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Wells Fargo Secured Credit Card: Is It Worth Applying For?

Wells Fargo Secured Credit Card: Is It Worth Applying For?

The card doesn't do enough to justify its $25 annual fee. Individuals with bad credit can get approved for far better offers.
Editor's Rating: 4.0/5.0

Editor's Rating

4.0/5.0

With a short list of features, no rewards program, and a $25 annual fee, the Wells Fargo Secured Credit Card is tough to recommend. Most consumers will be better off signing up cards like the Discover it® Secured -- one that provides cash back rewards and doesn’t charge any annual fee.

Review: Is The Wells Fargo Secured Credit Card

The Wells Fargo Secured Credit Card is not as rewarding as some of the best secured credit cards out there, though it has a few redeemable features. First, the card provides an option for temporary U.S. residents -– that means you don’t need to be a U.S. citizen to apply. Secondly, if you exhibit financial responsibility with the card and are never late with your monthly payments, eventually this card can be upgraded to the Wells Fargo Platinum Card. Once that happens you will no longer have to put up with an annual fee and your security deposit will be refunded. Finally, as with most credit cards by the issuer, the Wells Fargo Secured credit card can also provide cardholders with protection for their cell phone -- a benefit we explain in more detail below.

Good For…Bad For…
Temporary U.S. ResidentsIndividuals with bad credit who want to earn rewards
Those with bad credit who also want to receive the cell phone protection benefitsConsumers who want to be able to track their credit score

This card falls flat when you consider what you get for the price. The Wells Fargo Secured card has no rewards program to speak of and still charges users a $25 annual fee. Credit cards like the Discover it® Secured or the Savings Secured Visa Platinum Card provide users with cash back rewards at no annual fee. That means they will actively work to save you money, instead of becoming another expense you must put up with.

Bottom Line: Even if you have bad credit, there are better credit cards out there. Non-permanent U.S. residents and those who highly value the cell phone protection benefits the card offers should consider whether or not what this card offers is worth paying $25 per year. Otherwise, we recommend looking at other options.

Wells Fargo Secured Visa® Credit Card Benefits & Features

The chief benefit of the Wells Fargo Secured Credit Card is the fact that anyone can qualify for it. The card is even open to those with bad credit scores. In order to apply, individuals must put down a minimum $300 security deposit. Unlike some of the better secured credit cards, this deposit will not earn users any interest.

Wells Fargo Secured Visa® Credit Card
Annual Fee
$25
Purchase APR
19.24%
Credit Needed N/A
Details
  • Reports to all 3 credit bureaus
  • Requires a minimum $300 security deposit
  • Available to both U.S. and temporary residents
  • With responsible use over time, you may be eligible for an upgrade to an unsecured credit card

Wells Fargo submits reports to all three credit bureaus, TransUnion, Equifax, and Experian. This allows Wells Fargo Secured Credit Card users to build up their credit score over time. With continued good use cardholders will have the chance to upgrade their account to a better credit card. Upon this happening, Wells Fargo Secured Credit Card users will receive their security deposit back.

Cellular Telephone Protection

A frequently overlooked benefit of some Wells Fargo credit cards is the free cell phone warranty you can qualify for. To qualify for the protection, Wells Fargo Secured cardholders must pay their cell phone bill using the card. Coverage kicks in the first day of the calendar month following the payment. The protection is limited to the primary line, and up to three supplemental lines on the same plan.

If your cell phone is stolen or damaged, the issuer will reimburse you up to $600 per claim, and up to $1,200 per twelve months –- however, you are limited to two claims per year. When you submit a claim, you will be subject to a $25 fee. Therefore, if the damage to your phone is valued at less than $25, we recommend just getting it fixed instead.

The following are some of the biggest events which will not be covered by the benefit:

  • Cell phones being lost or “mysteriously disappearing”
  • Cell phones stolen from a construction site
  • Cosmetic damage that doesn’t stop the phone from making or receiving calls

A full list of items not covered, as well as a more detailed explanation of this benefit can be found on Wells Fargo’s website.

