Refresh Financial Secured Visa Review
Security deposit aside, it operates just like any ‘regular’ credit card, allowing cardholders to gradually build up their credit scores while making purchases on and offline.
Application Process and Eligibility Requirements
Known as the Refresh Financial ‘no credit history required’ credit card, applicants are not at risk of being turned down due to a lack of credit history or a current/past bankruptcy, making it one of the most accessible credit cards in Canada. Approval does not involve a credit check and the core application criteria are easy to meet. Applicants must:
- be over the age of majority in the province or territory where they live
- not have an existing Refresh credit card or account
- not have applied for a Refresh credit card more than once in the last 30 days, nor defaulted on payments for a Refresh credit card or account in the last year
- provide the necessary security deposit
The minimum deposit for the Refresh card is $200—that’s lower than the Home Trust Secured Visa, which has a minimum deposit of $500. Your credit limit is tied to the size of your security deposit. Refresh Financial lets you gradually increase your security deposit so that your credit limit increases as well, up to a maximum of $10,000.
It’s important to note that the Refresh Financial Secured Credit Card is currently not available to residents of Quebec or Saskatchewan.
Interest Rates and Annual Fees
The Refresh Financial Secured credit card has a comparatively-low purchase interest rate of 17.99%, along with an annual fee of $12.95, plus a monthly fee of $3. This structure is advantageous to those who want to try the card without paying a hefty annual fee up front, but over the course of the year the combined annual and monthly fees do add up to $48.95.
By comparison, the Home Trust Secured Visa’s no annual fee version has an interest rate of 19.99%, unless you pay an annual fee of $59 to get the lower 14.9% interest rate. For those with low incomes it’s best to avoid paying fees and interest entirely. You should plan to pay off your balance in full every month within the interest-free grace period so that you won’t have to pay any interest. If you do this, it’s not worth paying a higher annual fee for a lower interest rate.
The Refresh Secured Credit Card comes with an interest-free grace period of 21 days, the same as the Home Trust Secured Visa but much better than many secured credit cards, which charge interest immediately after your transaction is processed.
The declined transaction fee for the Refresh card is remarkably low at $0.10, whereas the Home Trust Secured Visa charges $45 every time a transaction is declined.
Aside from that, the Refresh Secured Credit Card does have some negligibly higher fees than its secured card competitors, including a $5 fee to use an ATM/cash advance in Canada or worldwide. In general we don’t recommend the use of credit cards at the ATM, where debit cards are more suited.
A small sting from Refresh Financial Secured Credit Card is the monthly inactivity fee of $2 for every month that you don’t use your card. This is, however, relatively low, and cardholders who are genuinely interested in improving their credit score should be regularly charging affordable items to their cards.
Other Card Perks
Refresh Financial Secured Credit Card holders can increase their financial savvy by taking free online financial management courses with the in-house Refresh f.i.t. (financial intelligence training). Also, the Refresh Financial Secured Visa reports regularly to the two major credit bureaus, so while you’re using your card you’ll also be building up your credit score.
Who’s the Card For?
Overall, the Refresh Financial Secured Credit Card is a pretty low purchase interest rate credit card with low fees for cardholders who intend to consistently use their card for purchases only. It’s suitable for anyone who wants to repair or build credit, but is a particularly strong fit for two kinds of consumers:
- those with any history of bankruptcy
- those who want to make only a minimal deposit on a secured card
Please refer to the table below for a direct comparison to two of its main secured credit card competitors.
|Guaranteed Approval||Minimum Deposit||Credit Limit||Annual Fee||Purchase Interest Rate||Over Limit Policy||Inactivity Fee|
|Refresh Financial Secured Credit Card||*Yes, provided applicant meets basic requirements||$200||$10,000||$12.95 + $3 per month||17.99%||1st time = $5 fee. 2nd time = card cancellation||$2.00 per inactive month|
|Home Trust Secured Visa No Annual Fee||No||$500||$10,000||$0||19.99%||$29 fee per billing statement||Lesser of $10 or account balance for 360 consecutive days of inactivity|