Updated on Oct 22, 2019

Best Secured Credit Cards for 2019

Take the first step toward positive credit with a secured credit card.
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Build your credit the smart way

A secured credit card is easier to get, even if your credit is poor, because they require an upfront cash deposit to guarantee the card instead of your credit score. Secured credit cards can help you rebuild credit because they report to the major credit bureaus. Secured credit cards operate on a cash collateral deposit that becomes your credit line. Put in $300 on a secured credit card and that becomes your credit limit. See below for our analysis of the best secured credit cards of 2019 and apply online for the card that best matches your needs to start rebuilding credit today.

Summary

Best Secured Credit Cards of 2019

Apply Now on Capital One's secure website

Best for Low Fees

Capital One® Secured Mastercard®

Security deposit $49, $99, or $200
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
  • 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 a deposit of $49, $99, or $200. 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 more 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 $39. 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.

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Best for Earning Rewards

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 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.
  • 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
  • INTRO OFFER: We automatically match all the cash back you've earned at the end of your first year.
  • Get an alert if we find your Social Security number on any of thousands of Dark Web sites.* Activate for free.
  • Issuer: Discover
  • Rewards Details: 2% cash back at gas stations and restaurants on up to $1,000 in combined purchases every quarter. 1% unlimited cash back on all other purchases.
  • Annual Fee: $0
  • Balance Transfer Fee: 3% intro balance transfer fee, up to 5% fee on future balance transfers (see terms)*
  • Cash Advance APR: 26.49% Variable
  • Introductory Balance Transfer APR: 10.99%
  • Introductory Balance Transfer Period: 6 months
  • Ongoing APR: 24.49% 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.

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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
  • Receive Your Card More Quickly with New Expedited Processing Option
  • No Credit History or Minimum Credit Score Required for Approval
  • Quick and Complete Online Application
  • Full-Feature Platinum Mastercard® Secured Credit Card
  • Good for Car Rental, Hotels; Anywhere Credit Cards Are Accepted!
  • Monthly Reporting to all 3 Major Credit Bureaus to Establish Credit History
  • Credit Line Secured by Your Fully-Refundable Deposit of $200 -- $2,000 Submitted with Application
  • Just Pay Off Your Balance and Receive Your Deposit Back at Any Time
  • 24/7 Online Access to Your Account
  • Nationwide Program though not yet available in NY, IA, AR, or WI *See Card Terms.
  • Issuer: Synovus Bank
  • Annual Fee: $49
  • Cash Advance APR: 19.74% (Variable)
  • Foreign Transaction Fee: 3% of the transaction amount
  • Ongoing APR: 10.74% (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 generally recommended that you pay your balance in full each month, but sometimes you need a little time. 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!

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Apply Now on Green Dot Bank's secure website

Best for High Credit Limit

Green Dot primor® Visa® Gold Secured Credit Card

Security deposit $200 to $5,000
Reward details None

Free monthly credit score Not available
Annual Fee $49
Highlights Provided by Green Dot Bank Show Highlights
  • Credit lines available from $200 to $5,000! Super Low Fixed 9.99% interest rate on purchases - with no penalty rate!
  • No minimum credit score requirements! We invite all credit types to apply! No processing or application fees!
  • Helps strengthen your credit with responsible card use. Reports to three national bureaus
  • Fast, easy application process. Choose your credit line and open your Personal Savings DepositnAccount to secure your line.
  • Issuer: Green Dot Bank
  • Annual Fee: $49
  • Cash Advance APR: 18.99% Fixed
  • Foreign Transaction Fee: 3% of each transaction in U.S. dollars.
  • Ongoing APR: 9.99% Fixed

Our two cents

Who should get it

The Green Dot primor® Visa® Gold Secured Credit Card’s refundable security deposit acts as collateral. Whatever amount you deposit becomes your credit limit and if you’d like to fund a credit card with a high credit limit, this card is for you.

How to use it
  • Deposit a minimum of $200 to open your secured line of credit. The deposit amount will be your credit limit.
  • Make your payments on time – Green Dot reports your payment history to the credit bureaus helping you rebuild your credit.
Consider this

Look out for the $49 annual fee as it will be assessed before you begin using your card and will reduce your initial available credit.

Why you'll love it

The Green Dot primor® Visa® Gold Secured Credit Card doesn’t require a bank account to get approved.

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Apply Now on Capital Bank's secure website

Best for No Credit Check

OpenSky® Secured Visa® Credit Card

Security deposit $200 to $3,000
Reward details None

Free monthly credit score Not available
Annual Fee $35
Highlights Provided by Capital Bank Show Highlights
  • 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.)
  • OpenSky provides credit tips and a dedicated credit education page on our website to support you along the way.
  • *View our Cardholder Agreement located at the bottom of the application page for details of the card.
  • Issuer: Capital Bank
  • Annual Fee: $35
  • Balance Transfer Fee: 5% of the amount of each Balance Transfer
  • Cash Advance APR: 19.14% (variable)
  • Foreign Transaction Fee: 3%
  • Ongoing APR: 19.14% (variable)
  • Penalty APR: None

Our two cents

Who should get it

The OpenSky® Secured Visa® Credit Card is not the cheapest secured card on the list, but no credit check is required. Like the Green Dot primor® Visa® Gold Secured Credit Card, you don’t need a bank account to qualify for the card. Although no credit check is required, the issuer will report payment history to the credit bureaus to help rebuild credit.

