If you want to build your credit, Merrick Bank may be able to help. Learn about the bank’s different card offerings and whether they’re a good fit for you.
If you want to build your credit, Merrick Bank can help. This credit card issuer, founded in 1996, offers both secured and unsecured Merrick Bank Visa cards designed to help you improve your credit score and build a positive credit history.
Since many people are unfamiliar with Merrick Bank, you might have a lot of questions about Merrick credit cards, such as how do Merrick Bank cards stack up against the competition? Or, how can you use a Merrick card to help boost your credit score?
Let’s take a look at the three Merrick Bank Visa cards currently on the market, and we’ll help you decide whether a Merrick Bank credit card is right for you.
See related: Best secured credit cards
What is Merrick Bank?Merrick Bank is a bank and credit card issuer that specializes in helping people build their credit. Nearly 3 million cardholders have a Merrick Bank Visa, and Merrick is recognized as a top-20 issuer of Visa cards. Like most major financial institutions, Merrick Bank is FDIC-insured.
Merrick Bank reviews are predominantly positive, with consumers noting that the company provides helpful customer service and that Merrick makes it easy to pay credit card bills. Negative Merrick Bank reviews focus on higher-than-average APRs and a lack of support during the COVID-19 pandemic. Trustpilot gave Merrick Bank an Excellent rating, awarding the bank 4.7 out of 5 stars, and the Better Business Bureau gave Merrick an A+ ranking.
Merrick Bank cards and details
Three Merrick Bank Visa cards are available to help you build your credit. Two are secured credit cards that require a security deposit to access a line of credit, and one is a standard credit card that does not require a security deposit.
Here’s a breakdown of each Merrick Bank credit card:
Merrick Bank Double Your Line™ Secured Visa® Credit Card
The Merrick Bank Double Your Line™ Secured Visa® Credit Card gives you the opportunity to double your line of credit if you can successfully make on-time payments for the first seven months after opening the card account. Building a record of on-time payments will also help you establish a positive credit history and boost your credit score.
To use the Double Your Line card to help build your credit, start by making a $200 security deposit, which will become your initial line of credit. Then, if you make at least the minimum payments on your credit card on time during your first seven months as a cardholder, Merrick will double your credit line to $400.
The Merrick Bank Double Your Line Secured Visa charges a $36 annual fee for the first year and then charges $3 per month after that first year. Cardholders also pay a $40 fee for every late or returned payment, which is another reason to make as many on-time payments as possible.
If you carry a balance on your Merrick Bank Double Your Line card, your interest rate will be a variable 17.45% APR.
Merrick Bank Secured Visa® Credit Card
The Merrick Bank Secured Visa® lets you choose your own line of credit by putting down a security deposit between $200 and $3,000. The amount of money you put down becomes your initial line of credit, and you can increase your credit line at any time by adding more money to your security deposit, up to that $3,000 limit.
Not only is the Merrick Secured Visa a high-limit secured credit card, but Merrick will add another $200 to your line of credit if you make at least the minimum payment on time for the first seven months of card ownership. This makes the Merrick Bank Secured Visa card similar to the Double Your Line card in that you can increase your total credit by $200 if you build a history of on-time payments. The increased credit line you can earn with this card can give you more available credit (as long as you don’t start spending more!), which helps you have a low debt-to-credit ratio to help build your credit score.
Like the Double Your Line card, the Merrick Bank Secured Visa charges a $36 annual fee the first year, followed by a $3 fee charged per month. You’ll pay a $40 fee on late and returned payments, and your interest rate on purchases will be a variable 17.45% APR.
Merrick Bank Platinum Visa® Credit Card
The Merrick Bank Platinum Visa® Credit Card is an unsecured credit card, which means you do not need to put down a security deposit in order to access a line of credit. Merrick will provide approved cardholders with an initial credit line of $550 to $1,200, which will be doubled if you make your first seven payments on time. This means that you could end up with a credit line as high as $2,400 simply by making seven on-time payments.
The Merrick Bank Platinum Visa is only available to people who have received an offer in the mail – which means you won’t be able to apply for the Platinum Card online unless you have already received your offer by mail with its corresponding Acceptance Certificate Number. This makes the Merrick Platinum Visa similar to other invite-only credit cards, such as the Ollo credit cards.
If you’d like to be considered for the Merrick Bank Platinum Visa, you can fill out a prequalification request online. Be aware that you could have to pay an annual fee of up to $72 to access this credit card.
Merrick Bank cards vs. other credit-building cards
How do Merrick Bank credit cards stack up against the top credit cards for building credit? Let’s compare Merrick Bank with two of our favorite credit-building cards.
Discover it® Secured Credit Card
If you’re looking for a secured credit card that lets you transition to an unsecured card after a history of responsible credit use, you might consider the Discover it® Secured Credit Card. Discover will review your account after eight months to determine whether you are ready to graduate to an unsecured card. If Discover decides you’re qualified to transition to a standard credit card, your deposit will be automatically refunded. Plus, the Discover it Secured card is one of the few secured credit cards to offer cash back rewards.
Secured Mastercard® from Capital One
You might also look at the Secured Mastercard® from Capital One. The Capital One Secured Mastercard offers a $200 line of credit after an initial security deposit of $49, $99 or $200, depending on your creditworthiness. Capital One will then automatically consider you for a higher line of credit in as little as six months.
Both the Discover it Secured Credit Card and the Secured Mastercard from Capital One are no-annual-fee cards, making them potentially more affordable than the Merrick Bank secured credit cards (which charge $36 in fees per year). Since every penny counts when you’re trying to rebuild your credit, it’s worth considering it against a no-annual-fee secured credit card before deciding to apply.
Should you sign up for a Merrick Bank card?
Merrick Bank credit cards are designed to help consumers build or rebuild their credit, and each Merrick Bank Visa card offers credit-building benefits, such as the ability to access an increased credit line after seven months of on-time payments. That said, Merrick Bank credit cards also come with annual fees, so think carefully before choosing a Merrick Bank card over a card that doesn’t have an annual fee.
See related: How a secured card can help your credit score