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Secured Credit Cards

4.0 4.0 - 4,086 reviews for top rated card

Secured credit cards are designed for people with bad credit or no credit. They are able to offer essentially guaranteed approval regardless of your credit history or income because they require a refundable security deposit of at least $200 that acts as your credit line and prevents you from overspending. This reduces the risk for the issuer and also explains why the fees on secured credit cards are considerably lower than those charged by unsecured credit cards for bad credit. You may even be able to find a secured card with no annual or monthly fees. The cards listed…show more

    Capital One® Secured MasterCard®


    capital one secured credit card
    • Secured Credit Card Min Deposit of $49, $99, or $200
    • Annual Fee $29
    • Monthly Fee None
    • One-Time Fees None
    • Regular Rate 22.9% (V)
    Apply Now at issuer's secure site

    Primor® Secured Visa Gold Credit Card


    primor secured gold credit card
    • Secured Credit Card Min Deposit of $200
    • Annual Fee $49
    • Monthly Fee None
    • One-Time Fees None
    • Regular Rate 9.99%
    Apply Now at issuer's secure site

    Primor® Secured Visa Classic Credit Card


    primor credit card
    • Secured Credit Card Min Deposit of $200
    • Annual Fee $39
    • Monthly Fee None
    • One-Time Fees None
    • Regular Rate 13.99%
    Apply Now at issuer's secure site

    Open SkySM Secured Visa® Credit Card


    open sky credit card
    • Secured Credit Card Min Deposit of $200
    • Annual Fee $29
    • Monthly Fee None
    • One-Time Fees None
    • Regular Rate 17.5% (V)
    Apply Now at issuer's secure site

    First Progress Platinum Select MasterCard® Secured Credit Card


    first progress secured credit card
    • Secured Credit Card Min Deposit of $300
    • Annual Fee $39
    • Monthly Fee None
    • One-Time Fees None
    • Regular Rate 14.99% (V)
    Apply Now at issuer's secure site

    First Progress Platinum Elite MasterCard® Secured Credit Card


    platinum secured credit card
    • Secured Credit Card Min Deposit of $300
    • Annual Fee $29
    • Monthly Fee None
    • One-Time Fees None
    • Regular Rate 19.99% (V)
    Apply Now at issuer's secure site

    First Progress Platinum Prestige MasterCard® Secured Credit Card


    first progress mastercard secured credit card
    • Secured Credit Card Min Deposit of $300
    • Annual Fee $44
    • Monthly Fee None
    • One-Time Fees None
    • Regular Rate 11.99% (V)
    Apply Now at issuer's secure site

    USAA Secured Credit Card


    usaa secured credit card
    • Secured Credit Card Min Deposit of $250
    • Annual Fee $35
    • Monthly Fee None
    • One-Time Fees None
    • Regular Rate 9.9% - 19.9% (V)
    Apply Now at issuer's secure site

    Wells Fargo® Secured Credit Card


    wells fargo secured card
    • Secured Credit Card Min Deposit of $300
    • Annual Fee $25
    • Monthly Fee None
    • One-Time Fees None
    • Regular Rate 18.99% (V)

    Harley-Davidson® Secured Credit Card


    harley davidson secured credit card
    • Secured Credit Card Min Deposit of $300
    • Annual Fee None
    • Monthly Fee None
    • One-Time Fees None
    • Regular Rate 22.99% (V)
    • To fund your Secured Card, you can choose to: Fund online using your Checking or Savings Account and Print an application and mail a Cashier's Check or Money Order.
    • The deposit is used to open a U.S. Bank Savings account to ensure your card can be paid. The savings account is FDIC-insured, earns interest and won't be touched as long as your account remains open and in good standing.
    • When you've managed all of your credit obligations responsibly consistently for 12 months, you'll be well on your way to a strong credit standing, and we may be able to move you to an unsecured credit card product.
    • Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver
    • Zero Fraud Liability.
    • Automatic Bill Pay.

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    EXPERT’S ANSWERS

    What is a secured credit card and why use one?

    By: Odysseas Papadimitriou, CardHub CEOAs mentioned above, a secured credit card is exactly like any other credit card, with the sole exception being that you place a security deposit in opening it and, upon closing it in good standing, get that security deposit back. Other than that, there is literally no difference.

