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

After my credit score had not improved in months, I started to realize that the only secured card on my report was not going to be enough and that I needed a second credit card with a higher limit to boost my score. Since I am in the process of rebuilding credit, the chances of getting an unsecured credit card like this were almost zero (specially since I had some past delinquencies on my report), so after considering other options, I decided to go with Bank of America’s Secured Card. I already have a checking account with them so I figured it would be easier to get approved. I also applied for this card in person. I’ve heard that not everybody gets approved, so I guess these two things worked well for me.

If you are interested in checking the progress I’ve had with my first secured card please read: “Capital One Secured Credit Card Review – Credit Diary Part II“. The following timeline will give you an idea of the progress I’ve had with the Bankamericard Fully Secured Visa. It will be updated often so make sure to check back regularly. If you are using or have used this card in the past, feel free to post your feedback. 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 forum, which can be accessed here: newdirt.org/forums. I am not a credit expert, this is my personal experience dealing with Bank of America and using their secured credit card to try to rebuild my credit.

Credit Score:

  • Starting Credit Score: 636 (Experian)
  • New Credit Score: 665 (Experian)

Strategy:

  • 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

Timeline:

  • 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.
  • Current Status: My credit score improved 29 points right after opening this account. At exactly the one year mark my card was unsecured and my security deposit refunded.

Review:

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

Useful Links:

Comments

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

  2. newdirt.org newdirt.org 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.

  3. 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. newdirt.org newdirt.org 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?

    • newdirt.org newdirt.org 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:

    Hi

    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.

    • newdirt.org newdirt.org 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 https://www.annualcreditreport.com (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.

    • newdirt.org newdirt.org 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. 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?

Add Comment Register



Speak Your Mind

*