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In-Depth Analysis

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

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ByJulija A.
July 20, 2021

One of the most popular choices on the secured credit card market, the Secured Visa® Gold Preferred® stands out as a credit-building solution that reports to all three national credit bureaus. If you are on the hunt for a low-APR card and would like to avoid undergoing a hard credit inquiry, this Applied Bank credit card could be an excellent choice.

Regular APR:
9.99% (fixed)

Annual fee: $48

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Fortunly Rating

Regular app:
9.99% (fixed)
Intro APR
N/A
Annual fee:
$48
Credit limit:
$200 - $1,000 (initial), up to $5,000
Security deposit:
$200 - $1,000 (initial), up to $5,000
Rewards:
N/A
Foreign transaction fee:
3% of each transaction in USD
Recommended credit score:
Poor/Fair
Card Network:
Visa
pros thumb up Strengths
  • Credit limit can be increased up to $5,000
  • Refundable security deposit
  • Reports to Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion
  • Low fixed APR
  • Online and mobile banking capabilities
  • Quick and easy application process
  • No credit check
  • No credit-line-increase fees
pros thumb up Weaknesses
  • No grace period
  • High annual fee

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

Headquartered in Delaware, Applied Bank is an FDIC-insured Equal Housing Lender and Delaware State Chartered Bank providing banking products and services to a broad user base since 1996. This financial institution currently offers two credit-card options – the Applied Bank Unsecured Classic Visa® card and the Secured Visa® Gold Preferred® credit card. Our review will focus on the latter.

As one of the easiest-to-get secured credit cards, the Applied Bank Secured Visa Gold Preferred is popular with consumers trying to improve their credit standing or just starting work on their profile.

This Applied Bank secured credit card may lack a rewards program and a sign-up bonus, but it offers a flexible security deposit and a low ongoing APR rate. And since you don’t have to go through a hard credit inquiry to get one, it certainly qualifies as an excellent credit-building tool.

How does Applied Bank® Secured Visa® Gold Preferred® compare to other credit cards?

Applied Bank® Secured Visa® Gold Preferred® Credit Card Logo Applied Bank® Secured Visa® Gold Preferred® Credit Card
Regular APR:

9.99% (fixed)

Annual Fee:

$48

First Access Visa® Card Logo First Access Visa® Card
Regular APR:

34.99%

Annual Fee:

$48 ($75 for the first year)

First Progress Platinum Prestige MasterCard® Secured Credit Card Logo First Progress Platinum Prestige MasterCard® Secured Credit Card
Regular APR:

9.99% (variable)

Annual Fee:

$49

Eligibility Requirements

This secured credit card from Applied Bank imposes very loose acceptance criteria. Considering that it’s designed to help its users establish or rebuild their credit history, the Secured Visa® Gold Preferred® doesn’t require prospective cardmembers to meet a credit score threshold to qualify, nor does it check the applicants’ status with the three credit bureaus. Consumers of all scores are welcome! However, the card is best suited to those who fall into the poor-to-fair category, as those with superior scores will probably be able to find better card offers.

This Applied Bank card reports its users’ payment information to the three major consumer credit bureaus each month. In other words, no matter how damaged your credit may be, not only will you be able to qualify for this card, but also you’ll get an opportunity to increase your score – as long as you do your part and use the secured card responsibly.

Application Process

According to the bank’s website, you won’t need to wait longer than 24 hours for approval if you decide to apply for an Applied Bank credit card. The application process is simple and easy. All you have to do is fill out a form featured on the issuers’ website. After you’ve provided your name, address, and phone number, you’ll also need to state whether you own an active credit, debit, or prepaid card. All of this shouldn’t take more than a minute.

Keep in mind that your approval will depend on the verification of your identity, residence, and the ability to pay the security deposit. Upon approval, the bank will draw your refundable Applied Bank secured card deposit from the credit/debit/prepaid card you’ve provided.

Credit Limit and Security Deposit

What makes this card stand out from similar credit-building solutions is that it comes with flexible security deposit options. You can start with a deposit between $200 and $1,000 and choose an amount you’re comfortable with. Let’s say you opt for a $500 deposit: That amount will automatically become your credit limit or the maximum funds you’ll be allowed to spend. As a user of this Applied Bank credit card, you’ll also be given an opportunity to increase your spending power over time by adding more money (up to a total of $5,000) to your security deposit.

Should you decide to close your account, you’ll be able to reclaim the total amount of your security deposit, should you choose to close your account. The only thing to remember is that you’ll have to bring your credit card balance to zero to get the refund.

APR and Fees

Owning an Applied Bank secured Visa credit card does come with some costs. First, let’s take a look at its annual percentage rates: Unlike most variable-APR credit cards currently available, this Applied Bank option charges a fixed rate and a low one at that. Cardmembers face a 9.99% fixed APR for purchases and cash advances. Even though this ongoing annual percentage rate is well below the national average, we suggest you still try and avoid it by repaying what you owe on time.

As far as other types of APR go, unfortunately, this Applied Bank visa card doesn’t offer an introductory APR to new users. On the plus side, it won’t punish you with penalty APR if you miss payment deadlines.

