(Begin VIDEO with Bankrate.com anchor, Kristin Arnold introducing video topic)
Kristin's intro: Secured credit cards are often a good way to establish or boost your credit rating. Bankrate.com recently looked at the secured credit card offerings of the largest issuers and here with some tips is Greg McBride, senior financial analyst at Bankrate.com.
(Cut to a double screen of Kristin Arnold and Greg McBride)
Kristin: What is a secured credit card and why would a consumer choose one?
Greg: A secured credit card is one where you're making a cash deposit that serves as collateral. Now, that cash deposit is typically, but not always equal to the credit line that you're going to receive. And because whatever you charge is secured by that cash deposit, there's a lower risk of default. So, as a result, these cards can actually be a pretty good way to either establish or rehabilitate your credit at a responsible cost.
Kristin: What should consumers look for when shopping for a secured card?
Greg: Most importantly make sure that your timely payments are going to be reported to the three credit bureaus. Secondly, stay away from fees. You want to avoid application fees altogether ... and uh, even try to stay away from annual fees. Nearly half of the secured cards surveyed didn't have an annual fee. And finally, shop for the lowest interest rate, but better yet, pay off the balance in full every month.
Kristin: Does the deposit earn interest and how is it refunded?
Greg: In many cases your deposit will earn interest. More than half of the secured cards we looked at did pay interest, but it's comparable to what you get from a checking account ... about .1 percent, so you're not going to get rich. Now as far as the refund is concerned, as long as you haven't defaulted ... you've paid back what you owe ... yes, you'll get that deposit back to you either as a check or credited against your account. And that's the point where you're ready to graduate to a traditional unsecured credit card.
(Cut to one shot of Kristin on camera talking)
Kristin: Thank you Greg ... to see more of our credit card exclusive, just log onto Bankrate.com. I'm Kristin Arnold.
(END VIDEO CLIP)