Merrick Bank Credit Cards: Are They Right for You?

Merrick Bank Credit Cards: Are They Right for You?

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The Merrick Bank credit cards are designed for individuals with bad credit and those trying to build (or rebuild) their credit histories. However, they come with too many fees for us to recommend them over other cards that will likely be available to these consumers, such as the Secured Mastercard® from Capital One.

Review: Our Thoughts On the Merrick Bank Credit Cards

Merrick Bank offers three credit card products: the Merrick Bank Double Your Line™ Platinum Visa® Credit Card, the Merrick Bank Secured Visa® Credit Card and the Merrick Bank Visa® Card. Unlike points or cash back cards, these cards do not feature any rewards. Instead, they are focused on customers with limited access to credit or those looking to improve their credit histories. While Merrick Bank does report your payment history to all three credit bureaus—which helps cardholders build credit—it is not worth paying the exorbitant fees for this service. This is especially true when you compare the Merrick Bank cards to other bad credit credit cards that have no annual fee.

Merrick Bank Double Your Line™ Platinum Visa® Credit Card
Merrick Bank Secured Visa® Credit Card
Merrick Bank Visa® Card
Annual FeeUp to $0 - $72 for the first year, then up to $8 per month$36 for the first year. Billed $3 per month thereafter.Up to $96 for the first year, then up to $8 per month
APR19.45% to 28.45% *Variable17.45% Variable variable20.45%-29.95% Variable
Setup FeeUp to $75NoneUp to $75

Note: Merrick Bank does not provide the current rates and fees for the Merrick Bank Double Your Line™ Platinum Visa® Credit Card and the Merrick Bank Visa® Card. The details we note above were gathered from previous credit card agreements and may differ from the current pricing information for these cards.

Merrick Bank's cards differ from other card issuers' products because the Merrick Bank Double Your Line™ Platinum Visa® Credit Card and the Merrick Bank Visa® Card are only available to those who have received a preapproved mail offer. However, if you want one of these cards, then one potential option is to sign up for the Merrick Bank Secured Visa® Credit Card and then request an upgrade. Card issuers often do this for their customers, especially if they've consistently paid their bills on time each month. That being said, we advise that most consumers should avoid the Merrick Bank cards entirely.

Merrick Bank Credit Card Details

Below, we take an in-depth look at all of Merrick Bank's credit card offerings.

Merrick Bank Double Your Line™ Platinum Visa® Credit Card

The Merrick Bank Double Your Line™ Platinum Visa® Credit Card's distinguishing features—true to its name—is that its credit line will double if you make at least your minimum payment for the first seven months your account is open. For example, if you start with an initial credit line of $500 and you make make seven on-time minimum payments, then your credit line may increase to $1,000. This can lower your credit utilization, which has a positive effect on your credit score.

The Merrick Bank Double Your Line™ Platinum Visa® Credit Card comes with a lot of fees for a card that has little to offer outside of credit building. These include:

  • A one-time setup fee of up to $75
  • An annual fee of up to $0 - $72 for the first year, and up to $8 per month thereafter
  • Up to $12 per additional card

Because of these high upfront costs, the Merrick Bank Double Your Line™ Platinum Visa® Credit Card falls into the category of cards known as "fee harvesters," which are typically aimed at consumers with limited access to credit cards. That's not to say that the Merrick Bank Double Your Line™ Platinum Visa® Credit Card can't help you build credit. But you'll be better off with a secured card with no annual fee like the Secured Mastercard® from Capital One.

Bottom Line:

We do not recommend the Merrick Bank Double Your Line™ Platinum Visa® Credit Card because of its high fees. Instead, you should consider the Secured Mastercard® from Capital One, which is a secured card with a minimum deposit of $49, $99 or $200. Cardholders can also get a higher credit limit after only five months of making on-time payments—two fewer months than with the Merrick Bank Double Your Line™ Platinum Visa® Credit Card.