One of the most apparent disadvantages of this secured Visa card is that it charges an annual fee. Owning a Secured Visa® Gold Preferred® will set you back $48 each year. Your membership fee will be billed to your account during the first month of your card ownership, thus lowering your initial available credit to $152.

Before you proceed with your Applied Bank credit card application, you should also be aware of other setup and maintenance fees. These include a $30 additional-card charge, a $30 replacement-card fee, an automated-account-information fee of $0.50 per inquiry, a $12.95 per-item charge for optional payments, a stop-payment fee of $30, and a $50 reinstatement fee. There are no monthly maintenance costs or credit-line-increase fees.

There’s also a 5% cash advance fee (at least $5) and a foreign transaction fee which will set you back 3% of each transaction in US dollars. Late payment will result in Applied Bank’s standard late fee of up to $38, and so will a returned payment.

Reasons to Choose This Credit Card

No Credit Check

Suppose your credit is severely damaged due to an open tax lien or a recent bankruptcy. In that case, you won’t have to worry about getting rejected: This bank doesn’t make prospective cardmembers undergo hard credit checks.

Credit Bureau Reporting

Automatic reporting to the three national credit bureaus (EquifaxExperian, and TransUnion) is one of the most valuable features to look for in a credit-building credit card. You’ll be happy to hear that this Applied Bank Visa card ticks this essential box, thus allowing responsible cardholders to improve their credit standing.

Low Fixed APR

The Secured Visa® Gold Preferred® comes with a 9.99% fixed APR. Not only is such a low annual percentage rate hard to find on credit-building secured cards, but it’s also rarely offered even to excellent-credit consumers.

Online and Mobile Banking

Having an Applied Bank credit-card account means you can access it anywhere as long as you have an internet connection and a viable device on hand. AppliedBank.com’s banking applications let you check your balance, pay your credit card bill, monitor your credit availability, and more.

Reasons to Explore Other Options

While this card can be the right choice for users who can’t qualify for an unsecured option, it still comes with a few downsides:

High Annual Fee for a Secured Card

Not only does this card have high annual membership costs for a secured card, but also it comes with a long list of additional fees. However, this Applied Bank card for bad credit is significantly more affordable than some unsecured cards offered to poor-credit applicants, even though it doesn’t have an introductory fee.

No Grace Period

A grace period on a credit card is the period that starts at the end of a billing cycle and ends on the date your payment is due. Essentially, it’s the time span during which you can pay your monthly credit card bill without having to face interest. The lack of a grace period on this Applied Bank credit card means that the interest on your credit card balance will start to accrue the same day you make a purchase.

No Rewards

Considering that the Secured Visa® Gold Preferred® was designed for consumers who need to establish or rebuild their credit, it comes as no surprise that it doesn’t offer a rewards program. This card also lacks a sign-up bonus, an intro APR offer, and similar perks reserved for cards aimed at good-credit consumers, but it will help you qualify for cards that do have those by rebuilding your credit.

Further Reading

Find the Best Credit Card for your Needs:

Applied Bank Credit Card Reviews by Users

This bank has a total of 524 reviews on ConsumerAffairs and holds an overall rating of 3.4 out of 5. Its Trustpilot rating is slightly higher – 3.6 out of 5. Users who’ve had a positive experience with the Secured Visa® Gold Preferred® mostly highlighted the lack of a penalty APR and the credit-building opportunities this Visa secured credit card provides. On the other hand, consumers who didn’t like this secured credit card were vocal about the long list of fees it charges and the navigational issues they experienced on the bank’s website.

This Applied Bank secured credit card review wouldn’t be complete without mentioning that its issuer holds an A+ BBB rating and has received a total of 100 total complaints throughout the last three years.

The Bottom Line

If you are looking for a secured credit card that won’t subject you to a hard credit pull but will help your credit standing by reporting your timely payments to the three national credit bureaus, then the Secured Visa® Gold Preferred® could be a solid choice. It may not offer travel rewards, cash back, or a sign-up bonus, but this Applied bank credit card comes with a low fixed APR and the convenience of worldwide acceptance.

FAQ
Is Applied Bank legitimate? +

Yes, it is. Based in Wilmington, Delaware, Applied Bank has been providing banking products and services since 1996. The financial institution is an industry leader in offering secured and unsecured credit cards to consumers with troubled or limited credit history.

What is the credit limit for an Applied Bank Credit Card? +

As a Secured Visa® Gold Preferred® cardholder, you can start with a credit limit between $200 and $1,000, depending on the security deposit you put down. Our Applied Bank credit card review also shows that you can increase your spending power by adding to your security deposit up to a total of $5,000.

How soon do you get a credit card after applying? +

After applying for a secured credit card from Applied Bank, you’ll wait anywhere between seven to 24 business days for your card to arrive in the mail.

What is the best secured credit card for bad credit? +

With so many secured credit card offers on the market, choosing the right one can be difficult. Before proceeding with your credit card application for an Applied Bank credit card or any other option, make sure that the solution you’ve chosen reports to the three major credit bureaus.

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