The Bank of America Secured Credit Card can definitely help improve your credit score, even if you have poor or no credit. But its $39 annual fee makes it a hard sell compared to other secured credit cards with lower or no annual fees. The Bank of America Secured Credit Card definitely has name recognition—and that’s good—but read the full details to determine if it’s right for you.

BankAmericard® Secured Credit Card Quick Review

Here are the highlights of the Bank of America Secured Credit Card:

Annual Fee: $39

APR: 22.24%

Sign-Up Bonus: None

Benefits:

  • Offered by a major, national bank
  • Customizable credit limit
  • Path to an unsecured card
  • See your monthly FICO score for free
  • Link your card to a checking account for overdraft protection

Minimum Payment: 1% of the balance plus any interest and fees

Other Fees:

  • Up to $38 for late payments
  • Up to $27 for returned payments
  • $10 or 5% for balance transfers
  • $10 or 3% for cash advances
  • 3% for foreign transactions

Why Apply for the BankAmericard® Secured Credit Card

There are a number of reasons to apply for the Bank of America Secured Credit Card.

You already have a Bank of America account and want your card at the same bank

Bank of America is one of the largest banks in the United States, with ATMs and branches all over the country. There’s a good chance there’s one close to your home. Because of the bank’s size, many people already have checking or savings accounts at Bank of America. Getting a secured credit card from the same place puts all your banking in under one roof, and on one website or app. At the very least, it saves you from dealing with a new bank or lender.

You want a clear path toward an unsecured card

The whole point of getting a secured card is to improve your credit score to the point you can get an unsecured card or loan. Many secured credit card issuers keep your security deposit until you close your account, meaning you have to apply for a new credit card if you want to get an unsecured card. With the Bank of America Secured Credit Card, the bank regularly reviews your account and your credit history, and if you qualify, the bank will upgrade your card and refund your deposit.

BankAmericard® Secured Credit Card: Drawbacks and Downsides

The Bank of America Secured Credit Card is a useful tool in building your credit, but it definitely has some downsides.

$39 annual fee

The Bank of Americar Secured Credit Card can help you build your credit, but that’ll cost you $39 each year. Secured card issuers often charge account set up fees, annual maintenance fees, and other fees to take advantage of the fact that people applying for secured cards usually can’t get other kinds of credit. A few fee-free cards can help build your credit just the same. The Bank of America Secured Credit Card doesn’t offer enough benefits compared to those cards to make it worth the $39 annual fee.

Other significant costs

If the $39 annual fee wasn’t enough, the Bank of America Secured Credit Card also has a high interest rate, even compared to other secured credit cards. Even the features that it touts as benefits, like overdraft protection, will cost you more than they’re worth. The card’s Balance transfer and cash advance fees are also on the high end when compared to competitors. Finally, you won’t earn any interest on your security deposit, which some cards offer. You can find better features and lower fees in a secured credit card.

BankAmericard® Secured Credit Card Alternatives

If you’re considering the Bank of America Secured Credit Card, take a look at these alternatives first.

Capital One® Secured Mastercard®

If you want a fee-free secured credit card, consider the Capital One® Secured Mastercard®. This card has no annual fee, and one of the lowest security deposit requirements on the market, with some borrowers needing to provide just $49 to open the card. This can make it a great way for people with poor credit and little savings to rebuild their credit score. On the downside, the card has a high interest rate if you carry a balance—but so does the Bank of America Secured Credit Card.

Discover it® Secured Card

If you’re looking for a secured card that offers rewards, think about the Discover it® Secured Card. It’s one of the few secured credit cards that offers rewards, paying 2% on purchases at restaurants and gas stations, and 1% cash back on everything else. Just using the card on a daily basis can earn you hundreds of dollars in rewards. To make things better, the card doesn’t charge an annual fee, either.

Other Things to Know

Here are some common questions that people have about the Bank of America Secured Credit Card.

Can you get turned down for a secured credit card?

Yes, you can be turned down for a secured credit card. Secured cards are easier to get, but they’re by no means a sure thing. Banks will turn you down for a secured credit card if you have a history of delinquencies or a bankruptcy on your credit report.

How long does it take to graduate to an unsecured credit card?

Bank of America reviews your account after 12 months to determine whether to upgrade you to an unsecured card. If you aren’t upgraded, the bank will review your account again each month at the statement closing date.

Bottom Line: Should You Apply for the BankAmericard® Secured Credit Card?

The BankAmericard® Secured Credit Card will help build your credit score, but it’s a pretty average secured credit card. A high interest rate, hefty annual fee, and few features worth noting make the card less appealing than cheaper cards from competitors.