Citi Secured Mastercard Review

Complete Citi Secured Mastercard Review


  • Reports to the three major credit bureaus

The inconvenients

  • Not suitable for people with bad credit

  • High APR

  • No reward

The benefits explained

  • Reports to the three major credit bureaus: Like most secure cards, the Citi Secured Mastercard can help you build your credit. Citi will report your payment activity to the three major credit bureaus: Equifax, Experian and TransUnion. If you make all your payments on time, your payment history can help boost your credit score.

Disadvantages Explained

  • Not suitable for people with bad credit: Secured credit cards are generally designed for people with bad credit or no credit at all. However, the Citi Secured Mastercard is primarily for those with no credit history, such as recent graduates, rather than those with bad credit. People who have had significant credit issues in the past may not qualify for the card. For example, Citi explicitly states that applicants must not have filed for bankruptcy within the past two years. If you have bad credit or have declared bankruptcy in the past, consider signing up for another option like the OpenSky Secured Visa Card. It does not require a credit check and you can choose your own line of credit and make a security deposit for that amount.
  • High APR: The APR on the Citi Secured Mastercard is quite high: 24.74% variable on purchases and balance transfers. While secured cards tend to have higher than average interest rates, other cards offer lower rates. While you can avoid paying interest charges by paying off your balance in full each month, it’s a good idea to keep the APR in mind if there’s any chance you might have a balance.
  • No reward: The Citi Secured Mastercard does not have a rewards program. It also does not offer a one-size-fits-all offer. Considering that there are secure cards on the market that offer both, this is a significant drawback. If you are looking for a secure card that allows you to earn money, consider the Discover it Secured card. There’s no annual fee, and you can earn 2% cash back at gas stations and restaurants on up to $1,000 in combined spend each quarter. Plus, you’ll get unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases.

As an added benefit, Discover has a unique one-time offer: it will match any Cash Back you earn in your first year as a cardholder, and there’s no limit to how much you can earn. .

To put these numbers into perspective, let’s say you spend $5,000 a year on your credit card: $1,000 at gas stations and restaurants each quarter, plus $1,000 on other purchases. You will earn a total of $90 in Cash Back. But with Discover’s first year bonus, your cash back is doubled, giving you a total of $180 in cash rewards. This is a significant advantage for a secure card with no annual fee, and a big advantage over the Citi Secured Mastercard.

The Citi Secured Mastercard is ideal for people who don’t have an established credit history and want to boost their credit rating. There’s no annual fee, so there’s no cost to sign up for the card beyond the security deposit. Plus, Citi offers helpful tools, like the Citi Credit Knowledge Center, so you can learn more about managing your credit.

If you are approved for an account, you can get a secured card with a $200 security deposit. If you switch to an unsecured credit card within 18 months, or close your account, your security deposit will be refunded.

Standard Benefits

The Citi Secured Mastercard offers few advantages, but it has some fairly standard features for a secure credit card:

  • Free access to the FICO score. You can view your FICO credit score on your monthly statement or online. It is updated monthly.
  • Flexible payment due date. You can choose a payment due date that suits you and your payroll schedule. Select an available date at the beginning, middle, or end of the month.
  • Account Alerts. Sign up for Account Alerts to receive suspicious transaction notifications and payment reminders.

Cardholder experience

When it comes to customer satisfaction, Citi is below average. According to JD Power’s 2021 U.S. Credit Card Satisfaction Study, Citi tied for fifth out of 11 national card issuers. The average score for domestic issuers was 809 out of 1,000, while Citi’s score was 805.

However, Citi’s customer service team is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. If you have a problem or question, you can contact customer support via secure chat or by calling 800-950-5114 .

Security functions

This card offers basic security features similar to what you can expect from most secured credit cards:

  • $0 Liability Protection: You are not responsible for any unauthorized charges made to your account.
  • Citi Impersonation Solutions: If your identity is compromised, Citi Identity Theft Solutions can help you resolve the issue, identifying the steps to take.

Our opinion

Although the Citi Secured Mastercard has no annual fee, it does require a credit check and a minimum security deposit of $200. If you have bad credit or your credit history includes bankruptcy, you’ll probably need to look elsewhere for a card.

This card has no rewards and very few benefits, so you’re probably better off with another secure credit card. If you can, apply for another card with a rewards program, better perks, or a lower APR so you can enjoy those perks while improving your credit.