How Does The Wells Fargo Secured Credit Card Compare To Other Credit Cards?

It’s next to impossible to determine the value of a credit card without an idea of what other options are available. We compared the Wells Fargo Secured Credit Card to some of its leading competitors to see how it stacks up.

Wells Fargo Secured Credit Card vs Discover it® Secured

The Discover it® Secured is one of our favorite credit cards for people with bad credit. Unlike the Wells Fargo Secured card, this card offers cash back rewards that can increase a user’s purchasing power. Discover it® Secured users receive 2% cash back at restaurants or gas stations on up to $1,000 in combined purchases each quarter. All other spending on the card will result in unlimited 1% cash back. The Discover it® Secured also has a lower minimum deposit of $200, compared to $300 on the Wells Fargo Secured card. Quite possibly the biggest advantage of the Discover offer is the fact that the card comes with no annual fee. Unless you significantly value the cell phone warranty that comes with the Wells Fargo card, the Discover it® Secured will end up saving you more money for a lower annual price.

Wells Fargo Secured Credit Card vs Capital One® Secured Mastercard®

In terms of pure value, we prefer the Capital One® Secured Mastercard® to the Wells Fargo Secured card. The Capital One offer comes with no annual fee, and a non 1:1 security deposit to credit line ratio. Most secured credit cards will only give you a credit line that is equal to the amount of money you put down. The Capital One Secured card gives a little bit of flexibility to some cardholders. The minimum amount of money one must deposit with Capital One is $49, and this can potentially qualify you for a $200 line of credit. With the Wells Fargo card, on the other hand, you would need to deposit $300 in exchange for a $300 line of credit. Also, the Capital One Secured Mastercard has no annual fee, meaning it will not burn a hole in your wallet even if you hold onto it after your credit score increases.

Compare Secured Credit Cards Based On Your Spending Profile

We built an interactive tool that allows consumers to compare credit cards based on a combination of the rewards they offer as well as the individual’s estimated monthly budget. Simply enter the categories where you spend your money into the tool below, and we will display our estimate for the 2-year value of the cards below.

Assumptions Based On Monthly Spend of: $1,430 Edit
General:
U.S. Gas Stations:
U.S. Supermarkets:
Airlines:
Hotel:
U.S. Restaurants:
Office:
Utilities:
Computing:
Card Annual Fee 2-yr Net Rewards Rate

The Net Rewards Rate is equal to the Rewards Value over two years divided by the total spending. The total spending is equal to the values entered into the tool and multiplied by 24 months. See the rewards Value note to see details on how it is calculated.

The estimates here are ValuePenguin's alone. They are not those of the card issuer, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuer. All estimates are based on the spend assumptions entered above (which you can edit).

Bonus Value

The bonus field shows our estimate for the value of the card’s welcome bonus. If the bonus is point or mile based, we multiply the total bonus points/miles by our estimate for their value to arrive at a dollar equivalent. We display $0 if there is no bonus or if the user doesn’t qualify for the bonus based on the current spending entered into the tool. All estimates are based on the spend assumptions entered above (which you can edit).

The estimates here are ValuePenguin's alone. They are not those of the card issuer, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuer.

2-yr Rewards Value

The Rewards value is calculated by adding together the rewards earned from charging purchases to the card over two years and any welcome bonuses (if applicable). They are then multiplied by our estimated point/mile value, with any annual fees (if applicable) subtracted. All values are based on our own estimates for the dollar value of any points, miles or bonuses earned using a card and on the spend assumptions entered above (which you can edit).

The estimates here are ValuePenguin's alone. They are not those of the card issuer, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuer.

