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This article was last updated Dec 31, 2020. Terms and conditions may have changed. For the most accurate information, please consult the issuer website.
If you’re looking to build credit, odds are you’ve come across secured cards in your search. Whether you’ve got bad credit or just a limited credit history, a secured card might be the best option for you.
A secured card is similar to a regular, unsecured credit card, but it has one main difference: it requires a security deposit. The security deposit will become your line of credit and is typically $200 – so that means you will receive a $200 line of credit.
The security deposit acts as collateral in case you default on your account, providing security for the lending bank. In most cases, you can receive your security deposit back if you pay off your bill in full and close your account or you transition to an unsecured card.
Based on our review of cards available through CompareCards, as well as from major issuers, we’ve selected six of the best secured cards to consider. Most of these charge no annual fee, and the ones that do charge an annual fee offer enough value to make the fee worth it.
- Compare the best secured credit cards
- Best secured card for cash back: Discover it® Secured
- Best low deposit secured card: Secured Mastercard® from Capital One
- Best secured card for no credit check: OpenSky® Secured Visa® Credit Card
- Best low APR secured card: DCU Visa® Platinum Secured Credit Card
- Best secured card for online shopping: Amazon Prime Store Card Credit Builder
- Best business secured card: Wells Fargo Business Secured Credit Card
- Other secured cards to consider
- FAQs about secured credit cards
Compare the best secured credit cards
|Best for||Minimum deposit||Annual fee||Potential to graduate to an unsecured card?||Regular purchase APR|
|Discover it® Secured||Consumers who want to build credit and earn cash back.||$200||$0||Yes. Discover begins monthly reviews after eight months.||22.99% Variable APR|
|Secured Mastercard® from Capital One||Applicants who may not be able to afford a $200 deposit.||$49, $99 or $200 depending on what Capital One decides.||$0||Yes, but there’s no set time frame.||26.99% (variable)|
|OpenSky® Secured Visa® Credit Card||Those who don’t want to undergo a credit check.||$200||$35||No.||17.39% (variable)|
|DCU Visa® Platinum Secured Credit Card||Consumers willing to join a credit union for a low-interest card.||$500||$0||After at least 12 months, DCU may work with the cardholder in applying for an unsecured credit card.||11.50%- 18.00% variable|
|Amazon Prime Store Card Credit Builder||People who frequently shop on Amazon.com.||$100||$0||Yes. Synchrony Bank will review cardholders’ accounts after at least seven months.||28.24% (variable)|
|Wells Fargo Business Secured Credit Card||Business owners looking for a card to build business credit.||$500||$25 per card||Yes, but there’s no set time frame.||Prime + 11.90%|
Best secured card for cash back: Discover it® Secured
2% cash back at Gas Stations and Restaurants on up to $1,000 in combined purchases each quarter, 1% unlimited cash back on all other purchases - automatically
Credit line will equal your security deposit of $200 or more*
No annual fee, no late fee on your first late payment. No penalty APR*
- No Annual Fee, earn cash back, and build your credit with responsible use.
- Using your secured card will build a credit history with the three major credit bureaus. Generally, prepaid and debit cards can’t do that.
- Establish your credit line by providing a refundable security deposit of at least $200 after being approved. Bank information must be provided when submitting your deposit.
- Automatic reviews starting at 8 months to see if we can transition you to an unsecured line of credit and return your deposit.
- Earn 2% cash back at Gas Stations and Restaurants on up to $1,000 in combined purchases each quarter. Plus, earn unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases – automatically.
- Discover is accepted nationwide by 99% of the places that take credit cards.
- Get 100% U.S. based customer service & get your free Credit Scorecard with your FICO® Credit Score
- INTRO OFFER: Unlimited Cashback Match – only from Discover. Discover will automatically match all the cash back you’ve earned at the end of your first year! There’s no minimum spending or maximum rewards. Just a dollar-for-dollar match.
- Get an alert if we find your Social Security number on any of thousands of Dark Web sites.* Activate for free.
- See Rates & Fees
See additional details for Discover it® Secured
Best for: People with limited/bad/poor credit who want a card that earns rewards and offers a set time frame for when the issuer considers upgrading you to an unsecured card, allow you to get your deposit refunded.
Why we like it: Many secured cards lack rewards, but the Discover it® Secured offers a cashback program: 2% cash back at gas stations and restaurants on up to $1,000 in combined purchases each quarter, 1% unlimited cash back on all other purchases - automatically.
There’s also a sign-up bonus for new cardmembers: Unlimited Cashback Match – only from Discover. Discover will automatically match all the cash back you’ve earned at the end of your first year! There’s no minimum spending or maximum rewards. Just a dollar-for-dollar match.
Finally, Discover starts monthly reviews after eight months to see if you qualify to graduate to an unsecured card and have your security deposit refunded. Note that Discover considers your behavior across all your credit accounts in these reviews, not just accounts with Discover.
