Using a credit card is a good way to build your credit history. The more transactions you make and balance you clear on a credit card, the higher the credit card score you can get. Besides getting you a higher credit limit, a high credit score helps you in lowering your fee and getting better customer service. It even allows you to buy products that you would be denied to purchase with a low credit score. The Merrick Bank credit card can help you acheive this.
One of the issues many people face with frequent credit card usage is a concern for security. With a rising number of online credit card hacks and identity theft issues, consumers are starting to look for credit cards that are secure and covered from fraud.
Merrick Bank Credit Cards
Merrick bank is one of the top 20 issuers of Visa credit cards in the U.S. They have more than 2 million customers around the world. Their specialty is in helping customers build, strengthen and repair a bad credit score. With more transactions on the Merrick Bank credit card, you can build a better credit score over a period of time.
The bank offers different credit cards for this purpose that can be divided into two categories. The unsecured credit cards do not require any collateral and secured credit cards that can be backed by an asset.
The Merrick Bank Double Your Line Credit Card – Unsecured
This unsecured card from Merrick offers all the features that you would expect from other Visa cards. It also includes a unique feature that you won’t get with most other cards.
If you clear your minimum payment on time each month for the first seven months that you use the card, your credit line will be doubled automatically. Timely payments can have a big, positive effect on your credit score and the Merrick card rewards you on keeping your balances in the green.
Another factor that can improve your credit score is the percentage of your credit limit that you actually avail. Suppose you have a credit card limit of $5,000. You use $3,000 every month, but clear the balance on time. Since you are using about 60% of your card limit each month, your credit rating agency will consider you a moderate-to-high level credit risk and this will be reflected in your credit report.
Now suppose that your card limit doubles after 7 months. You will now have a credit limit of $10,000. If you continue to use the same amount each month that you used previously, i.e. $3,000, you will only be using 30% of your card limit. This will reduce the risk of your default and automatically improve your credit rating.
Another feature of the Merrick Bank credit card is that you will receive your FICO score for each month free of charge.
One of the downsides of the Merrick Bank credit card is that it only becomes available through invitation. You receive a certificate number in your email that is required for completing the application for the unsecured card.
Merrick Bank Secured Visa
Merrick Bank also offers a secured Visa card that you can apply for online without the need for any codes. The terms and conditions for this card are available for review online. The card comes with a secured credit line between $200 and $3,000.
The card has a regular APR at 18.7%. There is no penalty APR but it does charge you a late fee of $38. It has an annual fee of $36 per annum for the first year. After one year, a monthly fee is charged at $3 per month.
You can get cash with the card at an advance fee of $4 or 10% of the withdrawn amount, whichever is higher. The APR for cash advances is 23.7%.
The Merrick Bank credit card is accepted around the world. You can use it abroad at an additional foreign transaction fee of 2%.
After one year of use, the account linked with the secured credit card is periodically reviewed for credit limit increases. No additional security deposit is required.
The cardholder can get monthly FICO scores from the three credit rating agencies for free. The cardholder’s payment performance is reported to the three credit bureaus giving the user a chance to improve their credit score.
Card Pros and Cons
The Merrick Bank credit card is good for people with no credit or a poor credit score. You can receive the card with an initial security deposit of $200. If you consistently make transactions on the card and repay the amount on time, you can build up a good credit score within one year and have your credit limit raised.
The downside to the card is that there is no reward system, such as cash back or points. There is also no guarantee that your secured card will be upgraded to the unsecured – Double Your Line – credit card.
Applying for the Merrick Bank Credit Card
You can only apply for the secured credit card online. Since you will be putting down a security deposit on the card, you don’t need a great credit score for approval.
You must be at least 18 years old at the time of submitting the application for the Merrick Bank credit card. You will be required to submit personal information including your full name, SSN, date of birth, annual income and any obligatory monthly payments.
To apply for the card, simply go to Merrick Bank’s website and click the credit card application link. When you click on ‘Apply Now’, you will be taken to the form submission page. You will need to browse through several pages, fill in the information and submit the form for approval.
You will also need to submit a security deposit at the time of form submission or within six weeks from the date of making the application. The Merrick card can take up to six weeks to arrive but it shouldn’t take long if you submit the security deposit with the initial application.
Using the Merrick Bank Credit Card
The Merrick Credit Card is not a rewards or cash back card. It is specifically designed to be used for improving your credit score. While the APR is reasonable compared to other credit cards, you should only use it to make transactions that you can clear before the due date.
One way to do that is to set up an online account that can be accessed via your mobile device and monitored easily. You may also want to set up an auto-pay from your regular bank account to guarantee that your balance is cleared on time.
Late fee on the Merrick Bank credit card is charged a fee of $38. You really don’t want to incur this cost as it can mess up your monthly budget so make sure you clear the balance on time.
The bank allows a grace period of 25 days after the close of the billing cycle. If you pay your balance during this time, you won’t have to pay interest on the outstanding amount. If you miss payments before the due date, try to clear the balances during the grace period.
Customers who have been using the Merrick Bank Credit Card generally have fair to excellent reviews for the card. It usually gets an A- rating from corporations and an average score of 3.5 out of 5 as reported by Consumer Affairs.
If you already have a good credit score, there may be better options out there. Specifically, cards that earn rewards in the form of cash back or points.
3 Alternative Credit Cards to Consider
This is not the only credit card aimed at people with a subprime credit score. There are some other options you should consider that may suit your situation better. The credit cards below are a few of our favorites, especially if you’re looking to rebuild your credit score through responsibly making your payments. The middle card even earns rewards which should offset the annual fee of the card.
|Poor Credit Alternative||Fair Credit Alternative||Limited/No Credit Alternative|
|Milestone Unsecured||Capital One Quicksilver One||Capital One Platinum
|Rewards||No rewards||1.5% cash back on all purchases||No rewards|
|Annual Fee||See terms||$39||$0|
|Extra Perks||Quick pre-qualification that won't hurt your credit score.|
Free custom card design.
Free online account access.
Previous bankruptcy OK.
|Access a higher credit line after making your first 5 on-time monthly payments.|
Free credit monitoring.
$0 Fraud liability.
|Access a higher credit line after making your first 5 on-time monthly payments.
Pay by check, online, or at a local branch.
|Best for People Who...||Have bad credit and need help to strengthen it through responsible use.||Need help to strengthen their credit through responsible use. Also earns rewards.||Need help to strengthen their credit through responsible use.|
|Learn More >>||Learn More >>||Learn More >>|
Decision Time: Which Credit Card is Really the Best for You?
Here at Travel Freedom, we like to travel, which is why we always prefer to get travel credit cards for ourselves. We also know that travel credit cards are not available to all credit score levels. With anything less than a good credit score it will be hard to be approved for a travel card. Any of these cards will be beneficial in rebuilding your credit so that you’ll have the option in the future of what card type to get. After your credit is good, you’ll have the opportunity to be approved for valuable travel rewards or cash back cards.
Good luck on your road back to good credit. It’s great that you’re looking to improve your credit score and the way you live.