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USECU Secured Mastercard
REVIEW

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By : Mr Credit Card

This is Insane - A Secured Credit Card with $100,000 Credit Limit?

The USECU (University and State Employee Credit Union) Secured Mastercard is the only secured credit card we know that allows you to have a $100,000 credit limit. This is literally unheard off. You obviously need to be a member of the University and State Employees Credit Union. Let's look at this card in greater detail.


Card Details

Annual Fee $0
Regular APR Min 4.99%
Foreign Transaction Fee 1%
Credit Limit Max $100,000


Fees - The USECU Secured Card has no annual fee. They also do not charge any balance transfer fee. However, they do charge a foreign transaction fee of 1%.

Rates - The ongoing APR is very low at 4.99%. This is one of the lowest APRs available for any type of credit card.

Credit Limit - You can have a credit limit of up to $100,000 that is secured by your savings account or money market account.


Competition

Since the main feature of this card is that you can have credit limits of up to $100,000, I will list only high limit secured credit cards.



Card Annual Fee APR Credit Limit Foreign Transaction Fee Chip and Pin
USECU Secured $0 4.99% Up to $100,000 1% Not Sure
Addition Financial $0 4.9% $500-$30,000 0% Yes
CU of New Jersey $0 Min 14.99% Max $25,000 1% No
FirstTech Secured $0 9% to 18% $500 - $25,000 0% Yes
NIH Secured Visa $0 8.99% $250-$25,000 1% No
1st NorCal Secured $0 7.9% Up to $10,000 Not Sure No


As you can see from the table above, the USECU secured credit card beats every one else in terms of credit limits. No one comes close to the $100,000 limit of this card. The closest is Addition Financial Secured Credit Card, which allows you to deposit up to $30,000 to get that credit limit. The rest of the other cards in the table have limits from $10,000 to $25,000.

Furthermore, it has the lowest APR among it's peers. 4.99% for a regular APR is really hard to beat.

However, there are other aspects which USECU is not as good as. For example, the First Tech Secured Mastercard does not charge any foreign transaction fee and uses Chip and PIN. This makes it a great card when you travel abroad because you avoid foreign transaction fees and many countries abroad use Chip and PIN rather than Chip and Signature.

In contrast, USECU charges a 1% foreign transaction fee and at this moment, we are not sure if this is a Chip and PIN card.

But in terms of credit limits and interest rates, no one comes close to USECU.


Pros and Cons

Pros

  • High Credit Limits - High credit limit is an understatement. This secured credit card has the highest credit limit at $100,000. No other secured credit card comes close.

  • Low APR - The 4.99% APR is one of the lowest rate for any credit card.

  • Allows Balance Transfer and No Balance Transfer Fee - USECU Secured allows you to transfer a balance and they do not charge any balance transfer fee. 4.99% is a very low rate if you have a balance with another creditor with a much high interest rate.

  • No Annual fee - This should not be a huge plus point but there are still secured credit cards out there that still charge an annual fee.

  • Earns Interest On Deposit - Because your credit limit is secured by money in your savings account or money market account, you will earn interest on your security deposits.

Cons

  • Charges a Foreign Transaction Fee - USECU charges a 1% foreign transaction fee. There not as bad as 3% that most credit cards charge, it means that this is not the ideal card to use if you travel abroad.


Our Take: USECU has the highest credit limit among any secured credit cards

The USECU secured credit card wins the award for the highest credit limit for any secured credit card. No other secured card comes close to allowing you to have a credit limit of up to $100,000 secured by your savings account or money market account. The closest secured credit card I can think of is the Addition Financial Secured Card ($30,000) and a few others which allows you to have up to $25,000 credit limits.

Some of you might be wondering why do you need so much credit limits for a secured credit card since most folks looking for secured cards are actually rebuilders who struggle to come up with cash for their security deposit. The reason this is a big deal is because one of the advantages of having a secured credit card is that the credit card issuer cannot reduce your credit limit. This can be important because credit card issuers are known to reduce credit limits during times of economic uncertainty. You may have experienced this during Covid-19 or the 2008 financial crisis.

Another advantage of having a high credit limit secured credit card is that you can control your credit utilization ratio and make sure it is under a certain percentage (30% is the recommended ratio) that you want. Credit utilization is one of the very important factors in determining your credit score.

If you are not impressed or bothered by the potential high credit limits you can get with USECU, you might be interested in the fact that the regular APR is very low at 4.99%. Furthermore, this card allows you to transfer a balance and they do not charge any balance transfer fee. So if you are looking for a low rate secured credit card, this card is a very good candidate as well. And off course, there is no annual fee

One advantage you get with a credit union secured credit card is that you credit limit is secured by either savings account or money market accounts (if the credit union has one). Therefore, you can still earn interest on your security deposit with USECU. In contrast, many mainstream issuers are not banks and your security deposit might not earn any interest.

The only nitpick I have with USECU is that they charge foreign transaction fees on all their credit cards and at this moment, I am not sure if their cards are Chip and PIN or Chip and Signature (I have tried calling them but was held up too long on the phone and will update this review when I can get the info).

If you are seriously considering getting a secured credit card from USECU and you are not yet a member and do not have an account with them, then you have to consider the fact that you need to become a member and put a decent amount in their savings account or money market account. If you living in an area where they have branches and have an ATM nearby (certain counties in California), then it might not be such a bad idea to consider joining them as a member and start banking with them.


Who Can Join USECU

USECU (University and State Employees Credit Union) is based in California. Any California state or university employee is eligible for the University and State Employee Credit Union membership, along with others who live, work, or worship in the five counties where we hold community charters: San Diego County, Sacramento County, Yolo County, Alameda County and Santa Clara County.