Reporting to credit agencies
Because most consumers who choose secured credit cards need to build or repair their credit, it's essential that the card issuer report the account to all three credit reporting agencies.
"(Reporting) is the most important part of using a secured card, because there's no point in using these cards if they don't (help improve your credit score)," says Brad Smith, CEO of Rescue One Financial.
According to Smith, consumers can make sure that the card reports to all three credit bureaus by reading the terms of the agreement. Or they can simply call and ask the issuer.
"Many cards will only report to one bureau so I would definitely verify this information prior to signing any agreement," Smith says.
Once you've verified that information and started using the card, Smith says it's also a good idea to take advantage of your annual free credit report (each of the three major credit bureaus is required by law to give you one a year upon request through AnnualCreditReport.com). You should see the secured card listed on each credit report.