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6 Best Secured Credit Cards for Bad Credit (2018)

Ashley Dull 1/18/18

A common sitcom character is the nosy neighbor who frequently borrows things he or she can never seem to remember to return. Part of the reason that character is so popular in comedy is that many of us happen to have a friend or neighbor (or relative) who was cast in a similar mold.

To the average consumer lender, everyone is that forgetful neighbor — until proven otherwise. Without a positive, well-established credit history, most credit card issuers will charge high fees for small credit lines to minimize their financial risk.

For many consumers with poor (or limited) credit histories, secured credit cards are the most sensible credit card solution. Not only do they typically provide access to higher credit lines than unsecured subprime credit cards, but they often have lower annual fees and APRs, as well.

Primor | First Progress | Discover | Capital One | OpenSky

Best Secured Credit Card from Primor

Given that the majority of those looking into secured credit cards may otherwise be stuck with a subprime credit card option, the primor® Secured Visa Gold Card has an APR that is downright remarkable, even compared to many prime cards on the market. Plus, your credit limit is equal to the size of your fully refundable deposit, with the ability to reach a credit line of up to $5,000.

You don’t have to start that high, however. The minimum deposit amount is just $200 to open your credit account, and you can increase the size of your credit limit at any time by making additional deposits (in $50 increments), so long as the issuer confirms you can reasonably pay your new minimum payment. And the online application makes signing up a matter of minutes.

4.0 /5.0 Stars
  • Credit lines available from $200 to $5,000. Super Low Fixed 9.99% interest rate on purchases - with no penalty rate.
  • No minimum credit score requirements. We invite all credit types to apply. No processing or application fees.
  • Helps strengthen your credit with responsible card use. Reports to three national bureaus.
  • Fast, easy application process. Choose your credit line and open your Personal Savings Deposit Account to secure your line.
  • See additional primor® Secured Visa Gold Card details
  • See official site, terms, and details »
Interest Rate 9.99%
Reports Monthly Yes
Application Length 8 minutes

The primor® Secured Visa Gold Card doesn’t charge any processing or application fees to open your account, but it does come with an annual fee that will be charged before you begin using your card. You’ll also be charged a fee for any additional cards you request, for making cash advances or foreign transactions, and for late or returned payments.

Best Secured Credit Cards from First Progress

This duo of secured cards from First Progress give you a choice of APRs — both of which are lower than is charged by your typical subprime card — with the lower-APR card, the First Progress Platinum Prestige MasterCard® Secured Credit Card, charging a higher annual fee than its higher-APR sibling, the First Progress Platinum Elite MasterCard® Secured Credit Card. Your annual fee will be charged when you open the account.

With both cards, your credit line will be equal to the size of your initial deposit, which can range from a minimum amount of $200, up to a maximum amount of $2,000. As with all secured credit cards, your deposit is fully refundable (unless you default on your credit card debt). You can find out if you’re pre-approved for a First Progress secured card online, often in just 60 seconds.

3.0 /5.0 Stars
  • Credit line secured by your fully-refundable deposit of $200-$2,000 submitted with application.
  • Pay off your balance and get your deposit back any time.
  • Monthly reporting to all 3 major credit bureaus to establish credit history.
  • Not available in: NY, IA, AR, or WI.
  • No credit history or minimum credit score required.
  • See if you are pre-approved in 60 seconds or less.
  • See official site, terms, and details »
Interest Rate 9.99% (V)
Reports Monthly Yes
Application Length 8 minutes
3.0 /5.0 Stars
  • Credit Line Secured by Your Fully-Refundable Deposit of $200 -- $2,000 Submitted with Application
  • Just Pay Off Your Balance and Get Your Deposit Back at Any Time
  • Monthly Reporting to all 3 Major Credit Bureaus to Establish Credit History
  • Not available in: NY, IA, AR, or WI
  • No Credit History or Minimum Credit Score Required for Approval
  • See official site, terms, and details »
Interest Rate 19.99% (V)
Reports Monthly Yes
Application Length 9 minutes

Secured credit cards from First Progress have no minimum credit score requirements to qualify, and the length of your credit history won’t prohibit you from acceptance, either. At the same time, you will likely be turned down if you have a pending bankruptcy filing that has not yet been discharged by the court. Additionally, First Progress secured cards are not available to residents of AR, IA, NY, or WI.

Best Secured Credit Card from Discover

While the APR charged by the Discover it® Secured Card – No Annual Fee is higher than other options on the list, it’s still competitive for the credit-builder card market, plus it has no penalty APR charged for late payments and no annual fee. Additionally, approved applicants can enjoy an introductory balance transfer offer providing 10.99% on qualifying transferred balances for six months.

