Best Secured Credit Cards in December 2022

Some of the top secured credit cards charge no annual fees. Others also offer the option to earn rewards/cash back on everyday purchases while you work to build or improve your credit score.

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Advertising & Editorial DisclosureLast Updated: 12/2/2022
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Last Updated: 12/2/2022

Secured credit cards are an excellent option for consumers with less-than-perfect credit to begin rebuilding their credit. They are also great for those who have a very limited or no credit history. However, remember that a secured credit card is simply a tool to build or improve your credit score so that you can, in time, qualify for an unsecured credit card with additional features and benefits.

Read more about Secured Credit Cards

MoneyGeek’s Take: Top 10 Secured Credit Cards

People with less-than-perfect creditworthiness may want to consider getting secured credit cards to build or rebuild their credit. Several of the top cards on our list come with no annual fees, and we also highlight ones that offer rewards/cash back. Examples of the latter include the Navy Federal nRewards Secured Card and the no-annual-fee Discover it® Secured Credit Card. When choosing a suitable card, you'll also want to pay attention to a card’s minimum security deposit amount and APRs.

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Best Secured Credit Cards to Start or Build Credit

The benefit of secured credit cards is that consumers may establish or improve their credit history without running the risk of overspending like with an unsecured credit card. Some card issuers charge annual fees, while others offer rewards for your spending.

As you search for the best secured credit card, you'll also want to consider factors such as rewards, fees, interest rates and the ability to upgrade to an unsecured card before settling on one.

Best Secured Credit Cards with No Annual Fee

The top secured credit cards with no annual fees tend to come without rewards or cash back, although that’s not always the case. For instance, the Discover it® Secured Credit Card makes for a notable exception. Depending on the card you get, you might be able to upgrade to a non-secured card after using it responsibly for six or more months.


  • Chime Credit Builder Secured Visa® Credit Card

    A good secured credit card with no annual fees and interest


    • None-PoorRecommended Credit
    • UnspecifiedAPR
    • $0Annual Fee
    • $200Min. Security Deposit

    Terms, rates and fees apply

  • Citi® Secured Mastercard®

    Best credit card for building credit with no or limited credit history


    • None-PoorRecommended Credit
    • $0Annual Fee
    • $200Min. Security Deposit
    • 3# of Reporting Bureaus
    • 26.24% VariableAPR

  • Navy Federal Credit Union® nRewards® Secured Credit Card

    A good secured card for building credit and earning rewards


    • None-PoorRecommended Credit
    • $0Annual Fee
    • 18.00%APR
    • $200Min. Security Deposit
    • 1 Point per $1Rewards Rate

  • Capital One Platinum Secured Credit Card

    Best secured card for building credit on a budget


    • Limited – BadRecommended Credit
    • $0Annual Fee
    • $49Min. Security Deposit
    • 3# of Reporting Bureaus
    • 28.49% VariableAPR

Best Secured Credit Cards for Bad Credit

Even the best secured credit cards for bad credit charge annual fees and typically do away with rewards and cash back. However, responsible use of your card may qualify you for an upgrade to a non-secured card in as little as six months.


  • OakStone Gold Secured Mastercard®

    A secured credit card meant for people with poor or no credit histories


    • None-PoorRecommended Credit
    • $39Annual Fee
    • $200Min. Security Deposit
    • 3# of Reporting Bureaus
    • 14.74%APR

  • OpenSky® Secured Visa® Credit Card

    A good secured card for those who have poor credit


    • None-FairRecommended Credit
    • $35Annual Fee
    • $200Min. Security Deposit
    • 3# of Reporting Bureaus
    • 21.14% (variable)APR

  • Merrick Bank Double Your Line® Secured Credit Card

    Best credit card for training good financial habits


    • PoorRecommended Credit
    • $36*Annual Fee
    • $200Min. Security Deposit
    • 3# of Reporting Bureaus
    • 20.45%APR

  • Merrick Bank Secured Credit Card

    A good secured credit card for people who wish to build their credit


    • None-PoorRecommended Credit
    • $36*Annual Fee
    • $200Min. Security Deposit
    • 3# of Reporting Bureaus
    • 20.45%APR

  • OakStone Platinum Secured Mastercard®

    An excellent secured credit card with no credit score requirement


    • None-PoorRecommended Credit
    • $49Annual Fee
    • $200Min. Security Deposit
    • 3# of Reporting Bureaus
    • 9.99%APR

  • Assent Platinum 0% Intro Rate Mastercard® Secured Credit Card

    Best for those looking for a credit-boosting card with a 0% intro APR


    • None-PoorRecommended Credit
    • $49Annual Fee
    • $200Min. Security Deposit
    • 3# of Reporting Bureaus
    • 12.99%APR

The Best Secured Credit Cards at a Glance
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Other Cards to Consider

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HOW WE RANK SECURED CREDIT CARDS

MoneyGeek experts use 57 data points and our unique ranking methodology to arrive at an updated list of the top secured credit cards. We make sure we provide as accurate and up-to-date information as possible by getting data from the card issuers' websites, our partners and the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau. Once our experts have all the required data at hand, they assign specific values to various parameters to pick the best of the lot.

