If you have bad credit – or no credit at all – and have had trouble qualifying for a credit card, look into the OpenSky® Secured Visa® Credit Card. It’s a secured card that can help you rebuild your credit.
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Your credit score is a major part of your financial life. Good credit can help you qualify for loans and pay lower interest rates for those loans. Poor credit makes it difficult to borrow money and forces you to pay a lot of interest to lenders that are willing to let you borrow.
If you have bad credit, building credit can feel like a chicken and egg problem. No one will give you a loan because of your bad credit, but you can’t improve your credit without getting a loan.
The OpenSky Secured Visa Credit Card is a secured credit card designed to help people rebuild their credit. The lender does not check your credit when you apply, which can help people who have poor credit qualify and start rebuilding their credit.
What is the OpenSky® Credit Card?
The OpenSky® credit card is a secured credit card. That means that you have to provide a security deposit when you open the account. The lender takes your security deposit and uses it to determine your credit limit. Typically, your credit limit and your security deposit will be the same amount.
In effect, a secured credit card lets you loan money to yourself. You give a few hundred dollars to a lender and they give you a card to use. The lender is willing to approve borrowers with poor credit because there’s little risk. If the borrower defaults, the lender can take the security deposit to recoup its loss.
As you pay your monthly bill, the card issuer will report those payments to the credit bureaus, helping you build your credit history. The deposit is returned when the account is closed and paid in full.
The OpenSky® credit card has some useful features.
Low, refundable security deposit
One of the hardest parts of opening a secured credit card is building up enough savings to make a security deposit. Some cards require $500 or more before you can open an account.
The OpenSky® credit card has a minimum security deposit of just $200, though you can deposit more if you want to have a higher credit limit on your card.
The security deposit is fully refundable. As long as you make the minimum required payment each month, OpenSky® will hold the deposit in a separate account for you. When you’ve built your credit to a sufficient level, and hopefully opened an unsecured account, you can pay your OpenSky® card balance in full, close your card and get your security deposit back.
No credit check
Whether you have bad credit or no credit score at all, it can be difficult to qualify for a loan. Most lenders check your credit and want to see a strong history of timely payments and low debt before offering a new credit card or loan.
OpenSky® does not check its applicant’s credit when making its lending decision. The primary factor that determines your application’s chances is the information you provide during the application, such as your income and monthly bill payments.
If you’ve had trouble qualifying for other credit cards because of your credit or lack thereof, this card can be a good alternative.
Related: How to Improve Your Credit Score
Reports to all three bureaus
There are three major credit bureaus that track scores: Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion. When you apply for a loan, your lender requests your credit report from one or more of the bureaus.
Each month, your lenders report your credit card and loan activity to credit bureaus, but some lenders may not report to all three. This could result in each bureau having slightly different credit reports for you. If a lender checks two bureaus, it might see a different credit score on each report. If a lender only checks one, it might see a score that is lower than your true score because that bureau doesn’t have all of the information about your credit activities.
The OpenSky® card reports your activity to all three of the major credit bureaus, helping you build your credit score on all three credit reports.
Related: How To Get Your REAL Credit Score
Understanding credit and credit scores can be difficult. It can also be stressful to go through the process of building your credit on your own.
OpenSky® offers a Facebook community for its cardholders where the company shares tips on credit and how you can help improve your credit score. You can also use the community to talk to other cardholders about how they’ve worked to improve their credit scores.
Pricing and Fees
One of the drawbacks of secured credit cards is that they tend to charge higher fees than most cards. In particular, they often charge account setup fees and annual fees, or high penalty fees for things like missed payments.
While the OpenSky® card isn’t the cheapest secured card on the market, it is one of the cheaper options. There is no account setup fee and the annual fee is just $35. That means that you can open the account with as little as $235 ($200 for the security deposit and $35 to pay the annual fee).
The card’s late payment fee is $38.
The interest rate is also reasonable by credit card standards at 21.64% Variable. However, you should do your best to make sure you never pay interest on a credit card and always pay your bill in full at the end of each statement period. Only use the card when you know you have the money to pay it off.
While you’re building credit, you may want to only use the card for one or two small purchases per month. This is enough to help you build credit by making payments but helps you avoid the risk of falling into credit card debt.
You easily apply for the OpenSky® card through OpenSky®’s website. Like any credit card application, you’ll have to provide some basic personal and financial information.
You’ll have to provide:
- Your name
- Your email address
- Your phone number
- Your physical address
- Your annual income
- Whether you rent or own your home
- Your monthly housing payment
- Your Social Security Number
- Your date of birth
- The amount of the security deposit you’d like to make
- Debit card information for the security deposit
You can also opt to make your security deposit at a later date, though this will increase the amount of time it takes to get your card.