The minimum deposit amount required to open a Discover it® Secured Card is $200, and the size of your deposit will determine your credit limit. Your maximum credit limit will be set by Discover based on your income and ability to pay, but will not exceed $2,500.

4. Discover it® Secured Card – No Annual Fee

The Discover it® Secured Card reports to all three major credit bureaus. You can easily apply online and receive a decision in just a few minutes in most cases.

  • Earn 2% cash back at restaurants & gas stations on up to $1,000 in combined purchases each quarter
  • 24.24% APR (variable)
  • Pay no annual fee

Perhaps one of the best reasons to build credit with a Discover it® Secured Card — besides the fact that it has rewards and no annual fee, which is kind of a big deal — is that your Discover it® Secured Card can be upgraded to an unsecured Discover it® credit card when your credit history improves. Even better, it will likely happen automatically, as Discover periodically reviews your account to see if you qualify.

Best Secured Credit Card from Capital One

Unlike some of the other options on the list, the Capital One® Secured Mastercard® doesn’t always have a direct, one-to-one relationship between the size of your deposit and the size of your credit line. Instead, all new cardholders will receive an initial $200 credit limit, with the necessary deposit amount varying based on your individual credit profile.

You’re not stuck with a $200 limit forever, though. You’ll receive access to a higher credit line after making your first five monthly payments on time, no additional deposit needed. Regardless of your limit, however, try to avoid carrying a balance on your Capital One® Secured Mastercard®, as it has the largest APR on the list.

5. Capital One® Secured Mastercard®

The Capital One® Secured Mastercard® reports to all three major credit bureaus. Head online or to your local Capital One branch to apply.

  • Get an initial $200 credit line after making a security deposit of $49, $99, or $200, determined based on your creditworthiness
  • 24.99% APR (variable)
  • Pay no annual fee

Similar to the Discover it® Secured Card, you may be able to upgrade your Capital One® Secured Mastercard® to an unsecured Capital One card — but, according to reviewers, the key word here is, may. Anecdotal evidence seems to suggest that only newer cardholders are eligible to upgrade their secured Capital One card to an unsecured card.

Best Secured Credit Card from OpenSky

With an APR below 20%, the OpenSky® Secured Visa® Credit Card is easily comparable to other secured credit cards, and downright competitive in the realm of credit-builder cards. Perhaps its most appealing feature to many applicants, however, is the fact that the card goes beyond having flexible credit requirements to simply having none — you won’t even need to undergo a credit check to qualify.

Of course, you will need to put down a fully-refundable security deposit, with a minimum required deposit of $200. Since your deposit size equals the size of your credit limit, you may want to consider putting down a larger deposit to unlock a larger credit limit. The maximum deposit (and, thus, credit limit) for the OpenSky® Secured Visa® Credit Card is $3,000.

6. OpenSky® Secured Visa® Credit Card

The OpenSky® Secured Visa® Credit Card reports to all three major credit bureaus. The online application can be completed online and usually gives a decision in minutes.

  • Get a credit line equal to your deposit, with deposits starting as low as $200
  • 18.64% APR (variable)
  • Pay $35 annual fee

Although the OpenSky® Secured Visa® Credit Card won’t charge any application or processing fees, it does have an annual fee that will be charged when you open your account. You’ll also be charged fees for cash advances, foreign transactions, late payments, and returned payments.

Build Credit without the High Fees

When we’re stuck with pesky neighbors who won’t return what they borrow, we have three real options: stop lending to them, start charging them fees for it, or simply require some sort of collateral to ensure your property’s return.

Similarly, credit card issuers dealing with potentially unreliable consumers — i.e., those with poor or limited credit histories — have the same three options. While many issuers choose the first option (to stop lending to these consumers), plenty of issuers choose the latter two, either charging high fees through unsecured subprime cards, or by requiring a deposit for a secured credit card.

Despite requiring an initial deposit, however, secured credit cards are often the most economical option, because those deposits are 100% refundable unless you default on your debt. You’ll also often pay lower annual fees, have access to better rewards, or receive a lower APR than available to those with costlier unsecured cards.

About Ashley Dull
Ashley is the Finance Vertical Manager at Digital Brands, Inc., where she oversees content published on BadCredit.org and CardRates.com. Ashley works closely with experts and industry leaders in every sector of finance to develop authoritative guides, news, and advice articles with regards to audience interest. Connect with Ashley on Twitter and LinkedIn.
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