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Last updated on August 9th, 2021
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At a Glance
The SBI Secured Visa® Card is a decent secured card option but comes with some significant flaws. The fixed-rate APR is competitive, but not impressive, while the minimum deposit is higher than other issuers.
Ideal for Those Who:
- Are existing State Bank of India (California), customers
- Plan on carrying a small balance
- Desire a larger credit limit to reduce their credit utilization ratio
- Don’t mind the $35 annual fee
SBI Secured Visa® Card Review
The SBI Secured Visa® Card is a generic addition to the credit-building landscape, offering a decent fixed-rate APR and a middling annual fee.
APR Provides Value Vs. Larger Issuers
The best way to evaluate the SBI Secured Visa® Card is by comparing it to other offers from larger issuers. The State Bank of India (California) Secured has flat-rate interest higher than what’s available from credit unions. That rate, however, is better than the offers from Capital One or Discover.
The fixed APR with the SBI (SBIC) Secured Visa® Card is higher than the national average for a similar card but considerably lower than the rates with Capital One or Discover. In fact, the State Bank of India (California) Card is four-points lower than the Capital One Secured Mastercard. That card is one of the more popular options in the credit building card space.
The APR with the SBI Secured Visa® Card is preferable to other card options in some instances. This fact is especially true for those planning to carry a balance. While carrying a balance isn’t ideal, it’s something necessary for many rebuilding their credit.
Higher-than-Normal Minimum Deposit Required
The $300 minimum with the SBI Card is more than Capital One or Discover require. Both cards have minimums that start at $200. While $300 isn’t a significant increase, it might be the difference between being able to fund an account or not. This reality is especially true for those on a delicate financial footing, who lack the necessary funds.
The $5,000 maximum limit with the card, however, is excellent for those seeking a larger credit line. This limit is much higher than options like Discover, which limits similar accounts to $2,500.
Why seek a higher credit limit? Higher limits significantly reduce the credit utilization ratio with proper spending practices. Credit utilization ratios need to stay below 30% to repair a credit score, but below 10% is ideal. With a $5,000 limit, a cardholder carrying a balance of up to $500 stays below that 10% threshold.
Related Article: What Are the Easiest Credit Cards for Bad Credit to Get?
$35 Annual Fee
Annual fees are commonplace with credit-building credit cards. There are plenty of quality options that don’t charge annual fees, but many do. The SBI Card charges an annual fee of $35. The annual fee isn’t ideal, but that yearly charge isn’t high enough to be offensive.
Less-scrupulous cards often have fees of up to $100 or more. The typical cost often falls between $25 and $75. Against this backdrop, the $35 fee isn’t too bad. Still, there are other options available for those who prefer a no annual fee card.
The First Progress Platinum Prestige Mastercard® is an excellent secured card that features a tantalizingly-low APR. The 9.99% APR is one of the lowest in the nation. The Green Dot primor® Secured Visa® Gold Card also features the same interest rate and requires a minimum deposit of $200.Both these cards also have an annual fee competitive with the SBIC Secured Visa – not bad for an interest rate 13% lower.
No Penalty APR
The SBI Secured Visa® Card lacks a penalty APR. Many unscrupulous credit builder cards charge fees like these. These fees punish cardholders who miss payments, raising the APR significantly for long periods.
Penalty APRs are especially damaging for those still learning financial best practices. People recovering from bankruptcies may struggle to learn these habits. They may also lack a steady income to make their payments consistently at first.
The lack of a penalty APR with the SBI Card doesn’t inflict more punishment on those gaining their financial footing. Of course, they still need to learn these skills. Thankfully, State Bank of India (California) is more lenient in this regard.
No Activation Fees
The SBI Secured Visa® Card also lacks activation fees. These fees are rife with unscrupulous secured cards from other issuers, adding hidden fees that punish those trying to rebuild their credit.
Visa Cardholder Perks and Protections
The card also comes with essential Visa benefits and protections. Included are Visa’s Zero Fraud Liability, Auto Collision Damage Waiver for additional coverage for rental cards, and Visa extended warranty protection. The last two items typically don’t come with credit-building cards.
Should You Apply for the SBI Secured Visa® Card?
The SBI Secured Visa® Card is a decent secured card for those who have an existing relationship with State Bank of India (California) Bank. While the $35 annual fee isn’t ideal, the APR is competitive with Discover, Capital One, or Wells Fargo
The lack of bonus rewards perks, however, let this card down. The Discover It Chrome Secured Card, on the other hand, offers reward points in droves. That card earns cash back on every purchase, Discover’s Cashback Match after the first year, and no annual fee.
The State Bank of India (California) Card may be a good card, but as a total package, there are plenty of other options. The Discover offers rewards, and the Green Dot primor Gold, and First Progress Platinum Prestige better rates.