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Secured credit cards: What to know

Establish or repair your credit
Establish or repair your credit

These days, credit cards are inescapable. But for consumers with either no credit history or poor credit, obtaining a credit card can be a real challenge. In cases where the issuer sees the prospective cardholder as too risky, one option is to apply for a secured credit card.

Unlike traditional credit cards, secured cards require the cardholder to put down a cash deposit that serves as collateral if the bill isn't paid on time. Typically, the deposit amount is also the cardholder's credit limit, at least at the beginning.

While secured credit cards are a relatively straightforward product, they aren't the same as prepaid cards, which apply money paid in advance to any charges incurred. Secured cards have more in common with traditional cards. Before consumers apply for one, they should be aware of the fine print. It pays to look for the best deal.


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Jeanine Skowronski

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