The Union Bank Business Secured Visa Card didn’t make our list of the best small business credit cards. You won’t find it on our list of the best secured credit cards either. But, if you’re a small business owner with less-than-perfect credit, it could be a powerful tool that puts you on the road to reaching your financial goals faster than you thought possible.
Like all secured credit cards, new cardholders must deposit funds into a secured, FDIC-insured collateral account – basically, a savings account that doesn’t earn interest. Your opening deposit must be at least $500. It can range up to $25,000. Regardless of its size, your deposit is always equal to your credit limit. However, Union Bank is entitled to hold it until your card account is closed and paid off in full – an important consideration for cash-strapped business owners relying on money hacks to survive.
On the bright side, Union Bank reports key information, including your payment patterns and credit utilization, to credit reporting bureaus each month. With responsible card use and timely payments, your business credit will likely improve over time.
The biggest downside to this card may be the in-person application requirement. You can’t apply online or over the phone. This is fine for business owners in California, Oregon, and Washington State, where Union Bank has lots of branches, but customers elsewhere aren’t so lucky.
Here’s what you need to know about its features, benefits, advantages, downsides, and overall suitability.
Initial Deposit Requirement and Refund
Once Union Bank has conditionally approved your application for credit, you’ll be instructed to deposit funds into your collateral account.
The minimum opening deposit amount is $500. You can deposit up to $25,000, in $50 increments. Your credit limit is always equal to your deposit. For instance, a $5,000 opening deposit equates to a $5,000 credit limit. Importantly, your deposit is not necessarily dependent on your credit profile – if you can afford to make a larger deposit, you’re entitled to a higher credit limit. Note that you can’t withdraw your deposited funds until you pay your balance in full and close your account.
If you upgrade to an unsecured Union Bank business credit card, the bank may (at its discretion) convert your collateral account to a regular savings account that bears interest and permits withdrawals.
Credit Limit Increases
If you wish to increase your credit limit, you can make an additional deposit into your collateral account (in $50 increments). While you don’t have to formally apply for the increase, your total aggregate collateral account deposit can’t exceed $25,000 at any time.
Credit Bureau Reporting
Every billing cycle, Union Bank reports cardholders’ payment patterns and credit utilization to credit reporting bureaus. Though it’s important to note that your business’s credit score depends on numerous factors, timely payments and responsible credit use are likely to increase your credit score over time. If recovering from credit setbacks is a major concern for you, read about these seven steps to rebuilding your credit.
This card’s regular purchase and balance transfer APR is 15.49%. There’s no introductory purchase or balance transfer promotion, so this rate applies from day one.
Union Bank Business Secured Visa Card has a $30 annual fee. The foreign transaction fee is 3%. Balance transfers cost the greater of $10 or 5%. Cash advances cost the greater of $15 or 5%. Late payments cost up to $39, while returned payments cost $35.
Union Bank Business Secured Visa Card participates in the Visa SavingsEdge, a business-only savings club that offers reliable discounts of 5% or better on purchases with a wide variety of participating vendors. These include lots of recognizable foodservice and hospitality companies: Alamo, National, Panera Bread, and La Quinta Inn & Suites. American Express offers a similar program through one of its cards, The Business Platinum Card from American Express OPEN.
Additional Visa-Backed Benefits
In addition to Visa SavingsEdge, this card has a nice lineup of fringe benefits that rarely cost anything to use. The most useful include complimentary loss and damage coverage on rental cars charged in full to the card, emergency lost card replacement and cash disbursement, and lost or stolen card reporting.
Union Bank Business Secured Visa Card is meant for business owners with below average or spotty credit. If you’ve declared personal or business bankruptcy within the past few years, your application may be subject to closer scrutiny.
- Option to Raise Credit Limit Up to $25,000. If you have the funds, you can raise your credit limit as high as $25,000 simply by increasing your collateral account deposit. You don’t have to formally apply for a credit limit increase – a major point of distinction with many other secured credit cards. This is great news for business owners whose financial resources outstrip their credit ratings.