    There are three main reasons to open a secured credit card: 1) to build credit no matter how bad your credit standing may be; 2) to ensure you do not spend more than you can afford; and 3) to make certain purchases that require use of a credit card.

    First, if you have damaged or limited credit, a secured credit card offers the ability to build credit cheaply. With that being said, whether or not you actually use a secured card to make purchases is a matter of personal preference. Your credit score will benefit regardless based on the fact that you’ll be reported monthly to the major credit bureaus as having a certain amount of available credit in good standing. Making everyday purchases and paying for them in full will provide slightly higher gains in terms of your credit score, but if you’ve had problems with credit in the past, you may feel more comfortable simply locking your secured credit card away in a drawer.

    Second, if you are concerned that you cannot spend responsibly, a secure card will help you avoid getting in over your head thanks to a security deposit that acts as your spending limit. In this manner, these types of cards “help overleveragers stay in control of their spending,” according to Dr. Irene Sharf, a professor at the University of Massachusetts School of Law.

    Third, secured credit cards provide a means of making purchases that cannot be completed with cash—car rentals, hotel bookings and online shopping, for example—while also giving you $0 fraud liability.

    Secured Credit Cards vs. Unsecured Credit Cards

    By: John Kiernan, Personal Finance EditorIf you have bad credit, you may be given the choice between a secured credit card and an unsecured credit card for bad credit. Which you should choose depends on why you need a credit card to begin with.

    If you’re seeking a credit card simply to rebuild your credit standing, a secured credit card will be your most accessible and least expensive option.

    On the other hand, if you want a credit card because you need a loan in addition to credit building capabilities, then an unsecured credit card for people with bad credit may offer you the additional line of credit that you’re looking for.

    The drawback here is that the fee structure is generally more expensive. Not only will you have to pay a hefty annual fee that effectively reduces the amount of credit at your disposal, but you may even have to pay an initial processing fee before you are even given a card. That's why many people who use unsecured credit cards for bad credit end up getting very little additional credit to work with at the end of the day, defying the purpose of using such a card to begin with.

    Ultimately, it's therefore usually best to wait until you have enough money to place a security deposit for a secured card. While opening an unsecured credit card for bad credit might be the quicker route for those who don't have enough savings for the deposit, it will likely turn out to be the more expensive one as well.

    Why have a security deposit?

    By: Odysseas Papadimitriou, CardHub CEOA security deposit allows credit card companies to offer essentially guaranteed approval and relatively low fees, given that it protects them from consumers who default on their credit cards. While the security deposit required to open a secured credit card often scares off consumers, it’s actually a benefit. First of all, because your monthly spending cannot surpass the amount of your security deposit, you’re far less likely to spend beyond your means with a secured credit card than a traditional unsecured credit card. Second, it’s only because of the security deposit that many consumers are afforded a second chance at credit card use. Finally, don’t forget that the deposit is refundable, so even though you’ll be slightly less liquid after opening a secured card to rebuild credit, you won’t ultimately be out any money as long as you do not have an unpaid balance upon closing the card.

    Are secured credit cards reported to the major credit bureaus?

    By: John Kiernan, Personal Finance EditorYes. The activity on secured cards is reported to the major credit bureaus in the same way the activity on all other credit cards is reported. In fact, when a lender reviews your credit report they can not tell whether you have a secured credit card or an unsecured credit card.

    Do secured cards offer guaranteed approval?

    By: Odysseas Papadimitriou, CardHub CEOThe short answer to this question is “yes.” However, if you have recently gone through bankruptcy, there are some banks that may not be willing to approve you for a secured card until your debts have been discharged for at least a year. In the unlikely event that you do not get approved for a secure card, just apply for another bank’s secured credit card because your key priority should be getting a credit card as soon as possible in order to lessen the weight of negative information on your credit reports.

    What’s a good deposit amount for a new secured credit card?

    By: John Kiernan, Personal Finance EditorA minimum security deposit between $200 and $500 is generally required to open a secured credit card. As your credit line will most likely mirror the amount of your deposit, the higher the security deposit, the more available credit you will have. Similarly, the more available credit you have, the more favorably you will be viewed by credit scoring agencies, such as FICO. As you can imagine, using only a portion of your credit gets easier with higher credit lines. As a result, we recommend placing the highest deposit possible when you apply for a secured credit card and adding to it over time. Just keep in mind that most secured credit card issuers won’t allow your total deposit to exceed $5,000.