Discover it® Secured
$0 1.50%
$171
INTRO OFFER: Discover will match ALL the cash back you’ve earned at the end of your first year, automatically. There’s no signing up. And no limit to how much is matched.
$514
Graph Card Read Review More Details and Value Calculation

Estimated Rewards Through 24 Months

Card Rewards Estimated Rewards Value Dollars*
Spending Rewards 343 x $1 = $343
Bonuses
171 x $1 = $171
Total Net Estimated Rewards Through 24 Months 514

*The value estimate is calculated using ValuePenguin.com rewards point value.

Annual Fee $0
APR 24.74% Variable

Card Details

  • No Annual Fee, cash back on every purchase, and helps you build your credit with responsible use.
  • Your Secured Credit Card requires a refundable security deposit up to the amount we can approve of at least $200 which will establish your credit line. You will need to provide your bank information when submitting your security deposit.
  • We will automatically begin reviewing your account starting at 8 months to see if we can transition you to an unsecured line of credit.
  • Earn 2% cash back at gas stations and restaurants on up to $1,000 in combined purchases each quarter, automatically. Plus, earn unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases - automatically.
  • INTRO OFFER: Discover will match ALL the cash back you've earned at the end of your first year, automatically. There's no signing up. And no limit to how much is matched.
  • Receive FREE Social Security number alerts-Discover will monitor thousands of risky websites when you sign up.
  • Click "APPLY NOW" to see rates, rewards, FICO® Credit Score terms, Cashback Match™ details & other information.
AeroMexico Visa Secured Card
$25 1.33%
$35
3,500 First Use Bonus Miles plus Complimentary Companion Certificate
$455
Graph Card More Details and Value Calculation

Estimated Rewards Through 24 Months

Card Rewards Estimated Rewards Value Dollars*
Spending Rewards 47,040 x $0.01 = $470
Bonuses
3,500 x $0.01 = $35
Less Annual Fees -$50
Total Net Estimated Rewards Through 24 Months 455

*The value estimate is calculated using ValuePenguin.com rewards point value.

Annual Fee $25
APR 24.74%

Card Details

  • Double miles on gas and groceries
  • One mile per $1 spent on eligible net purchases
  • 3,500 first use bonus miles plus Complimentary Companion Certificate
  • $99 Companion Certificate with renewal
  • Complimentary Baggage
Navy Federal nRewards Secured Credit Card
No Annual Fee 0.50%
$0
$172
Graph Card More Details and Value Calculation

Estimated Rewards Through 24 Months

Card Rewards Estimated Rewards Value Dollars*
Spending Rewards 34,320 x $0.005 = $172
Bonuses
0 x $0.005 = $0
0 x $0.005 = $0
Total Net Estimated Rewards Through 24 Months 172

*The value estimate is calculated using ValuePenguin.com rewards point value.

Annual Fee No Annual Fee
APR 8.99%

Card Details

  • nRewards can be earned on any net purchases at the rate of 1 per dollar
Capital One® Secured Mastercard®
$0 0.00%
$0
$0
Graph Card Read Review More Details and Value Calculation

Estimated Rewards Through 24 Months

Card Rewards Estimated Rewards Value Dollars*
Spending Rewards 0 - $0
Total Net Estimated Rewards Through 24 Months 0

*The value estimate is calculated using ValuePenguin.com rewards point value.

Annual Fee $0
APR 24.99% (Variable)

Card Details

  • No annual fee, and all the credit building benefits with responsible card use
  • Unlike a prepaid card, it builds credit when used responsibly, with regular reporting to the 3 major credit bureaus
  • You will get an initial $200 credit line after making a security deposit of $49, $99, or $200, determined based on your creditworthiness
  • Get access to a higher credit line after making your first 5 monthly payments on time with no additional deposit needed
  • Easily manage your account 24/7 with online access, by phone or using our mobile app
  • It's a credit card accepted at millions of locations worldwide

Note: The information in this box was provided by Capital One® and is not part of our independent analysis.

