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Best Secured Credit Card of May 2024

  • Secured credit cards require you to leave a security deposit which acts as a spending limit on your credit card. Typically, the amount you deposit is equal to your spending limit, but certain cards like the Capital One Platinum Secured Card may allow you to deposit a lower amount.
  • Secured credit cards are usually easy for almost anyone to qualify for, as they require a cash deposit to open, and some don’t even require credit checks. This makes them great credit cards for no credit or bad credit.
  • A secured credit card can help you rebuild your credit if you have damaged your credit score through a history of bad spending habits.
  • It’s important to make sure your secured credit card reports to the credit bureaus before applying, otherwise, it won’t help you build credit.

If you are just starting out on your credit journey, have no credit history, or have bad credit history due to overspending and credit mismanagement, a secured credit card could be a good option for you.

A secured credit card is a safer way to build credit versus traditional unsecured credit cards as it requires you to leave a cash deposit when opening the card. This cash deposit functions as your credit limit, and can pay your bill if you cannot meet the monthly payment. In this case, it can help keep you out of debt versus traditional unsecured credit cards.

That said, not all secured credit cards are made equally. Some are better than others, offer rewards, and perks, or have other unique features which make them stand out among the rest. Below, we have compiled our best secured credit card list for 2024. Read on to discover our recommendations and which is best for you.

Our top secured credit card picks

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Best for Cash Back

Capital One Quicksilver Secured Cash Rewards Credit Card

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Up to 5% Reward Rate

Earn 1.5% cash back on all purchases and 5% back on hotels and rental cars booked through the Capital One Travel platform.

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Annual Fee
$0
Welcome Offer
N/A
Regular APR
29.99% variable
Recommended Credit
No Credit History
Why we like it
The Capital One Quicksilver Secured Cash Rewards Credit Card gives individuals with bad credit a chance to earn generous rewards, and it doesn’t charge an annual fee.
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Card Details

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  • Put down a refundable $200 security deposit to get a $200 initial credit line
  • Building your credit? Using a card like this responsibly could help
  • Enjoy peace of mind with $0 Fraud Liability so that you won’t be responsible for unauthorized charges
  • You could earn back your security deposit as a statement credit when you use your card responsibly, like making payments on time
  • Be automatically considered for a higher credit line in as little as 6 months with no additional deposit needed
  • Monitor your credit score with CreditWise from Capital One. It’s free for everyone
  • Enjoy up to 6 months of complimentary Uber One membership statement credits through 11/14/2024
Pros
  • Can qualify with limited credit
  • No annual fee
  • Unlimited 1.5% cash back on all purchases
Cons
  • High APR
  • Limited cash back bonus categories
  • Requires a security deposit
Bottom Line

Especially for a secured card, this card offers a decent cash-back rate, so you can earn rewards while building your credit.

Best for Flexible Deposit

Chime Credit Builder Secured Visa® Credit Card

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No Rewards

This card doesn’t earn any rewards.

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Annual Fee
$0
Welcome Offer
N/A
Regular APR
N/A
Recommended Credit
No Credit History
Why we like it
The Chime Credit Builder Secured Visa® Credit Card works differently than most secured credit cards. It doesn’t have a minimum deposit requirement, doesn’t charge an annual fee or interest, and doesn’t require a credit check.
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Card Details

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The Chime credit card works like other secured credit cards in the sense that it requires a security deposit. However, it offers several features that put it in a league of its own. Chime essentially works like a prepaid card. You simply add money to your Chime Builder secured account from your checking account and can spend until your card balance reaches $0.00. This is great for people trying to build or rebuild credit**, as it works similarly to a debit card (It’s not a debit card, but Chime does offer a debit card— use code SAVE10 to get $10 when you activate your Chime Debit Card within 30 days of enrollment).

However, unlike a debit card, Chime reports to all 3 credit bureaus, so you build credit while you spend. Other noteworthy features of the Chime Credit Builder card include not requiring a credit check at sign-up or a minimum security deposit (Money added to Credit Builder will be held in a secured account as collateral for your Credit Builder Visa card, which means you can spend up to this amount on your card. This is money you can use to pay off your charges at the end of every month.)

