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Note: Please note that the Refresh Financial Secured Credit Card is no longer available. Check out the Refresh Financial Credit Builder Loan for a alternate credit building solution.

Although a healthy amount of debt can actually be good for your finances, taking on more than you can handle may hurt your creditworthiness and make it tough for you to get approved for credit products. For instance, if your credit score is within the bad range (300 – 600), you may not even be able to qualify for a regular credit card. Having no credit history at all can also lead to lower chances of approval.  

Luckily, the Refresh Financial Secured Visa is a payment alternative that almost any borrower can get. In fact, if you use it responsibly, this secured card can even help you fix bad credit or build a credit history. Check out this review to learn more about the benefits and drawbacks of the Refresh Financial Secured Visa.

Who is Refresh Financial?

Refresh Financial is a credit building lender that was founded in 2013 and now serves customers all across Canada. They offer two different financial solutions that you can use to build your credit history and, when necessary, improve your bad credit score so you’ll have an easier time getting approved for new credit products in the future.

While they also provide Credit Builder Loans, one of their two most prominent products is the Refresh Financial Secured Visa, which you can apply for in 4 simple steps. 

What is the Refresh Financial Secured Visa?

Essentially, the Refresh Financial Secured Visa works like a normal credit card, meaning you’ll have access to a specific revolving credit limit once you’ve been approved, as well as monthly debt payments to keep up with. You’ll also have the option of making minimum or partial payments when you can’t afford full balances.  

However, the Refresh Financial Secured Visa is slightly different because you’ll have to pay a security deposit (equal to your desired credit limit) to be approved. As you use your credit card and make timely payments, Refresh will send your payment activity to the credit bureaus, where it will show up on your credit report.  

The Desired Outcome

The overall goal would be for your good payments to appear on your credit history and, in doing so, gradually increase your credit score. As soon as your payment term ends and all remaining debt balances are paid off, your deposit will be returned. You can then apply for another Refresh Financial solution or move on to other credit products.   

Once you’ve obtained good credit, you should have much better chances of approval for larger, more expensive credit products, such as mortgages and car loans, along with optimal repayment term conditions and lower interest rates. Keep in mind that you must be very responsible with your payments and card to see this kind of positive outcome. 

Refresh Financial Secured Visa Details

Credit Limit/Deposit Amount$200 – $10,000
Interest Rate17.99% APR
FeesMandatory Fees
– Annual Fee: $12.95
– Monthly Maintenance Fee: $3.00
– Total Yearly Service Fees: $48.98
Possible Fees
– Declined Transaction Fee: $0.10
– ATM Fee (Canada or Worldwide): $5.00
– Monthly Inactivity Fee: $2.00
– Cash Advance Fee: $5.00
– Over Limit Fee: $5.00
– International Transaction Fee: $3.50
– Paper Statement Fee: $2.50
– Point of Sale Transaction (International): $3.50
Credit Check None
Extra Features– Refresh F.I.T. (Financial Intelligence Training)
– Credit Education
– Free credit calculator, infographics and financial advice on the Refresh Financial blog

Advantages of The Refresh Financial Secured Visa

Now that you have a better understanding of how the Refresh Financial Secured Visa works, let’s discuss some of its key advantages, which include, but aren’t limited to:

  • Low Security Deposit – You only have to put $200 on the card to enjoy its full benefits. Your interest rate will stay the same, no matter the size of your deposit.
  • Low Interest – A rate of 17.99% APR (lower than other credit cards) will only apply to unpaid balances that remain after a 21 day interest-free grace period.
  • Credit Building – Refresh reports all your payments to Equifax and TransUnion. Good payments will help you build a solid credit history and a high credit score.
  • Better Creditworthiness – If you keep your credit in good shape, it will be easier to qualify for large amounts of new credit and low-interest rates in the future.
  • Educational Tools – As mentioned, your card gives you free access to Refresh F.I.T. courses, which you can use to better manage your finances and credit. 
  • No Credit Check – Your credit won’t be checked when you apply for a Refresh Financial Secured Visa, so you can qualify if you have bad credit or no credit history.
  • High Approval Chances – The main benefit of this card is that approval is almost guaranteed and depends mainly on how much you provide as a deposit.

