Refresh Financial Secured Visa Credit Card Review

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by Enoch Omololu

Updated

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The Refresh Financial Secured Visa Credit Card is a popular go-to card if you have poor credit, damaged credit, or no credit at all, and are looking for ways to build or repair your credit rating.

Starting at a minimum deposit of $200 and a $12.95 base annual fee, the Refresh Visa card is one of the easiest secured credit cards to obtain within its category.

Have a bad credit score or bankruptcy history? Have a low personal income? Have been turned down by other credit card issuers and want to start building your credit history using a low-annual fee card?

This review of the Refresh Secured Credit Card highlights some options that may work for you, including unsecured bad credit loans.

Refresh Financial Secured Visa Credit Card

Refresh Secured Card – Features and Benefits

If you are in the market for a secured credit card either because you have a limited credit history or your credit history has taken a bad hit from a bankruptcy or consumer proposal, this card is worth checking out.

If you do not know what your current credit score is, you can check it for free.

These are some of the features and benefits offered by the Refresh Financial Secured Card:

1. Guaranteed Approval: Most credit card issuers require that your credit score is in the “good” to “very good” range for you to get approved for a card. With the Refresh card, there is no credit check required. Bad or poor credit? No problem – approval is guaranteed as long as you meet the following basic requirements:

  • Be the age of the majority in your province
  • Have the security deposit, starting at $200
  • Don’t have an existing Refresh credit card or a pending application for one

2. Low Annual Fee and Interest Rate: The annual fee of $12.95 charged for this card is competitive when compared to alternatives. In addition to the $12.95, you pay a monthly fee of $3, for a total annual cost of $48.95.

The Refresh Secured Credit Card is often used as a stepping stone to an unsecured card, once your credit score has increased. Therefore the annual payment is structured this way to ensure you do not have to pay the full amount if you only have the card for a portion of the year.

On the interest rate side of things, you are charged 17.99% interest if you do not pay your credit card balance within the 21-day interest-free Grace Period.

3. Low Security Deposit: Eligibility for the Refresh Visa card starts at a minimum deposit of $200, and up to $10,000. What this means is that if you have at least $200 in down payment, you can apply for the card and start building your credit.

Your deposit amount determines your credit limit, and the $200 minimum deposit was the lowest I found among secured credit cards in Canada.

4. Build Credit: Every time you make payments towards your card balance, it is reported to the two major credit bureaus as a revolving credit. With each report showing you are managing your debt responsibly, your good credit history grows, as well as your credit score.

5. Financial Education: Refresh Financial offers their clients free financial education through Refresh F.I.T, also known as Financial Intelligence Training.

This program is free and helps you to learn the basics about money, credit cards, how to become debt-free, save money, set financial goals, boost your career, and build wealth.

Get The Card

Refresh Secured Visa Card Fees

Similar to other credit cards, the Refresh Secured Card has extra fees that may become applicable, including:

  • Cash Advance Fee: $5.00
  • Over Limit Fee: $5.00
  • Declined Transaction Fee: $0.10
  • Fee on International Transactions: 3.50%
  • Paper Statement Fee (in lieu of the e-copy): $2.50
  • ATM Transactions (Canada and International): $5.00
  • Point of Sale Transaction Canada: $0.00
  • Point of Sale International: $3.50

You can avoid some of the extra fees by paying off your balances within the 21 day Grace Period and not using your credit card at an ATM or internationally.

Is the Refresh Secured Visa For You?

Secured credit cards are generally useful if you:

  • Have limited or no credit history
  • Have a damaged or poor credit rating from going through a bankruptcy or consumer proposal

With these types of cards, you get a chance to repair or build your credit score while paying a low annual fee. To see results quickly, you should plan to use your card frequently and make on-time payments.

Other Options To Rebuild Your Credit

Unsecured Personal Loans

Even with a poor to bad credit, you may be able to qualify for an unsecured loan at competitive rates compared to a payday loan which comes with insane APRs.

1. LoanConnect

LoanConnect is Canada’s popular search engine for personal loans. The platform links you up with multiple lenders who accept bad to excellent credit scores.

The maximum loan available via LoanConnect is $50,000 and loan terms range from 6 months to 60 months. Expect to pay anywhere from 9.9% to 46.96% APR.

Read our detailed LoanConnect Review for more information on how to compare personal loan rates across several lenders.

Apply for a Loan via LoanConnect.

Secured Personal Loans

In addition to its Secured Credit Card, Refresh Financial also offers a secured loan option for repairing or building your credit.

2. Refresh Credit Builder Loan

The Credit Builder Loan requires you to pay the loan upfront. The funds are held in a secured account and your payments are reported to the credit bureaus as installment loan payments.

Credit builder loans may work if you do not qualify for a loan due to poor credit and they are useful for building or establishing credit. 97% of applications are approved and loan terms vary from 36 to 60 months.

Note that when you combine the interest rate and fees, you can expect to pay between 19.99% APR on this loan.

Apply for a Refresh Credit Builder Loan.

