The American Savings Bank Secured Credit Card offers a clear path to an unsecured card, and gives you the chance to upgrade in as few as 11 months. Unfortunately, it also brings a $25 annual fee to the table and requires a $300 security deposit, which is more than the deposit required by many secured cards. Those two downsides mean you’re probably better off with a different card—but read through to find out if it could make sense for you.
American Savings Bank Secured Visa Quick Review
Here are the highlights of the American Savings Bank Secured Credit Card:
Annual Fee: $0
Sign-Up Bonus: None
- Automatic upgrade to an unsecured card in as little as 11 months
- Your security deposit earns interest
- View your FICO score for free each month
If your total balance is less than $10, the minimum payment will be the total new balance. Otherwise, the minimum payment is the greater of:
- 2% of the total new balance
- The sum of your current billing cycle’s fees and interest charges plus 1% of the new balance
Plus all past due amounts.
- Up to $35 for late payment
- Up to $35 for returned payment
- The greater of $10 or 5% for balance transfers
- The greater of $15 or 5% for cash advances
- 3% for foreign transactions
Why Apply for the American Savings Bank Secured Credit Card
There are a couple of arguments in favor of applying for the American Savings Bank Secured Credit Card.
You’re a resident, but not a citizen
When you apply for a credit card, you must provide a variety of identifying information, including your name, address, employment status, income, and your social security number. Card issuers use this information to confirm your identity and decide whether to offer you a credit card. During this process, many issuers deny applications from non-citizens from lack of history. The American Savings Bank Secured Credit Card is open to all permanent residents and other non-citizens, so long as you can provide an SSN or ITIN. If you’re new to the U.S., it offers a way to build a credit history.
You want a card that will automatically upgrade to an unsecured card
When you open a secured credit card, your goal should be to improve your credit score to the point of qualifying for an unsecured credit card. Many secured credit card issuers will hold your security deposit for as long as you keep the card, forcing you to close the account if you want to get the deposit back. American Savings Bank will review your account after 11 months, and if you qualify, will automatically refund your deposit and convert your card into an unsecured card. That’s a big win for anybody who’s struggled to build credit.
American Savings Bank Secured Credit Card: Drawbacks and Downsides
There are also a couple of reasons you might want to reconsider applying for the American Savings Bank Secured Visa Card.
Unsecured credit cards often charge a lot of fees. Because the people who apply for secured cards don’t have many options in building their credit, banks can take advantage with tacking on fees. The American Savings Bank Secured Credit Card charges a $25 annual fee, which is average for a secured card, but you can find fee-free options out there. The card also charges heavy fees for late payments, balance transfers, and foreign transactions. If you’re not great with using a credit card—a likely possibility—those fees can really add up.
American Savings Bank is a small bank
American Savings Bank, a small Hawaii-based bank, issues this card. While the American Savings Bank Secured Credit Card reports to the credit bureaus just like a card issued by a major bank or lender, working with a larger issuer has advantages. Large banks often have more robust websites and customer support. They also have a wider selection of unsecured credit cards that you can apply for once your credit score improves.
American Savings Bank Secured Visa Credit Card Alternatives
If you’re in the market for a secured credit card, here are some alternatives to consider.
Capital One Secured Mastercard
If you’re looking for a secured credit card with no annual fee, the Capital One Secured Mastercard is the card for you. It doesn’t charge an annual fee, but charges a high interest rate to compensate. If you pay off your bill every month, it’s not a thing to worry about. TheCapital One Secured Mastercard also has one of the lowest security deposit requirements on the market, with some cardholders only providing $49 as a deposit. Once you’ve had the card for five months, the credit limit will automatically increase.
Discover it Secured Card
If you want a secured credit card that offers rewards, consider applying for the Discover it Secured Card. This is one of the few secured credit cards that earns cash back rewards, paying 2% on purchases at restaurants and gas stations and 1% on all other purchases. By using this card, you can save hundreds of dollars while building your credit. You get premium card cash back, and without having a premium card.
Other Things to Know
Here are some common questions people have about the American Savings Bank Secured Visa Credit Card.
What is the maximum credit limit of the American Savings Bank Secured Visa Credit Card?
You can get a credit limit between $300 and $5,000 by increasing your security deposit in increments of $50.
Can I track changes to my credit score with the American Savings Bank Secured Visa Credit Card?
Yes, the American Savings Bank Secured Visa Credit Card offers a free monthly credit score. You can easily track how your score changes over time and see how it improves.
Bottom Line: Should You Apply for the American Savings Bank Secured Visa Credit Card?
The American Savings Bank Secured Visa Credit Card is a decent secured credit card. You can rebuild your credit with it, but you’ll have to deal with an annual fee and some other hefty fees. If you’re looking for a secured credit card, consider one that doesn’t charge an annual fee, as that’ll let you build your credit score for free.