- Low Ongoing Interest Rate. For a secured credit card, Union Bank Business Visa Secured Card has a relatively low ongoing interest rate: just 15.49% APR for purchases and balance transfers. Many other secured cards peg their regular rates at 20% APR or higher. If you value the flexibility to carry balances from month to month, this is a nice incentive.
- Great Discount Opportunities Through Visa SavingsEdge. Visa SavingsEdge entitles you to discounts up to 5% (and occasionally higher) at dozens of participating merchants, many of which operate from coast to coast. If you dine out often or travel domestically for business, the hospitality and foodservice vendors. For more tips to save money dining out, check out our guide to saving money at restaurants.
- Visa-Backed Benefits. Union Bank Business Secured Visa Card doesn’t have a rewards program, but its Visa-backed benefits offer some consolation. The most useful (and potentially valuable) include complimentary damage insurance on rental cars paid in full with the card and emergency lost card replacement and cash disbursement. Most don’t require out-of-pocket payment.
- Builds Credit With Responsible Use. If you use this card responsibly and make timely payments (preferably in full each month), you’ll build your business’s credit over time and improve its credit score. Eventually, you could find yourself in a position to qualify for more generous business credit cards, such as Chase Ink Business Preferred.
- Has an Annual Fee. Union Bank Business Secured Visa Card has a $30 annual fee. While that’s not excessive compared with more generous business credit cards, it’s still $30 more than many cardholders would like.
- Must Apply in Person. For prospective cardholders who don’t live on the West Coast, this card’s in-person application requirement is a major snag. Fortunately, Union Bank’s other business credit cards, including Union Bank Business Visa, accept online applications.
- No Rewards. This card doesn’t have a rewards program: no cash back, points, travel rewards, or any other type of loyalty currency. Needless to say, this is a bummer for cardholders seeking returns on their everyday business spending. Our best cash back credit cards roundup has plenty of additional options.
- No Account Opening Bonus. Union Bank Business Secured Visa lacks a sign-up bonus. Many other business credit cards do offer this benefit – for instance, Capital One Spark Cash for Business rewards new cardholders to the tune of $500 within three months of account opening, provided they meet the upfront spending requirements.
- No Overdraft Protection for Union Bank Deposit Accountholders. Union Bank Business Secured Visa has no overdraft protection feature. This is a big drawback relative to Union Bank’s consumer credit cards, including the Union Bank Secured Visa. It’s also a bad deal for anyone who occasionally overdrafts their checking account due to liquidity issues – a common problem for small business owners with accounts receivable backlogs.
- No 0% APR Promotion. This card has no 0% APR introductory promotion for purchases and balance transfers. Most other Union Bank credit cards do offer this perk. If you’re looking to finance a large upfront purchase or transfer an existing high-interest balance from another credit card, they’re definitely better.
- No Travel Benefits. If you travel regularly, Union Bank Secured Visa Credit Card is not an ideal choice. It lacks generous travel perks such as airport lounge access, priority boarding, travel credits, and in-flight discounts. More attractive options include Platinum Delta SkyMiles Business Credit Card from American Express and Capital One Spark Miles for Business. To learn more about the benefits of a travel rewards credit card, check out our roundup of the best travel rewards credit cards.
- 3% Foreign Transaction Fee. This card charges a 3% foreign transaction fee on every international transaction. This is a big problem for business owners who regularly travel outside the United States for professional reasons. It’s especially problematic in light of the nonexistent rewards program, which would at least partially offset the unavoidable fee. Many competing business credit cards, including Starwood Preferred Guest Business Credit Card from American Express OPEN, lack foreign transaction fees.
- Charges Penalty Interest. Union Bank Business Secured Visa charges penalty interest. For business owners who occasionally miss statement due dates due to cash flow issues or other problems, this is an unwelcome and potentially costly requirement. It takes just one missed payment to escalate this card’s interest rate to 30% APR, which can add hundreds of dollars to your annual bill when you carry a balance from month to month.
For independent professionals and small business owners with modest spending needs, a $25,000 credit limit is probably more than enough to cover the sorts of day-to-day expenses for which you’d typically use a credit card.
If you’re in that boat, Union Bank Business Secured Visa is totally fine for your needs. If you run a more capital-intensive business, this card’s $25,000 spending limit might not be high enough.