desktop or smartphone, with Capital One's mobile app
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
29.99% (Variable)
$0
Limited, Bad

The Capital One Platinum Secured Credit Card offers a variable minimum deposit, with the exact amount ($49, $99, or $200) depending on your credit profile.

All approved applicants receive an initial $200 minimum credit line, with access to a higher credit line after making the first five payments on time. This card lacks many perks and bonuses, but on the plus side, it charges a $0 annual fee.

Cardholder Reviews Around the Web

The Applied Bank® Secured Visa® Gold Preferred® Credit Card has a low profile among online forums. Some cardowners praised the card for helping them rebuild credit. Others complained about their treatment when they canceled the card.

FoodStampDad likes the card:

“I currently have the secured card from Applied Bank with a 9.99% APR. It originally had a $50 annual fee, but after the second year, I called and intended to cancel it, but they dropped the annual fee. It may not work for you, but it’s something to consider. It has a $500 limit, and I rarely have more than a dollar or two worth of interest in a month.”

WinningEveryday was unhappy with the bank’s customer service:

“I got the secured card from Applied Bank. I knew going in it would never unsecure. But I needed tradelines, and I dropped $5000 to secure the card and used it three times. I had the card for about 18 months. I recently got another credit card with a $3000 credit limit – so I closed the Applied Bank credit card in October of 2021. I just got my $5000 back today [on January 21, 2022]! After dozens of calls and a letter to the CEO, it took three months to get my money back. It was ridiculous.”

FAQs: What is the Card’s Credit Limit?

Your credit limit equals your security deposit. Initially, you can put down a $200 to $1,000 deposit. After you receive the card, you can add money to the deposit, up to a $5,000 maximum.

Contrary to most secured cards, this one neither offers an upgrade path to an unsecured card nor a higher credit limit without a matching additional deposit.

How Does This Card’s Interest Work?

One significant drawback of the Applied Bank® Secured Visa® Gold Preferred® Credit Card is the absence of a grace period for purchases. Typically, credit cards offer a grace period between the purchase date and the payment due date, during which no interest accrues on purchases if you pay the balance in full.

In contrast, this card charges interest on purchases starting on the transaction date. The only way to avoid interest is to pay the bill before 5 PM on the purchase date. Thankfully, interest accrues at a low fixed APR of only 9.99% Fixed. Many secured cards charge interest rates of up to 30% or more.

If you miss the 5 PM deadline, you can still make a same-day payment to an account agent over the phone, but you’ll have to pay an expedited payment fee.

The bank explains its interest policy clearly in its cardmember agreement. We urge you to read and understand the agreement before applying, lest you suddenly discover interest charges you weren’t anticipating.

Is the Applied Bank® Secured Visa® Gold Preferred® Credit Card Legit?

Yes, it is a legitimate financial product. The credit card issuer, Applied Bank, is a well-established bank known for providing a variety of credit products aimed at helping individuals build or rebuild their credit.

Applied Bank screenshot
Consumers can visit Applied Bank’s website to apply for the Applied Bank® Secured Visa® Gold Preferred® Credit Card.

The Better Business Bureau (BBB) accredits the bank and gives it an “A+” rating. In a stunning example of cognitive dissonance, customers give the bank a dismal BBB score of 1.39 out of 5. The bank closed 151 complaints in the last three years and 50 within the past 12 months.

Plaintiffs filed a class action lawsuit against Applied Bank in 2019, alleging that the bank had engaged in deceptive marketing practices regarding its credit card products. The case’s outcome is unreported.

How Does this Card Compare to an Unsecured Card For Bad Credit?

Unsecured cards for bad credit compete with secured cards for consumers who have had credit challenges. The following chart compares the Applied Bank® Secured Visa® Gold Preferred® Credit Card with a typical unsecured card for bad credit.

Note that the unsecured card’s fees may exceed the Applied Bank card’s minimum security deposit, which is refundable.

Comparison Applied Bank® Secured Visa® Gold Preferred® Credit Card Unsecured Cards for Bad Credit
Credit Check for Approval Not required Usually required
Annual Fee $48 Yes, it varies by card and often more than $48
Signup and Maintenance Fees None Often required, may exceed $100
Security Deposit Required Not required
APR 9.99% Fixed Often higher, varies by card
Credit Building Reports to all three major credit bureaus Reports to credit bureaus
Rewards Program None Some cards may offer
Grace Period None Typically available, at least 21 days

The Applied Bank® Secured Visa® Gold Preferred® Credit Card stacks up well against the typical unsecured card for poor credit. But you may prefer a secured card that offers a grace period and a $0 annual fee. Check the competing cards reviewed above to see if you find any of them more attractive.

This Card May Be For You If You…

    • Want to rebuild or establish credit.

    • Prefer to get a card without a credit check.

    • Want a low fixed APR on a secured card.

    • Can benefit from reporting to all three major credit bureaus.

    • Don’t mind paying an annual fee for credit-building opportunities.

    • Have limited access to unsecured credit options.

If you find the Applied Bank® Secured Visa® Gold Preferred® Credit Card doesn’t meet your needs, exploring other secured cards can provide alternatives that offer rewards, lower fees, or the potential to transition to an unsecured card in the future.

About the Author

Eric Bank
Eric Bank Finance Expert

Eric Bank is an M.B.A. who has covered financial and business topics since 1985, appearing regularly on Credible, eHow, WiseBread, The Nest, Zacks, Chron, BadCredit.org and dozens of other outlets. Eric specializes in taking complex subject matters and explaining them in simple terms for consumer audiences, particularly in the world of personal finance. Eric holds a Master's in Business Administration from New York University and a Master's in Finance from DePaul University.

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Eric Bank