The annual fee is $0 and the deposit can range from $200 to $2,500.
- Free FICO Score access.
- Free monitoring of the dark web for your Social Security number (once you opt in).
- Foreign transaction fee of none.
- The ability to freeze and unfreeze your card online.
What to watch out for: This is an all-around great card to build credit. Its only drawback is a high 22.99% Variable APR. However, that’s in line with other cards for applicants with limited/bad/poor credit. By paying off your card in full each month, you can generally avoid interest charges.
Read our review of the Discover it® Secured.
Best low deposit secured card: Secured Mastercard® from Capital One
Build Credit When Used Responsibly
$49, $99, or $200
- No annual fee
- Unlike a prepaid card, there is regular reporting to the 3 major credit bureaus
- Accepted at millions of locations worldwide
- Make the minimum required security deposit and you'll get an initial credit line of $200. Plus, deposit more money before your account opens to get a higher credit line
- Access to an authorized bank account is required to make your $49, $99 or $200 refundable security deposit
- Be automatically considered for a higher credit line in as little as 6 months with no additional deposit needed
- We will monitor your account, and as you use it responsibly by doing things like making on-time payments, you may be able to earn back your deposit as a statement credit
- Easily manage your account 24/7 with online access, by phone or using our mobile app
See additional details for Secured Mastercard® from Capital One
Best for: Consumers who might not be able to afford a $200 security deposit.
Why we like it: Most secured cards require you to submit a security deposit in the amount of your credit limit – in other words, for a $200 credit limit, submit a $200 deposit. The Secured Mastercard® from Capital One is unique in that when you apply, Capital One will set your minimum deposit at either $49, $99 or $200. In any case, you’ll get a starting credit limit of $200.
You may also be considered for a higher credit limit in as little as six months.
The card’s annual fee is $0 and the maximum deposit is $1,000.
- Foreign transaction fee of none.
- Access your credit score with CreditWise®.
- Lock and unlock your card in the Capital One mobile app.
- Auto rental collision damage waiver.
- Travel accident insurance.
- Extended warranty.
What to watch out for: The lower deposit amounts of $49 and $99 aren’t guaranteed. Also, the card comes with a high 26.99% (variable) APR.
Best secured card for no credit check: OpenSky® Secured Visa® Credit Card
Build credit quickly. OpenSky reports to all 3 major credit bureaus.
$200 - $3,000 Credit Line*
- No credit check necessary to apply. OpenSky believes in giving an opportunity to everyone.
- The refundable* deposit you provide becomes your credit line limit on your Visa card. Choose it yourself, from as low as $200.
- Build credit quickly. OpenSky reports to all 3 major credit bureaus.
- 99% of our customers who started without a credit score earned a credit score record with the credit bureaus in as little as 6 months.
- We have a Facebook community of people just like you; there is a forum for shared experiences, and insights from others on our Facebook Fan page. (Search “OpenSky Card” in Facebook.)
- *View our Cardholder Agreement located at the bottom of the application page for details of the card
See additional details for OpenSky® Secured Visa® Credit Card
Best for: Those who want to apply for a credit card, but don’t want to undergo a credit check.
Why we like it: This card is aimed at applicants with limited/bad/poor credit, and unlike most credit cards, doesn’t require a credit check when you apply. If you worry that something in your credit history might prevent you from being approved, this could be the card for you.
Note that you’ll still have to submit financial information when you apply, such as:
- Annual income.
- Monthly housing payment.
The card’s deposit can range from $200 to $3,000. The interest rate is a reasonable 17.39% (variable) APR.
- Flexible options for paying your security deposit: with a debit card, through Western Union, or by mailing in a check or money order.
What to watch out for: There’s a $35 annual fee for the OpenSky® Secured Visa® Credit Card. There are competing secured cards available with no annual fee.
Also, there’s a foreign transaction fee of 3% of each Transaction in U.S. dollars, and there’s no opportunity to graduate to an unsecured version of the card.
Best low APR secured card: DCU Visa® Platinum Secured Credit Card
Best for: People willing to join a credit union to get a card with a low interest rate.
Why we like it: It’s not unusual for secured cards to have interest rates above 20%. However, the DCU Visa® Platinum Secured Credit Card has a reasonable 11.50%- 18.00% variable APR. We recommend paying your card off in full each month to avoid incurring interest charges, but if you must carry a balance, a card with a lower APR can help you save money.
- Foreign transaction fee of $0.
- Works with Apple Pay®, Google Pay™ and Samsung® Pay.
What to watch out for: You’ll need to join Digital Federal Credit Union to get this card. There are numerous ways to qualify for membership, including being a relative of a member, being employed by or retired from a participating employer, being a member of a partner organization or based on where you live, work, worship or go to school. You’ll also need to have a savings account with DCU, which requires at least $5 to open.