    How should I use my secured credit card in order to improve my credit?

    By: Odysseas Papadimitriou, CardHub CEOFirst and foremost, make sure you don’t miss a single minimum payment. Second, add to your deposit over time, since higher credit limits look better on your credit report. Finally, make sure to only spend up to 50% of your limit each month, as lenders like to see a low utilization ratio (this is the balance on your secure card at the end of the month in relation to your credit line).

    In short, your primary objective and biggest hurdle will be to avoid repeating the past mistakes that have necessitated using a secured card in the first place. "Sadly, many of the folks who get into financial trouble probably tend to be the ones who have the greatest difficulty managing their affairs, and are therefore often the ones most likely to repeat their mistakes," says Michael Floyd, a professor at the Samford University Cumberland School of Law and an expert on banking law. "I fear that buying a product to make yourself more financially responsible is no more effective than buying a health club membership or exercise machine to get yourself in better physical shape. Ultimately, improvements only happen slowly as the result of careful and consistent effort."

    How can I move from a secured credit card to an unsecured card?

    By: Odysseas Papadimitriou, CardHub CEOIn general, issuers will approve you for an unsecured card after about a year of responsible secured card use (i.e. making on-time payments to all credit cards and loans.) Switching from a secured card to an unsecured credit card typically occurs in one of the following ways:
    1. You close your secured card after getting approved for an unsecured card – As long as your balance in paid in full, your secured card issuer will send you a check for the amount of your security deposit.
    2. Your issuer offers you a credit limit increase – If the bank that issued your secured credit card reviews your account and concludes that you have proven yourself a responsible credit user, it might offer you a credit limit increase. This would convert your secured credit card to a partially unsecured card, and your deposit will not be returned until you close this account.
    3. Your issuer converts your account to an unsecured credit card account – In this scenario, your existing account will remain open but your deposit will be returned to you via check or as a statement credit.

    -- Questions --

    COMMUNITY DISCUSSION

    Ask a question or help others find the best secured credit cards by sharing some tips.

     
    Feb 28, 2015
    By:

    --Comment from Ray Josephson--

    Feb 28, 2015
    I believe secured credit cards can be beneficial for individuals with poor credit or no credit at all. When an individual does not qualify for an unsecured card, a secured card can form the foundation of successful credit down the road. Unsecured credit cards can be a great alternative choice.
    Feb 18, 2015
    By:

    --Comment from Maria Michael--

    Feb 18, 2015
    My personal experience has been yes, that they do help to improve credit scores. When my husband and I were looking to buy a house, I had horrible credit and he had zero. Our broker suggested that we get a secured card through Wells Fargo. We did that and within 6 months (roughly) my credit score had improved a little and he finally had a positive credit score. We were then able to have two different loan companies offer us a home loan with a decent amount of interest. I was hesitant at first, however I have seen the positivity that comes from using them.
    Feb 14, 2015
    By:

    --Comment from Christa Murphy--

    Feb 14, 2015
    When I first started building my credit I got a secured card. It was a great way for me to build credit without getting into trouble. I like that it was basically a savings account for my money and I could keep adding as much money as I wanted to it. The more money I added, the higher my limit was. This in turn, helped my credit score skyrocket.
    Jan 6, 2015
    By:

    --Comment from Joe Martin--

    Jan 6, 2015
    I like the Merrick specific secured credit card, because of the rather large positive effect it has had on my overall credit score. Also I was easily pre-approved for a 3000$ credit line which was extremely easy.
    Jan 1, 2015
    By:

    --Comment from Sarah Malpass--

    Jan 1, 2015
    I have used a secured card though my bank (wells fargo) a few years ago. It did help improve my credit but i did not like the fact that you have to have an initial deposit. I had no problems with the card but once my credit was established i had no use for it anymore.
    Dec 21, 2014
    By:

    --Comment from Erin Frey--

    Dec 21, 2014
    I got a secured capital one credit card 4 years ago. Using it properly it definitely helped improved my credit score. I got an initial credit line of 350 and raised it up to 450 with a deposit, I have since gotten another unsecured credit card and my score is in th 650
    Nov 24, 2014
    By:

