Best Secured Credit Cards in 2024

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ByGrace Pilling
Edited byLukas Velunta
Contributions by6+ experts
ByGrace Pilling
Edited byLukas Velunta
Contributions by6+ experts

Updated: June 19, 2024

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When it comes to rebuilding or establishing credit, secured credit cards can be a helpful tool. These cards do not have the usual credit requirements of unsecured credit cards and instead require a security deposit that typically sets the credit limit.

Each secured credit card comes with its own set of features and benefits. Consider factors like annual fees, interest rates and credit limit increases when choosing the right card for you. Some of the best secured credit cards also provide additional perks, such as cashback rewards or a pathway to an unsecured card, enhancing their appeal.

Why You Can Trust Our List

Capital One Platinum Secured Credit Card

Min. Security Deposit$49
APR29.99% variable
Annual Fee$0
Recommended Credit(No Credit History)
Capital One Quicksilver Secured Cash Rewards Credit Card

Min. Security Deposit$200
APR29.99% variable
Annual Fee$0
Recommended Credit(No Credit History)
OpenSky® Secured Visa® Credit Card

Min. Security Deposit$200
APR25.64% variable
Annual Fee$35
Recommended Credit(No Credit History)
Discover it® Secured Credit Card

Min. Security Deposit$200
APR28.24% variable
Annual Fee$0
Recommended Credit(No Credit History)
Chime Credit Builder Secured Visa® Credit Card

Min. Security Deposit$200
Annual FeeNone
Recommended CreditN/A
Petal® 1

Min. Security DepositN/A
APR25.24% – 34.74% Variable
Annual Fee$0
Recommended Credit(580 – 740) Fair to Good
U.S. Bank Cash+® Visa Signature® Card

Min. Security DepositN/A
APR19.74%–29.74% variable
Annual Fee$0
Recommended Credit670–850 (Good to Excellent)
First Progress Platinum Elite Mastercard® Secured Credit Card

Min. Security Deposit$200
Annual Fee$29.00
Recommended CreditNo Credit History
Self Credit Builder Account with Secured Visa® Credit Card

Min. Security Deposit$100
Annual Fee$25.00
Recommended CreditNo Credit History

First Progress Platinum Prestige Mastercard® Secured Credit Card

Min. Security Deposit$200
APR15.24% (Variable)
Annual Fee$49
Recommended CreditNo Credit History
Bank of America® Unlimited Cash Rewards Secured Credit Card

Min. Security DepositN/A
APR28.24% variable
Annual Fee$0
Recommended CreditN/A
Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards Secured Credit Card

Min. Security Deposit$200
APR28.24% variable
Annual Fee$0
Recommended CreditN/A
U.S. Bank Altitude® Go Secured Visa® Card

Min. Security Deposit$300
APR29.99% variable
Annual Fee$0
Recommended CreditFair to Good
Citi® Secured Mastercard®

Min. Security Deposit$200
APR27.74% variable
Annual Fee$0
Recommended CreditNone–Limited
OpenSky® Plus Secured Visa® Credit Card

Min. Security DepositN/A
APR29.99% variable
Annual Fee$0
Recommended CreditNo Credit History
Navy Federal Credit Union® nRewards® Secured Credit Card

Min. Security Deposit$200
Annual Fee$0
Recommended CreditNo Credit History
DCU Visa® Platinum Secured Credit Card

Min. Security Deposit$500
APR16.75% variable
Annual Fee$0
Recommended CreditFair – Good

What Is a Secured Credit Card?

A secured credit card is a type of credit card that doesn't have the stringent credit requirements of standard credit cards. Instead, it requires a cash deposit upfront, serving as collateral for the issuer. This makes secured cards a more accessible option for those with limited or bad credit histories.

Overall, a secured credit card acts like a regular credit card. You can make purchases up to your credit limit and are required to pay at least the minimum balance each month. Timely payments on a secured card are reported to credit bureaus, which can positively impact your credit score over time.