Refresh Secured Visa Credit Card Review
  • Eligibility Requirements
  • Minimum Deposit
  • Annual Fees
  • Interest Rate
  • Customer Service
3.8

Summary

The Refresh Financial Secured Visa Credit Card is one of the go-to cards if you have a poor or damaged credit score and are looking for ways to build or repair your credit rating.

Best Credit Offers this month

One of the best no-fee credit cards in Canada.

Get 2% unlimited cash back on up to 3 purchase categories.

Get 0.5% unlimited cash back on all other purchases.

1.95% balance transfer offer for 6 months.

Free prepaid reloadable Visa card.

Access to a portion of your paycheque 3 days early.

Free budgeting app with automatic savings features.

Credit building available with a subscription.

1.20% savings interest on every dollar balance.*

Get the best rates from multiple lenders.

Borrow up to $50,000 regardless of your credit score.

Pre-approvals offered in as fast as 5 minutes.

Low interest rates starting at 9.9% (or 1.90% for auto loans).

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Author

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Enoch Omololu

Enoch Omololu is a personal finance expert and a veterinarian. He has a master’s degree in Finance and Investment Management from the University of Aberdeen Business School (Scotland) and has completed several courses and certificates in finance, including the Canadian Securities Course. He also has an MSc. in Agricultural Economics from the University of Manitoba and a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree from the University of Ibadan. Enoch has a passion for helping others win with their personal finances and has been writing about money matters for over a decade. His writing has been featured or quoted in the Toronto Star, The Globe and Mail, MSN Money, Financial Post, Winnipeg Free Press, CPA Canada, Credit Canada, Wealthsimple, and many other personal finance publications.

His top investment tools include Wealthsimple and Questrade. He earns cash back on purchases using KOHO, monitors his credit score for free using Borrowell, and earns interest on savings through EQ Bank.

9 thoughts on “Refresh Financial Secured Visa Credit Card Review”

  1. Refresh financial rips off its customers and charges shockingly high fees for a service they dont provide. Out of the 1000 I paid for their reverse savings account, they charged me over 700 in fees and interest on MY OWN MONEY! Please for the love of God stay away from this company unless you have money to throw away

    Reply
  2. I recently had some fraudulent charges on my Refresh card. They were obvious, looking to all be in the UK, while I am in Canada and had no business there.. eg Dominos pizza UK.. Harrods.. an internet provider..
    I notified Refresh immediately and shut down the card. They sent out a form from DC Bank (apparently the issuer) for Chargebacks.
    On the form; ‘There is a $10.00 chargeback fee for each transaction noted above.’
    I have had similar problems with other visa cards; never a charge.
    I inquired and was told that the charge did apply to fraudulent charges.. I asked for a supervisor and am still waiting for a ‘follow-up’ call. This is ridiculous. Maybe it is deep in the fine print but I have ~30 charges over $10.00 so I’m supposed to eat $300. in charges?
    Does Refresh have any checks on overseas activity? I would expect to be questioned if I was travelling..
    Has anyone had this happen? I am not going to let this lie. Maybe this is not covered by regulation like other cards? Looked it up; “DCBank is regulated by the Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions of Canada (OSFI) and the Financial Consumer Agency of Canada (FCAC).” FCAC would be the next step.
    Oh, and after being told that the Refresh card would be fine for car rentals, turns out it isn’t.. still months till the chip card that is ‘supposed’ to fix that.. That’s a whole other story, let’s say right now not a big fan..

    Reply
  3. I’m a business owner and was going through a bankruptcy, looking for ways to re establish credit. Found Refresh financial. Was promised a “loan” which was pre paid by me in return for them to report to credit bureau. I took a small loan of $1000 plus interest and fees which Raul (Salesperson) told me it was better to take two smaller loans because each would report separate to credit bureau. This was a lie, they break the loans down into smaller ones so they can charge you a $250 commitment fee for each loan.Loan was supposed to be over 12 months, Raul and the contract I signed both said I would pay $460 in fees. I would give them around $1600 total and they would give me back $1000. This was to my understanding and falls within the legal interest rates of loans in Canada 19.9 %. I had called Refresh around the 11 month mark just to see where everything was standing, the lady I spoke to told me I had 3 more years of paying and that I would save money this way. I told her thats not saving money and that was never explained to me and that it was a shady bait and switch practice. I asked her how many months left I had to my obligation, she informed me that my contract was in fact up and I could cancel and they would send the funds they owed back to me. I was satisfied with this. They sent me a document saying I would receive $300 back. I called and asked if there was a mistake, I checked my account and had paid a total to date of $1000, so in fact the lady was wrong, my contract wasn’t up so I reminded them of that. She began to proceed to tell me that I had actually taken out a loan for $3600. I did not and I did not pay them $3600 either. They cant even keep track of things on their end. Anyways they basically charged me $700 to “borrow” $300. Which I didn’t borrow as it is a pre paid loan. The company charges over 100% interest while taking zero risk as you pay the loan up front in installments. They did report the loan to the credit bureau and my credit score did rise, but I also had other items on my report so hard to say exactly how much it increased it. I emailed them telling them I would seek legal action if they did not honor what they said, their response was “best of luck” My experience with Refresh is that they take advantage of people in desperate situations, promising one thing but delivering the other. Bait and switch tactics, Pushy sales people and cold customer service. This company is certainly out to swindle to people. Do no not use them, look for alternatives as you will be swindled. I was naive an read all of the negative reviews first but gave them the benefit of the doubt and I too fell victim. I did all my research, all my due diligence and thought maybe the reviews were just a few bad experiences. Its all true what the reviews say.