To qualify for the Chime Credit Builder card, all you need is to open a Chime Checking Account and receive a qualifying direct deposit of $200 or more. After receiving that direct deposit you can apply for a secured Chime Credit Builder Visa® Credit Card!

*No Interest: Out of network ATM withdrawal fees and over the counter advance fees may apply. See here for details.

**No Minimum Security Deposit: Money added to Credit Builder will be held in a secured account as collateral for your Credit Builder Visa card, which means you can spend up to this amount on your card. This is money you can use to pay off your charges at the end of every month.

The secured Chime Credit Builder Visa® Credit Card is issued by The Bancorp Bank, N.A. or Stride Bank, N.A., Members FDIC, pursuant to a license from Visa U.S.A. Inc. and may be used everywhere Visa credit cards are accepted. Please see the back of your card for its issuing bank.

To apply for Credit Builder, you must have received a single qualifying direct deposit of $200 or more to your Chime Checking Account. The qualifying direct deposit must be from your employer, payroll provider, gig economy payer, or benefits payer by Automated Clearing House (ACH) deposit OR Original Credit Transaction (OCT). Bank ACH transfers, Pay Anyone transfers, verification or trial deposits from financial institutions, peer to peer transfers from services such as PayPal, Cash App, or Venmo, mobile check deposits, cash loads or deposits, one-time direct deposits, such as tax refunds and other similar transactions, and any deposit to which Chime deems to not be a qualifying direct deposit are not qualifying direct deposits.

**Safer Credit Building - On-time payment history may have a positive impact on your credit score. Late payment may negatively impact your credit score. Chime will report your activities to Transunion®, Experian®, and Equifax®. Impact on your credit may vary, as Credit scores are independently determined by credit bureaus based on a number of factors including the financial decisions you make with other financial services organizations.

Pros
  • No annual fee
  • No credit check required to apply
  • No annual interest charges
Cons
  • No credit limit greater than your deposit
  • Need direct deposit account with Chime
  • No option to upgrade
Bottom Line

This card offers a good alternative for people to build or rebuild their credit but doesn’t earn rewards and may be confusing to use.

Best Low Security Deposit

Capital One Platinum Secured Credit Card

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No Rewards

This card doesn’t earn any rewards.

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Annual Fee
$0
Welcome Offer
N/A
Regular APR
29.99% variable
Recommended Credit
No Credit History
Why we like it
The Capital One Platinum Secured card may not be a luxurious option, but it can help you in improving your credit score. One of the features that sets it apart from other secured cards is that you can potentially secure a $200 credit line by depositing as little as $49, depending on your credit history.
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Card Details

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  • See if you’re approved in seconds
  • Building your credit? Using the Capital One Platinum Secured card responsibly could help Put down a refundable security deposit starting at $49 to get a $200 initial credit line
  • You could earn back your security deposit as a statement credit when you use your card responsibly, like making payments on time
  • Be automatically considered for a higher credit line in as little as 6 months with no additional deposit needed
  • Enjoy peace of mind with $0 Fraud Liability so that you won’t be responsible for unauthorized charges
  • Monitor your credit score with CreditWise from Capital One. It’s free for everyone
  • Get access to your account 24 hours a day, 7 days a week with online banking to access your account from your desktop or smartphone, with Capital One’s mobile app
Pros
  • Easy approval
  • $49, $99 or $200 flexible security deposit opportunities
  • No annual fee
Cons
  • High variable APR
  • No rewards structure
  • Requires a security deposit
Bottom Line

For a secured card, the flexible deposit options and lack of an annual fee make this an attractive option for people with bad credit.

Best for Cash Back Categories

U.S. Bank Cash+® Secured Visa® Card

U.S. Bank Cash+® Secured Visa® Card
Up to 5% Reward Rate

Earn 5% cash back on your first $2,000 in combined eligible purchases each quarter in two categories you choose and on eligible travel. Earn 2% cash back on eligible purchases in one everyday category you choose, and earn 1% cash back on all other eligible purchases.