    --Comment from Karrie Bauer--

    Nov 24, 2014
    I have been using a secure credit card now for a couple of months and it has raised my credit score by a lot actually. I think a secure credit card is the way to go for people that have bad credit and want so raise there credit score.
    Jan 7, 2015
    Photo of Skye L.
    Jan 7, 2015
    I have to agree with you. I was afraid of getting a secured card because I thought that many creditors would look down on it, and at the same time, it would not help my score very much. Boy was I wrong. Within 2 months of having the secured card, I was already getting offers for unsecured cards. I think they are the greatest thing ever.
    Oct 21, 2014
    By:

    --Comment from Jesse Martinez--

    Oct 21, 2014
    I think secured credit cards are good for people trying to establish or re-establish credit. My first credit card was a secured one. I put up $200 and got a credit line of $300. It was later raised to $400. After 2 years of making timely payments, my security deposit was returned. I was then able to acquire another card with a better rate and no security deposit requirements.
    Oct 10, 2014
    By:

    --Comment from Deborah Cahall--

    Oct 10, 2014
    A secured credit card is a great way to help someone who has bad credit to increase their credit score over a period of time by making on time payments. There are things to consider such as the annual fees that are charged and the interest rates. When deciding on a prepaid credit card fee and interest charges are things to be concerned about as well as how much the prepaid credit card company requires as a minimum amount of money to get started. People should search wisely and get the best rates. That being said if a person just wants a card to use to pay a bill or shop online, etc. and is not interested in raising the credit scores, he/she might want to consider a prepaid debit where you go to a participating store and pay a small fee to add money onto the card. These cards can be used wherever debit cards are accepted. This costs less money but again does not help with increasing your credit scores.
    Oct 8, 2014
    By:

    --Comment from Scott Haleski--

    Oct 8, 2014
    I have previously filed for bankruptcy, and obtained a Capital One secured card to rebuild my credit. My credit scores averaged 570 when I applied for a card, and I had to put down $500 for the card. For me, putting the money down first really helped me use the card responsibly. After a year, my average credit scores had increased by 90 points and it helped me qualify for a mortgage.

    The important thing to do is to use the card like a debit card or cash. Do not make the same mistakes that led to your initial credit problems, and a secured card can really help rebuild your credit.
    Oct 4, 2014
    By:

    --Comment from Darnell Carey--

    Oct 4, 2014
    Secured credit cards are a good option for those who don’t have any credit and want to get a credit card. I think it also teaches people how to manage money more effectively. If you put in money and that is how much your credit limit is, then you won’t be able to overspend and it would be good for your finances in the long run.
    Sep 22, 2014
    By:

    --Comment from Marino Johns--

    Sep 22, 2014
    I’ve used the BankAmericard Secured Credit Card and it did help me raise my credit score. Within a few months, my credit score went up by about 80 points. It’s definitely good for those trying to rebuild credit.
    Sep 11, 2014
    By:

    --Comment from Kennady Collins--

    Sep 11, 2014
    When I was in college, I was completely unable to qualify for a non-secured credit card. Finally, I saved enough money, and decided to get a Secured Credit Card. Within the first month, my credit score went up by 60 points, and has only increased since then. The interests rates can be a bit high, but if you make your payments on time they are fine. These cards are good to have in case something comes up, whether it be for school or something in your personal life.
    Sep 1, 2014
    By:

    --Comment from Mary Hook--

    Sep 1, 2014
    I think that a secured credit card is a good way to help build or rebuild you credit. With a secured card, you put in around $200-$300 or more to the credit card company. You can charge up to that amount, although it is best to only take out a small amount that is easy to pay back at one time. Also try to maintain most of the money for any emergency. Just watch for high annual fees and astronomical interest, and those little hidden fees that can mount up. With a good card and a bit of restraint this could help your credit situation.
    Aug 8, 2014
    By:

    --Comment from Christina Gray-Smith--

    Aug 8, 2014
    Secured credit cards are a great way for College students to begin learning how to manage their money without getting further in debt. First time credit card holders don't usually have a good credit score which dictates their credit card options. With a prepaid credit card the student and or family can put money on the card to help pay for everyday expenses, school etc. The student is also able to watch what their spending habits are, where they can save if they need to tighten their financial parameters, etc.
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