  • Annual fee: 20%
  • Minimum security deposit: 10%
  • Average APR: 10%
  • Rewards/cash back rate: 5%

Tips for Choosing the Right Secured Credit for You

If you are sure a secured credit card is the right option for you, there are plenty of ways to find the card that best suits your needs. It can be a bit daunting to pick through a long list of credit card options. As you are sorting through your options, remember these points:

1

Card issuer

Some secured credit card issuers are better than others in terms of customer service. If you have a question as a cardholder, nothing can be more frustrating than having a less-than-stellar customer service experience. So before selecting a card, make sure to research if consumers have had good or bad experiences working with the servicer.

2

Benefits of the card

While your main objective is to build or rebuild your credit, make sure you look at each card's perks, including whether it offers cash back, travel insurance or no foreign transaction fees. Weigh which ones benefit you the most.

3

Approval odds

It is impossible to know if you will be approved for a credit card. However, there are ways to give yourself the best chance possible. Research what credit scores are typically approved for the card, and align those with the credit score you currently have.

MoneyGeek’s Quick Guide to Understanding Secured Credit Cards

A secured credit card is a bit different than a traditional, unsecured credit card. The main difference is that a secured credit card requires an up-front deposit to secure the credit line. The purpose of this is to protect the credit card issuer. However, the core benefit for secured credit card holders is that you can either build or rebuild your credit score, depending on your needs. But it will come with its share of limitations compared to an unsecured credit card.

Pros & Cons

plusSign
Pros
  • Excellent way to build or rebuild credit
  • Spending is limited based on credit line allocated
  • Additional benefits may be available (i.e., rental car insurance
minusSign
Cons
  • Credit lines tend to be limited
  • Up-front deposit required to secure the credit line
  • Rewards earned from spending are minimal to none

While a secured credit card is secured through an up-front deposit, remember that a credit card bill is still considered debt. Like anything else in your personal financial picture, managing debt is an essential skill that will help you balance a budget and grow your wealth. To begin moving the needle forward, the first step is to control your credit usage, and your spending habits are a large part of that. While a credit card is a great financial tool to earn rewards and build your credit history, you still need to be careful: credit card spending can also quickly get out of control and sabotage your efforts.

In addition, when considering a secured credit card, be sure to look at the benefits of each card. While they may not be as flashy as a travel or cash back credit card, there still may be opportunities to earn rewards for your purchases. If so, that can help you offset the costs of daily purchases that you would make anyway. However, you should never spend more simply to earn a cash back bonus.

Finally, keep in mind that a secured credit card is not the only way to build your credit score. You can utilize other methods, such as:

  • Paying bills that report to credit agencies
  • Applying for a credit-builder loan, or
  • Having someone add you as an authorized user to their credit card, among others.
  • Looking into your credit report to see if there is anything you can correct, such as a missed payment or incorrect mark. You do not need to rely on a credit card to build your credit score.
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MONEYGEEK EXPERT TIP

Remember that the goal is to eventually not need a secured credit card. Ideally, once you’ve made a series of on-time payments and have proven you can manage debt responsibly, you’ll apply and be approved for an unsecured credit card. That will give you more financial flexibility — and enable you to cancel your secured card and get your deposit back.

How Do Secured Credit Cards Work?

Credit cards in general can be a tricky financial product to understand, but we are here to help. Secured credit cards work similarly to unsecured cards, but the consumer provides a full, up-front deposit of the card’s credit line. That is where the name “secured” comes from, as the card balance is secured by the up-front deposit you submit to the credit card issuer.

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HERE’S AN EXAMPLE

Joey has a less-than-perfect credit score, and he wants to rebuild his credit. He applied for a secured credit card and is approved for an $800 credit line. He will then need to submit an $800 payment to the issuer in order for the card to be active and ready to use.

At any time, his maximum spending limit is $800. However, some secured credit card issuers will review your credit history from time to time and possibly extend your credit line.

If Joey has spent $400 of his credit line, he will only be able to spend another $400. After that, the card will begin rejecting his purchases as his secured credit line is maxed out.

If Joey spends within his means and can pay off his bill each month, he will build his credit score to where he can eventually upgrade to an unsecured credit card.

Secured vs. Unsecured Credit Cards

There are several differences between secured and unsecured credit cards. Here are the main features that make each credit card type different:

Secured vs. Unsecured Credit Cards

creditApproved
Secured Credit Cards
  • Up-front deposit required to secure the credit line
  • Rewards earned from spending are minimal to none
  • Interest rates tend to be lower
  • Sign-up bonuses are typically nonexistent
  • Largest benefit is to build or rebuild credit
creditDenied
Unsecured Credit Cards
  • No up-front deposit required
  • Rewards earned from spending typically come in the form of cash back or travel rewards
  • Interest rates tend to be higher
  • Sign-up bonuses likely reflect the rewards earned from spending
  • Largest benefit is to earn rewards from spending, among other benefits

The most significant difference is the intent and design of each product. An unsecured credit card is designed to reward consumers with good-to-excellent credit for spending on their cards. A secured credit card is designed for consumers with less-than-perfect credit or no credit to build or rebuild their credit score.

