• Annual Fee: $12.95
  • APR : 17.99%
  • Maximum Earnings Rate: N/A
  • Minimal Personal Income Required: None
  • Recommended Credit Score: Not required

minimum price:

$12.95 per year

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Refresh Financial Secured Visa Review: Pros and Cons [Reviewed in 2022]

The secured Visa by Refresh Financial is a great way to build your credit score while making everyday purchases.

Not sure if it works? Check out our Refresh Financial Secured Visa review to find out!

Refresh Financial Secured Visa Review: Pros and Cons [Reviewed in 2022]

minimum price:

$12.95 per year

Visit Website
  • Annual Fee: $12.95
  • APR : 17.99%
  • Maximum Earnings Rate: N/A
  • Minimal Personal Income Required: None
  • Recommended Credit Score: Not required

Best For

Credit building

Strengths

  • Guaranteed approval (as long as you meet specific criteria)
  • No credit report check necessary
  • Low annual fee
  • Low monthly maintenance fee
  • Low security deposit
  • Easy credit score building

Weaknesses

  • A few additional fees
  • No shopping rewards or cash-back program
  • Several complaints about customer service

Overview

Operating since 2013, Refresh Financial is a small business company that helps people build (and fix) their credit scores. In 2021, it was acquired by one of Canadas largest financial technology companies, Borrowell and their headquarters are currently located in Kelowna, British Columbia.

According to their latest data, Refresh Financial has serviced more than 100 000 Canadians since 2013 to help them achieve a better financial stance. Aside from the secured credit cards for credit building, Refresh Financial also offers a credit building loan program.

Main Features

The Refresh Financial card comes with a variety of features to fit a wide range of needs. Let’s take a closer look at each of them.

Credit Score Building

The Refresh secured card might not have rewards for shopping or a cash-back feature, but it compensates with its unique credit-building program, which is the main purpose of the card after all.

Every payment made from the card is reported to two major credit bureaus, which helps you build positive recordings of your prompt payments. Therefore, your utilization rate drops, which leads to an increase in your credit score. Neat, huh?

Take a look at some other secured credit cards in Canada!

Credit Score Tracking

Yes, it’s true. You don’t need your credit score checked to apply for this card. However, knowing where you start is essential, considering that building or repairing your score can take a while.

Hence, as an official user of the Refresh Financial Visa, you can ask for your credit score report anytime you want. Additionally, you can track your score progress with each purchase you make via the weekly updates that come with the mobile app.

Additional Perks and Benefits

This particular Refresh credit card is one of the most utilized secured credit cards in Canada, and there’s a good reason for it. There are a lot of things that make this card especially convenient, aside from the low utilization cost, so let’s take a look at them.

Credit Utilization Calculator

The Refresh Financial Visa comes with an option to track your credit utilization rate. The utilization rate is the second-highest weighted metric that makes up your credit score. Hence, it’s much easier to follow the progress of your score with Refresh Financial’s toolkits.

According to the company, you should always keep your secured card balance 30% below your available limit for optimal credit building. The Refresh app will let you know when you’ve hit the point to make a payment to your account, ensuring your credit score doesn’t get any lower.

This way, you’ll never surpass the minimal threshold.

F.I.T. Program

Financial Intelligence Training is an optional program available as a bonus program for members of Refresh Financial. Simply put, it’s a toolkit for financial learning, and of course, credit building.

The best thing is that the program consists of video guides, which are not only easy to grasp. But they’re also available to watch whenever you like.

Low Cost

Every credit card has some expenses, whether the yearly tax or monthly maintenance fee. But when it comes to Refresh, the investments and price for using this secured card are noticeably lower.

On top of all this, the monthly maintenance cost is a meagre amount of 3$.

Low Security-Deposit

The security deposit is one of the requirements, but it’s also considered a perk. Here is why.

Compared to other credit cards, Refresh credit card becomes active once you make a minimal deposit of 200$. Since this is your money, you won’t be owning anyone. So there’s no need to be uncertain about having enough minimal earnings for approval, unlike with other companies.

As previously mentioned, every time you use this secured credit card, your successful payments are tracked, and your credit score increases.

Accordingly, you can apply for loans and standard credit cards once you reach a ‘good’ or ‘excellent’ score.

Rates and Fees

Let’s say you’re looking to build or fix your credit score. You’re probably going to need a card with low rates and fees, right? The Refresh Visa offers just that!

With an annual cost of only $12,95, this secured Visa stands out from the crowd as a more affordable option, compared to other options on the market.

The card comes with a lower interest rate than other competitors as well and what is more, it’s worth mentioning that you’re not subject to interest rates for the first 21 days.

The remaining costs and fees are listed in the table below.

 

Annual Fee $12,95
Monthly Maintenance Fee $3,00
Cash Advance APR $5,00
Balance Transfer APR N/A
Purchase APR 17.99%
Additional  Fees
Approved ATM Transactions (Canada and International) $5,00
Approved POS Transactions (International only) $3,50
Monthly Inactivity Fee $2,00
Paper Statement Fee (instead of electronic copy) $2,50
Chargeback Investigation Fee $10,00
Declined Transaction Fee $0,10
Bill Payment Fee $0,50

 

Compared to other companies that provide credit building and money-saving programs, like HomeTrust and CapitalOne, Refresh Financial is noticeably cheaper.

