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Many people focus on credit limits and fee structures when researching the best secured credit cards for bad credit. But you’ll often find that those features only represent a portion of what makes a good secured credit card.
Card issuers continuously add new perks to these cards to satisfy the needs of the many consumers who now turn to secured credit cards to build (or rebuild) their credit while remaining on a budget.
The best cards now offer benefits typically reserved for unsecured cards, including low APRs and cash back rewards, and one card may even approve you for a credit limit that’s higher than your deposit amount.
Best Secured Cards for Bad Credit with Low APRs
Secured credit cards require you to make a refundable security deposit to open your account. The card’s issuer will return your deposit once you close your account, as long as you have a zero balance and no outstanding debts to the bank.
The amount of your deposit typically equals your new credit limit. You’ll still need to pay off any charges you make to your card, plus interest if you don’t pay within your credit card’s grace period.
The cards below offer low interest rates that reduce your total cost of credit.
- 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.
- Click here for official site, terms, and details
|Application Length||Interest Rate||Reports Monthly||Reputation Score|
Green Dot Primor® Visa® Gold Secured Credit Card offers credit lines between $200 and $5,000 — based on the amount of your refundable security deposit — with interest rates that typically hover below 10%. That’s substantially lower than most cards in this space. Green Dot also reports your payment history to the credit reporting bureaus to help you improve your credit score with responsible use.
- No Credit History or Minimum Credit Score Required for Approval
- Monthly Reporting to all 3 Major Credit Bureaus to Establish Credit History
- Credit Line Secured by Your Fully-Refundable Deposit of $200 -- $2,000 Submitted with Application
- Nationwide Program though not yet available in NY, IA, AR, or WI
- *See Card Terms
- Click for for official site, terms, and details.
|Application Length||Interest Rate||Reports Monthly||Reputation Score|
|8 minutes||9.99% (V)||Yes||7.5/10|
The First Progress Platinum Prestige Mastercard® Secured Credit Card accepts applicants with any credit history, even those with no credit history at all. The issuer sets credit limits between $200 and $2,000, based on the amount of your refundable security deposit.
With interest rates that typically sit around 9.99%, your cost of credit remains low with this card.
Best Secured Card for Bad Credit with Cash Back
The Discover it® Secured card is rare in this space because it charges no annual fee and offers cash back rewards.
3. Discover it® Secured
The Discover it® Secured card pays out 2% cash back on purchases at gas stations and restaurants on up to $1,000 in combined purchases every quarter. All other purchases earn an unlimited 1% cash back. The minimum deposit to establish a credit line is $200.
After eight months with the card, Discover will begin to periodically review your account to see if it can upgrade you to an unsecured credit card. If that happens, you’ll get your new card and receive your deposit back.
Best Partially Secured Card for Bad Credit
We consider the Capital One® Secured Mastercard® a partially secured credit card because it’s one of the only options that may not require a full security deposit to match your credit limit.
4. Capital One® Secured Mastercard®
Capital One will require a $49, $99, or $200 refundable security deposit — based on your creditworthiness — to activate your initial $200 credit limit. You can deposit more money into your account after activating your card to unlock a higher spending limit.
Capital One may also increase your credit limit after you make your first five payments on time — with no added deposit required for the increase.
Best Secured Card for Bad Credit with No Credit Check
Not only does the OpenSky® Secured Visa® Credit Card require no minimum credit score for approval — but the issuer doesn’t even conduct a credit check for new applicants.
5. OpenSky® Secured Visa® Credit Card
Minimum deposits for the OpenSky® Secured Visa® Credit Card start at $200, with your credit limit equaling the amount of your deposit. You can increase your credit limit at any time by adding to your deposit. The card’s $35 annual fee is deducted from your available credit limit.
OpenSky says it believes in giving an opportunity to everyone, so this is the perfect card for anyone whose credit is in really bad shape.
Best Secured Card for Bad Credit with Earned Interest
The U.S. Bank Secured Visa® Card holds your security deposit in an FDIC-insured savings account that earns interest, and is the only secured card to offer this feature.