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Annual Fee
$0
Welcome Offer
N/A
Regular APR
29.99% variable
Recommended Credit
Bad/Poor (300 - 580)
Why we like it
The U.S. Bank Cash+® Secured Visa® Card is a pretty solid secured U.S. Bank credit card to consider, and this card offers generous cash back rewards on all your spending.
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Card Details

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  • Security deposit of $300 - $5,000 required
  • Choose your payment due date: Everyone’s schedule is different. So it’s handy to be able to pick when your payment is due.
  • 0% Fraud Liability: You are not responsible for unauthorized transactions if your card is ever lost or stolen
  • Contactless payments: Pay with a tap. Your contactless card makes payments with a simple, single tap. Just look for the Contactless Symbol when checking out.
  • Mobile Wallet: Add the Cash+ Secured Visa card to your Mobile Wallet. Convenient and secure, you can pay with just a tap.
  • Autopay: Pay on time and avoid late fees by selecting an automatic payment option that best suits your budget.
  • ID Navigator Powered by NortonLifeLock™: Get tools that help keep you informed of threats that may affect your identity
Pros
  • Earn cash back on spending
  • No annual fee
  • Easy to get approved
Cons
  • High regular APR
  • Security deposit required
  • Charges 3% in foreign transaction fees

Best for No Upfront Deposit

Self - Credit Builder Account with Secured Visa® Credit Card

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No Rewards

This card doesn’t earn any rewards.

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Annual Fee
$25
Welcome Offer
N/A
Regular APR
28.74% variable
Recommended Credit
No Credit History
Why we like it
Unlike most secured cards that require you to make a large upfront deposit, the Self-Credit Builder Account with Secured Visa® Credit Card allows users to skip that through its unique credit-building structure.
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Card Details

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  • Start with a Credit Builder Account, make at least 3 monthly payments on time, have $100 or more in savings progress in your Credit Builder Account, and be in good standing. Then, you’ll be eligible for the Self Visa® Credit Card, without a hard credit check.
  • Your savings progress from your Credit Builder Account acts as your security deposit for your secured Credit Card.
  • No credit score or hard credit check is needed to get started.
  • Can pay as little as $25/month
  • Reports to all 3 credit bureaus.

Credit Builder Accounts & Certificates of Deposit made/held by Lead Bank, Sunrise Banks, N.A., SouthState Bank, N.A., First Century Bank, N.A., each Member FDIC. Subject to credit approval.

Self Visa® Credit Card issued by Lead Bank or SouthState Bank, N.A., each Member FDIC. See self.inc for details.

*Sample loans: $25/mo, 24 mos, $9 admin fee, 15.92% APR; $35/mo, 24 mos, $9 admin fee, 15.97% APR; $48/mo, 24 mos, $9 admin fee, 15.72% APR; $150/mo, 24 mos, $9 admin fee, 15.88% APR. See self.com/pricing

Pros
  • No upfront deposit
  • No credit score requirement
  • Contributes to credit mix
Cons
  • Can’t use the card immediately
  • Have to commit to 2 years of payments
  • Doesn’t earn rewards

Best for Low APR

First Progress Platinum Prestige Mastercard® Secured Credit Card

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1% Reward Rate

Earn 1% cash back on payments.

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Annual Fee
$49
Welcome Offer
N/A
Regular APR
15.24% variable
Recommended Credit
No Credit History
Why we like it
Many secured credit cards have high interest rates, but not the First Progress Platinum Prestige Mastercard® Secured Credit Card. This card has a variable APR of as low as 15.24%— even lower than many unsecured cards.
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Card Details

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  • Choose your own credit line – $200 to $2000 – based on your security deposit
  • Build your credit score. Reports to all 3 credit bureaus
  • No minimum credit score required for approval!
  • Cardholders who keep their balance low and pay their credit card bill on time every month typically do see an increase in their credit score.
Pros
  • Earns cash back
  • Lower APR than many cards
Cons
  • Has an annual fee
  • No intro APR offer

Best for Rebuilding Credit After Bankruptcy

First Progress Platinum Elite Mastercard Secured Credit Card

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No Rewards

This card doesn’t earn any rewards.

