Review of Wells Fargo Secured Visa®

Picture of Item Reviewed
Editor's Rating: 4.0/5.0
The secured with the lowest annual fee that we can find. Has a very reasonable interest rate too. The downside is that your deposits do not earn interest (unlike many of it's peers). Although deal for people with no credit history, folks who are recovering from bad credit or bankruptcy are advised to choose another card.
Intro Purchase APR Regular APR Annual Fee Issuer Credit Needed
N.A. 18.99% $25 American Express No Credit
PROS
  • Low annual fee
  • Reasonable interest rate
CONS
  • Deposit does not earn interest

Summary - Wells Fargo is one of the few large banks that actually offer secured credit cards in portfolio (American Express, Discover and Chase do not have secured cards). They are specifically targeted at people who have no credit history. Their card has gone through some changes in terms of fees and rates. We'll get into that right now.

Fee and Rate Increases - We reviewed this card a while ago and back then, their annual fee was $18 and the APR was 13.24%. Recently (we're not sure when), Wells Fargo increased the annual fee to $25 and the APR to 18.99%. Back when their annual fee was $18, it had perhaps the lowest annual fee for any secured card. Despite the increase to $25, it is still perhaps the card with the lowest annual fee.

Their interest rate used to be on the lower side of comparable cards. But the bump up in rates now makes it more average in terms of APR.

Deposit Requirement - This card will give you a credit limit equal to 100% of your deposit with Wells Fargo. You need to put in a minimum of $300 up to a maximum of $5,000. The deposit account does not pay interest.
 

Wells Fargo Visa Peer Comparison



Versus Orchard Bank Secured Credit Card - Orchard Bank is one of the biggest issuer of secured credit cards. Orchard Bank has a higher annual fee at $35. But it has a lower APR at 7.90%. The Orchard secured MasterCard does pay an interest on the deposit, whereas Wells Fargo does not. If you do not plan on carrying any balance (our recommendation always), then the Wells Fargo Secured Visa is a better alternative. But if you will occasionally carry a balance, or if you deposit quite a large sum, then the Orchard Bank Secured credit card may just be a better card.

Versus Citi Secured MasterCard - The Citi Secured MasterCard has an annual fee of $29, which is higher than Wells Fargo. But their interest rates are roughly similar. Citi does however give you a timeline of 18 months before you will be eligible for an unsecured credit card. Citi also pays interest on deposits whereas Wells Fargo does not. If these are important for you, then perhaps Citi might be the better choice.

Versus Bank of America Secured Visa - Bank of America also has a secured credit card. However, the fee is much higher at $39. The APR is also higher at 20+%. Hence, Wells Fargo beats the Bank of America Secured credit card on both counts.

Versus US Bank Secured Visa - The US Bank Secured Visa has a higher annual fee of $39 and a higher APR of 20+%. But like other secured credit cards, they do pay interest on your deposit. Given the low interest rates across the board now, I would say that the Wells Fargo beats the US Bank secured credit card despite not paying an interest on the deposit.

Wells Fargo Secured Visa - Low Annual Fee But Not the Lowest APR

Verdict - For an $25.00 annual fee with no one-time processing fee, plus an average apr for a secured credit card, the Wells Fargo Secured Visa credit card is one of the lower cost secured credit card. Wells Fargo also does not pay interest on deposits, which is in contrast with most other secured credit cards which do pay interest. If you pay your balance in full every month, then we have no hesitation in recommending this card. But if you carry a balance occasionally, or if you have just gotten out of bankruptcy, then the Orchard Bank Secured credit card is probably the better card to get as it has a low APR at 7.90% and it is a bankruptcy friendly credit card.