    Reply
  4. Let’s start by pointing out this company has ZERO customer service support after the hours of Mon – Fri 8am – 4pm PST.
    So that means, evenings, weekends, holidays, etc – NO CUSTOMER SERVICE. If you have an issue with your account/card, you have to wait until their office is open during regular business hours to contact someone, or file a complaint.

    Next, let me explain the situation that happened to me as a brand new, first time customer.
    I received my new card, two weeks after it was approved. Any other CC company would have been sent in a week.
    I activate the card as per usual. I get a confirmation email that it’s active – with a 1-800 number included in the email (this part is important and will come out later).
    This was a Friday. The next day, on Saturday morning I had plan to go out of town for the weekend to visit my Mother. I went to the car rental location to pick up my car at 9am.
    They ran my newly activated card, and it was DECLINED. They ran it again for a lower amount just to try and clear the card, so I could get the vehicle and be on my way. $100.00 – still DECLINED.
    I tried calling the 1-800 number on the back of the card. Nothing. No automated voice. No message. Just music. For over 30 mins. I gave up and tried calling that number in my confirmation email. The one I mentioned earlier. Guess what? THAT NUMBER DOES NOT EXIST! When I called it, it just hung up. No ringing, no auto message, nothing.
    So I tried the customer service line. And of course because it’s the weekend, the office was closed and I could not reach anyone.
    So I was stranded with no vehicle. And no way to contact Refresh Financial to find out why my card was being declined.
    So then it gets WORSE. Ya it’s possible.
    Their office was closed on Monday, due to Remembrance Day. I had emailed my Rep over the weekend. She replied back to me Tuesday, and asked a few basic questions.
    I was then put in contact with some guy named Josh from their customer service dept the following day (Wednesday).
    He asked the exact same questions my Rep (Tammy) did. And said he would get a response back from the Credit Card team in 24-48 hours. I email Josh back after 2 days asking for an update. No response. A WEEK goes by, I call their CS line, and get a hold of someone finally who proceeds to tell me after a long hold, that some of the Credit Cards that were sent out had issues with their magnetic strips not working. And that I would get a new card sent to me. I ask to have it rush sent, and they said “No we cant do that. They get sent out when the get sent out.”
    I was completely appealed by this HORRIBLE and disgraceful customer service, their defective product, and overall dismal business. I will be cancelling this card. And taking my business elsewhere.

    Reply
  5. DO NOT DEAL WITH THIS COMPANY IN AWAY SHAPE FOR FORM RUN THE OTHER WAY please check out bbb.org for all the real reviews and not just there employees trying to get a bonus THEY WILL DESTROY YOUR CREDIT

    Reply
  6. RUNAWAY – SCAM SCAM SCAM.

    Listen to these reviews. They will destroy your credit and charge you so much money. Any sort of dispute will cost you more money than you’re trying to get back.

    REPORT THEM AND REVIEW THEM Poorly.

    Reply
  7. They are theives, they lie to you and make it look good and all.
    But at the end you get only half of what you’ve paid.
    Then they come up with BS explanation about interest being paid first and what not.
    Things they never mention to you when you subscribe.
    I had a 10 000 loan and I end up at the end with less then half of that.
    Stay away !

    Reply
  8. As a card holder with a Refresh Visa. I went to my TD bank on June 8 2021 at 11:41 am, where l have my account. The teller, made a 60.00 payment to my Refresh Visa card. I went into my bank to pay, as l wanted to make sure the money due to Passport Canada came out ok!
    It’s now June 22 2021, & l still don’t have my payment applied to my Refresh Visa!!! My bank now has there trace started, but believe it’s on the Refresh Visa side of thing’s!
    Went l contact Refresh Visa, everyday l either get some smart mouth bitch, basically calling me a liar, & telling no payment was made. Well it seems, that is the only reply l get from Refresh Visa!!! One fellow did say he would look into it, over a week ago now! Now l don’t even get a reply! It’s like fuck you & your money!
    Well not sure about the rest of you but this company needs to hear our voice’s, or at least, read our damm emails that we send them!
    If my account with Refresh Visa, isn’t handled. Then l will give Refresh Visa bad reviews & press wherever l go! I even have a friend in the reporting business, who writes articles with newspapers across Canada, who is willing to do a exposé, on Refresh Visa, & the many customers across Canada, who are being cheated out of their own money, from Refresh Secure Visa! Let me say that once again! Customers who are being cheated out of their own money from Refresh Secure Visa!!!
    Stand up people! Take back what is yours!!!!!! They would!!!!!

    Reply
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