Anyone who’s tried to open a credit card after hitting a few financial snags knows how hard it can be to get approved. The same goes for those who haven’t had a chance to build credit yet.
That’s where secured credit cards come in.
You have a better chance of getting approved for a secured credit card because it requires a security deposit down payment. Banks are more likely to take a risk on you, and you’re more likely to get the credit-building tool you need.
Have you been thinking about how you can repair your credit with a secured credit card? If so, read on to find out if the UNITY Visa Secured Card is the best tool to help you do just that.
UNITY Visa Secured Card review
The UNITY Visa Secured Card is offered by OneUnited Bank, and it’s an option for anyone looking to build or rebuild his or her credit.
Here are some benefits of this secured Visa credit card:
- OneUnited Bank reports this card’s activity to credit reporting agencies (CRAs).
- This is not a prepaid card, which is a benefit because prepaid cards don’t report to CRAs.
- It has a fixed interest rate guaranteed until at least your card’s expiration date.
- There’s no fee to apply.
- There’s no penalty interest rate.
- Your security deposit is FDIC insured.
As with all financial products, there are some drawbacks as well:
- There’s a $39 annual fee for the card.
- You have to pay $10 whenever you want to increase your credit limit.
- There’s a two percent foreign transaction fee.
OneUnited Bank also provides additional resources on a page titled “How to Rebuild Credit Program.”
That said, this “program” appears to be a static informational page, not a program customers can enroll in. But the information might be helpful to people looking to improve their credit.
If this card sounds like it’s right for you, you can apply online here.
OneUnited Bank products
The UNITY Visa credit card’s parent bank, OneUnited Bank, also offers several deposit accounts.
Here’s a list of the bank’s current product offerings besides its secured Visa credit card:
- UNITY E-Gold Checking
- This is a checking account you can earn interest on. It requires a $500 initial deposit.
- UNITY E-Style Checking
- This is a no-fee account as long as you have direct deposit going to it. It requires a $100 initial deposit.
- U2 E-Checking
- This is a checking account for people who have had trouble maintaining checking in the past – even those who have ChexSystems records. It requires a $50 initial deposit.
- If you think you might have a record in ChexSystems but aren’t sure, you can find out by following the steps outlined by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB).
- UNITY E-Gold Savings
- Described as a “high-tiered interest rate” savings account, this account requires a $1,000 minimum initial deposit.
- UNITY E-Style Savings
- This savings account requires a $100 minimum initial deposit and is free as long as you set up a direct deposit with it.
- Tip: If you choose this account and UNITY E-Style Checking, you can ask your human resources department to set up a split deposit to both. This can be a great way to automatically boost your savings each month.
- UNITY Gold E-CD
- This CD boasts “automatic renewals” and “great rates” and requires a $1,000 minimum initial deposit.
All of the above accounts also offer free online and mobile banking. And all but the CD offer surcharge-free access to more than 25,000 ATMs in the U.S.
Using the UNITY Visa Secured Card online platform
OneUnited Bank has an online platform. However, the only way you can manage your UNITY Visa credit card online is to do things such as check your balance and see when your payments post.
To make a payment online for this card, you must set up online bill pay with your bank and have the payments go to your card. You can set up bill pay on a OneUnited Bank account for your UNITY Visa credit card if you choose to bank there as well.
UNITY Visa Secured Card interest rates and fees
The UNITY Visa Secured card, like all other secured credit cards, doesn’t come free. Here’s a breakdown of the fees and interest rates (as of June 2017):
- Annual fee of $39.
- Balance transfer fee of $10 or three percent, whichever is greater, with a maximum of $150.
- Cash advance fee of $10 or three percent, whichever is greater, with a maximum of $150.
- Fixed interest rate of 17.99% – an unusual perk. The interest rate remains fixed until at least your card’s expiration date.
- Cash advance interest rate of 17.99%.
- The balance transfer rate after the first six months is 17.99%.
- The introductory rate for balance transfers is 9.95%.
- Your credit limit is equal to your security deposit, with a minimum of $250 and a maximum of $10,000.
Once you’ve built up your credit enough to obtain a regular credit card, you can get the security deposit back as long as you pay your balance in full and close your account.
UNITY Visa Secured Card eligibility requirements
While OneUnited Bank doesn’t have a specific credit score attached to its eligibility requirements, it does encourage people with “bad credit” to apply.
Someone with “bad credit” might have charged-off accounts or a lot of late payments in his or her credit history. Make sure you regularly check your credit score and read the explanations that come with it to see where you stand.