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Annual Fee
$29
Welcome Offer
N/A
Regular APR
25.24% variable
Recommended Credit
No Credit History
Why we like it
The First Progress Platinum Elite Mastercard Secured Credit Card is a great secured credit card option if you’re looking to build or rebuild your credit score. There is no minimum credit score required for applying for this First Progress Secured Credit Card, and you can easily apply online without a credit check.
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Card Details

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  • Choose your own credit line – $200 to $2000 – based on your security deposit
  • Build your credit score. Reports to all 3 credit bureaus
  • No minimum credit score required for approval!
  • Cardholders who keep their balance low and pay their credit card bill on time every month typically do see an increase in their credit score.
Pros
  • Reports to all 3 credit bureaus
  • Free credit score access
Cons
  • Has an annual fee
  • Requires a security deposit

Best for No Credit Check

OpenSky® Secured Visa® Credit Card

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Up to 10% Reward Rate

Earn up to 10% cash back on everyday purchases. OpenSky Rewards links offers from merchants directly to your card, allowing you to automatically earn cash back.

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Annual Fee
$35
Welcome Offer
N/A
Regular APR
25.64% variable
Recommended Credit
No Credit History
Why we like it
The OpenSky Credit Card is a great starter card for those with bad or no credit history. It does not run a credit check or require a bank account, but it also offers up to an 85% approval rating. The card does charge a $35 annual fee, but that can be a worthy price for building your credit.
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Card Details

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  • New feature! Earn up to 10% cash back on everyday purchases
  • No credit check to apply. Zero credit risk to apply!
  • Looking to build or rebuild your credit? 2 out of 3 OpenSky cardholders increase their credit score by an average of 41 points in just 3 months
  • Get free monthly access to your FICO score in our mobile application Build your credit history across 3 major credit reporting agencies: Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion
  • Add to your mobile wallet and make purchases using Apple Pay, Samsung Pay and Google Pay
  • Fund your card with a low $200 refundable security deposit to get a $200 credit line
  • Apply in less than 5 minutes with our mobile first application
  • Choose the due date that fits your schedule with flexible payment dates
  • Fund your security deposit over 60 days with the option to make partial payments
  • Over 1.4 Million Cardholders Have Used OpenSky Secured Credit Card To Improve Their Credit
Pros
  • High approval rating
  • Doesn’t require a credit check
  • No bank account required
Cons
  • Has an annual fee
  • Minimum $200 security deposit required

Best for No Credit Check - No Annual Fee

OpenSky® Plus Secured Visa® Credit Card

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Up to 10% Reward Rate

Earn up to 10% cash back on everyday purchases. OpenSky Rewards links offers from merchants directly to your card, allowing you to automatically earn cash back.

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Annual Fee
$0
Welcome Offer
N/A
Regular APR
29.99% variable
Recommended Credit
No Credit History
Why we like it
The OpenSky Plus card is similar to the regular OpenSky card in the sense that it doesn’t require a credit check or a bank account. Unlike the regular OpenSky card, this card has no annual fee, but it also has a higher APR and higher minimum deposit.
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Card Details

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  • New feature! Earn up to 10% cash back on everyday purchases
  • No credit check to apply. Find out instantly if you are approved- Zero credit risk to apply!
  • Looking to build or rebuild your credit? 2 out of 3 OpenSky cardholders increase their credit score by an average of 41 points in just 3 months
  • Monitor your credit progress with free access to your FICO Credit Score.
  • Build your credit history across 3 major credit reporting agencies: Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion
  • Add to your mobile wallet and make purchases using Apple Pay, Samsung Pay and Google Pay
  • Secure your credit line with a refundable security deposit - as low as $300.
  • Easy application, apply in less than 5 minutes right from your mobile device
  • Offers flexible payment due dates which allow you to choose any available due date that fits your payment schedule
  • Now you can make smaller partial payments towards funding your security deposit over 60 days
  • Over 1.4 Million Cardholders Have Used OpenSky Secured Credit Card To Improve Their Credit
Pros
  • No annual fee
  • Doesn’t require a credit check
  • High approval rating
Cons
  • Minimum $300 security deposit required
  • High APR
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Best secured credit cards of 2024: Editorial reviews

