OpenSky Secured Visa Credit Card Review - A No Credit Check Credit Builder

If you have poor credit, undergoing a credit check can be stressful. It can make being approved for a loan or a credit card difficult, if not impossible.
If you're looking to build credit and improve your credit history, a secured credit card such as the OpenSky Secured Visa Credit Card can help. It doesn't require a credit check or bank account, so even the unbanked can begin building credit and hopefully raise their credit scores with this card.

What is OpenSky Secured Visa Credit Card?

The first thing to know about an OpenSky Secured Visa card is you'll need to make a refundable security deposit to OpenSky to open an account. The deposit ranges from $200 to $3,000 and determines your credit limit. The deposit is used as collateral if you don't pay your bill.
We'll go into how the card works and many of its features later, but one of your first considerations in applying for the card should be if you can afford $200 or more to open one. The money will be returned to you when you close the account, so it's not like you're saying goodbye to money you'll never see again. However, if you don't pay the credit card bill, the deposit will be used as payment.
In a way, a secured credit card is like loaning money to yourself. Your credit limit is however much you put down as a deposit. However, an annual fee and annual percentage rate are charged, so it isn't a free credit card. So what's the purpose of a secured card? To improve your credit.
If you use a secured card wisely and pay your bill on time, this positive information will be sent to the credit bureaus and should raise your credit score. For anyone without a bank account or with poor credit or no credit history at all, the OpenSky card gives you a chance.
Owned by Capital Bank N.A., headquartered in Rockville, Maryland, OpenSky is part of a company in business since 1999. Capital Bank has four branch locations in the Washington, D.C. metro area, but otherwise, it offers its mobile services in banking, an extensive ATM network, a nationwide mortgage business, and OpenSky.
The secured Visa credit card offered by OpenSky has all of the benefits of a regular Visa card. This means it is accepted anywhere a Visa card is accepted around the world and includes fraud protection. OpenSky points out that it isn't a "starter card" and that no one will know it's a secured card but you.
In part because of the various fees it charges, the OpenSky card should be used to raise a credit score enough so that you can qualify for a credit card without such fees. Changing from the OpenSky card to another secured credit card can save you money, but you'll have to improve your credit score.

How does OpenSky Secured Visa Credit Card work?

Signing up for an OpenSky Secured Visa Credit Card is easy. It should take less than 5 minutes to complete.
Start by clicking on the green "Apply Now" button on the OpenSky website.
OpenSky1
From there, you'll follow five steps and provide the following information:
  • Personal info
  • Address and contact details
  • Financial and security info
  • Agreements
  • Security deposit
OpenSky2
Applicants must be 18 or older, provide their Social Security number, and submit a refundable security deposit.
The financial and security information will ask for your:
  • Annual income
  • Monthly housing payment
  • If you rent or own
  • Social Security number
  • Date of birth
  • Security word that you'll pick
Applicants must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident and have a monthly income greater than their monthly expenses.
In the Agreements section, you'll see the interest rates and other charges. We'll go into more detail on these later, but make sure you understand them and read all of the disclosures before agreeing to the terms and conditions.
The Security Deposit is the final step. A debit card is the easiest way to fund the security deposit, which is insured by the FDIC. If you don't have a bank account, a money order or Western Union payment can be used. (Future credit card bills can also be paid by money order.)
OpenSky5
A credit check isn't required when applying for the OpenSky card, so there's no impact on your credit score. If you make at least the minimum payment on time each month, your credit score should quickly improve. All three major credit bureaus — Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion — get monthly reports from OpenSky.

How much does OpenSky Secured Visa Credit Card cost?

The costs of an OpenSky secured card are important to understand before you apply because they're different from most secured cards from major credit card issuers.

Annual fee

OpenSky charges an annual fee of $35. That's better than annual fees of $75 and up that some unsecured credit cards charge. However, it's still paying money to use what is essentially your money (the security deposit) as a way to build your credit history when other secured cards may not charge any annual fees.
OpenSky can do this because it's giving you a card without a credit check or bank account. Not many secured credit cards do that. Consider this the price you pay, which may be worth it if your credit is too poor to qualify for other credit cards.
After building your credit, you may want to cancel the card and move to a no-fee secured or unsecured card.

Interest charges

OpenSky charges an annual percentage rate, or APR, on purchases and cash advances. As of mid-August 2021, it set the APR at 17.39%, which varies with the market based on the Prime Rate.
To avoid paying interest on purchases, pay off the card's balance completely by your monthly due date. Also, avoid cash advances if you can because interest charges begin on the transaction date.

