Credit Cards » Credit Card Reviews » Citi® Secured Mastercard® Card: 2024 Review
Advertiser Disclosure This website is an independent, advertising-supported comparison service. The product offers that appear on this site are from companies from which this website receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). This website does not include all card companies or all card offers available in the marketplace. This website may use other proprietary factors to impact card offer listings on the website such as consumer selection or the likelihood of the applicant’s credit approval. This allows us to maintain a full-time, editorial staff and work with finance experts you know and trust. The compensation we receive from advertisers does not influence the recommendations or advice our editorial team provides in our articles or otherwise impacts any of the editorial content on The Smart Investor. While we work hard to provide accurate and up to date information that we think you will find relevant, The Smart Investor does not and cannot guarantee that any information provided is complete and makes no representations or warranties in connection thereto, nor to the accuracy or applicability thereof. Learn more about how we review products and read our advertiser disclosure for how we make money. All products are presented without warranty.

Citi® Secured Mastercard® Card: 2024 Review

If you have a limited credit history that’s stifling your credit-card applications, the Citi® Secured Mastercard® is an effective and easy way to quickly build credit in order to graduate to an unsecure and more rewards-friendly card.
Author: Andrew O'Malley
Andrew O'Malley

Writer, Contributor

Experience

Andrew O’Malley has a BSc in Economics and Finance. He has worked in the finance industry as a risk analyst and is now pursuing a career in writing. In recent years, he has written for a number of leading publications. He studied Economics and Finance and has been fascinated with the financial markets since his teens.
Interest Rates Last Update: June 3, 2024
The banking product interest rates, including savings, CDs, and money market, are accurate as of this date.
Author: Andrew O'Malley
Andrew O'Malley

Writer, Contributor

Experience

Andrew O’Malley has a BSc in Economics and Finance. He has worked in the finance industry as a risk analyst and is now pursuing a career in writing. In recent years, he has written for a number of leading publications. He studied Economics and Finance and has been fascinated with the financial markets since his teens.
Interest Rates Last Update: June 3, 2024

The banking product interest rates, including savings, CDs, and money market, are accurate as of this date.

We earn a commission from our partner links on this page. It doesn't affect the integrity of our unbiased, independent editorial staff. Transparency is a core value for us, read our advertiser disclosure and how we make money.

Citi Secured Mastercard

citi secured mastercard review

Rewards Plan

None

Sign up Bonus

None

Credit Rating

Limited / No Credit

0% Intro

None

Annual Fee

$0

APR

21.24% – 29.24% (Variable)

Citi Secured Mastercard

citi secured mastercard review

Rewards Plan

None

Sign up Bonus

None

0% Intro

None

PROS

CONS

APR

21.24% - 29.24% (Variable)

Annual Fee

$0

Balance Transfer Fee

$5 or 3%

Credit Requirements

Limited / No Credit

Anyone with limited credit or absolutely no credit at all can find plenty of comfort in the Citi® Secured Mastercard®. It lets you put down a deposit upon signing up that equals your credit line, allowing you to easily build a strong credit score from there.

The card’s appeal stems from its secured status, meaning you can easily sign up for it by paying a cash deposit up front. You receive that deposit back once you make enough monthly payments to move on to an unsecured card requiring a more substantial credit score. 

But what the card offers in accessibility it lacks in just about everything else. It’s specifically designed for beginners not concerned with the salacious perks that customers with elite credit look for, including rewards and sign-up bonuses. Not to mention the card’s secured status entails a APR of 21.24% – 29.24% (Variable) , which is above average.

  • Build Your Credit
  • No Annual Fee
  • Protection
  • No Rewards
  • Put Down a Refundable Deposit
  • No Intro 0% APR Periods / Sign Up Bonus

What Is The Initial Credit Limit?

You can determine your own initial credit limit as your credit limit is determined by your deposit, dollar for dollar. Citi allows Secured customers to provide a security deposit of $200 to $2,500, which will provide a credit limit of $200 to $2,500 respectively.

Can I Add An Authorized User?

Citi does allow you to add authorized users to Secured card accounts. You can call customer service or log into your account and will need to provide the person’s details including full name, address and date of birth.

How Long Does It Take To Get Approved?

The average processing time for Citi credit card applications is seven to 10 days. Upon approval, you will need to wait up to 14 days to receive your new card.

Does It Report Payments To All Credit Bureaus?

Citi reports cardholder’s payment activities to all three credit bureaus. This means that with responsible use, you can expect to see an improvement across all credit scoring platforms.

When Shouldn't You Consider It?

If you are looking for a secured card with a low credit limit, there are other available cards that offer a $200 limit without needing to pay a $200 deposit. It may be possible to access this line of credit with a deposit as low as $39.

In This Review..

Benefits

Let’s take a look at the benefits of the Citi Secured card and see if it’s the right one for your wallet or not.

Exceptional card for Customers with limited credit histories – secured credit cards are often backed by a collateral payment, which for the Citi Secured Mastercard is your deposit between $200 and $2,500. 

This structure reduces the risk for the issuer and makes the card a prime choice for those with limited or no credit, as it allows you to set your own parameters for strengthening your creditworthiness.