Capital One Quicksilver Secured Cash Rewards Credit Card

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Best for Cash Back
For a secured credit card, The Quicksilver Secured is pretty good. It doesn’t have an annual fee and it lets you earn 1.5% cash back on all purchases you make (not many secured cards do that). The $200 security deposit required to open an account is also fully refundable. If you use your card responsibly, you may be able to get your deposit back and upgrade to one of the unsecured Quicksilver cards. You’ll also be automatically considered for a credit line increase after as little as 6 months, without having to make an additional deposit.

Chime Credit Builder Secured Visa® Credit Card

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Best for Flexible Deposit
The Chime Credit Builder Secured Visa® Credit Card works differently than most secured credit cards. It doesn’t have a minimum deposit requirement, doesn’t charge an annual fee or interest, and doesn’t require a credit check. The whole process may seem a bit complex though, as they also require you to set up a banking account with Chime®. Overall, it provides an interesting option for people to build or rebuild their credit.

Capital One Platinum Secured Credit Card

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Best for a Low Security Deposit
The Capital One Platinum Secured card doesn’t earn any rewards but we like how you could potentially put down as little as $49 in a security deposit and get a $200 credit line from that (depending on your credit score). Most secured cards make your credit line the same amount as what your deposit is, so this is a good deal, in our opinion. It also doesn’t have an annual fee, unlike some other secured credit cards.

U.S. Bank Cash+® Secured Visa® Card

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Best for Cash Back Categories
The U.S. Bank Cash+® Secured Visa® Card is almost a carbon copy of the unsecured version (besides this one requiring a security deposit), meaning they share spectacular bonus categories for enhanced earning. If you’re not good at remembering to activate bonus categories, though, you may be better off with a simple, flat-rate cash-back card like the Capital One Quicksilver Secured.

Self - Credit Builder Account with Secured Visa® Credit Card

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Best for No Upfront Deposit
The Self-Credit Builder Account with Secured Visa® Credit Card doesn’t require users to come up with a minimum security deposit. Instead, it works much like a credit builder loan; you make small monthly payments to “fund” a security deposit. It’s far more complicated than a traditional secured credit card but if you figure out how to use it, it can be an effective way to build your credit.

First Progress Platinum Prestige Mastercard® Secured Credit Card

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Best for Low APR
The First Progress Platinum Prestige card is a pretty good option when it comes to secured credit cards. It offers 1% cash back on all purchases, something not many cards on this list can claim. Unfortunately, much of that 1% back will go to helping you recoup part of the $49 annual fee. It also has a much lower APR than many cards out there, so if you tend to carry a balance, it could be a good option.

First Progress Platinum Elite Mastercard Secured Credit Card

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Best for Rebuilding Credit After Bankruptcy
You won’t earn any rewards with the First Progress Platinum Elite card, but it can help you rebuild your credit score. There’s no minimum required credit score and you may even qualify with a discharged bankruptcy on your account. It’s not the best secured card out there but it can provide a helpful stepping stone until you qualify for something better.

OpenSky® Secured Visa® Credit Card

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Best for No Credit Check
You aren’t necessarily guaranteed approval on the OpenSky Secured Visa but your chances are pretty high. It boasts up to an 88% approval rating and doesn’t require a bank account or a credit check. The rewards structure of this card is pretty vague, but it’s a good option to help you build or rebuild your credit.

OpenSky® Plus Secured Visa® Credit Card

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Best for No Credit Check - No Annual Fee
The APR and minimum deposit are both significantly higher on the OpenSky Plus card than the regular OpenSky card, but this one has no annual fee. If you’re willing to commit to putting down at least $300 and you’re consistent with paying off your credit card bill every month so you don’t accrue interest, this is a great option.