Finally, the card’s minimum security deposit is a bit high at $500 – many secured cards have $200 minimum deposits.
Best secured card for online shopping: Amazon Prime Store Card Credit Builder
Best for: Consumers who shop frequently at Amazon.com.
Why we like it: Earn 5% back on all Amazon.com purchases with an eligible Amazon Prime membership. Prime costs $119 for an annual membership (or $59 for college students). That’s a generous cashback rate, especially on a card aimed at helping applicants build credit.
Plus, after seven months, Synchrony Bank (which issues the card) will review your account to see if you qualify to get your deposit back and graduate to the Amazon Prime Store Card, which offers the same rewards.
The card’s annual fee is $0 and the minimum deposit is $100.
- Learn about credit with educational materials on The Creditview Dashboard.
- A $10 Amazon.com Gift Card will instantly be loaded into your Amazon.com Account upon the approval of your credit card application.
- Promotional financing options on purchases of $150 or more (can’t be combined with cash back).
What to watch out for: Without an Amazon Prime membership, you won’t earn cash back. Also, at 28.24% (variable) APR, the interest rate is one of the highest you’ll encounter with a secured card. Finally, because this is a store card, you can only use it when shopping at Amazon.
Best business secured card: Wells Fargo Business Secured Credit Card
Best for: Small business owners who need a card to build business credit.
Why we like it: Most business credit cards require good or excellent credit, but the Wells Fargo Business Secured Credit Card is available to applicants with poor or fair credit. It also earns rewards. Earn 1.5% cash back on every $1 spent OR Earn 1 point on every $1 spent and receive 1,000 bonus points when your company spend is $1,000 or more in any monthly billing period.
The card’s APR is prime + 11.90% on purchases. Your deposit (and your credit limit) can range from $500 to $25,000.
- Foreign transaction fee of $0.
- Chance to upgrade to an unsecured business card.
What to watch out for: There’s an annual fee of $25 per card (you can have up to 10 employee cards).
Other secured cards to consider
BankAmericard® Secured Credit Card
Best for: Consumers who like banking with Bank of America.
Why we like it: If you prefer to keep your financial products with Bank of America, the BankAmericard® Secured Credit Card allows a deposit ranging from $300 to $4,900, and charges an annual fee of none. Bank of America also periodically reviews your credit history to see if you qualify to have your deposit refunded.
- Free FICO Score when you opt in.
- Works with digital wallets including Apple Pay®, Google Pay™ and Samsung® Pay.
What to watch out for: There’s a high APR, and the minimum deposit is a bit on the high side at $300. There’s also a foreign transaction fee: 3% of the U.S. dollar amount of each transaction (1) made in a foreign currency, or (2) made in U.S. dollars if the transaction is made or processed outside of the United States.
Citi® Secured Mastercard®
Best for: Consumers looking for a no-frills secured card to build credit.
Why we like it: This card is pretty basic, but if you think rewards might tempt you into overspending, basic isn’t bad. There’s a $0 annual fee and a deposit range of $200 to $2,500. Your deposit will stay in a Collateral Holding Account for 18 months, and before that term ends, Citi will notify you if you qualify to get the deposit refunded and graduate to an unsecured card.
- Free FICO Score access.
- Works with Apple Pay®, Google Pay™ and Samsung® Pay.
What to watch out for: There’s a high 22.49% (variable) APR and a foreign transaction fee of 3%.
Read our review of the Citi® Secured Mastercard®.
FAQs about secured credit cards
What is a secured credit card? A secured card requires you to submit a security deposit, typically in the amount you want for your credit limit. This protects the issuer in the event you don’t pay off what you charge to the card. The deposit is generally refundable if you pay off your card and close the account, or the issuer graduates you to an unsecured card.
How do secured and unsecured cards compare? “Unsecured” simply means a credit card doesn’t require a security deposit – in other words, a regular credit card.
Do secured cards charge annual fees? Like unsecured cards, some secured cards charge annual fees while others don’t. Our top choice, the Discover it® Secured, has no annual fee.
Is it possible to be denied for a secured card? Yes. As with any credit card application, approval when applying for a secured credit card is not guaranteed.
Can you get a secured card with bad credit? Generally, yes. Secured cards are designed to help rebuild or establish credit. If you’re turned down for a secured card, you may need to consider other options, such as asking a family member to make you an authorized user on one of their cards.
Where can you get a secured card? Many banks and credit unions offer secured cards. A few issuers of secured cards include Bank of America, Capital One, Citi and Discover. However, some issuers don’t – for example, there’s no Chase secured credit card.
How do you build credit with a secured card? As long as your card reports to the credit bureaus (Equifax, Experian and TransUnion), you’ll build a credit history by using your card, paying on time and keeping utilization low. Read more in our article on building credit with a secured card.
The information related to the Citi® Secured Mastercard® has been independently collected by CompareCards and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of this card prior to publication.