Merrick Bank Secured Visa® Credit Card

Unless you have received a preapproval in the mail, the Merrick Bank Secured Visa® Credit Card will be the only Merrick Bank credit card that you have access to. Secured credit cards differ from other credit cards because they require a security deposit to be approved. Initially, your credit line will be equal to the amount that you deposit, which can be anywhere between $200 and $3,000.

As far as secured cards go, the Merrick Bank Secured Visa® Credit Card stands out because of its annual fee of $36 for the first year. Billed $3 per month thereafter. There's not much reason to get the Merrick Bank Secured Visa® Credit Card when there are other secured cards with no annual fee that are available to people with Limited/Bad/Poor credit history.

You could use this card as a stepping stone to one of Merrick's unsecured cards—the Merrick Bank Double Your Line™ Platinum Visa® Credit Card or the Merrick Bank Visa® Card. While this is a perfectly valid way to potentially access these cards, we still don't recommend it because those cards also offer poor value.

Bottom Line:

The $36 for the first year. Billed $3 per month thereafter. annual fee on the Merrick Bank Secured Visa® Credit Card makes it a tough sell, as other secured cards are available to those with poor credit and have no annual fee.

Merrick Bank Visa® Card

Of the three Merrick Bank cards, the Merrick Bank Visa® Card is the one that has the least to offer. The Merrick Bank Visa® Card features the same fee structure as the Merrick Bank Double Your Line™ Platinum Visa® Credit Card, without the "double your line" benefit. This makes the card quite expensive—with a potential initial cost of up to $171 between the setup fee and the annual fee, which is 4.5 times greater than the $36 for the first year. Billed $3 per month thereafter. initial cost of the Merrick Bank Secured Visa® Credit Card.

Bottom Line:

The Merrick Bank Visa® Card is the worst of a bad bunch, and we do not recommend that you get it. Those considering this card should consider other credit cards for poor credit, which we discuss below.

Cards We Like More Than the Merrick Bank Credit Cards

Here are some cards we would recommend ahead of the Merrick Bank credit cards.

Discover it® Secured Credit Card

Compared to the Merrick Bank cards, the Discover it® Secured Credit Card comes out way ahead because of its potential rewards and its lack of an annual fee. Discover it® Secured Credit Card cardholders can earn 2% cash back at Gas Stations and Restaurants on up to $1,000 in combined purchases each quarter, 1% unlimited cash back on all other purchases - automatically. After eight months, Discover will review your account and may transition you to a card with no security deposit. Like all secured cards, the Discover it® Secured Credit Card will likely be available to you even if you have Limited/Bad/Poor credit history.

Highlights:

Secured Mastercard® from Capital One

Those considering the Merrick Bank credit cards will be better off with the Secured Mastercard® from Capital One, as it offers the same opportunity for building credit without any setup or annual fee. Furthermore, $49 is all you need to get a $200 initial credit line, which is less than the minimum deposit requirement to get the Merrick Bank Secured Visa® Credit Card. Additionally, Capital One will increase your credit limit after you make five on-time minimum monthly payments. That's two fewer months than required with the Merrick Bank Double Your Line™ Platinum Visa® Credit Card.

Highlights:

  • Pay a minimum security deposit of $49
  • The card currently offers a refundable minimum security deposit of $49, $99 or $200. (You’ll need access to an authorized bank account to pay the security deposit.)
  • Pay $0 annual fee.
  • Secured Mastercard® from Capital One Review

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How We Calculate Rewards: ValuePenguin calculates the value of rewards by estimating the dollar value of any points, miles or bonuses earned using the card less any associated annual fees. These estimates here are ValuePenguin's alone, not those of the card issuer, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuer.

Example of how we calculate the rewards rates: When redeemed for travel through Ultimate Rewards, Chase Sapphire Preferred points are worth $0.0125 each. The card awards 2 points on travel and dining and 1 point on everything else. Therefore, we say the card has a 2.5% rewards rate on dining and travel (2 x $0.0125) and a 1.25% rewards rate on everything else (1 x $0.0125).