Other fees

The $35 annual fee is mandatory but other fees can be avoided by not taking cash advances or paying a bill late, among other things. Potential fees include:
  • Cash advance fee: $6 or 5% of the amount of each cash advance, whichever is greater.
  • Foreign transaction fee: 3% of each transaction in U.S. dollars.
  • Late payment fee: Up to $38.
  • Returned payment fee: Up to $25.
OpenSky doesn't charge an application fee, processing fee, or servicing fee.

Transferring money

Unless you have a debit card and the bank account that goes with it, you'll need to find a way to pay the security deposit and monthly bill for the OpenSky credit card.
Money orders and Western Union transfers are the two main methods OpenSky accepts. OpenSky doesn't charge fees to make payments using these methods but you'll likely be charged by the bank, store, or other institution you use.
The U.S. Postal Service, for example, charges low fees for money orders:
  • $1.30 for $0.01 to $500
  • $1.75 for $500.01 to $1,000
  • 45 cents for money orders issued by military facilities
Western Union charges $0.99 for transferring money from your bank account to another bank, and charges $20 for using a debit card. Both of those methods require having a bank account.
If you don't have a bank account, you can pay cash in a store to transfer money through Western Union. The fee varies by state and goes up by the amount sent. In California, for example, the transfer fee is $27.50 to transfer $500.

OpenSky Secured Visa Credit Card features

We reviewed some features of the OpenSky secured Visa card above, but here's a breakdown of some of the major features:

No credit check

It won't pull your credit when you apply, so your credit score won't be impacted.

No bank account needed

If you're among the 14.1 million American adults who are unbanked, meaning you don't have a bank account, then you can still open an OpenSky card. That's more than 6% of U.S. households.
Such people often must use alternative methods to do regular financial tasks. They often live paycheck-to-paycheck and face predatory lenders, high interest rates, high fees, and other expenses that make their financial lives difficult.
OpenSky prefers that its cardholders use a debit card to pay the security deposit and monthly credit card bill, but a bank account usually requires a debit card. It also accepts money orders and Western Union transfers, though those have fees of their own and can get expensive.

Security deposit

All secured credit cards require a security deposit and OpenSky requires a minimum of $200 and a maximum of $3,000. Your credit limit equals your security deposit amount: Pay $500 and your credit limit is $500.
The money is held as collateral in case you don't pay your bill. When you close the account, the deposit is returned to you minus any amount due from charges or fees such as late fees.

Interest rate

The APR is 17.39% and is variable based on the Prime Rate. Interest is charged on balances extending beyond the monthly due date and on cash advances.

Reported to credit bureaus

The three major credit bureaus receive credit report information each month from OpenSky. Paying the credit card bill on time each month is a good way to raise your credit score, since payment history accounts for 35% of a credit score. This is one of the main reasons to get the OpenSky card.
A late payment or trying to charge more than your credit limit can have the opposite effect. Remember that this is a secured credit card, so the maximum amount you can charge is only as high as the security deposit you paid.
Try to charge beyond your $500 deposit, for example, and your card may be denied. OpenSky says cardholders must pay off all or part of the balance before they can charge any more purchases.
Regular monthly payments that pay down the balance free up credit, no matter how much you've charged. If you charge up to your credit limit and don't make on-time payments in a month, your card will be considered overdue and reported to the credit bureaus.

It's a Visa card

Visa is accepted at most businesses, including online and around the world. The card comes with fraud protection and nobody but you will know it's a secured credit card.
The card can be used wherever Visa is accepted for such purchases as gas and groceries, and for recurring bills like your cell phone.

No perks

The card doesn't have a rewards program, which can be seen as a positive and a negative. Perks sometimes come with costs that you may not think of, such as an annual fee. A low intro APR can skyrocket once the introductory period ends, which makes rolling over charges more expensive.

Payment alerts

OpenSky allows cardholders to set up email alerts to remind them when payment is due, a credit limit is being approached, or when a credit or return has been posted.
Recurring automatic payments can be set up to ensure your card is paid on time.
OpenSky has a mobile app that can be used to check your credit limit before making a major purchase and to manage payments, among other things.

Summary of OpenSky Secured Visa features

Annual feeAPRCredit checkBank accountSecurity deposit
$3517.39%NoneNot needed$200 - $3,000

Who is OpenSky Secured Visa Credit Card best for?

You have bad credit or no bank account. If you have bad credit, little or no credit history, or don't have a bank account, then the OpenSky Secured Visa Credit Card is one of the few secured credit cards available to you.
You earn more than you spend. It doesn't run a credit check, and approval should be made if you're a U.S. citizen or permanent resident, have a Social Security number or individual taxpayer identification number and earn more money each month than you have in monthly expenses.
You can afford a $200 security deposit. The card also requires a refundable security deposit of at least $200, which equals your credit limit. If you can afford to part with $200 or more, this credit card can help you build credit.
You want to build credit. And that's the main reason to get this card. It helps you build credit to qualify for loans and credit with lower interest rates and easier terms.