Secured credit cards are an effective tool for financial rebuilding. They offer a structured way to improve credit while providing the flexibility and benefits of a credit card, including the ability to make online purchases or book services that require a credit card.

Secured vs. Unsecured Credit Cards

The primary distinction between secured and unsecured credit cards lies in the security deposit. Secured credit cards require a deposit as collateral, which typically sets your credit limit. This deposit minimizes risk for the issuer, making these cards more accessible to those with poor or no credit history.

On the other hand, unsecured credit cards do not require a security deposit. Approval for these cards is based on your credit history and score, reflecting the lender's trust in your ability to repay. These cards often come with higher credit limits, lower interest rates and a variety of rewards programs, but they are harder to qualify for if you have a low credit score.

While secured cards are an excellent tool for building or repairing credit, unsecured cards offer more benefits and higher limits for those with established good credit. Choosing between them depends on your current credit situation and financial goals. For those starting out or rebuilding, secured cards provide a valuable stepping stone towards financial stability.

Pros and Cons of Secured Credit Cards

Secured credit cards offer a unique set of advantages and drawbacks, making them a significant choice for certain financial situations. Understanding these can help you decide if a secured credit card is the right tool for your credit-building journey.

Pros of Secured Credit Cards

    badCredit icon

    Accessibility for New or Low Credit Scores

    Because secured credit cards require a security deposit, they present a lower risk to issuers. Approval for them is therefore more likely compared with unsecured cards.

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    Credit-Building Opportunity

    Regular, on-time payments made on a secured credit card are reported to credit bureaus. This reporting can positively impact your credit score, making these cards an effective tool for building or repairing credit.

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    Controlled Spending

    The credit limit on a secured card is often tied to the deposit amount. This can help foster responsible spending habits, because it limits the potential for accruing unmanageable debt.

Cons of Secured Credit Cards

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    Required Deposit

    A significant drawback of secured credit cards is the necessity of an upfront security deposit. This deposit can be a hurdle for those who are short on funds, despite its potential for refundability.

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    Lower Credit Limits

    Typically, secured credit cards offer lower credit limits compared with unsecured cards. While this can help with budgeting and spending control, it may also be limiting for users who need a higher credit line.

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    Fees and Interest Rates

    Secured credit cards can come with various fees, including annual fees, and often have higher interest rates compared with unsecured cards. These factors can increase the overall cost of maintaining the card.

Tips on Choosing the Best Secured Credit Card for You

Selecting the right secured credit card can be a crucial step in your financial journey. Make sure to consider key aspects like fees, interest rates and credit limits to find a card that matches your financial needs and goals.

Assess Annual Fees and Interest Rates

Look for a secured card with reasonable annual fees and competitive interest rates. While some secured cards have higher rates, shopping around can help you find a card with lower costs, which is essential when you're working on building or repairing your credit.

Examine Credit Limit Options

Your credit limit on a secured card is often equal to your deposit. Consider a card that offers a credit limit that suits your spending needs while also encouraging responsible credit use. Some cards may offer the opportunity to increase your limit over time without requiring an additional deposit.

Review Reporting to Credit Bureaus

Ensure that the secured card you choose reports to all three major credit bureaus (Experian, TransUnion and Equifax). Consistent reporting of your payment history is key to building or improving your credit score, which will help you qualify for cards that have better features.

Consider the Path to an Unsecured Card

Some secured cards offer a clear pathway to transition to an unsecured card after a period of responsible use. This feature can be beneficial because it provides a goal to work towards and a reward for good financial behavior without the hassle of applying for a new card.

Look for Additional Perks and Benefits

While secured cards are primarily used for building credit, some offer additional perks such as cashback rewards, free credit score access or fraud protection. These benefits can enhance the overall value of the card.

Understand the Deposit and Refund Policy

Pay attention to the terms regarding your security deposit. Look for cards that offer an easy deposit process and a clear policy on how and when your deposit can be refunded, especially if you transition to an unsecured card or close the account.

