USAA® Secured Visa Platinum® Card Review
Building your credit score isn’t an easy thing to do, but it’s crucial to many of life's big moments. A good credit score is necessary if you want to finance a new car or purchase a new home. It can also be a factor in whether you get hired for your next job.
So how do you build a positive credit score if you have a limited credit history or a few negative marks on your credit report? One of the best ways is by using a secured credit card. This will help you build good borrowing habits, which will boost your credit score to levels lenders love.
One of the more popular secured cards available to current and former military members and their families is the USAA<sup>®</sup> Secured Visa Platinum<sup>®</sup> Card. Let’s dig into this card to see if it’s a good fit for your wallet.
What You Get
The USAA® Secured Visa Platinum® Card isn’t going to have a lot of glitz and glamour. Instead, you’re going to receive a card that will allow you to either build or improve your credit with smart choices.
When you’re approved for the card you will make a deposit like you would with any other secured card. This deposit can be anywhere from $250 to $5,000. However, what’s different from many other secured cards is that your deposit is then held in a two-year CD, earning interest. The deposit you put down will also serve as your credit limit. If you’d like to increase your limit at any time, all you need to do is add an additional deposit to your account. Each year, the $35 annual fee will be deducted from your deposit balance.
For anyone working hard to build their credit score, they will appreciate that spending and payment habits are reported to each of the three credit reporting agencies. Each month TransUnion, Experian and Equifax will learn whether or not you’re keeping your credit utilization low and making payments on time.
The USAA Secured Card Visa Platinum® Card also has several perks available for being a military servicemember. These include the following:
Deployment/PCS Rate - You will receive a special APR of 4% for up to 12 months while you are deployed or on PCS. After the 12-month period, the APR will switch back to your normal variable rate.
SCRA Rate - When you enter active duty, you will receive a 4% APR on your existing credit card balance.
Military Campaign Benefit - If you serve in a military campaign, you will receive a rebate for finance charges you accrue while serving in that campaign.
There are some other great benefits that most will find helpful when using this card to shop or travel. You will receive Collision Damage Waiver coverage. This will protect you against theft and damage while using a rental car. You will also receive extended warranty protection, which will extend the manufacturer's warranty on items you purchase for up to one year. The card also comes with identity theft protection.
Even though this card does come with a small annual fee, there are no foreign transaction fees, which make it perfect to carry when traveling outside the United States. Plus, even though your goal is to never be late with a payment, this card also has no penalty APR. That means if you happen to be late with a payment, you will not be assessed a higher APR.
What You Don’t Get
The biggest drawback to the USAA® Secured Visa Platinum® Card is that it won’t transfer into an unsecured card. With some secured cards, you will have the opportunity to upgrade to an unsecured card after a certain period of good borrowing. Unfortunately, with this card you will need to keep the card, continue paying the $35 annual fee and eventually apply for a new unsecured card.
You would have the ability to cancel the USAA® Secured Visa Platinum® Card once you no longer need it, but it may negatively impact your credit. By cancelling the card, you will lose the age of credit, which counts toward your credit score.
It’s also important to note that this and any other USAA credit card won’t be for everyone. You need to be a member of USAA, which would mean you must be active military, retired with an honorable discharge, an officer candidate, or enlisted personnel. You will also qualify if your spouse or parents are currently or used to be in the military.
The Bottom Line
Overall the USAA<sup>®</sup> Secured Visa Platinum<sup>®</sup> Card is a great choice when it comes to picking a secured credit card. Cardholders have the ability to choose their credit limit and the deposit they put on their account gets deposited into a CD earning interest. Plus, a combination of its low fees and benefits for military personal make it the perfect fit for anyone looking to boost their credit score.
First published , last updated
Editorial Note: Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author's alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any card issuer.