About the Orchard Bank Secured MasterCard
Who This Card Is For
- People who have been turned down for a credit card or are rebuilding their credit.
- Low interest rate.
- No annual fee the first year.
- No account processing fee.
- Reports to the three major credit bureaus.
- Security deposit required (minimum $200).
- Low credit limits (up to size of deposit).
- 7.9% variable on purchases and balance transfers.
- Penalty interest rate: 29.49%.
- $35 annual fee, waived the first year.
- Balance transfer fee: 5% of balance.
Orchard Bank Secured MasterCard Review
This secured card from Orchard Bank - a unit of HSBC - offers surprisingly good value, not only compared to other secured cards but compared to Orchard's own conventional, unsecured credit cards. Indeed, this card is a much better deal than Orchard's other cards, provided you can, and don't mind, posting a security deposit.
Interest Rate and Annual Fees
The card carries a very low 7.9 % variable interest rate. The $35 annual fee is waived the first year, and there's no account processing fee. Many other secured cards charge you to apply. Even Orchard Bank charges up to $39 to apply for some of its conventional cards.
The $35 annual fee is also very reasonable, especially since it's waived the first year. After that, provided you pay your bills on time, you might be able to qualify for an unsecured card with no annual fee. By comparison, Orchard's other cards carry annual fees ranging from $35 to $74 the first year, then they go up from there.
Monthly Credit ReportingOrchard says it automatically sends monthly reports to all three major credit bureaus, which should help improve your credit score, assuming you pay your bills on time and keep your credit card balance within 30% of your credit limit.
Of course, the bank requires you to put up a security deposit, minimum $200. The amount of money you put up is the size of your credit limit. That's to protect the bank in case you default. But it seems like a relatively small inconvenience to get a credit card when other banks say no.
If the only way you can qualify for a credit card is by getting a secured card, you could do a lot worse than this card. However, it will be critical that you pay this bill on time. If you don't, not only will you get another negative blot on your credit history, but you may lose your entire security deposit.