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Credit Card Q&A: Which Credit Union has the Best Secured Credit Card?

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Credit Card Question: Which credit union has the best secured credit card?

Answer: I’m getting a lot of questions about secured credit cards and credit unions these days. I think it’s partly because consumers are fed up with bank fees, including the new debit card fees we’ve been seeing.  But I also think that the excellent credit products offered by the credit unions are getting some much-deserved praise and attention.

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When you’re trying to rebuild your credit history, a secured credit card is a great choice as long as the issuer reports your payment history to all three major credit bureaus. Here are two suggestions for secured credit cards issued by credit unions that would help you rebuild your credit history with responsible use.

The Navy Federal Credit Union nRewards Secured Credit Card recently received my award for 1st runner-up for Best Secured Credit Card in America.  The only reason it didn’t win was because it’s only available to consumers who are associated with the military, either directly or related to someone who’s in the military. If it was more widely available, it would have easily won the award for best secured credit card.

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With this card, you also get rewards, which is unusual for a secured card. You get up to 1 percent for each dollar spent. There’s no limit on the points you can earn, but they expire after four years. There’s no annual fee. You get a low 8.99 percent variable APR on purchases. But try not to revolve a balance. Your goal should be to use this card to repair your credit, not to accumulate debt.

If you aren’t connected to the military, consider joining the Pentagon Federal Credit Union and applying for the PenFed Visa Secured MasterCard. You can join by contributing $20 to the National Military Family Association. PenFed’s secured credit card has a higher variable APR, 13.99 percent, but if you don’t revolve a balance that won’t be an issue.

I also recommend checking out credit unions in your area to see if there’s a local option with a flexible membership policy.

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    • Beverly Blair Harzog

      Manotte- If you qualify as a member of the Navy Federal Credit Union, this is a terrific secured card. But there are others I recommend, too. Check out the Orchard Bank cards, http://www.credit.com/credit-cards/HSBC-Bank

      They offer an easy application process and they’ll determine if you qualify for an unsecured or secured card. The Citi Secured MasterCard is another good one to check out.

  • Yomar

    Hi, Beverly! I really don’t think they (PenFed) want to do any business with this secured card. They don’t even advertise it, and your link does not take us anywhere. I have read so many bad reviews about PenFed credit card approval policies, about being extremely conservative. I mean, what’s the point of offering a secured card other than helping their customers improve their credit file records? After all there is still the collateral available in case the customer defaults!

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