How to Build Credit With Secured Credit Cards

Building credit with a secured credit card is a strategic process that requires careful planning and disciplined spending. Here are key steps to effectively use a secured card for credit improvement.

    calendar icon

    Make Timely Payments

    The most critical aspect of building credit is making full, on-time payments each month. Late payments can negatively impact your credit score, so setting up reminders or automatic payments can be a helpful strategy.

    graphCard2 icon

    Keep Balances Low

    Aim to use only a small portion of your available credit. Your credit score will be improved by keeping your credit utilization low — ideally under 30% of your limit — because this signals responsible credit use.

    find icon

    Monitor Your Credit Score

    Regularly check your credit score to track your progress. Many secured card issuers provide free access to your credit score, which can help you understand how your financial behaviors influence your score.

    metalCard icon

    Gradually Increase Your Credit Limit

    If possible, increase your deposit to raise your credit limit over time. A higher credit limit, while maintaining low credit utilization, can further improve your credit score.

    pos icon

    Use the Card Regularly

    Regular, responsible use of your secured card demonstrates consistent and responsible credit behavior. Just be sure to avoid overspending and pay off your balance each month.

How to Apply for a Secured Credit Card

Applying for a secured credit card is a straightforward process, but it requires careful consideration and preparation. Here are the key steps to ensure a smooth application process.

Research and Compare Options

Start by researching various secured credit cards. Compare their fees, interest rates, credit limits and additional benefits. Look for cards that suit your financial needs and offer the best terms.

Check Your Credit Score

Understand your current credit score, as some secured cards have minimum score requirements. Knowing your score will help you identify which cards you're more likely to be approved for.

Gather Necessary Documentation

Prepare the required documents, which typically include proof of identity (like a driver's license or passport), proof of income and sometimes proof of residence. Having these documents ready can speed up the application process.

Plan Your Deposit

Decide on the amount you can comfortably deposit as security. Deposits for secured credit cards usually begin at around $200 and can go as high as $2,500 or more. This amount will usually determine your credit limit, so consider how much you're willing to tie up in the deposit versus your spending needs.

Apply Online or In-Person

Most issuers allow you to apply online, making the process convenient and fast. However, you can also apply in person at a bank or credit union if you prefer a more personal approach.

Read the Terms and Conditions Carefully

Before finalizing your application, thoroughly review the terms and conditions of the card. Pay special attention to the fees, interest rates and the policy regarding the return of your security deposit.

Wait for Approval and Card Issuance

After submitting your application, wait for approval from the card issuer. Once approved, your card will typically be mailed to you, and you can start using it per the issuer's guidelines.

Alternatives to a Secured Credit Card

Exploring alternatives to secured credit cards is important for those who might find them unsuitable or are looking for different ways to build or repair their credit. Several options exist, each with unique features catering to various financial needs and goals.

    businessPersonApplying icon

    Credit-Builder Loans

    Credit-builder loans are designed specifically to help build your credit score. Instead of receiving money upfront, you make payments into a loan account, and the lender reports these timely payments to credit bureaus. After the loan term ends, you receive the accumulated money, having built a better credit history in the process.

    coupleG icon

    Become an Authorized User

    You can become an authorized user on someone else's credit card, such as a family member with a good credit history. This method allows you to benefit from their credit history, but it requires trust and responsibility because the primary cardholder's credit can also be affected by your actions.

    studentThinking icon

    Student Credit Cards

    If you're a student, a student credit card can be a good start. These cards often have lower credit limits and are tailored to young adults with limited credit history, offering a way to build credit under less stringent conditions than standard cards.

    buyingACar icon

    Secured Loans

    Another option is to take a secured loan, where you borrow against an asset like a savings account or a car. These loans might offer lower interest rates than unsecured loans and can help build credit when payments are made on time.

    payingOffALoan icon

    Unsecured Credit Cards for Bad Credit

    If you have a low credit score, unsecured credit cards tailored for bad credit are available without a deposit. These cards often have higher interest rates and fees but offer an opportunity to build credit when used responsibly.

