Bank of America Secured Credit Card Review – Credit Diary Part III

After my credit score had not improved in months, I realized that the only credit card on my report was not going to be enough. I needed a second credit card with a higher limit to help boost my scores. Since I was in the process of rebuilding, my chances of getting a prime unsecured credit card were really slim to none, especially since I still had some old delinquencies on my reports. So after considering all my credit options, I decided to apply for the Bank of America Secured Visa Card.

I applied in person and was approved. I already had a checking account with Bank of America, so I figured it would be easier to get approved by them. I’ve heard that even though this is a secured card, not everybody gets approved, so I guess these two things worked well for me.

The following timeline will give you an idea of the progress I’ve had with the Bank of America Fully Secured Visa Card. If you are using or have used this card in the past, feel free to post your comments. If you are considering applying, don’t hesitate to post your questions. You can read more about this card and other related topics in our forums.

I am not a credit expert, this is my personal experience dealing with Bank of America and a description of how I used their secured credit card in order to rebuild my credit. If you are interested in checking the progress I had with my first secured card, the Capital One Secured Visa Card, please read: “Capital One Secured Credit Card Review“.

Credit Score:

  • Starting Credit Score: 636 (Experian)


  • Keep credit card balance below 30% and pay in full each month
  • Take care of negative items on credit report
  • Take advantage of the cash rewards this card offers


  • November 2, 2011: Credit score went from 579 to 636 after paying off two collection accounts on my report (a 57 point jump!). I had been stuck on the same score for months.
  • November 3, 2011: Applied for card in person at Bank of America. Was denied for an unsecured card but approved for a Cash Rewards Fully Secured Credit Card with a credit line option of $300 up to 10,000 depending on my deposit. After 12 months the account will be reviewed and If everything goes as planned, it will be unsecured and I will get my deposit back. Made a $4k deposit. I didn’t even know that a cash rewards secured card existed. I’m hoping that the larger limit will help my score
  • November 4, 2011: Not even 24 hours after opening this secured card, it’s already showing on my report as “Current”. My score improved 29 points just for opening this new account. My new Experian score is 665! I couldn’t be happier (86 points in two days)
  • November 10, 2011: Received my card in the mail.
  • November 12, 2011: Made an extra 1k deposit over the phone which was applied to my account on the same day. I had to give all my information again to do this, but noticed they didn’t do a hard pull as I had read on other forums (probably because they still had my application and report on their system).
  • January 7, 2012: I have paid first two statements in full and on time. I’m trying to take advantage of the cash rewards so I pay everything I would pay cash with this card and then pay the balance.
  • November 11, 2012: My card graduated after using it and paying it on time for one year. I called the bank at the one year mark and my card was unsecured, my security deposit refunded.
  • Comments: My credit score went up 29 points right after this account posted as open on my reports. At exactly the one year mark my card was unsecured and my security deposit refunded. To this day, I still have this card and have been able to greatly improve my credit scores by always paying on time and never exceeding my credit limit.


  • Final Rating: This is an excellent secured card and I would recommend it to anyone looking to rebuild or establish credit. It’s one of the only rewards secured card I know of and eligible to unsecure after only 10-12 months.

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  1. Shall a says

    Did they really refund the 300 that you deposited? And how much was your annual fee? We’re there any hidden charges?

  2. says

    The annual fee is $39. My deposit was refunded in full a couple of days after the card unsecured. No hidden charges, in fact, this is a cash rewards secured card even though it is not advertised as such. I was never late so I wouldn’t know about late charges, but this is a secured card, you should never pay late if you want your card to graduate…

    Overall it was a great experience and I can say for sure that the BOA secured card is a much better card than the Capital One secured card (which I also have), thought from what I’ve heard, it seems the CapOne card is much easier to get.

    • Tymond says

      Hello I recently applied online for a secured credit card lke 4 days ago it still pending but they already took my 300 from my bank as of today. But my application still pending is that normal? after I received my card will i get refunded my 300. Is it also normal for them to take my 300? before being approved?

  3. patrick says

    I believe Bank of america can be a little vindictive. I filed for chapter 7 2 years ago and they wont even approve a secured credit card. Where’s the risk?

