Updated on Dec 11, 2018

Best Secured Credit Cards for 2018

Take the first step toward positive credit with a secured credit card.
Advertiser Disclosure

Independently researched content by us. Free financial advice for you. To do that, we may get compensation when you click on our partners’ products. Our lists consist of the best cards from our partners. Not all cards in the marketplace have been evaluated. View our full advertiser disclosure to learn more.

With a secured credit card, you can rebuild or establish a healthy credit history without living beyond your means. Unlike standard cards, secured credit cards operate based on a cash collateral deposit that becomes your credit line. Put in $300 on a secured credit card and that’s your limit. There are also plenty of perks, which are featured in our rundown of the best secured credit cards for 2018.

See for yourself what this year’s best secured credit cards have to offer and apply online in minutes for the one that’s right for you.

The Simple Dollar’s top picks for the best secured credit cards

Learn More on Capital One's secure website

Best for low fees

Capital One® Secured Mastercard®

Security deposit $49, $99, or $200 based on creditworthiness
Reward details None

Free monthly credit score Available
Annual Fee $0
Highlights Provided by Capital One Show Highlights
  • No annual fee, and all the credit building benefits with responsible card use
  • Unlike a prepaid card, it builds credit when used responsibly, with regular reporting to the 3 major credit bureaus
  • You will get an initial $200 credit line after making a security deposit of $49, $99, or $200, determined based on your creditworthiness
  • Get access to a higher credit line after making your first 5 monthly payments on time with no additional deposit needed
  • Easily manage your account 24/7 with online access, by phone or using our mobile app
  • It's a credit card accepted at millions of locations worldwide
  • Issuer: Capital One
  • Annual Fee: $0
  • Balance Transfer Fee: $0
  • Cash Advance APR: 26.99% (Variable)
  • Foreign Transaction Fee: None
  • Introductory APR: N/A
  • Introductory APR Period: N/A
  • Introductory Balance Transfer APR: N/A
  • Introductory Balance Transfer Period: N/A
  • Ongoing APR: 26.99% (Variable)
  • Penalty APR: None

Our two cents

Who should get it

For a minimal security deposit, consider the Capital One® Secured Mastercard®. You could get a $200 line of credit for as little as $49, $99, or $200, determined based on your creditworthiness. Use your card responsibly to possibly qualify for a credit limit upgrade after five months – no additional deposit.

How to use it
  • Deposit $49, $99, or $200 to open a $200 line of credit. Add funds for more credit.
  • Pay your balance in full and on time to avoid interest, build credit, and possibly increase your credit line.
  • Keep an eye on your credit score with Capital One’s CreditWise tool.
Consider this

The Capital One® Secured Mastercard® has 26.99% variable APR, plus a late payment fee of up to $38. Pay your balance in full and on time each month to avoid interest and fees.

Why you'll love it

There’s no annual fee and minimal upfront costs with the Capital One® Secured Mastercard®, allowing you to rebuild credit and possibly qualify for a deposit refund and higher credit line.

Start your application now Back to top

Best rewards secured card

Discover it® Secured

Security deposit $200 to $2,500
Reward details 2% cash back at gas stations and restaurants; 1% cash back on other purchases

Free monthly credit score Available
Annual Fee $0
Highlights Provided by Discover Show Highlights
Card Highlights Provided by Discover:
  • 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 from $200-$2500 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.
  • 2% cash back at gas stations and restaurants on up to $1,000 in combined purchases every quarter, automatically. Plus, earn unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases.
  • Get 100% U.S. based customer service & get your free Credit Scorecard with your FICO® Credit Score
  • We automatically match all the cash back you’ve earned at the end of your first year.
  • Receive FREE Social Security number alerts-Discover will monitor thousands of risky websites when you sign up.
  • Issuer: Discover
  • Rewards Details: 1% unlimited cash back on all other purchases. 2% cash back at gas stations and restaurants on up to $1,000 in combined purchases every quarter.
  • Annual Fee: $0
  • Balance Transfer Fee: 3%
  • Cash Advance APR: 26.99% Variable
  • Introductory APR: N/A
  • Introductory APR Period: N/A
  • Introductory Balance Transfer APR: 10.99%
  • Introductory Balance Transfer Period: 6 months
  • Ongoing APR: 24.99% Variable

Our two cents

Who should get it

If you want to build credit while earning rewards, consider the Discover it® Secured. You’ll earn up to 2% cash back at restaurants and gas stations (up to $1,000 on combined purchases each quarter) with automatic cash back matching your first year. Use your card responsibly and you may qualify for a deposit refund after eight months.

