Citibank Secured Master Card Review: The Complete Guide

Introduction to Citibank Secured Mastercard

A majority of folks obtain a secured card in order to reestablish their credit.  With the Citibank Secured Mastercard, it is a little bit different.  It does have that as a possibility.  The recommendation for this card, though, is more in line with the young person just starting out with no credit or someone who is trying to establish credit for the first time, those with limited credit.

They don’t have a minimum credit requirement that they look at for approval.  They do not want a bankruptcy on your record within the past two years of applying for the card.  They also look at income/debt ratio. They want to make sure that you will be able to handle paying the bills.

In order to get approved you need to be able to prove that paying will not be an issue.  Also, you have to be eighteen plus years of age. There needs to be a social security number on file.  A United States mailing address is required.

It is a really vanilla kind of card.  There are no real bells or whistles with this guy.  Pretty straightforward but also decent if you handle your business in the right way. 


  • No Annual Fee

This is an awesome perk for a secured card.  They usually come with some kind of annual fee. There are not a lot of them that offer none.  Major plus.

  • Deposit

This can be anywhere from $200 to $2,500.  You need to be approved for the amount that you want to set your deposit at.  Once you have this amount set with Citi, that is the amount you need to stick with throughout the duration of your term.  This needs to be transferred from a checking account with a bank into your Citi account.  You will be required to provide the account type, account number and routing information.  If you do not have a bank, you will need to go into a Citi office and take care of the deposit in person.  It is recommended, if you are eligible to get a higher limit, get as high as possible and keep payments low.  This will reflect positively on credit points.

  • 24.74% APR variable

  This is incredibly high. It is definitely more than most secured credit cards on the market.  Citi offers auto pay and it is recommended that you sign up for this with the request to take out the full amount of your balance on each payment. This way there is no accrual of interest fees.  It’s also not recommended to finance any purchases for the same reasons.

  • Eighteen months 

Within this period, if you have paid time and have good standing with Citibank Secured Mastercard, they will give you the security deposit back and, if eligible, you will be put in line for the Citi Diamond Preferred Unsecured Card. When you are getting close to the deadline, make sure your balance is paid in full and begin to research the Diamond Preferred card to see what the qualifications are.

  • Identity Theft Solutions/Fraud Protection

Citi really goes the extra mile with identity theft.  If your account has been compromised, they assist you in contacting Transunion, the credit bureaus, other lenders, and go over the credit card statement.  They do all they can to get you through the process. The card is fitted with the smart chip and requires a signature for extra security precautions.

  • Twenty-Four Hour Travel Assistance

Covers fifty miles or more away from  home. You need to pay for any third party services rendered.

  • Payment Protection

This needs to be used within 120 days of purchase.  There is a $1000 per sale max and a $ 50,000-year max.  The product needs to have been bought with the Citibank Secured Mastercard.  There are stipulations.

  1.  Items not reasonably cared for to prevent damage/theft.

  2.  Items used against what the manufacturer would have intended.

  3.  Signs of usual wearing/tearing.

  4.  Defects in the product.

  5.  Items have been purchased to resale either commercially or professionally.

  6.  Lottery tickets, airlines or sporting.

  7.  No motorized vehicles of any sort including air, car, boat.  (Tires would be covered.) 

  8.  There has to be a receipt turned in with the item as well as the credit card statement to go with it showing the item on the statement.

Grace Period 

There are twenty-three additional days to pay your bill that won’t count against you.  That’s a really good grace period.  Typical for a lot of places is fifteen days.  This should mean you would have no reason to have a late-pay fee.

Late Pay Fee


Max Over-limit Fee

Zero.  But that doesn’t mean that the purchase will be approved.  Most likely, if it rings up beyond your limit, the sale won’t go through.

Credit Bureaus

Citi reports to all three credit bureaus.  A plus is that every month they provide your FICO credit score free of charge.  Each month it is updated and resent. 

24/7. You can manage your card around the clock, online, on the phone or with mobile app.  You can use this card anywhere in the world where Mastercard is taken, and it can be used at any ATM.  If you use it internationally, there is a 3% foreign transaction fee which is a bit costly.  You also get no rewards, no miles, no points, nothing that will give you any kinds of benefits as far as travel.  If you are going to use the card at the ATM for a cash withdrawal, that is very expensive as well.  APR for cash out is 27.49% and the fee is 5% with a minimum of $10.

  • Authorized User

You can’t do a joint account necessarily, but you can put an authorized user onto your account.  You’ll definitely want someone who has a good payment history and decent credit standing.  This person will also accrue credit points and be working towards establishing good credit right along side of you.


Bankruptcy and having a bad income/debt ratio would be reasons to not get the Citibank card.  A couple of the other things, there are ways to work with the company.  With the social security number, they accept passports and other forms of ID in place of it.  For the bank account, you can just go into their office and pay the deposit that way.  The income/debt ratio, eighteen-years-old, U.S. address are kind of set in stone.

People are always curious if there are ways that they can be reconsidered if they are denied.  This card is no different.  Folks want to know if that is a possibility because, quite honestly, this isn’t a bad card for monitoring and taking care of your credit.  It’s actually pretty perfect for that.  So, let’s see.

–  Call for reconsideration.  You will need to explain and have proof that your financial situation changed since the time that you were reviewed for your application.  You’ll need to show that things are in much better shape.  Sometimes they reverse decisions.  Overall, though, this is generally not likely.

–  Authorized User.  This would be the time that you could become an authorized user and attach to another member’s card.  You don’t want to hurt their credit progress.  It would be important to make sure that your finances are actually in good standing.  Then you will also benefit from the credit privileges as the actual cardholder.

–  Simply Wait.  This is not ideal but this may be your only option.  Get your credit cleaned up, get your bills in order, possibly raise your income and then reapply.  It may take some time, but this is not an easy process for anyone to have to go through.

–  Apply to a different secured card or use a cosigner.  Either way with this option you would be going to a different credit card.  Citi doesn’t take cosigners.  There may be other secured cards out there that have easier approval odds.  It doesn’t hurt to keep applying until you get the right one.  That, or use a person who is willing to put their name and credit on the line to sign for you to obtain a credit card.

Two things that you want to look for when obtaining a secured card:

– High approval odds.

– No annual fee. 

If you’re lucky this is the jackpot.  From there it’s just a matter of maintaining by paying the balance in full each month so you don’t accrue any interest fees, not withdrawing cash from the ATM, keeping your account in good standing.


This is a decent credit card for a beginner trying to establish credit for themselves or somebody with very limited credit.  There is a good possibility, though, if you can get approved with them to really build a good credit standing by using them.  With the way they monitor your account and keep you on track.  This is a pretty good one.

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