  4. says

    You are right Patrick, BOA is known to be picky, even with their secured card. There are other secured cards, like the one Capital One offers for instance, that are much easier to get. You might have to wait a little longer to apply for a card with BOA, though you should check their small print on their secured card application, I remember reading something about this there. Applying in person might give you a different result as well. Good luck.

  5. Amber Cuevas says

    I applied for this boa credit card 2 days ago and haven’t,heard anything regarding approval. My question is how long before I know I’m approved?

    When I applied it gave me a message saying that they needed more time to make a decision. Will I get an email when the decision is made?

    • says

      Hello Amber,
      When applying online, if you are not approved instantly, I think you should expect to wait between 2-3 weeks. I applied at the bank and was given an instant decision there, so I can’t confirm. It might be less but I doubt it. You can always call the applications status number to see if you can get an update over the phone.
      Good luck and let us know how it went.

  6. Catherine says


    I applied for a Bank of America secured card today and didn’t get an instant approval, it said they need more time to consider their descion and I will be contacted in 30 days. I did just apply for a Capitol One secured card online as well and got denied, I haven’t received in the mail yet their reasons why. I am a college student and I work part time, I do have a lot of student loan debt that I’m not paying on right now because I’m in deferment. I do also have a few medical bills on my credit but that’s pretty much it. I am just looking for some advice on what I should next if I get denied from BOA to build my credit. Thanks for all your help.

    • says

      Hi Catherine,

      First thing you need to do is get a copy of your credit report. Do you know your credit score and how many accounts in collections you have? You are entitled to receive a free credit report every year from (this is the official site).

      If you were denied by Capital One most likely you’ll be denied by BOA, as they tend to be stricter but maybe you’ll get lucky. Check out your report and find out what needs to be done. Start working on your credit by getting rid of your collections. Wait 6 months and try to apply for CapOne again. If your college has a credit union, you can also try to get a secured card from them. Tell them you are trying to improve your credit, they might be willing to work with you.

  7. Catherine says

    Yes I know my credit score it’s in the low 500s. For the Capitol one card I didn’t mention I was a student on the app just my income which isn’t much since I only work part time, but for the BOA card I did mention I was a student and that I worked and put my income. Would this make a difference in getting an approval? Funny thing is, is that I work for a credit union but just started and can’t apply for a loan until I’ve worked there 6months. Thanks for your help.

    • says

      I think most likely your denial was based on: insufficient income, low scores or having accounts in collections. I don’t think your student status will make a difference. Applying for student cards like the CapOne Journey would’ve been another option, but knowing that you have derogatory marks on your report and a low score might make it difficult to get approved for those as well. You can try calling a Capital One backdoor number and ask them to reconsider: Cap1: 800-625-7866 (Account Specialist).

      In general, you need to have lots of patience as rebuilding your credit takes time. You have a very big advantage, working at a credit union. I would wait those 6 months and apply for a card there, meanwhile you could get those collections deleted. There are other subprime secured cards you could try, but I don’t think they are worth your time and money. They charge you for everything and you don’t want to put yourself in that position while in college.

      You should join our forums. One of our members was in a similar situation than yours, she might be able to shed some advice.

  8. Pamela says

    I applied for BofA credit card and got the response they needed more time to make a decision. 2 week later I received an offer for a secured BankAmericard visa credit card with an annual fee of $39. My question is they are only asking for a $99 security deposit. Is that my credit limit? In the next sentence it says a total credit limit of $500. Confused as I thought the deposit = my credit limit?

    • says

      Hi, sorry for the late reply. This a partially secured credit card that Bank of America offers to some of its customers. With a $99 deposit, you get a card with a $500 credit limit.

  9. jen says

    I have a boa secured card. After 2yrs they still haven’t unsecured it. I have never been late in fact I pay it in full every month. While my credit score is low I have a 100% on time payment history over the last 2 years with all my credit accounts. Capital one gave me a preapproved credit card About 4 months ago. What will the impact be on my credit if I close the account?