How to use it
  • Deposit $200 to $2,500 to open your secured line of credit.
  • Earn 2% cash back at restaurants and gas stations (up to $1,000 on combined purchases each quarter) and 1% cash back everywhere else.
  • Pay your balance in full and on time to avoid interest, build credit, and possibly receive a deposit refund.
Consider this

Take advantage of free FICO® credit score reporting to monitor your score. As it improves, consider upgrading to an unsecured credit card.

Why you'll love it

With the Discover it® Secured, you can build positive credit with no annual fee or penalty APR while earning cash back rewards.

Start your application now Back to top
Apply Now on U.S. Bank's secure website

Best for moving to an unsecured card

U.S. Bank Secured Visa® Card

Security deposit $300 to $5,000
Reward details None. However, your security deposit will be placed in an interest-earning savings account.

Free monthly credit score Not available
Annual Fee $29
Highlights Provided by U.S. Bank Show Highlights
  • You are not responsible for unauthorized transactions if your U.S. Bank Secured Visa card is ever lost or stolen.
  • detects and notifies you of any unusual card activity to help prevent fraud.
  • It's yours automatically - at no extra cost - when you charge your entire car rental on your U.S. Bank Secured Visa Card and decline the rental company's collision damage waiver option. Coverage on a 24-hour basis for damage due to collision or theft.
  • The easiest way to bank online! With this service you can view current statements, download account history, check your balance, make a payment from your U.S. Bank Checking or Savings account, get a cash advance and much more.
  • Take advantage of this easy way to pay bills online.
  • U.S. Bank offers this online tool that can help you avoid interest and late fees with automatic payments that put you in control. It can also help you pay down a balance faster. Learn more at usbank.com/flexcontrol.
  • Issuer: U.S. Bank
  • Annual Fee: $29
  • Balance Transfer Fee: Either 3% of the amount of each transfer or $5 minimum, whichever is greater.
  • Cash Advance APR: 24.99%
  • Foreign Transaction Fee: 2% USD, 3% Foreign Currency
  • Ongoing APR: 19.99%
  • Penalty APR: Not applicable

Our two cents

Who should get it

The U.S. Bank Secured Visa® Card is for anyone who wants to transition to an unsecured account. After a year of responsible use, request an account review to upgrade your status!

How to use it
  • Deposit $300 to $5,000 to open your secured line of credit.
  • Pay your balance in full and on time to avoid interest, build credit, and possibly upgrade to an unsecured credit card.
Consider this

Keep your credit utilization low and your balance paid in full and on time to upgrade to an unsecured credit card.

Why you'll love it

With the U.S. Bank Secured Visa® Card, you have a straightforward path to building positive credit and possibly qualifying for an upgrade to an unsecured credit card.

Start your application now Back to top
Apply Now on First Progress' secure website

Best for low APR

First Progress Platinum Prestige MasterCard® Secured Credit Card

Security deposit $200 to $2,000
Reward details None

Free monthly credit score Not available
Annual Fee $49
Highlights Provided by Synovus Bank Show Highlights
  • Fund your new MasterCard® secured credit card with your tax refund today!
  • Our card reports monthly to all three major bureaus and approval is based upon a fully-refundable security deposit.
  • We can approve you at any credit score, no minimum required.
  • No processing or application fees required.
  • Full-featured Platinum MasterCard, accepted for car rentals, hotels, and millions of other locations worldwide.
  • Credit Line Secured by Your Fully-Refundable Deposit of $200 - $2,000 Submitted with Application
  • Nationwide Program though not yet available in NY, IA, AR, or WI
  • Issuer: Synovus Bank
  • Annual Fee: $49
  • Cash Advance APR: 19.24% (Variable)
  • Foreign Transaction Fee: 3% of the transaction amount
  • Ongoing APR: 10.24% (Variable)

Our two cents

Who should get it

If you carry a balance occasionally, consider the First Progress Platinum Prestige MasterCard® Secured Credit Card. It’s recommended you pay your balance in full each month, but things happen. In those cases, you can rely on this card’s low APR.

How to use it
  • Deposit $200 to $2,000 to open your secured line of credit.
  • Pay your balance in full and on time to avoid interest, build credit, and possibly receive a credit line increase.
Consider this

Don’t fall back on the low APR if you can avoid it. Paying your balance in full and on time helps you avoid interest and can help boost your credit score.

Why you'll love it

You can rely on the First Progress Platinum Prestige MasterCard® Secured Credit Card to pay less in interest while building credit. Just don’t get in the habit of carrying a balance!

Start your application now Back to top

What is a secured credit card?

