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How to Get a Secured Credit Card Through a Credit Union

In today's financial environment, holding a credit card is an important part of your portfolio. But some people remain leery of using credit cards, or they feel they may not have good enough credit history to get one.

People who limited or no credit history are referred to as "credit invisible" by financial experts. According to recent studies, more than 26 million Americans are credit invisible. Another 19 million have a credit record but no score because their history may be out of date. Having little or no credit can make it difficult to access credit or qualify for lower interest rates.

Fortunately, there are some ways for those who are credit challenged to begin rebuilding their credit. Most financial institutions, including your community-focused credit union, offer secured credit cards to consumers who are looking to get started and build a credit history.
Find out more about how to get a secured credit card through a credit union with this guide.

What is a secured credit card?

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A secured credit card is one that requires a cash deposit, which acts as collateral for the card. The credit limit may vary, but it is commonly 50% of the amount deposited. For example, if you put $2,000 down, you'd qualify for at least $1,000 in credit and perhaps more. On the other hand, an unsecured credit card requires no deposit.

Will bad credit prevent me from getting a credit union credit card?

Bad credit is not an automatic disqualification when it comes to credit cards, especially secured ones. One of the benefits of credit unions is that they will take the time to understand your financial situation and work with you to provide the best solution.

Are secured credit cards easy to get?

Credit union credit cards are issued in the same manner as bank cards. If you're applying for an unsecured card, you'll have to fill out an application form and both financial institutions will evaluate your history.

If you're a long-standing member of a credit union, that could make a difference when it comes to qualifying for an unsecured card. However, if there is any question, a secured credit card through credit union is easier to get since there is a deposit involved. The credit union will report secured payments to the credit bureaus, so this will help improve your score and history.

What's the difference between credit union vs. bank credit cards?

This question gets at the heart of what makes banks and credit unions different. While banks are in the business of making money for its shareholders and mega-corporations that own them, credit unions are designed so they pass profits on to its members. Those benefits come in the form of much lower rates and fees on credit cards than banks offer.

What is the best credit union secured credit card?

There are many secured credit cards available to consumers. The best ones offer little-to-no fees, smaller initial deposits and the ability to use them at a variety of locations, like a traditional credit card. A secured Visa card can help you improve or build your credit history while also earning interest on your secured savings account.

What is the credit union APR for a credit card?

The Annual Percentage Rate (APR) is the interest paid over the whole year on a card, instead of just a monthly rate. Federal law prevents banks or credit unions from setting the APR higher than 18%. On average, the rate for secured credit cards will be higher than unsecured cards. When it comes to unsecured cards, the average APR is 11.2% at credit unions compared to 12.4% at banks.

What are the best credit union credit cards for balance transfers?

A balance transfer is a way to move debt from one card to another in order to save money on interest fees. If you have no credit history, this shouldn't be much of an issue – in fact, only a few secured credit cards allow balance transfers, and then, only to your deposit limit.

Are there credit union credit cards with no foreign transaction fee?

Most credit cards, both secured and unsecured, offer no fees on foreign transactions, but make sure you shop around and find out for sure before applying if you play on doing any traveling outside of the US.

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