For example, let’s say you pay an initial deposit of $400 when you sign up. Once you receive your Citi Secured Mastercard, your limit – or the most you can spend on your card in a given period – is equal to $400. 

As you continue to pay off the card and build credit, you’ll eventually receive that deposit back once you upgrade to an unsecured card with higher credit requirements.

The card boasts a $0 annual fee, meaning you don’t have to worry about swiping your card enough to cover a fixed yearly payment. 

Citi Secured Mastercard offers extended warranties, extended returns protection, identity theft protection, and security chips to make sure cardholders are protected when using the card.

Drawbacks

Here are the most important cons you should consider before apply:

The Citi Secured Mastercard doesn’t have any kind of rewards system in place. That’s a huge repellent for American customers, considering purchases on rewards cards make up more than 25% of all card purchases a year. 

While rewards are rare among secured credit cards, many others stand out with generous rewards structures. For example, the nRewards Secure Credit Card lets you earn 1 point per every dollar spent, which can be redeemed for gift cards or merchandise.

In order to use the Citi Secured credit card, you’ll be required to open an account and put down a refundable deposit. 

However, the larger deposit you put down, the larger your credit line limit will be up to the amount you are approved for.

Another perk common among standard unsecured cards yet not often found across secured cards like the Citi Secured Mastercard is intro 0% APR periods. Many issuers typically provide an initial grace period – often ranging anywhere from 6 to 21 months – in which customers don’t pay interest on purchases and/or balance transfers

This incentivizes new customers to swipe as much as possible without paying interest fees. Also, The card doesn’t offer any kind of sign-up bonus, a benefit commonly used to show generosity and attract new customers to sign up. 

Many of the Citi Secured Mastercard’s peers offer sign-up bonuses, including the Best Western Rewards Secured Mastercard, which gives you 5,000 points after your very first purchase.

Is the Citi Secured Credit Card Right for You?

The card’s no-frills nature will surely deter any elite-credit customers looking for a long-term option with rewards and bonuses. 

But if you have a limited credit history that’s stifling your credit-card applications, the Citi Secured Mastercard is an effective and easy way to quickly build credit in order to graduate to an unsecured and more rewards-friendly card.

Compare The Alternatives

Though the Citi Secured Card stands is one of the best secured cards out there, but there are a couple of alternatives worth mentioning: 

capital_one_secured_mastercard

citi secured mastercard review

Discover It Secured review

Capital One Secured
Citi Secured
Discover It Secured
Annual Fee
$0
$0
$0
Rewards
None None
None None
1-2% 2% cash back at gas stations and restaurants on up to $1,000 in combined purchases each quarter and unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases
Welcome bonus
None None
None None
Cashback Match™ Discover will match all the cash back you’ve earned at the end of your first year.
Foreign Transaction Fee
$0
3%
3%
Purchase APR
30.74% (Variable)
21.24% – 29.24% (Variable)
28.24% Variable

FAQ

Citi does have a 24/7 customer service phone line, so you can receive immediate assistance, regardless of the day of the week and time of day.

The answer to this will depend on your circumstances and why you need the credit. If you’re planning on making a large purchase, a personal loan is likely to be a better choice.

However, if you have the funds for a deposit and are simply looking for credit card functions or want to improve your credit score, the Citi Secured card is a more appropriate choice.

Citi does not supply details of a minimum income requirement for the Citi Secured card, but you will need to demonstrate some form of income to support your application and show your creditworthiness.

This is a decent secured card choice if you need a card and don’t have a particularly high income to support your application.

Compare Citi Secured Mastercard

Both cards don't offer rewards or bonuses, but the Capital One Secured Mastercard is our winner due to better credit-building features.

Citi Secured Mastercard vs Capital One Secured Mastercard: How They Compare?

Chime is our winner as it offers no credit check and no foreign transaction fees, unlike the Citi Secured which is a more conservative card.

Chime Credit Builder Secured Visa vs. Citi Secured Mastercard: Comparison

Top Offers

Amex gold

Rewards Plan:
1X – 4X 4X points at restaurants (including Uber Eats purchases in the U.S.) and U.S. supermarkets (up to $25,000 per year in purchases, then 1X points), 3X points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com, 2X points on rental cars through amextravel.com and 1X points on all other purchases
Welcome Bonus:
60,000 points 60,000 Membership Rewards® Points after you spend $6,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership

upgrade cash rewards

Rewards Plan:
1.5% 1.5% cash back on payments
Welcome Bonus:
$200 Earn a $200 bonus after you open & fund a Rewards Checking Plus account & make 3 debit card transactions within 60 days. If you previously opened a checking account through Upgrade or do not do so as part of this process, you are not eligible. Payout made within 60 days of meeting the conditions.