For example, Home Trust doesn’t necessarily have an annual fee (although there’s an option that includes it), but it requires a minimum deposit of $500, while Capital One requires $95.00 per year to use their Savor card.

Eligibility

Given how its purpose is to help you build credit, Refresh Financial doesn’t do a credit score check. Also, aggravating factors like minimal earnings or income per person in a household aren’t needed either.

There are some eligibility requirements, though, so let’s go over them.

To be approved for the Refresh Financial Secured Visa card, you need to:

  • Reside in the territory where Refresh Financial offers their secured card;
  • Be at the age of majority in your region of residence;
  • Be able to provide security funds of at least $200 to Refresh Financial.

Application Process

The application process is easy and reasonably fast. You can apply at Refresh for a secured card by completing their online application form, consisting of the four steps:

  1. Submit information
  2. Verify e-mail address
  3. Choose a credit building program
  4. Upload your digital documentation

When it comes to the documents needed for the application, you’ll need to provide the following:

  • Government-issued ID
  • Your banking details
  • Proof of your address (a utility bill addressed to you or government-issued mail, such as a letter from CRA)

It takes about 15 minutes to complete the application form and if everything is fine, you can expect to receive your secured card in two to three weeks, excluding workdays.

User Reviews

We searched the internet for some genuine user reviews regarding the Refresh Financial card and found that despite most of them being positive, all of them shared a common downside.

Let’s look into that.

Most of the feedback was positive commentaries on how the users have successfully built their scores and reached their desired financial goals. Also, the low fees are especially praised for making the credit building process furthermore efficient.

Anyhow, there were several complaints about customer service support. According to Refresh Financial users, the support team is a bit slow and unresponsive.

Want to Consider Other Options?

If your priorities are to save money with cash-back programs and other rewards by purchasing, there are some alternatives to consider. Let’s check how the Refresh card compares to other credit-building cards we found.

Refresh Financial Secured vs Home Trust Secured Visa

Home Trust offers a similar program as Refresh Financial. Their common purpose is to help you achieve a better credit score and they both ask you to make a security deposit.

By comparison, there’s a difference in fees, minimum deposit and other things as well. For instance, the Refresh secured card comes with an annual fee of $12.95 and a monthly maintenance price of $3, whereas the Home Trust Secured card doesn’t require any of those.

However, Home Trust demands a minimum deposit of $500, has a purchase interest rate of 19.99% and annual interest on cash advances. Although, they do offer an option to pay a yearly tax of $59 to be granted an APR of 14.99%, while everything else remains the same.

Additionally, unlike Refresh Financial, Home Trust doesn’t seem to report positive payment history to the two major credit bureaus, which is a bit of a bummer for credit builders.

Refresh Financial Secured vs Capital One’s Savor

Compared to Refresh, Savor orients more to money-back shopping rewards. More precisely, they provide unlimited 4% cash-back on dining, entertainment and popular streaming services, plus 3% at grocery stores. However, similar to Refresh Financial, they offer the Credit Wise App as a tool for credit score building.

Anyhow, they differ in terms of costs and rates as well. For instance, the annual fee for the Savor card is $95. Also, the interest rate for transfer transactions is $3, and the cash advance fee is $10 or 3% of the amount, whichever is greater.

Moreover, Capital One has a penalty for late payments, reaching up to $40.

Summing Up

There you have it, a complete Refresh Financial card review.

If you still haven’t decided if this secured card is right for you, you should think about what you usually spend money on as well as your financial goals. If your score is not that low, and your main goal is to save some money, you should probably look elsewhere.

However, if your score needs fixing and interferes with your financial plans, we recommend getting the Refresh secured credit card. Not only it’s cheaper, but it comes with various toolkits and reports your positive payment behaviour to two major credit bureaus, which helps improve your credit score faster and easier.

FAQ

What is a Refresh secured card?

It’s a secured credit card that lets you use your own saved money as credit and spend it anytime you want, but your payments are reported as positive behaviour, which helps build your credit score.

Is Refresh Financial legit?

Yes, Refresh Financial is a legitimate company that offers banking programs to help people build a credit score and achieve better financial health.

How can Refresh help me build my credit score?

It works by reporting your positive payment history, along with your credit increase experience, to two major credit bureaus.

How fast will Refresh credit card help me build my credit score?

If you make your payments on time and always keep at least 30% of your available resources, you can start seeing some results within a month or two.

What are the requirements for a Refresh Financial card?

The criteria you need to meet to be approved for a card are as follows:

  • Reside in the territory where the Refresh Financial Secured Visa is available;
  • Be the age of majority in your region of residence;
  • Be able to provide security funds of at least 200$ to Refresh Financial.

ABOUT AUTHOR

With an early start in journalism and years of work as a technical translator, Marija felt it was natural to blend the two. Passionate about news and research, she enjoys sifting through the data, researching new currents and the constant changes in our technologically and financially driven lives, as well as presenting the stats and facts to the readers so you don’t have to dig deep on your own.