Citi® Secured Mastercard®
$0 0.00%
$0
$0
Graph Card Read Review More Details and Value Calculation

Estimated Rewards Through 24 Months

Card Rewards Estimated Rewards Value Dollars*
Spending Rewards 0 - $0
Bonuses
0 - $0
0 - $0
Total Net Estimated Rewards Through 24 Months 0

*The value estimate is calculated using ValuePenguin.com rewards point value.

Annual Fee $0
APR 24.24%* (Variable)

Card Details

  • No Annual Fee, and unlike a prepaid card, it helps build credit history with monthly notifications to the credit bureaus
  • A security deposit is required for this product (minimum $200)
  • Pay your bill on time every month to avoid damaging your credit. Citi can help keep you on track with Auto Pay, online Bill Pay and alerts.
  • Use the card anywhere Mastercard® is accepted — worldwide
Wells Fargo Secured Visa® Credit Card
$25 -0.15%
$0
$-50
Graph Card More Details and Value Calculation

Estimated Rewards Through 24 Months

Card Rewards Estimated Rewards Value Dollars*
Spending Rewards 0 - $0
Bonuses
0 - $0
0 - $0
Less Annual Fees -$50
Total Net Estimated Rewards Through 24 Months -50

*The value estimate is calculated using ValuePenguin.com rewards point value.

Annual Fee $25
APR 19.24%

Card Details

  • Reports to all 3 credit bureaus
  • Requires a minimum $300 security deposit
  • Available to both U.S. and temporary residents
  • With responsible use over time, you may be eligible for an upgrade to an unsecured credit card
U.S. Bank Secured Visa Card
$35 -0.20%
$0
$-70
Graph Card More Details and Value Calculation

Estimated Rewards Through 24 Months

Card Rewards Estimated Rewards Value Dollars*
Spending Rewards 0 - $0
Bonuses
0 - $0
0 - $0
Less Annual Fees -$70
Total Net Estimated Rewards Through 24 Months -70

*The value estimate is calculated using ValuePenguin.com rewards point value.

Annual Fee $35
APR 20.99%

Card Details

BankAmericard Secured Credit Card
Image of BankAmericard Secured Credit Card $39 -0.23%
$0
$-78
Graph Card More Details and Value Calculation

Estimated Rewards Through 24 Months

Card Rewards Estimated Rewards Value Dollars*
Spending Rewards 0 - $0
Bonuses
0 - $0
0 - $0
Less Annual Fees -$78
Total Net Estimated Rewards Through 24 Months -78

*The value estimate is calculated using ValuePenguin.com rewards point value.

Annual Fee $39
APR 20.24%

Card Details

Comments and Questions

Opinions, analyses, reviews, or recommendations expressed here are the author's alone, and have not been reviewed or endorsed by the issuer. We may be compensated through the issuer's Affiliate Program. For a full list of our advertisers see our disclosure page

* See the online credit card application for details about terms and conditions. Reasonable efforts are made to maintain accurate information. However all credit card information is presented without warranty. When you click on the "Apply Now" button, you can review the credit card terms and conditions on the issuer's website.

Info about the following cards: American Express® Gold Card, Delta Reserve® Credit Card from American Express, Platinum Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express, Hilton Honors Surpass® Credit Card, American Express® Blue Sky, American Express® Green Card, The Amex EveryDay® Preferred Credit Card from American Express, The Plenti® Credit Card from Amex, Blue from American Express®, Platinum Card® from American Express Exclusively for Mercedes-Benz, Bluebird, Centurion® Card from American Express, Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card, and Starwood Preferred Guest® American Express Luxury Card has been collected independently by ValuePenguin. The issuer did not provide the details, nor is it responsible for their accuracy.

Disclaimer: This content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuer. Opinions expressed here are author's alone, not those of the credit card issuer, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuer. This site may be compensated through the credit card issuer Affiliate Program.

These responses are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

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.

Advertiser Disclosure: Some of the offers that appear on this website are from companies which ValuePenguin receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where offers appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). The site does not review or include all companies or all available products. For more information please see our Advertiser Disclosure.