Who shouldn't use OpenSky?

You don't want to pay an annual fee. Most secured credit cards don't charge an annual fee. OpenSky charges $35. That may be OK for a year or less, but after that, you're spending money on a fee that many other credit companies won't charge you.
You plan to keep the card for a year or more. OpenSky says that most customers who started without a credit history could build a credit score within 6 months.
Making on-time payments will help you raise your credit score quickly when you may want to move to another secured card or possibly an unsecured card so you can at least avoid the annual $35 fee that OpenSky charges.
If your credit doesn't improve within a year, then you may not be taking the right steps to improve it, and this secured card may not be doing you much service. Why pay an annual fee if you're not using the card right, such as paying the monthly bill on time?
You expect an upgrade to an unsecured card. The biggest benefit is raising your credit score, but another advantage of a secured credit card is upgrading to an unsecured card that doesn't require a security deposit. OpenSky doesn't offer such upgrades to customers.
So once your credit improves, you can either close the account and apply for an unsecured card elsewhere or keep it open and thus keep your security deposit tied up and pay the annual fee. Considering that closing a credit card has the possibility of negatively impacting your credit, as does opening a new card and keeping both cards as the total available credit is reviewed, it's a bit tricky.

Pros and cons

Pros
  • An OpenSky secured Visa card can help you raise your credit score by making on-time payments each month. It reports to all three major credit bureaus each month.
  • No credit check needed
  • No bank account required
Cons
  • $35 annual fee
  • Minimum $200 refundable security deposit
  • No intro APR
  • No automatic upgrade once your credit has improved

OpenSky vs. competitors for secured card

CardAnnual FeeIntro APRRegular APRSecurity DepositPerks
OpenSky$35None17.39%$200 - $3,000None
Discover It$010.99%22.99%$200 - $2,5002% cash back
Capital One$0None25.99%$49, $99 or $200No foreign transaction fee
Citi$022.49% balance transfers22.49%$200 - $2,500Digital wallets

Discover It

The Discover It Secured Credit Card has no annual fee. While its regular, variable APR of 22.99% is high, it charges 10.99% intro APR on balance transfers for six months. That helps make paying off a higher-interest credit card cheaper and easier if you can do it within 6 months.
Discover It reviews accounts after eight months to see if you qualify to convert to a standard, "unsecured" card and get your security deposit back.
Perks offered by Discover It include 2% cash back at gas stations and restaurants on up to $1,000 in combined purchases each quarter; unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases automatically; and unlimited dollar-for-dollar match of all the cash back you've earned at the end of your first year.

Capital One

Applicants for the Secured Mastercard from Capital One can find out online if they're pre-approved for the card without a risk to their credit score.
The card has no annual fee and requires only a $49, $99, or $200 refundable minimum security deposit for a credit line of $200. The deposit can be paid in installments over time.
The credit line is automatically reviewed and a higher credit line may be given in as little as 6 months. It doesn't have perks that you'll often find in unsecured credit cards, though the Capital One card doesn't charge foreign transaction fees.

Citi

The Citi Secured Mastercard has no annual fee or foreign transaction fees, and reports to the three major credit bureaus to help you build your credit.
Cardholders can use its digital wallets to shop online as a way to protect your card information. It also allows users to choose their payment due date.

FAQs

Will my security deposit earn interest?
No. OpenSky doesn't pay interest on the security deposit, which is put in an FDIC-insured account that doesn't earn interest.
What should I do if my credit information isn't being updated?
If you review your credit reports from the three major credit bureaus and find that your on-time payments and other information on how you use your OpenSky Visa card aren't being reported, then you should contact the credit bureaus directly. You may need to authorize OpenSky to report the account. OpenSky reports credit card account information with the credit bureaus once a month when your billing statement is generated.
How fast can I build credit with the OpenSky secured card?
Six months is normal for most cardholders who don't have a credit history when opening their secured card. You should do as much as you can within a year to raise your credit score with the card so that you can cancel it before the annual fee of $35 is charged again.

The bottom line

If you don't have a bank account, or have bad credit or no credit history, then the OpenSky Secured Visa Credit Card can be a good way to improve your credit score. Opening a secured credit card without a credit history can be difficult with other credit card issuers, but OpenSky's main requirement is that you earn more than you spend in a month.
Just be aware that the card charges an annual fee of $35, compared to no such fee at other secured cards we reviewed.
If you have a bank account and even have poor credit, you may be better off with a secured card that upgrades you to a regular unsecured card after using it responsibly for 6 months or so, and doesn't charge an annual fee.
Besides saving money, your main goal with a secured credit card should be to use it to raise your credit score within a year so that you can hopefully qualify for other credit cards that have much better terms.
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