Next Steps

Selecting the best secured credit card is a personalized journey that aligns with your unique financial goals and current credit situation. While these cards serve as a valuable tool for credit building, your success ultimately hinges on informed decisions and responsible financial behavior.

Consider the broader picture of your financial health and how a secured card fits into it. This is just one step in a larger journey towards financial stability and creditworthiness. With the right approach and card, you're setting the foundation for a stronger financial future, opening doors to more opportunities and benefits down the line.

FAQ About the Best Secured Credit Cards

We answer some common questions about the best secured credit cards to help you make informed decisions and understand how secured credit cards can be a strategic tool for your financial success.

What makes a secured credit card different from a regular credit card?
How can a secured credit card improve my credit score?
Are there any secured credit cards that offer rewards programs?
What should I look for when choosing a secured credit card?
How much should I deposit for a secured credit card?
Can I get a secured credit card with a very low credit score?

Experts' Advice About Securing Secured Credit Cards

  1. What are some of the main benefits of having a secured credit card? Would you consider it worth it for most people?
  2. Are there any drawbacks associated with secured credit cards that consumers should be aware of?
  3. What advice would you give someone considering a secured credit card to help them manage their credit and financial health responsibly?
Salil K. Sarkar, Ph.D., CFA
Salil K. Sarkar, Ph.D., CFAProfessor of Finance, Coordinator, Doctoral Finance Program at The University of Texas at Arlington
Sean Spence
Sean SpenceAdjunct Professor in the School of Business at George Mason University
Dr. Ajay Patel
Dr. Ajay PatelThomas S. Goho Chair in Finance, Area Chair and Professor at Wake Forest University
Markia Brown
Markia BrownCredit Literacy Coach & Content Creator at The Money Plug
Joe Roberts, Ph.D.
Joe Roberts, Ph.D.Director, Center for Innovation and Professional Development at Webster University
Dr. Robert Chatt
Dr. Robert ChattAssistant Professor of Finance at Westfield State University
Richard M. Proctor
Richard M. ProctorAssociate Professor of Finance at University of Siena
Sherrill Shaffer, Ph.D.
Sherrill Shaffer, Ph.D.Guthrie Distinguished Professor of Banking and Financial Services Emeritus at the University of Wyoming
Brian J. Adams, Ph.D.
Brian J. Adams, Ph.D.Associate Dean of Graduate Business Programs and Professor of Finance at the University of Portland's Pamplin School of Business
Brandon Gregg
Brandon GreggMarket President and Financial Advisor at BBK Wealth Management
John Longo
John LongoProfessor of Finance at Rutgers Business School
Nirit Rubenstein
Nirit RubensteinCEO & Co-founder of Dovly
Gregory Germain
Gregory GermainProfessor at Syracuse University College of Law
Lawrence J. White
Lawrence J. WhiteProfessor of Economics, Stern School of Business, New York University
Yibing Du, Ph.D.
Yibing Du, Ph.D.Clinical Assistant Professor at The University of Texas at Arlington
Nadia C. Vanderhall
Nadia C. VanderhallFinancial Planner and Educator at The Brands + Bands Strategy Group
Frank Paiano
Frank PaianoProfessor Emeritus at Southwestern Community College, Registered Representative
Radhika Duggal
Radhika DuggalCMO, and Professor at NYU Stern School of Business
Susan Darrow
Susan DarrowAVP Branch Manager at Johnson Financial Group

About Grace Pilling

Grace Pilling headshot

Grace Pilling was the Senior Content Manager for Credit Cards at MoneyGeek. She previously led personal finance teams at Bankrate, and MoneyUnder30.

Pilling has a bachelor's degree in English from Western Sydney University and a diploma in book editing, proofreading and publishing. She is focused on empowering readers to make informed financial choices that support their best lives, not a company’s bottom line.

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