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

Wells Fargo Secured Visa® Credit Card
Wells Fargo Secured Visa® Credit Card

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
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Editor's Rating

{"onCurrent":true,"message":"Our team rates credit cards objectively based on independent research, the features the credit card offers users, and how it compares with other available cards in its category. The ratings are the opinion of our editors, and are not influenced by any outside factors, including any compensation the site may receive from certain advertisers."}

4.0/5.0

Editorial Note: The editorial content on this page is not provided or commissioned by any financial institution. Any opinions, analyses, reviews, statements or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author's alone, and may not have been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities prior to publication. This site may be compensated through a credit card partnership.

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
Wells Fargo Secured Visa® Credit Card

Wells Fargo Secured Visa® Credit Card

Wells Fargo Secured Visa® Credit Card
Wells Fargo Secured Visa® Credit Card
  • 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
  • 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
Annual Fee
$25
Regular APR
19.24%
Credit Needed
{"onCurrent":true,"message":"There are various types of credit scores. Each creditor uses a variety of different types of credit scores to make lending decisions."}
N/A
Editor's Rating
{"onCurrent":true,"message":"Our team rates credit cards objectively based on independent research, the features the credit card offers users, and how it compares with other available cards in its category. The ratings are the opinion of our editors, and are not influenced by any outside factors, including any compensation the site may receive from certain advertisers."}

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® Secured Mastercard® 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 Mastercard® 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.

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Assumptions based on $1,430 monthly spend
Monthly spending:
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{"cardCategory":"rewards","cardIds":"49,1040,1066,256,1004,241,242,243","initialResultsLimit":5,"endpoint":"https:\/\/creditcards.valuepenguin.com\/api\/creditcards\/models\/rewards","onCurrent":true}

Comments and Questions

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Advertiser Disclosure: The products that appear on this site may be from companies from which ValuePenguin receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). ValuePenguin does not include all financial institutions or all products offered available in the marketplace.

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).