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Chase is a big name in the banking and financial services business. It is also a credit card powerhouse, issuing popular cards such as the Chase Freedom® and Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card.
If you’re working to build or improve your credit, you may have wondered if there’s a Chase secured card (which requires you to pay a security deposit, which then becomes your credit limit). Unfortunately, Chase does not offer a secured card, and all the issuer’s unsecured cards require a good to excellent credit score to qualify.
But don’t worry — we’ll walk you through some of the best secured cards for building credit, based on our research of cards available through CompareCards.com as well as top cards offered by major issuers. We’ll also discuss store cards and credit builder loans. Once you’ve built a good credit score, you may have a better chance at getting approved for a Chase credit card.
- What’s a good credit score?
- How to build credit with a secured card
- Best secured credit cards
- Secured credit card alternatives
- FAQ on secured credit cards
What’s a good credit score?
One of the most commonly used scoring models for credit scores is FICO. Your FICO score can fall into the following five ranges:
|800 or above||Exceptional|
|Less than 580||Poor|
If you have fair credit, you may have trouble getting approved for credit cards with the best rewards and perks. And if your credit is really in the dumps, you may have trouble getting approved for any cards except those with the worst terms — “subprime” cards saddled with high APRs and myriad fees.
For those with poor credit scores, however, secured cards provide an alternative to subprime cards, and can help you climb out of the bad credit range and into a better financial future.
How to build credit with a secured card
- Use the card. You want to show that you’re making transactions and paying on time. This can be done with a small, recurring transaction such as a cellphone bill, Netflix or Spotify.
- Pay on time and in full. Your payment history is the most important factor in building a good credit score. You can set up autopay to ensure you never miss a payment.
- Keep your utilization ratio low. Maxing out your credit card will hurt your score. For the best results, use less than 30% of your credit limit. For example, if you have a card with a $200 credit limit, you shouldn’t carry a balance higher than $40.
Best secured credit cards
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.
- It's a real credit card. You can build a credit history with the three major credit bureaus. Generally, debit and prepaid cards can't help you build a credit history.
- 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.
- 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
The Discover it® Secured stands out because it offers something many secured cards do not — a rewards program. Earn 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
Even better, since you’re interested in building your credit, Discover makes it easy to find out when you’re eligible to transition to an unsecured card and get your deposit back. After eight months of responsible use of your Discover it® Secured, the issuer will conduct monthly reviews of your account. (Note that eligibility is based on a variety of factors, and requires responsible use across all your credit cards and loans, whether from Discover or another issuer.)
The minimum security deposit is $200 and the annual fee is $0.
Capital One® Secured Mastercard®
Many secured cards require minimum deposits of $200, but the Capital One® Secured Mastercard® is unique. Your minimum deposit will be either $49, $99 or $200, which is determined by the issuer. Regardless of the amount of your deposit, you’ll get a $200 credit line. This can save you some money if you’re approved for a lower deposit — but note that many factors are considered and a lower deposit isn’t guaranteed.
Another nice feature is that after making your first five monthly payments on time, you can get access to a higher credit line. The card’s annual fee is $0.
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
If your credit score is really terrible, or if you’ve got a bankruptcy in your history, the OpenSky® Secured Visa® Credit Card could help. It doesn’t require a credit check when you apply, though you’ll still have to submit financial information such as annual income and monthly housing payment.
The downside is that this card charges an annual fee of $35, and doesn’t offer an opportunity to upgrade to an unsecured card — so the only way to get your deposit back is to close your account. Still, if you don’t think you can qualify for the other cards mentioned above, the OpenSky® Secured Visa® Credit Card is a useful tool to rebuild your score. The minimum deposit is $200.
Secured credit card alternatives
We’ll touch on two alternatives to secured cards — store cards and credit builder loans.