Keep in mind that if a secured credit card is the best option for you right now, it is not a permanent option. The goal should be to use the secured credit card to rebuild your credit, then move up to an unsecured credit card.

MONEYGEEK QUICK TIP:

When comparing secured credit cards, whether it be here or on other sites, it is important to look for two things:

  • The ability to upgrade to an unsecured credit card, and
  • The length of time it takes to be able to upgrade to an unsecured card This can help improve your credit score even more since this will increase how long you’ve had an open line of credit (length of credit history), which is generally 15% of a person’s FICO score. All the cards recommended in our content allow for this option, but we know our list is limited, so we recommend using the helpful comparison tables at CardRatings.com to find and apply for the right card option for you.

Benefits to Using a Secured Credit Card to Start or Rebuild Credit

There are several benefits to using a secured credit card as an initial step into the credit card world.

  • First, a secured credit card only allows for so much spending. Because the card is secured with an initial deposit, you will only be able to spend that much before you pay the balance. This gives card users an excellent opportunity to understand if a credit card is suitable for them.
  • While an unsecured travel credit card has a credit limit, the card will not limit your spending and could cause issues if the cardholder spends beyond their means. But with a secured credit card, you can carefully examine your spending habits and work your way to an unsecured credit card.
  • In addition, a secured credit card allows consumers to steadily make positive progress on their credit report. By spending responsibly and paying your bill on time, you will build a history of controlled spending, which will build your credit score to a healthy score.

How to Use a Secured Credit Card to Build Credit

Using a secured credit card is a bit different than an unsecured credit card. Because an up-front deposit secures the card, you cannot spend beyond the deposit amount. This is a positive as you aren’t able to spend frivolously, but it’s also a negative because it doesn’t give you true spending flexibility.

The best way to use a secured credit card to build credit is to not spend excessively and always pay your credit card bill in full and on time. Doing so allows you to avoid interest charges as well as poor marks on your credit score.

However, improving your credit score significantly is not something you can do in one or two months. It is a long-term effort that requires persistence and responsible personal financial skills. While this sounds complicated, it boils down to two points:

  1. Do not overextend yourself, and
  2. Pay your bills on time. If you can master those two skills, your credit score will climb.
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MONEYGEEK EXPERT TIP

Consider setting a budget for yourself using a budgeting app or a spreadsheet to manage your spending with your secure credit card. It’s a small action, but it will help to:

  • Identify spending patterns and monitor your spending closely.
  • Repair and build your credit score.

Other Ways to Start/Rebuild Credit Without Getting a Credit Card

If you aren’t eligible for a secured credit card or prefer not to have one, there are several alternatives to help build or rebuild your credit score.

1

Become an Authorized User

For example, you could ask to be added as an authorized user on someone’s credit card. You’ll have access to their credit line, which will passively build your credit history — as long as they’re a responsible card user themselves. They don’t even have to give you a physical card to use.

2

Pay All Bills On Time

Also, be sure to pay your bills on time. Some bills report to credit bureaus directly, so any late payments or defaulting on bills could result in a bad mark on your credit.

3

Credit-Builder Loans

Another option is to apply for a credit-builder loan. A credit-builder loan works by limiting access to the funds until the loan is fully repaid. This means you can build savings and your credit at the same time. It also gives the lender security as your loan is secured with a deposit. Not all financial institutions offer a credit-builder loan, so you will need to search a bit. However, they can be very beneficial to building your credit score.

Common Questions About Secured Credit Cards

Secured credit cards are much different from a traditional unsecured credit card. Because they are so different, and credit card issuers don’t advertise them as heavily, there are many questions about how these cards work.

What's Next

Now that you know what to expect from the best secured credit cards, determine if applying for one might work well for you. If you decide to move forward, compare your top choices based on factors such as minimum security deposit, annual fees, APRs and the ability to earn rewards.

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About the Author


Brett Holzhauer is a personal finance reporter. He has written for several leading publications and is mentioned in many others, including Forbes Advisor, Lending Tree, CNBC and ValuePenguin. An alum of the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism at Arizona State, when he is not reporting, Brett is likely scuba diving, golfing or watching college football. He tweets regularly at @brett_holzhauer.


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*Rates, fees or bonuses may vary or include specific stipulations. The content on this page is accurate as of the posting/last updated date; however, some of the offers mentioned may have expired. We recommend visiting the card issuer’s website for the most up-to-date information available.
Editorial Disclosure: Opinions, reviews, analyses and recommendations are the author’s alone and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any bank, credit card issuer, hotel, airline, or other entity.
Advertiser Disclosure: MoneyGeek has partnered with CardRatings.com and CreditCards.com for our coverage of credit card products. MoneyGeek, CardRatings and CreditCards.com may receive a commission from card issuers. To ensure thorough comparisons and reviews, MoneyGeek features products from both paid partners and unaffiliated card issuers that are not paid partners.