6. U.S. Bank Secured Visa® Card
This is U.S. Bank’s credit-builder card, and, as such, reports your account activity to the credit bureaus to help build — or rebuild — your credit score. A minimum deposit of $300 (maximum $5,000) is required to open an account, and your credit line will equal your total deposit.
You’ll also receive a free TransUnion credit score and email alerts when there are changes to your credit report.
What is the Best Secured Credit Card to Rebuild Credit?
Secured credit cards aren’t only for rebuilding credit. While most consumers once considered these cards only for people with extremely low credit scores, many now turn to secured options to stay on budget and keep costs low.
But if you need to rebuild your credit after previous financial mistakes, you can still find a secured card that offers rewards, low costs, and credit-boosting powers.
If you’re one to carry a balance, choosing a card with a low APR is important for keeping your costs low. Opt for the Green Dot primor® Visa® Gold Secured Card or the First Progress Platinum Prestige Mastercard®.
The Capital One® Secured Mastercard® is a solid choice because it is backed by one of the largest banks in America and may only require a $49 deposit to access a $200 credit limit.
While most secured cards match your credit limit to the amount of your refundable security deposit, Capital One looks at your credit history to decide if you’ll need to pay $49, $99, or $200 to unlock your $200 initial credit limit.
And, after five consecutive months of on-time payments, you can receive a credit limit increase at no additional cost. You can also increase your credit limit at any time by adding to your security deposit.
The Discover it® Secured card, on the other hand, may offer the fastest route to unsecured status. After eight months of responsible use of the card, Discover will conduct periodic account reviews to see if you qualify for one of the bank’s unsecured cards.
If you do qualify, the issuer will send you the new card and refund your security deposit (minus any fees or account balances).
Which Banks Offer Secured Cards?
Most established banks offer secured credit cards. These include Capital One, Discover, Bank of America, Chase, Citibank, and HSBC.
Many smaller community banks also offer secured credit cards that help consumers improve their credit profiles. While many applicants turn to the cards issued by the banks familiar to them, there’s an upside to considering smaller banks.
Larger banks have higher operating and overhead costs that require substantial profits to maintain. Those profits come, in part, from credit card fees.
That makes cards from these institutions familiar in name but expensive to maintain. Smaller banks limit their costs, which, in turn, can limit their fees. Therefore, you may be able to lower the cost of credit by choosing a secured card from a community bank or credit union.
But that doesn’t mean secured cards from big banks don’t have positives. Big banks often have superior customer service, the latest technology, and faster turnarounds when issuing new or replacement cards.
Deciding which bank works best for you will rely heavily on your credit rating and future financial ambitions. If you’re only a few points shy of a fair or better credit score, you may be best served with a card from a big bank that can aid in the transition to an unsecured card quickly.
How Fast Can You Build Credit with a Secured Card?
This depends mainly on the current state of your credit report. More than 26 million Americans have no recorded credit history to generate a reliable credit score, a status known in the industry as being credit invisible.
The only challenge these folks have in building their credit file is to create enough recent history to warrant a credit score. This typically happens within six months of opening a credit account.
After establishing a credit score, it will likely fall somewhere in the fair to good range. You will only have a bad credit score if you use the card irresponsibly (late or missed payments, near maxed-out credit limits).
But, if you have a lot of recent negatives on your credit report — things such as late payments, a high credit utilization ratio, or even bankruptcy — you’ll find your rebuilding mission will take several months to years.
That’s because negative items remain on your credit report for seven to 10 years. The older these items become, the less of an impact they have on your credit score.
As new, hopefully positive, account activity is reported to the bureaus, your credit score will gradually improve.
Be diligent in your pursuit of good credit. One late payment can lower your credit score by as many as 100 points.
Use Responsibly to Upgrade to an Unsecured Card
Don’t let your credit score make you feel inferior. Despite past financial mistakes, you can still harness the spending and credit-building powers of the best secured credit cards for bad credit.
Review the cards listed above carefully to determine which offer best fits your needs. Each card can give you access to a revolving credit line, and, with responsible use, you may find yourself upgrading to an unsecured card in less time than you thought possible.