Merrick Bank issues credit cards designed for consumers who are building credit. Payment activity on the cards is reported to the three major credit bureaus, meaning careful card use can help you establish your credit over time.
Indeed, credit-building is the main benefit of the Merrick Bank credit cards. There are no other perks, like a 0% interest promotion or cash-back rewards. Plus, you may be on the hook for a few pricey fees, making other starter credit cards or cards for bad credit more appealing options to consider.
Here are five things to know about the Merrick Bank credit cards.
1. There are two Merrick Bank credit cards
Merrick Bank issues two credit cards:
The Merrick Bank Classic Secured Credit Card, which requires a security deposit of $200 to $3,000.
The Merrick Bank Double Your Line Credit Card, an unsecured card that automatically doubles your credit limit after the first seven months if you make at least the minimum payment on time each month.
2. You may need an offer by mail to apply
The Merrick Bank Double Your Line Credit Card requires a mailed offer before you can apply. Enter the certificate number that appears in the offer to start the application. You can also search for your certificate number by entering your last name, last four digits of your Social Security number and ZIP code on the card’s website.
You can apply for the Merrick Bank Classic Secured Credit Card online without a mail offer.
3. Get ready to pay some fees
For the Merrick Bank Classic Secured Credit Card, the annual fee is $36 for the first year, after which the fee is still $36, but it’s charged in monthly increments of $3. As of this writing, the APR is more than 22%.
Things get a little pricier with the Merrick Bank Double Your Line Credit Card. It charges high interest rates — as of this writing, the variable APR tops out at nearly 31%. Plus, there are a couple of potential fees you may have to pay depending on what Merrick Bank determines: a one-time account setup fee of $0 to $75, and an annual fee of $0 to $72 (billed at up to $6 monthly after the first year).
High interest rates and fees are common for unsecured credit cards for bad credit. However, depending on what you can qualify for, you may find other cards’ fees to be more affordable.
4. Neither card offers perks
The main benefit of both of these cards is access to credit and the ability to build credit through careful use. And the Merrick Bank Double Your Line Credit Card will, as its name implies, bump up your credit limit after a few months. Otherwise, there are no cash-back rewards or sign-up bonuses to sweeten the deal.
There are alternatives that offer more extras, even for those who are newer to credit-building. The Capital One Quicksilver Secured Cash Rewards Credit Card has a $0 annual fee and earns 1.5% cash back on all purchases. It has a $200 minimum deposit, and you can be automatically considered for a credit limit increase after six months.
The Discover it® Secured Credit Card also has a $0 annual fee and $200 minimum deposit. It earns 2% cash back at gas stations and restaurants on up to $1,000 in combined spending per quarter (then 1% back), and 1% cash back on everything else. New cardholders can also get this sign-up bonus: INTRO OFFER: Unlimited Cashback Match – only from Discover. Discover will automatically match all the cash back you’ve earned at the end of your first year! There’s no minimum spending or maximum rewards. Just a dollar-for-dollar match.
5. There are no other Merrick Bank credit cards to graduate to
As you more firmly establish your credit history, you’ll potentially become eligible for a greater variety of credit cards, including rewards cards with more appealing benefits. However, you won’t be able to stick with Merrick Bank credit cards if you eventually want those extras. And even though unsecured cards are the typical next step after secured cards, the Merrick Bank Double Your Line Credit Card faces some serious competition from lower-fee cards with more to offer.