What is a secured credit card?

A secured credit card is a type of credit card that requires a cash deposit as collateral.

This means they don’t extend a line of credit like unsecured cards. However, secured cards are much easier to qualify for as a result.

If you’re wondering why you would put down cash as collateral to get a credit card, you should note that secured credit cards are often the only type of credit card for people with bad credit or no credit can get approved for.

Are secured credit cards good?

Secured credit cards can be a great option for people who need to build or rebuild their credit and don’t qualify for many other options. Since they’re backed by a cash deposit, secured cards are far easier to qualify for than unsecured cards.

How does a secured credit card work?

A secured credit card works similarly to how unsecured credit cards work in the sense that you can use them for payments in person or online. However, secured credit cards require a minimum deposit as collateral.

The minimum deposit the cardholder puts down is typically equal to their credit line. For example, if someone puts down a $200 cash deposit, they begin their credit journey with a credit line of the same amount, $200.

If you default on your payments, the company can take your security deposit as payment for your debt. This makes having a secured credit card a bit safer than regular, unsecured credit cards, for both the issuer and the user.

Do secured credit cards build credit?

Yes, secured credit cards can help build credit by reporting to the three major credit bureaus — Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion. Many secured credit cards also offer credit-building tools and services, including a free FICO score on each month’s credit card statement.

How fast will a secured card build credit?

The speed at which a secured card builds credit can vary depending on various factors.

For example, someone with no credit history can begin building credit with a secured credit card and potentially boost their score immediately. However, someone with bad credit or a low credit score may need more time to see a meaningful change in their score.

How a card is used plays a role in how fast it builds credit, or if it does at all. While someone who keeps their balance low and always pays their credit card bill on time can see a positive change relatively quickly, a cardholder who maxes out their credit limit or pays their bill late could see their credit score plummet.

Who should consider a secured credit card?

Secured credit cards are best for:

Typically, consumers with “fair” credit or better (FICO scores from 580 to 669) should look for unsecured credit cards instead.

Secured credit card pros and cons

Is a secured credit card good? - The answer to this depends on how you plan to use it and if you need this type of credit card to begin with.

Benefits of secured credit cards
  • Accessibility: Secured cards help individuals with bad credit or no credit build their credit scores when they have no other option.
  • Credit reporting: Secured cards report balances and payments to the three major credit bureaus every billing cycle.
  • No annual fee: Many of the best secured cards come with no annual fee.
  • Rewards: Many secured credit cards offer rewards for spending, either using a flat-rate system or with bonus categories.
  • Access credit-building tools: For example, Capital One offers the CreditWise program.
Downsides of secured credit cards
  • High interest rates and fees: Secured credit cards typically do not have a good APR/interest rate. You can expect the APR on these cards to be much higher than the APR on most of the best credit cards. This can make carrying a balance a costly experience. Many also come with hidden fees, such as foreign transaction fees or application fees.
  • Low credit limits: Some cards that require a security deposit let you put down as little as $49 to get started, and minimum credit limits typically start at just $200. However, you may be able to raise your credit limit after a time if you show responsible credit use.
  • Mediocre benefits: Secured cards may offer rewards for spending, but they tend to be stingy when it comes to third-party perks and benefits.
  • Potential for credit damage: While a secured card can help you build credit, using one irresponsibly can damage your score just as easily.

Differences between a secured vs unsecured credit card

Secured cards require a cash deposit as collateral, whereas unsecured cards do not require any collateral. Here are a few of the major differences between secured and unsecured cards.

  Secured Card Unsecured Card
Deposit required? Yes No
Credit line amount Usually equal to the deposit Determined based on creditworthiness
Accruing debt Less chance of falling into debt Easier to fall into debt
Chance of qualifying Easier to qualify for More difficult to qualify for

Secured credit cards vs. debit & prepaid cards

On the other hand, debit cards are payment cards that are linked to your checking account. This means purchases you make with a debit card are ultimately deducted from funds you already have. While a debit card can help you avoid debt, these cards don’t help you in terms of creditworthiness.