Ultimately, secured credit cards are made available for cardholders with bad credit looking to improve their credit standing.
UNITY Visa Secured Card customer service
According to the Better Business Bureau (BBB), OneUnited Bank has a lot of work to do. Its current rating is an F.
There aren’t many reviews on the BBB website. But the few that are there discuss issues such as:
- Misapplied payments and difficulty getting them resolved.
- Poor customer support in relation to fraudulent card activity.
- A few issues with the bank itself regarding how it handles deposits and things of that nature.
Based on the reviews, it seems like the most effective way to use this card without running into trouble might be to set up online bill pay so you can be sure your payments get applied to your account.
Setting up online bill pay isn’t a guarantee you won’t run into issues like misapplied payments. It does, however, prevent the hassle of paying by check and waiting to see if and when your payment is applied correctly.
More about OneUnited Bank
The UNITY Visa Secured Card is currently the only credit-based product OneUnited Bank offers. But what the bank lacks in credit products, it makes up for in a strong mission.
Self-described as “America’s largest Black-owned bank,” OneUnited Bank defines its purpose as follows: “We’re working to help develop urban communities across the nation, to raise financial literacy within our communities, and to build Black economic power in America.”
OneUnited Bank has a large mission but isn’t a large bank. It currently has branches in California, Florida, and Massachusetts. But a partnership with MoneyPass and SUM Networks enables the bank’s customers to use ATMs throughout the United States.
UNITY Visa Secured Card contact
The address for OneUnited Bank’s customer service headquarters is 3683 Crenshaw Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90016. The phone number is (877) 663-8648.
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To qualify, you must be a U.S. citizen or possess a 10-year (non-conditional) Permanent Resident Card, reside in a state Earnest lends in, and satisfy our minimum eligibility criteria. You may find more information on loan eligibility here: https://www.earnest.com/eligibility. Not all applicants will be approved for a loan, and not all applicants will qualify for the lowest rate. Approval and interest rate depend on the review of a complete application.
Earnest fixed rate loan rates range from 3.89% APR (with Auto Pay) to 5.87% APR (with Auto Pay). Variable rate loan rates range from 2.47% APR (with Auto Pay) to 5.87% APR (with Auto Pay). For variable rate loans, although the interest rate will vary after you are approved, the interest rate will never exceed 8.95% for loan terms 10 years or less. For loan terms of 10 years to 15 years, the interest rate will never exceed 9.95%. For loan terms over 15 years, the interest rate will never exceed 11.95% (the maximum rates for these loans). Earnest variable interest rate loans are based on a publicly available index, the one month London Interbank Offered Rate (LIBOR). Your rate will be calculated each month by adding a margin between 1.82% and 5.50% to the one month LIBOR. The rate will not increase more than once per month. Earnest rate ranges are current as of Month/Day/Year, and are subject to change based on market conditions and borrower eligibility.
Auto Pay discount: If you make monthly principal and interest payments by an automatic, monthly deduction from a savings or checking account, your rate will be reduced by one quarter of one percent (0.25%) for so long as you continue to make automatic, electronic monthly payments. This benefit is suspended during periods of deferment and forbearance.
The information provided on this page is updated as of 08/21/18. Earnest reserves the right to change, pause, or terminate product offerings at any time without notice. Earnest loans are originated by Earnest Operations LLC. California Finance Lender License 6054788. NMLS # 1204917. Earnest Operations LLC is located at 302 2nd Street, Suite 401N, San Francisco, CA 94107. Terms and Conditions apply. Visit https://www.earnest.com/terms-of-service, email us at email@example.com, or call 888-601-2801 for more information on ourstudent loan refinance product.
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4 Important Disclosures for LendKey.
Refinancing via LendKey.com is only available for applicants with qualified private education loans from an eligible institution. Loans that were used for exam preparation classes, including, but not limited to, loans for LSAT, MCAT, GMAT, and GRE preparation, are not eligible for refinancing with a lender via LendKey.com. If you currently have any of these exam preparation loans, you should not include them in an application to refinance your student loans on this website. Applicants must be either U.S. citizens or Permanent Residents in an eligible state to qualify for a loan. Certain membership requirements (including the opening of a share account and any applicable association fees in connection with membership) may apply in the event that an applicant wishes to accept a loan offer from a credit union lender. Lenders participating on LendKey.com reserve the right to modify or discontinue the products, terms, and benefits offered on this website at any time without notice. LendKey Technologies, Inc. is not affiliated with, nor does it endorse, any educational institution.
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