Because OpenSky® doesn’t check your credit when reviewing your application, the primary factors influencing your chances of approval are your income and your housing payment. The more you make and the less you pay for housing, the better. Be accurate when providing these numbers, even if it’s tempting to fudge them to make your finances look better. OpenSky® might ask for proof in the form of a rent or mortgage bill and paystubs.
OpenSky® uses up-to-date security techniques to keep your information safe. Its website is encrypted with 128-bit SSL security, which helps protect any information sent between your computer and OpenSky®’s website.
Your OpenSky® card comes with the typical security benefits. You won’t be liable for fraudulent or unauthorized purchases made using your card. If you lose your card, you can call OpenSky®’s customer service line to deactivate the card and request a replacement.
OpenSky® offers a mobile app for both iOS and Android phones. You can download the app and use it to view your card balance and recent transactions and pay your bill.
OpenSky® offers customer support over the phone. The company doesn’t list its support hours, but you can reach a representative by calling 1-800-859-6412.
OpenSky® Pros and Cons
No credit check — Secured cards are designed to help people with poor or no credit build or rebuild their credit scores. OpenSky doesn’t even check applicants’ credit scores, making it easier for people to qualify so they can start building a good credit history.
Low minimum security deposit — The OpenSky only requires a $200 security deposit, which is relatively low compared to many of its competitors. That makes it easier for people who are low on cash to open the card. You can ask to increase your credit limit by logging into your account and choosing the Request Credit Line Increase option. Next, you'll receive a letter if approved and will be instructed to send another security deposit. The website doesn't indicate how long this whole process may take or if you'll receive the approval letter electronically or via mail.
Annual fee — The OpenSky card charges a $35 annual fee. This is lower than many other secured credit cards, but there are some cards that offer fee-free secured cards. The card doesn’t offer many perks that make it worth the cost when there are fee-free options.
Not a major card issuer — OpenSky’s main credit card is its secured credit card. If you want to open an unsecured card, you’ll have to find another company to work with. Many secured card issuers, like Discover, and Bank of America offer a variety of credit cards. Once you graduate to an unsecured card, it can be convenient to keep working with the same card issuer, which isn’t an option if you get the OpenSky card.
Before applying for the OpenSky® card, consider these alternatives. Keep in mind the cards below may require a credit check which makes the OpenSky® card stand out if that’s a concern for you.
Discover it® Secured Credit Card
The Discover it® Secured Credit Card is one of the few secured credit cards that offer rewards to its users.
When you use your card, you’ll earn 2% cash back at gas stations and restaurants, up to $1,000 in spending each quarter, and 1% cash back on all other purchases. The card even comes with a sign-up bonus, offering double cash back in your first year with the card.
Like the OpenSky® card, the minimum security deposit is $200. Unlike the OpenSky® card, there is no annual fee. Discover also offers free access to your FICO score each month so you can track your credit as it improves in real-time.
Bank Americard® Secured Credit Card
The Bank Americard® Secured Credit Card offers automatic graduation to an unsecured card.
When you open the card, you have to make a minimum security deposit of $300 (with a maximum of $4,900). Once you have the card, you can use it like any other card, making your payments each month to start building credit. You’ll also get a free copy of your FICO score each month so you can track your progress toward building good credit.
Every so often, Bank of America will review your account. Based on your payment history and improvements in your credit score, you might qualify to graduate to an unsecured card. If this happens, Bank of America will automatically return your security deposit. You don’t have to close the account and open a new one.
This card does not charge an annual fee, making it a good choice for people who don’t want to pay to rebuild their credit.
Will OpenSky automatically increase your credit limit?
No, OpenSky won’t automatically increase your credit limit. If you need a larger limit, you can add to your security deposit to get a credit limit increase.
How long does it take to get approved for the OpenSky card?
OpenSky usually makes its lending decision immediately, so most of the delay is from OpenSky confirming your security deposit and mailing your card. From the time you apply to the time you get your card and can start using it is typically about two weeks.
Can you rent a car with the OpenSky card?
Yes. The OpenSky card is like any other Visa card, so you can use it anywhere you could use a Visa. As long as you have a high enough credit limit, you can use the card to rent a car.
Who is it for?
The OpenSky® credit card is a secured card that doesn’t even check its applicants’ credit. It doesn’t offer any valuable perks and charges a small annual fee. These factors mean that the card is best for borrowers with no credit or credit so poor that they’ve failed to qualify for other secured cards, especially the fee-free ones.
Borrowers that can qualify for other secured cards that offer perks or rewards, along with no annual fee, will likely be better off with those cards, making the OpenSky® card a solid choice for those who have exhausted their options for fee-free secured cards.
If a credit check will disqualify you from other cards, look into the OpenSky Secured Visa Credit Card.