There are also other types of cards, such as charge cards and prepaid cards. Prepaid cards let you fund your card upfront so you can use the money for spending. However, prepaid cards don’t extend a line of credit and they don’t help you build credit, either.

How to apply for a secured credit card

The process of applying for a secured card is similar to applying for an unsecured one, but with a few extra steps.

1

Choose a card.

Click the “learn more” button next to the card at the top of this page to find out more information about the card. Pay close attention to the rates, fees, terms, and conditions.

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2

Send in your application.

Click “apply now” to begin filling out an application. You’ll likely need to provide your income, name, address, date of birth, social security number, and more.

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3

Pay the deposit.

Once you’ve been approved, you’ll need to fund your security deposit before you can receive the card. You may be able to do this via a direct deposit but may need to send in a check, money order, e-transfer, or withdraw money from another credit card.

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4

Receive the card.

Once you’ve successfully funded the deposit, your card will be sent to you in the mail.

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5

Use the card responsibly.

Don’t spend too much and pay your credit card bill in full each month. This will help you to start building positive credit. There’s more info further down this page on how to best use your secured card.

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6

Upgrade your card.

The issuer may review your account after your credit score improves to consider upgrading it to an unsecured card. This could happen automatically, or you may need to request it. Alternatively, once your score has improved, you can consider applying for an unsecured card.

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Do I get my deposit back with a secured credit card?

Getting your deposit back is possible in two different scenarios. Either your credit card issuer lets you upgrade from a secured card to an unsecured card, or you decide to close your secured card with a $0 balance.

In either scenario, you’ll receive your deposit back in as little as 5 to 7 days after you move on from your secured card.

Using your secured card

You can use your secured credit card for purchases in person or online, but you should pay attention to your low credit limit. Your best bet with secured cards is only charging what you can afford to pay with cash and paying your credit card balance in full by your due date each month.

How do payments work?

Secured credit cards do payments just like unsecured cards. You’ll receive a bill for your balance owed at the end of each billing cycle, and you can pay your balance online, with a check in the mail, or even over the phone.

How to use a secured credit card to build credit

If you want to maximize the benefits of your secured credit card, you’ll need to use it in a specific way. The following tips can help you get the most out of your secured credit card experience:

How do I close a secured credit card?

You can close your secured credit card by calling the number on the back and making a request to the credit card company. Note that you’ll still be required to pay any balances owed at that point, but you’ll get your deposit back if you close your account in good standing.

It’s important to note that closing a credit card can hurt your credit. Keep in mind that some secured cards let you graduate to a normal credit card as well, so you may want to consider these as alternatives before closing a secured credit card.

How can I change a secured credit card to an unsecured card?

To change a secured card to an unsecured card, you’ll need to use credit responsibly until you have a good enough credit score to qualify for a different type of card. Typically, this means waiting until your score moves into at least the “fair” range.

Some secured cards, like the Capital One Quicksilver Secured Cash Rewards Credit Card, also have a process that helps you “graduate” to an unsecured card with responsible use.

Alternatives to secured credit cards

Secured credit cards aren’t the only way to build credit, here are a few other options:

FAQ: Secured credit cards

Am I guaranteed approval for a secured credit card?

No, there’s no way to guarantee approval for any credit card, even a secured one. Even if you meet all of the criteria an issuer has set forth to the public, there’s still a chance your application will be denied. However, secured cards are designed to help people with poor credit or limited credit, so your chances of being approved are significantly higher than with an unsecured card.

How much should I deposit onto a secured card?

Many secured credit cards have designated minimums for deposits, usually around $200. They often have set maximums as well, often around $2,000-$5,000. When applying for a secured credit card, carefully evaluate your spending habits to determine how much to deposit.

If you’re planning on only spending a small amount each month and then promptly paying it off, you can typically get away with the minimum deposit. On the other hand, if you’re a big spender, you may want to deposit a larger amount.

The best practice is to keep your credit utilization ratio at 30% or lower, so if you tend to spend $300 per month, you should consider depositing $1,000 or more.