Unlike regular credit cards (unsecured credit cards), secured credit cards are bankrolled by you, not the card issuer. That means to open an account you’ll have to pay a security deposit that also serves as your credit limit, minus the fees. (If you deposit $400, then your credit limit is roughly $400.)

That makes secured credit cards far less risky for lenders. In turn, they don’t require an excellent credit score to qualify, and are a great tool for building or even repairing your credit history. If you use one correctly, you’ll also improve your credit score enough to qualify for a credit card with a rewards program.

No matter what type you have, always treat your card like cash

It doesn’t matter what type of card you have or what your credit limit is: Don’t spend more than you can pay in full every month. If you carry a balance from month to month, you’ll risk paying a bunch on interest charges and crippling your credit score — both of which can be a severe blow to your financial health.

What is a good credit score?

FICO® and VantageScore are the two most common types of credit scores. (There are several types of credit scores.) Each one has a slightly different rating scale, but a score of 700 and above is generally considered to be good. If your score is greater than 800, then you’re in excellent shape.

Keeping a healthy credit score is incredibly important in today’s economy. Having a low score can impact your ability to qualify for the loan you need to buy your first home or the vehicle you need to commute to work. And if you do qualify, having a low score means you won’t receive the best rate that you could get.

FICO Score Range
Very Poor 300-579
Fair 580-669
Good 670-739
Very Good 740-799
Exceptional 800-850
VantageScore Range
Very Poor 300-549
Poor 550-649
Fair 650-699
Good 700-749
Excellent 750-850

Can I get a secured credit card with bad credit?

If you have poor credit, or no credit history at all, secured credit cards are one of the best ways to build or repair credit. Secured cards require a security deposit, and that means the approval qualifications are more relaxed than other cards.

But that doesn’t mean you’ll always be approved. If your credit history is filled with red flags, like bankruptcy or multiple missed payments, it be difficult to get approved — even for a secured card.

Will a secured credit card raise my credit score?

It absolutely can, if used responsibly. Even though your deposit determines the credit limit with a secured credit card, it still has the potential to raise your score. This is because secured cards appear to credit bureaus like any other revolving line of credit. Just make sure you observe responsible credit use when making purchases and payments on your secured card. That means paying on time and, if possible, paying off your balance in full every month.

Will raising my credit score be faster or slower using a secured credit card?

In terms of credit building, a secured credit card is no different than using a nonsecured (regular) credit card. Used responsibly, you could begin to see your credit score improve in as little as six months.

Just be sure to keep your credit utilization ratio below 30%. Since secured credit cards use your deposit as the credit limit, it’s easy to feel like you can max it out without consequences. But if you have a $250 credit limit, a month-to-month balance of just $80 will increase your credit utilization above 30% and your credit score could be affected.

Will closing a secured credit card hurt my credit standing?

It could, depending on the situation and a couple of key factors. You could be penalized for reducing the average age of your active accounts if your secured credit card was the first account on your credit report. Additionally, if you are carrying any balances on other open accounts, closing your secured credit card might raise your average credit utilization. In some cases, pushing your utilization beyond 50% could negatively impact your score.

Here’s what to do if you’re denied

If you are denied credit, don’t fret. The first thing you should do is ask your lender why you were denied. If a lender denies you credit because of your credit report, the lender is required by law to provide you a free copy of that report. But if your denial is due to an error on your credit report, you can dispute the error.

If that proves unsuccessful, consider going to your local credit union. Many credit unions offer share-secured loans and credit builder loans, both of which are great for kickstarting credit repair. Call or visit the institution to see whether you qualify.

  • Share-secured loans

    Share-secured loans are similar to secured credit cards, but there’s no piece of plastic to put in your wallet. Once you deposit money into the account, you can borrow against it.
  • Credit builder loans

    Instead of getting a lump sum of money up-front like a shared-secured loan, you make regular payments that serve as a layaway of your money. Once you’ve made all the payments, you can access the loan funds.

For even more information about how to quickly repair your score, read our guide to building credit.

Best secured credit cards of 2018

  • Capital One® Secured Mastercard® : Best for low fees
  • Discover it® Secured : Best overall
  • U.S. Bank Secured Visa® Card : Best for moving to an unsecured card
  • First Progress Platinum Prestige MasterCard® Secured Credit Card : Best for low APR

Editorial Note: Compensation does not influence our rankings and recommendations. However, we may earn a commission on sales from the companies featured in this post. To view a list of partners, click here. Opinions expressed here are the author's alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by our advertisers. Reasonable efforts are made to present accurate info, however all information is presented without warranty. Consult our advertiser's page for terms & conditions.