How to use it
  • Make a larger security deposit to boost your credit limit and improve your debt ratio to increase your credit score. Credit cards also score you on how you use your credit and prefer you don’t carry a balance that’s higher than 30 percent of your credit limit.
  • Make purchases and payments regularly to avoid a $10 per month account inactivity fee.
Consider this

The Open Sky® Secured Visa® will charge you a $10 monthly account inactivity fee if you don’t have any spending activity each statement period.

Why you'll love it

It’s quick and easy to get the OpenSky® Secured Visa® Credit Card and no credit check is required. If you can’t afford to have a hard pull on your credit history at the time because you’re about to apply for a mortgage or apply for a loan, this card is a good solution.

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Apply Now on OneUnitedBank's secure website

Best for Balance Transfer

UNITY® Visa Secured Credit Card

Security deposit $200 to $10,000
Reward details None

Free monthly credit score Not available
Annual Fee $39
Highlights Provided by OneUnitedBank Show Highlights
  • Unlike your Prepaid Card, UNITY Visa secured card can help you build your credit. Apply online in less than 5 minutes, and you could be approved today!
  • No Minimum Credit Score required; low fixed interest rate of 17.99%; Fully refundable FDIC security deposit* required at time of application; if you have a min of $250 to deposit immediately, you can start now!
  • No application fee or penalty rate
  • Monthly reporting to all 3 major credit bureaus
  • 24/7 online access to your account
  • *See the Cardholder Agreement for more details.
  • Issuer: OneUnitedBank
  • Annual Fee: $39
  • Balance Transfer Fee: Either $10 or 3% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater (maximum fee: $150)
  • Cash Advance APR: 17.99%
  • Foreign Transaction Fee: 2% of each transaction in U.S. dollars.
  • Ongoing APR: 17.99% (Fixed)

Our two cents

Who should get it

If you’re carrying high balances and would like to save on interest payments, transferring the balances to the UNITY® Visa Secured Credit Card will save you money. You’ll get a 9.95% introductory Balance Transfer rate for the first 6 months, which then goes to 17.99% fixed.

How to use it
  • Pay a deposit to set your credit limit.
  • Transfer a high-interest balance to this card if you can pay it off within 6 months to get the low introductory balance transfer APR of 9.95%.
Consider this

Watch out for the fees. You’ll incur a 3% foreign transaction fee when traveling abroad. Making late payments may not only negatively affect your credit score but will also cost you up to $10 as a late fee and $25 for returned payments.

Why you'll love it

Most of the best secured credit cards have no balance transfer option. The UNITY® Visa Secured Credit Card has a 9.95% APR introductory offer on balance transfers for 6 months at signup. After that, a fixed APR of 17.99% applies.

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Do you need a credit card for poor credit? How to tell

Credit cards nowadays are a necessary convenience. If you have poor credit, or no credit history at all, you’ll likely be declined for most types of financing. Secured credit cards are one of the best ways to build or repair credit. Secured cards require you to put down 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 can be difficult to get approved — even for a secured card.

Is it better to have a secured card or an unsecured card?

Both card types are valuable tools when you want to rebuild your credit. An unsecured credit card’s approval conditions focus on credit history. A minimum fair to average credit is needed to get approved. A secured card is a good solution for consumers with a poor credit history who can’t qualify for an unsecured card. Some of the best secured credit cards don’t require a credit check or bank account. Your deposit often becomes your credit limit.

How to rebuild your credit score

No matter what type of card you have, always treat your card like cash. 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 in interest charges and further damaging your credit score — both of which can be a severe blow to your financial health. Secured cards report 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. In terms of credit building, a secured credit card is no different than using an unsecured (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.

How to use a secured credit card to build or rebuild your credit:

It isn’t hard to apply for a secured credit card, but the most important thing to remember is to comparison shop and read the fine print. Not all secured credit cards are alike. You’ll want to look at:
  • Have the right mindset for a secured credit card: If you’re going to apply for a secured credit card, you want to make sure that you’re in a financially good — or at least decent — place. In other words, are you paying your other bills on time? Do you feel like you’re on track? You may have had some rough times that hurt your credit — are you past them? Because you can still end up paying interest and getting late fees with a secured credit card, even though you’re borrowing against your own deposit. You don’t want to get into a position where you’re missing payments and your secured card is costing you even more money and making your credit score worse.
  • Make small purchases: This isn’t the time to max out your secured credit card. If you really want to show your card issuer that things are different, use your secured credit card regularly – but on small, necessary purchases you can pay off right away. Fill up your tank with gas, but then pay it off — preferably, immediately.
  • Pay your bill on time: That’s pretty obvious, right? Your on-time payment history is the single biggest factor in your credit score. No need to elaborate. Just don’t be late with a payment.
  • Don’t carry a balance: It won’t necessarily kill your credit score if you carry one, but it won’t help it, and raising your score is the goal, right? So beyond just making your payments on time, make sure you pay off the whole balance, every month. That will show your secured credit card issuer that you’re turning over a new leaf.
  • Keep your credit utilization ratio low: We just mentioned this, but let’s say it again: Lenders like to see a credit card user, whether you have a secured credit card or an unsecured one, use no more than 30% of their available credit each month. So if you have a $200 credit limit, try to spend no more than $60 before you pay it off. Yes, it’s annoying, and it means you won’t be buying much more than a tank of gas at a time. But if you want to build your credit, lenders need to see that you have willpower and aren’t coming anywhere close to maxing out your card every month.
  • Make sure your secured credit card reports to the credit bureaus: Not just two. Not one. All three of them. You can be the most responsible credit card user in the world, but it doesn’t do you much good if the credit bureaus aren’t getting any information about your balances and how quickly you pay them off.

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