Review: Will Harley-Davidson Visa Secured Card Help You Build Your Credit?

By J.R. Duren
HighYa Staff
Published on: Aug 11, 2017

If you’re trying to rebuild your credit, then secured credit cards like the Harley-Davidson Visa Secured Card from U.S. Bank are great options.

What’s interesting ab out the Harley-Davidson card is that, unlike most secured credit cards, this one is linked to a brand and you have the opportunity to earn cash back rewards that you can use at Harley-Davidson stores and at their website.

The key to understanding if a card like this is good for you, is to figure out what you want out of a credit card and then decide if the Harley-Davidson fits what you’re looking for.

Now, if all you want is a card that reflects what you love and that builds your credit, then the Harley-Davidson Secured card is perfect if you love Harleys.

But figuring all of this out takes time and research, and that’s what we’re here for. We’re going to lay out everything this card offers, from the perks and benefits to the rates and fees.

We’ll also explain how secured cards work and we’ll give you some insight into what other cardholders are saying about the Harley-Davidson Secured experience.

At the end of this review, we’ll give you a list of pros, cons and who we think would benefit most from this card.

How Do Secured Credit Cards Work?

Secured credit cards are called “secured” because you need to put up your own cash to open an account. In other words, U.S. Bank wants something from you before they give you the Harley-Davidson Secured card. Why are they asking something from you?

Well, in most cases, consumers who apply for secured cards don’t have great credit scores and their financial history shows that they are a risky customer because they often pay late and carry big balances on their cards.

U.S. Bank is worried that you might not pay off your balance, so they ask you to give them money up-front. The amount you give them – $500, let’s say – is your credit limit. And, if for some reason you don’t pay your credit card bill, U.S. Bank can use some of that $500 to pay the bill.

Secured cards give the bank a way to provide credit and protect themselves. Secured cards give you an advantage because they give you a way to build your credit.

Every time you make a payment on your card, it’s reported to credit bureaus. Pay your whole bill on time every month and you’ll see your credit scores increase.

How to Open Your Harley-Davidson Secured Card?

If you want the Harley-Davidson Secured card, you’ll have to apply for the card and be ready to send U.S. Bank your deposit.

You can do this one of two ways: Either by using money from your checking or savings account or by mailing a cashier’s check or money order. Per U.S. Bank’s fine print, “personal checks are not accepted.”

Once you’re approved for the card, U.S. Bank will transfer your money or cash your check/money order and open a U.S. Bank secured savings account for you.

When it comes time to pay your card, you have to pay it manually. You can’t make automatic payments from your U.S. Bank secured savings account.

The Harley-Davidson Secured Card’s Benefits

The main benefit of the Harley Davidson Secured card is the fact that you earn 1% rewards on almost every purchase you make. What does that mean? Great question.

1% Rewards on Purchases

Each time you use your Harley-Davidson credit card to make everyday purchases like groceries, gas, etc., U.S. Bank will give you Harley-Davidson Genuine Rewards points at a rate of 1 point per 1 dollar.

So, if you buy something for $100 on, then you’ll get 100 points. Those 100 Genuine Rewards points are worth $1.

Now, there are plenty of rewards cards out there that offer 1% on purchases and, in many cases, those rewards you earned can be redeemed for cash, hotel points or airline miles.

The Harley-Davidson card is different because you can only redeem your points for Harley-Davidson Genuine Rewards certificates or Harley-Davidson gift cards.

But here’s the thing: If you love the Harley-Davidson brand and you have a Harley you’re constantly tinkering with and upgrading, then being forced to use your points for Harley purchases is actually pretty awesome.

Now, you need to keep in mind that your points aren’t good forever. They expire three years from the day you earned them.

The Harley-Davidson Secured Card’s Rates and Fees

Remember earlier in this review when we talked about how U.S. Bank and other credit card companies want you to pay a deposit up front to reduce risk?


Well, another way that U.S. Bank protects themselves in the event that you pay late or don’t pay at all is APR, which is an acronym for “Annual Percentage Rate”. This is what you’ll get charged if you don’t pay off your whole balance every month.

The APR for the Harley-Davidson Secured card is 23.99%, which is significantly higher than cards for people with good or excellent credit.

So, let’s say you make the minimum payment on your card but still have a balance of $100 left on your card. You’ll be charged interest on a daily basis, which, after a month, would be $1.97 on that $100 balance.

Now, that may not seem like much, but it can build up, especially if you carry a bigger balance. For example, if your balance is $400, you’ll have a monthly interest payment of $7.88. It may not seem like much, but think about it like this: Would you pay $8 a month to use a credit card?

And remember this, too: For every dollar you pay in interest, you’re cutting into the value of your cash rewards. If you’re spending $500 a month, your rewards balance will be $5. What good is that $5 if you’re paying $8 in interest?

Late Fees

The other thing you need to know about this card is that if you pay late, you’ll get hit with a $38 fee. If you make a payment that’s returned, you’ll pay $35.

Remember, if you have to pay one of these fees, then you’ll basically be cancelling out any rewards you’ll earn for seven months if you’re spending $500 a month ($35).

Foreign Transaction Fees

If you end up traveling abroad while you have the Harley-Davidson Secured card, make sure you call U.S. Bank and let them know you’re going out of the country.

Also, remember that you’ll be paying a 2% or 3% foreign transaction fee whenever you use your card. That means that the bank will charge you 2% or 3% of every purchase you make.

If it’s a $100 transaction, you’ll pay an additional $2 if the transaction is in U.S. dollars and 3% if it’s in a foreign currency (sometimes you can choose between the two).

Annual Fee

The Harley-Davidson Secured card has no annual fee, which means that U.S. Bank won’t charge you each year for using their credit card.

Expert and Consumer Reviews of the Harley-Davidson Secured Card

We took a look at some expert sites other than HighYa and found that the card gets positive reviews and a lot of this has to do with the fact that the card gives awards, a rarity among secured credit cards.

One site pointed out that you have to make a minimum deposit of $300. We called U.S. Bank and they said there was no minimum deposited requirement.

We read through some customer reviews of the Harley-Davidson Secured card and found that people were, in general, happy with the card. We did, however, find some complaints about U.S. Bank’s customer service.

Bottom Line: Should You Apply for Harley-Davidson Secured Card?

After spending some time researching this card, we believe its best strengths are the lack of annual fee and the ability to earn 1% cash back on your purchases.

The drawback to this card is that the rewards are limited to Harley-Davidson gift certificates and gift cards.

We think it’s pretty clear that this card will work best for someone who loves the Harley-Davidson brand and wants a credit card that can earn them rewards they can use to buy Harley gear or give Harley gift cards out for gifts.

Now, if you’re thinking that you like the Harley-Davidson Secured card but are hoping that one day you’ll have good enough credit, then you’ll be happy to know that U.S. Bank also offers and unsecured Harley card.

This credit card has a lower interest rate, doesn’t require a deposit and has a higher credit limit. It also has more lucrative bonuses: 3% for purchases at Harley dealerships, 2% at gas stations, restaurants, bars, and hotels/motels and 1% for everything else.

If you want to do some more research, head over to our ranking of the Best Secured Credit Cards for Bad Credit.

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