Rogers Bank has just launched the chatr Secured Mastercard which is clearly aimed at new or young Canadians looking to build their credit. Although secured credit cards aren’t nearly as popular as travel or cash back cards, they serve a specific purpose as they’re meant to help you build or rebuild your credit score.

What makes the chatr Secured Mastercard interesting is that it allows you to earn cash back rewards which is a rare benefit for a secured credit card. But is that enough for you to apply for the card? Read my chatr Secured Mastercard review now and find out. 

chatr Secured Mastercard Review

chatr Secured Mastercard benefits

  • $5 monthly fee
  • Guaranteed approval (upon identity verification and not having an undischarged bankruptcy)
  • 1% cash back on chatr and Rogers products and services
  • 0.5% cash back on all other purchases
  • Automatic upgrade to the chatr Mastercard upon meeting eligibility requirements

I typically don’t pay much attention to secured credit cards, but I have to say that the chatr Secured Mastercard is appealing. With this card, you’ll earn 1% cash back on chatr and Rogers products and services; and 0.5% cash back on all other purchases. This is relevant because no other secured credit card offers rewards.

Keep in mind that secured credit cards are meant for a very specific demographic. If you’re new to Canada, applying for your first credit card, or looking to rebuild your credit, secured credit cards may be your only choice since you may have a limited or negative credit history.

With the chatr Secured Mastercard, you’ll need to deposit security funds between $300-$2,500. For every dollar you deposit in security funds, you’ll get $1 in credit. That means if you deposit $1,000 onto your card, you’ll have a $1,000 limit. 

The “catch” is that you can’t use your security deposit to pay your bills. Another issue with the chatr Secured Mastercard is that you currently can’t change your credit limit once you set it. This can be problematic for people who may not have a huge deposit ready at the start and then need to make a large purchase on credit later. You can read about secured vs. unsecured credit cards here.

Now you might be thinking why would anyone agree to these terms? If you have no credit history or you’re looking to rebuild your credit, you may have no choice. The security deposit is meant to show that you’re a responsible spender. As you make your payments, your credit score will go up which is vital if you want access to better credit products in the future including a mortgage or line of credit.

With the chatr Secured Mastercard, you would automatically be upgraded to the chatr Mastercard which does not require security deposit once you reach the eligibility requirements.

The monthly fee of $5 is reasonable, but there are other secured credit cards available with no annual fee. For reference, the interest rate for purchases is 19.99% with the standard 21-day interest free grace period. 

How the chatr Secured Mastercard compares to others

If you’re thinking about getting a secured credit card, the other ones to consider are the Home Trust Secured Visa and the Capital One Guaranteed Secured Mastercard.

The Home Trust Secured Visa actually has two versions: one with a fee and one without. The no fee version is popular for obvious reasons but comes with no rewards. If you choose to go with the card that comes with an annual fee of $59, you get a lower purchase interest rate of 14.90%

As for the Capital One Guaranteed Secured Mastercard, the annual fee is $59 and has no benefits. That said, Capital One cardholders do get access to Credit Keeper which allows them to see their credit score.

Depending on how much you spend on Rogers services and other purchases, you could easily earn more in cash back than the $5 monthly fee with the chatr Secured Mastercard.

Final thoughts

My chatr Secured Mastercard is positive. It’s one of the best options available to people who are looking to build their credit score. The ability to earn rewards is a nice bonus since who doesn’t like earning cash back?

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