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Merrick Bank Secured Visa® Card Review: An Option for Building Credit

The Merrick Bank Secured Visa® Card is a no-frills secured card option with a moderate annual fee and limited cardholder benefits. You can use it to build or rebuild credit, but you might be better off with a different secured credit card.

Customer service contact info for Merrick Bank
1-800-204-5936

Merrick Bank
Customer Service
P.O. Box 9201
Old Bethpage, NY 11804-9001

ProsCons
Reports to all three major credit bureausHas an annual fee for the first year, then an ongoing monthly fee
You may qualify for a credit limit increase after the first yearForeign transaction fees
The annual fee structure could help with budgetingFew cardholder benefits

Experian Review

If you're looking for a secured card to help you build or repair your credit, the Merrick Bank Secured Visa® Card hits a few of the right marks. It'll report your payments to the three major credit bureaus (Experian, TransUnion and Equifax), ensuring you're building credit across the board. While it's easy to get approved for the card, you'll pay an annual fee and reap few cardholder benefits.

Easily to Qualify With Any Credit History

There's no minimum credit score for the Merrick Bank Secured Visa® Card, and you can even get approved with bad credit or no credit history at all. You will need to meet a few qualifications, however: You must be at least 18 years old, have a valid Social Security number and U.S. address, and not have a pending bankruptcy filing or outstanding tax obligations.

Once your application gets approved, you'll need to provide a refundable security deposit before Merrick Bank will open your account. The deposit, which will also serve as your credit limit, can range from $200 to $3,000.

Once you start using your card, Merrick Bank will report your account and payment information to all three major credit bureaus. Your on-time payments can help build and improve your credit, while paying late or not at all could hurt it.

The Annual Fee Arrangement Could Work in Your Favor

Some of the best secured cards don't charge an annual fee, while others charge application fees as well as monthly and annual fees. The Merrick Bank Secured Visa® Card falls somewhere in the middle.

You'll pay a $36 annual fee when you first open your account. After the end of the first year, Merrick Bank will bill you $3 per month to keep the card open and the annual fee will disappear.

Paying a monthly fee rather than a full year's fee could save you money. If, for example, you find that your credit has improved enough to qualify for an unsecured card after 18 months, you could close the Merrick Bank Secured Visa® Card and stop paying the monthly fee. Still, a secured card without an annual fee would alleviate the expense altogether.

Extra Features and Mobile App Convenience

The Merrick Bank Secured Visa® Card offers a few beneficial features and security protections, including:

  • Possible credit limit increase after the first year without an additional security deposit
  • Mobile app that helps you manage your account while on the go
  • Zero liability for unauthorized purchases
  • Monthly FICO® Score* tracking
  • Customizable account alerts and notifications

Many credit cards offer similar protections and account management options, but the ability to get a credit limit increase on a secured card without an additional security deposit isn't particularly common. A higher limit can be helpful if you want to regularly use your card while keeping your credit utilization rate low, which can help your credit scores.

In addition to the annual (then monthly) fee, there is a 2% fee on foreign transactions and a 4% (or $10 minimum) cash advance fee. While these aren't abnormal nor extraordinarily high, compare them with fees on other cards you're considering.

Additional Info

Purchase APR: 18.95% (Variable)Grace period: 25 days
Transfer APR: N/AAnnual fee: $36 the first year, then $3 per month
Cash advance APR: 23.95%Balance transfer fee: $0
Minimum interest charge: $1Cash advance fee: 4% ($10 minimum)
Foreign transaction fee: 2%
Late payment fee: Up to $39
Returned payment fee: Up to $39

Authorized-User Policy

Merrick Bank doesn't allow you to add an authorized user to the Merrick Bank Secured Visa® Card. If you have a friend or family member who also wants help building credit, you could recommend they review Experian's list of best secured cards (broken down by different features) to find a card that fits their needs.

Is the Merrick Bank Secured Visa® Card Right for You?

The Merrick Bank Secured Visa® Card can help you build or rebuild your credit. It's easy to qualify for, reports to all three major bureaus, and has an annual fee policy that could save you money. A secured card that doesn't have an annual fee, however, could be a better option if you want to minimize your expenses while building credit.

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