Why was my application for a secured card denied?

There are several reasons your application may be denied. Especially if you have dings on your credit history, like bankruptcy or a charge-off, you’re less likely to be approved. Some issuers automatically disqualify applicants with bankruptcies on their report, but not all do.

Can I get my security deposit back?

Assuming you close your account in good standing, meaning you’ve paid all outstanding balances before closing, your security deposit should be given back to you.

Can I increase my credit limit on a secured credit card?

Some credit card issuers will allow you to add more money to your security deposit, increasing your credit limit. Other issuers will evaluate your credit habits later on and will consider increasing your limit if they deem you a responsible card user. This varies from issuer to issuer, so check with your specific card issuer to see if you can increase your credit limit.

How do secured credit cards work?

A secured credit card is a type of credit card that requires a cash deposit to secure your credit line when you open the account. This deposit acts as collateral, so the issuer can use it if you miss payments. If you eventually close your account in good standing, your deposit should be refunded to you.

What banks offer secured credit cards?

Many banks offer secured credit cards, such as Wells Fargo, Citi, Capital One, U.S. Bank, and Bank of America. Smaller banks also typically offer secured card options.

Holly D. Johnson
Holly D. Johnson Finance Expert

Holly D. Johnson is an award-winning personal finance writer who covers topics like insurance, investing, credit and family finance. As a leading voice in the travel and loyalty space, Johnson has traveled with her family to more than 50 countries over the last decade.

The author has also written extensively on the power of household budgeting, and she even co-authored a book on the topic. Zero Down Your Debt: Reclaim Your Income and Build a Life You’ll Love was originally published in 2017, and it teaches families how to use zero-sum budgeting to reach their financial goals. She is also the co-owner and founder of the family finance and travel website, ClubThrifty.com.

Johnson’s 10+ years of writing have focused on helping families make important financial decisions at each stage of their lives. The author also applies the financial principles she teaches to her own life, and she is currently on track to retire in her late 40’s with her partner. She currently lives in Central Indiana with her husband and children, and she is a regular contributor for Bankrate, CNN, Forbes, U.S. News and World Report Travel and many other notable publications.

More info from Chime

  • *No Interest: Out of network ATM withdrawal fees and over the counter advance fees may apply. See here for details.
  • **No Minimum Security Deposit: Money added to Credit Builder will be held in a secured account as collateral for your Credit Builder Visa card, which means you can spend up to this amount on your card. This is money you can use to pay off your charges at the end of every month.
  • The secured Chime Credit Builder Visa® Credit Card is issued by The Bancorp Bank, N.A. or Stride Bank, N.A., Members FDIC, pursuant to a license from Visa U.S.A. Inc. and may be used everywhere Visa credit cards are accepted. Please see the back of your card for its issuing bank.
  • To apply for Credit Builder, you must have received a single qualifying direct deposit of $200 or more to your Chime Checking Account. The qualifying direct deposit must be from your employer, payroll provider, gig economy payer, or benefits payer by Automated Clearing House (ACH) deposit OR Original Credit Transaction (OCT). Bank ACH transfers, Pay Anyone transfers, verification or trial deposits from financial institutions, peer to peer transfers from services such as PayPal, Cash App, or Venmo, mobile check deposits, cash loads or deposits, one-time direct deposits, such as tax refunds and other similar transactions, and any deposit to which Chime deems to not be a qualifying direct deposit are not qualifying direct deposits.
  • **Safer Credit Building - On-time payment history may have a positive impact on your credit score. Late payment may negatively impact your credit score. Chime will report your activities to Transunion®, Experian®, and Equifax®. Impact on your credit may vary, as Credit scores are independently determined by credit bureaus based on a number of factors including the financial decisions you make with other financial services organizations.

* Opinions expressed here are those of the LA Times Compare Cards Team and have not been reviewed or approved by any advertiser or entities included within this content. See our editorial policy for more details.

All products or services are presented in this content without warranty. The information, including card details such as rates and fees, is accurate at the time of publish. Please visit each bank's website directly for the most current information.

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