    • says

      Hi Jen. You need to give Bank of America a call, I believe you have to request that the card be unsecured if they haven’t done it automatically. I remember I had to call to do this.

      If it’s you oldest and only card and you close it, you’ll credit will be affected, at least until you get another card. If you can get Capital One to offer you the same credit limit or higher, then it shouldn’t affect your score too much or for too long. I would try to keep the BOA card though, what you need to do is to get it unsecured. It’s been too long.

    • guyfromthatthing says


      I opened a 1K BOA secured card in March 2013. Since opening the account it has never been more than 10% utilized, paid in full twice per month 12.5 consecutive months.

      I called them yesterday to get information on when my card would be considered for graduation, as this “automatic unsecuring” I discussed with BOA when I opened the account apparently is not done automatically.

      I called “to seek information” regarding when my card may be a candidate for unsecuring. I reached the credit department directly (800-601-3923); however, I was bounced around mistakenly between representatives and for the ten minutes I was on hold until settling on the third representative who identified themselves as an “analyst.”

      I inquired about when my card would be converted to the unsecured credit card–as the purpose of entering a relationship with this card was for one goal: rebuild my credit, I mentioned that I disliked the unfavorable APR % and annual fee, how I was told that after proving good credit habits and responsible credit usage that the card would be eligible for graduating it from secured to unsecured all on the same account.

      The person heard what I said, either misinterpreted me or ignored what I was asking–and responded with three questions: what my annual income was, how long I’ve been employed at my current employer, if I owned my own home or rented, and how much a month I spent on my mortgage or rent (excluding child support, other stuff too but the person spoke too fast I didn’t catch it).

      I asked–“am I eligible for graduating my secured credit card”?

      The response was–please wait while I check and submit that for you.

      When the analyst returned–they said, “congratulations, you have now graduated your secured card to unsecured.”

      At first I was elated–as this was not my intent nor purpose for calling them.

      However, before ending our conversation, I interjected quickly–so did you pull my credit report–and the response was, “yes.” I then stated, “okay, I wish you had told me that beforehand; however, if was a soft-inquiry, correct”?

      Their response was, “no. It was a hard pull.”

      I was floored.

      I stated–you do understand that I’ve had this card for over a year and the process for graduating cards that have met the 1-year mark is to graduate and a soft-pull.

      She stated, “well you called to graduate the card, sir. It’s always a hard pull when you call requesting the card be graduated.”

      I told her this is ludicrous. And furthermore I specifically waited an entire year to even ask about the card graduation timeline–knowing that people graduate early and endure a hard-inquiry in the process. I told her my plan from day one–literally was to go the slow and sure route–prove my good credit habits and after that 12 month mark graduate using the soft inquiry that is standard process.

      She said, “the customer calls to graduate the card, it results in a hard pull.”

      I then asked her to reverse it. I had been on hold for 12-15 and spoke to an actual human being for all of 2-3 mins. The graduation “hold” time was approximately 30 seconds. During which time I had no idea what I as the customer was “initiating”; the BOA rep. failed to mention exactly what they were doing and at no time explained what was going on as a result.

      I told the person that if I was willing to endure a hard pull then I would’ve called and graduated the card over six months ago. I didn’t wait one year so they could then unsecure my card and in the process cause me to endure negative notations on my account in my goal of trying to rebuild my credit.

  10. Jack says

    I had a BOA Visa since 1982, yes 1982… I had a 12k limit, the last 5 years have been hard on me financially, but always paid card balance was around 9k. I maybe have been a little late here and there but nothing to bad… Finally business improved and I paid off the card.. Over a few months… One day i went to use it to fund out the canceled it… No letter or anything, I was in shock… Of course when I called they claim they mailed me a letter and I could not talk to anyone who cared or would do anything…… I love how they waited until I paid them in full to cancel my card…Moral of the story I would not be so fast to pay them off.. I love there loyalty…

  11. Cardholder says

    Worst credit card I ever had. Been laid off over a year, was late 2 days on a payment and got hit with a high late charge which was more than minimum payment. Called customer service and they would not assist at lowering the late fee. Other credit cards I have were more then helpfulful with payments. Will not do any business with BOA again.


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