Disadvantages of The Refresh Financial Secured Visa

Before you apply for the Refresh Financial Secured Visa, it’s important to consider the potential drawbacks that come with it, such as these:

  • Fees – Remember, there are several fees that you may have to pay when you activate your Secured Card and make various transactions. These fees can drive up the card’s yearly price, especially when coupled with your interest rate.
  • Deposit Amount – Your deposit must be paid in cash and can be a lot of money to pay upfront, especially when you have other expenses. While you can set a lower amount, you may not end up with enough credit to cover what you need. 
  • No Insurance or Rewards – Unlike regular credit cards, the Refresh Financial Secured Visa can only be used to make transactions and build your credit history. No rewards points or insurance policies are available (balance protection, etc.). 

How to Apply For a Refresh Financial Secured Visa

Unlike other types of credit products, you don’t need amazing financial health to qualify for a Refresh Financial Secured Visa. For instance, a normal personal loan or credit card might require you to have a decent income, a high credit score, zero debt problems and, in some cases, additional security to offer, like collateral or a cosigner.

On the other hand, the Refresh Financial Secured Visa approval process is relatively simple and can be completed online in just a few minutes. All you have to do is follow these steps:

  1. Fill Out The Proper Forms – Start by entering your personal information (name, address, phone number, etc.), as well as your reason for applying.
  1. Verify Your Email – If all your personal information checks out, you can finish creating your Refresh Financial account by entering a valid email address.
  1. Choose Your Pack – Refresh offers a number of credit building solutions and programs. Pick the Secured Credit Card Pack that suits your finances the best. 
  1. Provide Your Digital Details – This is where you’ll complete the identity confirmation process and sign any final documents or contracts.     

Minimum Requirements to Be Approved

At some point during the Refresh Financial Secured Visa approval process, you may have to fill out certain financial information, such as your bank account or debit card details, which may be requested so that you can pay your security deposit. 

You’ll also need these elements to surpass the card’s minimum approval requirements:

  • A piece of government photo ID (passport, driver’s license, etc.)
  • Be past the age of majority in your province (18 – 19+)
  • Enough money to pay your security deposit ($200 – $10,000)
  • Create a new Refresh Financial account (or use your existing account)  
  • Not applied for a Refresh card more than once in the past 30 days 
  • Not defaulted on any Refresh card payments or accounts in the past year

Should You Get The Refresh Financial Secured Visa?

In the end, whether or not you choose to apply for either solution that Refresh Financial offers should depend on your personal and financial preferences. That said, any credit product can lead to unmanageable debt if you don’t handle your payments responsibly. In reality, the Refresh Financial Secured Visa is better for clients who:

  • Have gone through a recent consumer proposal or bankruptcy
  • Want to build their credit history and/or increase their bad credit score
  • Can’t qualify for a normal credit card through their bank or credit union
  • Want slightly lower interest rates than other credit card products offer
  • Want to use their free Refresh F.I.T. courses to improve their finances/credit
  • Cannot afford to offer a large security deposit

Interested in More Information About The Refresh Financial Secured Visa?

The Refresh Financial Secured Visa could be the perfect solution for your credit building needs. For more information about Refresh Financial’s credit building products, click the button below.   

Bryan Daly avatar on Loans Canada
Bryan Daly

Bryan is a graduate of Dawson College and Concordia University. He has been writing for Loans Canada for five years, covering all things related to personal finance, and aims to pursue the craft of professional writing for many years to come. In his spare time, he maintains a passion for editing, writing screenplays, staying fit, and travelling the world in search of the coolest sights our planet has to offer.

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