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FIrstTech Federal Credit Union Secured Mastercard®
REVIEW

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By : Mr Credit Card

FirstTech Federal Credit Union Secured Masterard Introduction

Not many of you will have FirstTech FCU unless you live in Oregon, Washington or California. However, they have some of the best credit cards around and their secured credit card is no exception. They have features which put many of it's peers (including many big mainstream credit card issuers to shame). It is not just a secured credit card but it comes with a reward program and is a great card to use abroad in Europe.


Card Details

Annual Fee $0
Regular APR 9.00% to 18.00%
Foreign Transaction Fee 0%
Balance Transfer Fee $0
Credit Limit $500 - $25,000


No Fees - One of the key features of this card is that FirstTech does not charge any fees. There is no annual fee, balance transfer fee, cash advance fee or foreign transaction fee.

$25,000 Credit Limit - As far as we know, $25,000 is the highest credit limit and security deposit allowed for a secured credit card. The minimum is $500. There are only a couple of cards that allow you to deposit so much for your secured credit card.

Rewards - FirstTech FCU Secured Card has a reward program where you can earn 1X for every dollar that you spend on the card. Points can be redeemed for travel, merchandise and gift cards.

CHIP and PIN - FirstTech cards have Chip and Pin technology which is widely used in Europe. This makes this a great card for traveling to Europe.


Mastercard Benefits

  • Mastercard ID Theft Protection
  • Mastercard Global Services - includes Lost and Stolen Card Reporting, Emergency Card Replacement, and Emergency Cash Advance.
  • Mastercard Airport Concierge
  • MasterRental Coverage
  • MasterAssist
  • Purchase Protection
  • Lost or Damaged Luggage
  • Trip Cancellation Insurance
  • Worldwide Travel Insurance and Baggage Delay

You can see full details here.


Competition

There are lots of secured credit cards available to consumers. For the purpose of this review, I will review secured credit cards with high credit limits because this is one of the standout features of this card.

Card Annual Fee APR Credit Limit Foreign Transaction Fee Chip and Pin
FirstTech Secured $0 9% to 18% $500 - $25,000 0% Yes
CU of New Jersey $0 Min 14.99% Max $25,000 1% No
NIH Secured Visa $0 8.99% $250-$25,000 1% No
1st NorCal Secured $0 7.9% Up to $10,000 Not Sure No


Credit Limits - The FirstTech FCU has highest credit limit (subject to your security deposit) among all secured credit cards. There are a couple secured credit cards from credit unions that also allow you to deposit up to $25,000. Examples include Credit Union of New Jersey Secured Mastercard and NIH secured Visa. Another secured credit card that offers high limits is the 1st NorCal Secured Visa, which offers up to a $10,000 credit limit.

Reward Program - Though most secured credit cards do not have reward programs, FirstTech does and you can redeem your rewards for travel, merchandise and gift cards.

Fees - The FirstTech Secured has no annual fee, no balance transfer fee, no foreign transaction fee and no cash advance fee. There really aren't many cards which do not charge all these fees. For example, the Discover Secured Credit Card has no annual fee and no foreign transaction fee but does not allow balance transfer. The NIH secured card has no annual fee but charges a foreign transaction fee and balance transfer fee. The Credit Union of New Jersey secured card has no annual fee but charges a foreign transaction fee, cash advance fee and balance transfer fee.

CHIP and PIN - While European is already using CHIP and PIN, merchants in the US are still using CHIP and SIGNATURE credit cards (which are less secure than CHIP and PIN). FirstTech credit cards all have Chip and Pin and most of their peers do not have the PIN technology.


Pros and Cons

Pros

  • High Limit for Security Deposit and Credit Limit - FirstTech FCU allows you to deposit up to $25,000 in your account. This is a very high limit indeed and this is great for those of you who have that amount because it really allows you to control your credit utilization ratio which is so important for credit building.

  • No Annual Fee, Foreign Transaction, Balance Transfer or Cash Advance Fees - This card does not charge any fees that typical credit cards charge.

  • Mobile App - FirstTech FCU has a user friendly mobile for their customers.

  • Reward Program - Very few secured credit cards have reward program. But FirstTech does. Reward points can be redeemed for travel, merchandise and gift cards.

  • Chip and Pin - Many US credit cards no have CHIP technology and still require Signature rather than PIN. In Europe, most merchants require CHIP and PIN numbers. FirstTech credit cards all have CHIP and PIN so this will be extremely useful in when you are traveling in Europe.

Cons

  • Not available to everybody - You need to join FirstTech credit union to be able to have this card. Since they have branches in Oregon, Washington and California, those who live near their branches will find it convenient to get this card. For most other folks in the rest of the country, this card may not be practical.


How to Join FirstTech Federal Credit Union?

According to FirstTech FCU's website, there are hundreds of ways to join FirstTech FCU. The following are the main ways and criteria for joining their credit union. They also have over 40 locations with hubs in Washington, Oregon and California.
  •  
  • A family member or household member is a First Tech member
  • You or a family member work for an innovative company on our partner list or for the State of Oregon.
  • You work or live in Lane County, Oregon.
  • Call 855-855-8805 if you are unsure or visit a branch if there is one near your place. FirstTech has over 40 locations with hubs in Washington, Oregon and California with over 30,000 co-op branches and ATMs.


  • You can join FirstTech by the following way:
  • Stop by a First Tech location
  • Call 855.855.8805 to learn more
  • Apply online when creating a loan or credit card application


Our Take

I'll be upfront here. The FirstTech FCU Secured Credit Card is arguably one of the best secured credit cards available right now. There are many reasons for this. Firstly, they charge no annual fee. Secondly, they allow you to deposit up to $25,000 for your security deposit. Let's be clear about this, I doubt many will actually deposit $25,000 for their secured credit card deposit. However, the ability to do that is very useful because with a large deposit, you can control your credit utilization ratio (which is a very important component of your credit score).

For those of you who want to use this card to travel, this card is made just for that too. It has a reward program that allows you to redeem for travel, merchandise and gift cards. It has no foreign transaction fee and more importantly, they have Chip and PIN technology which is so ideal for travels to Europe.

The only issue with this card is that it is from a credit union and not many of you will find it convenient to get this if you do not live in an area where they have branches. But if you do, this is one of the best secured credit cards available and an ideal card for rebuilders.


How to Apply?

You can apply for the FirstTech FCU online. Here are a couple of screenshots of their application page.

firsttech-secured-application firsttech-secured-application firsttech-secured-application


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