AMEX Blue Cash Preferred Card review

Rewards Plan:
1-6% 6% cash back at U.S. supermarkets (up to $6,000 per year in purchases, then 1%) and selected U.S. streaming subscriptions, 3% cash back on transit and U.S. gas stations, 1% cash back on other purchases
Welcome Bonus:
$250 $250 statement credit after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card within the first 6 months
Advertiser Disclosure
The product offers that appear on this site are from companies from which this website receives compensation.
Top Offers

Amex gold

Rewards Plan:
1X – 4X 4X points at restaurants (including Uber Eats purchases in the U.S.) and U.S. supermarkets (up to $25,000 per year in purchases, then 1X points), 3X points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com, 2X points on rental cars through amextravel.com and 1X points on all other purchases
Welcome Bonus:
60,000 points 60,000 Membership Rewards® Points after you spend $6,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership

upgrade cash rewards

Rewards Plan:
1.5% 1.5% cash back on payments
Welcome Bonus:
$200 Earn a $200 bonus after you open & fund a Rewards Checking Plus account & make 3 debit card transactions within 60 days. If you previously opened a checking account through Upgrade or do not do so as part of this process, you are not eligible. Payout made within 60 days of meeting the conditions.

AMEX Blue Cash Preferred Card review

Rewards Plan:
1-6% 6% cash back at U.S. supermarkets (up to $6,000 per year in purchases, then 1%) and selected U.S. streaming subscriptions, 3% cash back on transit and U.S. gas stations, 1% cash back on other purchases
Welcome Bonus:
$250 $250 statement credit after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card within the first 6 months
Advertiser Disclosure
The product offers that appear on this site are from companies from which this website receives compensation.
Top Offers From Our Partners

Amex gold

Rewards Plan:
1X – 4X 4X points at restaurants (including Uber Eats purchases in the U.S.) and U.S. supermarkets (up to $25,000 per year in purchases, then 1X points), 3X points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com, 2X points on rental cars through amextravel.com and 1X points on all other purchases
Welcome Bonus:
60,000 points 60,000 Membership Rewards® Points after you spend $6,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership

upgrade cash rewards

Rewards Plan:
1.5% 1.5% cash back on payments
Welcome Bonus:
$200 Earn a $200 bonus after you open & fund a Rewards Checking Plus account & make 3 debit card transactions within 60 days. If you previously opened a checking account through Upgrade or do not do so as part of this process, you are not eligible. Payout made within 60 days of meeting the conditions.

AMEX Blue Cash Preferred Card review

Rewards Plan:
1-6% 6% cash back at U.S. supermarkets (up to $6,000 per year in purchases, then 1%) and selected U.S. streaming subscriptions, 3% cash back on transit and U.S. gas stations, 1% cash back on other purchases
Welcome Bonus:
$250 $250 statement credit after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card within the first 6 months
Advertiser Disclosure
The product offers that appear on this site are from companies from which this website receives compensation.
Picture of Andrew O'Malley

Andrew O'Malley

Andrew O’Malley has a BSc in Economics and Finance. He has worked in the finance industry as a risk analyst and is now pursuing a career in writing. In recent years, he has written for a number of leading publications. He studied Economics and Finance and has been fascinated with the financial markets since his teens.
Search
Best Cards Per Category

Offers From Our Partners

Milestone® Mastercard®

Annual Fee:
$175 the first year; $49 thereafter
APR:
35.90%

upgrade cash rewards

Rewards Plan:
1.5% 1.5% cash back on payments
Welcome Bonus:
$200 Earn a $200 bonus after you open & fund a Rewards Checking Plus account & make 3 debit card transactions within 60 days. If you previously opened a checking account through Upgrade or do not do so as part of this process, you are not eligible. Payout made within 60 days of meeting the conditions.
Advertiser Disclosure
The product offers that appear on this site are from companies from which this website receives compensation.

Top Offers From Our Partners

upgrade cash rewards

Rewards Plan:
1.5% 1.5% cash back on payments
Welcome Bonus:
$200 Earn a $200 bonus after you open & fund a Rewards Checking Plus account & make 3 debit card transactions within 60 days. If you previously opened a checking account through Upgrade or do not do so as part of this process, you are not eligible. Payout made within 60 days of meeting the conditions.

Milestone® Mastercard®

Annual Fee:
$175 the first year; $49 thereafter
APR:
35.90%
Advertiser Disclosure
The product offers that appear on this site are from companies from which this website receives compensation.

#1 In credit Cards

Our Newsletter

Sign up to our newsletter for secret credit card tips, insider advice, and exclusive deals straight to your inbox

Start saving smarter with

Our Credit Card Newsletter

Sign up for our newsletter and gain access to expert advice,
insider knowledge, and exclusive offers

Editorial Note: Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, hotel, airline, or other entity. This content has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of the entities included within the post.

Credit Card Reviews Methodology

In order to determine the best possible credit cards, we look at things like fees, interest rates and rewards. We do this with companies that are associated with us as partners as well as other offerings. From there, we make a decision about what the best card is related to different categories and needs. We focus on interest rate cost & fees, especially the cost of carrying a balance, rewards – cards accumulate rewards in different currencies—points, miles, cash back—and their values vary widely usability – cards that accept a wide range of credit profiles and offer simple solutions for things like checking your credit score or contacting. We also consider customer reviews.

We look at cards related to good or excellent credit ratings that will then provide a range of different benefits and improvements for someone who has these scores. We also look at low fees when it comes to those who have lower credit scores.