Refresh Financial Secured Visa Review

CREDIT SCORE REQUIREMENTS: Credit Score requirements are based on Young and Thrifty's own research of approval rates; meeting the minimum score will give you the best chance to be approved for the credit card of your choice. ?
  • Poor
Poor 500-599
Fair 660-689
Good 700-749
Excellent 741-900
Our Bottom Line:

If you’re looking to repair or improve your credit score, then the Refresh Financial Secured Visa will appeal to you. Because this is a secured credit card, you’re basically guaranteed approval as long as you deposit the required security funds. As you make your payments, Refresh Financial will report your payment history to the credit bureaus. If you make your payments on time, you should see your credit score start to improve.

Intro APR Purchases N/A
Intro Term Purchases N/A
Intro APR Balance Transfers N/A
Intro Term Balance Transfers N/A
Regular APR 17.99%
Annual Fee $48.95 ($12.95/annual fee + $3/maintenance fee per month)
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About the Refresh Financial Secured Visa

You won’t get many fancy perks with the Refresh Financial Secured Visa, but that’s not the point. The card has one purpose: To help you improve your credit score.

While this may not sound very exciting, anyone who has a bad credit score or no credit history will likely be drawn to the card. For example, someone who has had to declare bankruptcy, or a new immigrant to Canada might find this card useful.

The way it works is simple. Upon approval, you deposit security funds, and that amount becomes your limit. For example, if you deposit $500, your limit is $500. As you make purchases and pay your bills on time, you’re essentially showing Refresh Financial that you’re responsible with your credit.

Refresh Financial then reports your payments to the credit bureaus. Over time, if you make timely payments, you should see your credit score increase. Once your credit score is in good standing you can apply for a traditional credit card that gives you more benefits.

Card Features & Benefits

Secured credit cards don’t come with many (if any) benefits. This shouldn’t be a big deal for anyone who’s focused on building their credit score. Having a healthy credit history is arguably more important than any benefits that a credit card could offer. That said, the Refresh Financial Secured Card does have a few appealing features, including:

  • It helps improve your credit score: If you make your payments on time, you should see your credit score go up over time.
  • There’s no credit check: When applying, there’s no credit check, so your credit score stays intact.
  • It comes with a low annual fee: The annual fee is $48.95 ($12.95/annual fee + $3/maintenance fee per month)
  • You can access a high credit limit: Your limit is based on the security funds you deposit which can range from $200 to $10,000.

Learn more about the Refresh Financial Secured Visa* Card

Pros and Cons

The Refresh Financial Secured Visa is excellent for anyone who’s looking to build their credit. It doesn’t matter if you have a questionable credit history or if you’re a student looking to get your first credit card. The Refresh Financial Secured Visa will help you improve your credit score.

That said, this is a very basic card and should only be considered if you don’t qualify for a traditional credit card. While the annual fee is reasonable, there are some no annual fee secured cards out there that do the same job. Like any credit product, it’s still possible to abuse, so if you’re interested in this card, you want to make sure you’re using it to your advantage—as in, make sure you’re paying off your entire bill on time every month.

Pros

  • Helps to build credit
  • Easy to get approved
  • Low security deposit requirement

Cons

  • Annual fee
  • Limited additional benefits

Other perks

Again, you’re not going to get many perks with a secured credit card, but the Refresh credit card does have a suite of products available that can help you improve your credit score in different ways. While these aren’t necessary, they might help some individuals get on track.

  • Credit Builder Loan: Get access to a credit builder loan when you sign up for the sprint or jog pack.
  • BLACK Tier app: View your credit report/score, get alerts, and run simulations to ensure you’re on track.

How the Refresh Financial Secured Visa Compares

It can often be challenging to compare secured credit cards as they’re all designed with specific users in mind. With the Refresh Financial Secured Visa, they clearly want users to take control of their finances. The combination of the credit card and BLACK Tier app will ensure your credit is on track now and in the future. The total annual fee of $48.95 ($12.95/annual fee + $3/maintenance fee per month) a year is pretty reasonable for what you get.

Then there’s the Plastk Secured Credit Card which bills itself as Canada’s first secured credit card with a premium rewards program. With this card, not only do you get a welcome bonus of 5,000 Rewards points, but you also earn 1 point for every $1 spent. Those points can then be used for statement credits, gift cards, travel rewards, and more. Essentially, it combines rewards and cash back and lets you decide what you want to do with your points. While that’s great, the total annual fee of $120 ($48/annual fee + $6/maintenance fee per month) is a bit high for a secured card. Read our full Plastk review here.

Regardless of which card you choose, the odds are that your number one priority will be to improve your credit score. With both cards, you can watch your credit score increase over time as long as you use the credit available to you responsibly.

  Refresh Financial Secured Visa  Plastk Secured Credit Card 
 Annual fee $48.95 ($12.95/annual fee + $3/maintenance fee per month)$120 ($48/annual fee + $6/maintenance fee per month)
 Welcome offer None5,000 Rewards points, 0% interest rate for 3 months
 Earn rate None1 point per $1 spent.
 Extra perks Optional credit builder loan, access to credit report/score, discounts at select retailersPoints earned can be used for a statement credit, merchandise, gift cards, travel rewards, and more
 Deposit limit $200-$10,000$300-$10,000
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FAQs

Refresh Financial is a British Columbia-based fintech company that has helped more than 100,000 Canadians build their credit history. They’ve raised more than $25 million in funding and have improved their digital tools over the years. Just recently, Borrowell, another Canadian fintech company, acquired them and is looking to add even more features to the product.
Yes, secured credit cards build credit. It works like this: You load security funds onto your secured credit card, and it acts as your credit limit. For example, if you deposit $250, your limit is $250. You can’t use those funds to pay off your bill, but you get the money back if you close your account in good standing. As you make purchases and pay your bills, your secured credit card provider will report your history to the credit bureaus. If everything is positive, you should see your credit score improve gradually.

The Verdict

The Refresh Financial Secured Visa is an excellent choice for anyone that wants to improve their credit and easily makes our list of the best credit cards for bad credit. When used responsibly, you can watch your credit score grow. Once you get your credit score into good standing, you’ll have access to more credit cards with better benefits.

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