UNITY Visa Secured Card Review: A Lifeline to Better Credit

unity visa secured card review

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.

If you prefer social media, you can tweet @oneunited or contact OneUnited Bank on Facebook. You can also find OneUnited Bank on Instagram, LinkedIn, and YouTube.

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