Store cards are credit cards that you can only use at specific merchants. They tend to be more accepting of applicants with less-than-stellar credit scores than general-use credit cards, so if you have a fair credit score you’re looking to improve, a store card might be a good option. Just be aware that they tend to have high APRs, so pay off your balance in full each month to avoid incurring hefty interest charges. Store cards also come with lower credit limits, so it can be easy to max out the card, so avoid racking up that balance.
Walmart Rewards Card
If you shop frequently at Walmart and Walmart.com, you can earn a great cashback rate with this card. And since there’s a $0 annual fee, the cash back is money in your pocket (as long as you’re not carrying a balance and incurring interest charges). Here are the card details:
- Sign-up bonus: 5% back for the first 12 months when you use your card with Walmart Pay for in-store purchases, upon approval.
- Rewards: 5% back on purchases made at Walmart.com and on the Walmart app, 2% back on Walmart purchases in stores outside of the introductory offer; and 2% back at Walmart Fuel Stations.
Amazon.com Store Card
If you’re an avid online shopper, the Amazon.com Store Card might be for you, but you are limited to using it at Amazon.com. If you are an Amazon Prime member, you’ll be automatically upgraded to the Amazon Prime Store Card, which offers:
- Sign-up bonus: $10 Amazon.com gift card upon approval.
- Rewards: 5% back at Amazon.com.
Another card feature is that for eligible purchases of $150 or more, you can choose between earning cash back or getting a promotional financing period where you can pay off your purchase without being charged interest. Be careful if you opt for promotional financing, because it’s deferred interest — if you fail to pay off the full amount before the promotional period ends, you’ll owe interest from the date of the purchase. It’s not a 0% intro APR offer.
And you should be aware that while the annual fee is $0, you need an Amazon Prime membership to earn rewards. Prime costs $119 for an annual membership or $12.99 for a monthly membership — or $59 for an annual membership or $6.49 for a monthly membership for college students. But if you already have Prime, this card’s cashback rate is hard to beat.
Credit builder loans
Another option to rebuilding a poor credit score is a credit builder loan. Though they’re called “loans,” credit builder loans don’t provide money up front. Instead, you make set monthly payments and your money goes into a savings account or certificate of deposit (CD). At the end of the payment period, you’ll get your money minus any interest or fees charged by the lender.
Some banks and credit unions offer credit builder loans — and if you’d rather not deal with a brick-and-mortar institution, you can apply for a credit builder loan through a financial technology company like Self. The credit builder loans at Self start at $25 a month, and charge an administration fee of $9 to open. There’s also a unique option to open a secured Self Visa® Credit Card once you’ve saved at least $100 in your credit builder account.
FAQ on secured credit cards
Do secured credit cards build credit? Yes, as long as your secured card reports your usage to the credit bureaus (Equifax, Experian and TransUnion) you will build credit.
What’s a good APR for a secured credit card? Many secured cards have APRs well over 20%. You should pay in full each month to avoid carrying a balance and being charged interest.
How do I get my deposit back with a secured credit card? You can get your security deposit back if you’re upgraded to an unsecured credit card or if you close your account (minus any outstanding fees or unpaid balance).
What are the easiest credit cards to get with bad credit? A secured credit card is probably your best option. If you have a poor credit score, lenders consider you a risk — but because a secured card requires a security deposit, you have a better chance at still getting approved.
Can I get a credit card without a deposit if I have bad credit? While you may be able to qualify for cards from issuers such as Credit One and First Premier, you should generally avoid them. Any unsecured cards available to applicants with poor credit scores are likely to be “subprime” credit cards with high APRs and myriad fees. Even though putting money down for a deposit may be less-than-ideal, it’s better in the long run than getting stuck with the fees on a subprime card.
Do prepaid cards build credit? No, prepaid cards do not build credit. Prepaid cards work more like debit cards than credit cards — you make purchases with funds you have available, not on credit. Check out our guide on what you should know about prepaid cards for more information.
The information related to the Chase Freedom®, Amazon.com Store Card and Amazon Prime Store Card have been independently collected by CompareCards and have not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of this card prior to publication.