Best Secured Credit Cards of 2018

Everyone makes mistakes, but sometimes those mistakes severely affect your credit. If you’re among the 21% of Americans who have a credit score below 600, a secured credit card might be your only option for card ownership. With a secured card, your credit limit will be established based on the cash collateral you deposit and your payment history may be reported to the three major credit bureaus — Equifax, Experian and TransUnion. That means using a secured card can help you create or rebuild your credit score when you establish an on-time payment record. Below is a ton of advice and our recommendations for the best secured credit cards from our partners to help you build your credit.

Bankrate.com is an independent, advertising-supported comparison service. The offers that appear on this site are from companies from which Bankrate.com receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site, including, for example, the order in which they may appear within listing categories. Other factors, such as our own proprietary website rules and the likelihood of applicants' credit approval also impact how and where products appear on this site. Bankrate.com does not include the entire universe of available financial or credit offers.

Editorial disclosure: All reviews are prepared by Bankrate.com staff. Opinions expressed therein are solely those of the reviewer and have not been reviewed or approved by any advertiser. The information, including card rates and fees, presented in the review is accurate as of the date of the review. Check the data at the top of this page and the bank’s website for the most current information.

Best for no annual fee

capital-one-platinum-credit-card-121217.png Card Image
Apply Now ON Capital One's secure website

Capital One® Secured Mastercard®

Recommended Credit Score:
300 - 670

A FICO score/credit score is used to represent the creditworthiness of a person and may be one indicator to the credit type you are eligible for. However, credit score alone does not guarantee or imply approval for any financial product.

300 850
N/A Purchases intro APR
N/A Balance Transfers intro APR
24.99% (Variable) Regular APR
$0 Annual Fee

Bankrate Score

84 out of 100

Card Details

  • 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
Terms and Restrictions Apply

Best overall secured credit card

discover-it-secured-card-012518.png Card Image
Apply Now ON Discover's secure website

Discover it® Secured

Recommended Credit Score:
See Terms

A FICO score/credit score is used to represent the creditworthiness of a person and may be one indicator to the credit type you are eligible for. However, credit score alone does not guarantee or imply approval for any financial product.

300 850
N/A Purchases intro APR
10.99% for 6 months Balance Transfers intro APR
24.99% Variable Regular APR
$0 Annual Fee

Bankrate Score

95 out of 100

Card Details

  • 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.
Terms and Restrictions Apply | Rates and Fees

Best for no monthly maintenance fee

citi-secured-mastercard-032817.png Card Image
Apply Now ON Citi's secure website

Citi® Secured Mastercard®

Recommended Credit Score:
No Credit History

A FICO score/credit score is used to represent the creditworthiness of a person and may be one indicator to the credit type you are eligible for. However, credit score alone does not guarantee or imply approval for any financial product.

300 850
N/A Purchases intro APR
N/A Balance Transfers intro APR
24.49%* (Variable) Regular APR
$0 Annual Fee

Bankrate Score

56 out of 100

Card Details

  • No Annual Fee, and unlike a prepaid card, it helps build credit history with monthly notifications to the credit bureaus
  • A security deposit is required for this product (minimum $200)
  • Pay your bill on time every month to avoid damaging your credit. Citi can help keep you on track with Auto Pay, online Bill Pay and alerts.
  • Use the card anywhere Mastercard® is accepted — worldwide
Terms and Restrictions Apply

Best for no minimum credit score requirement

opensky-secured-visa-credit-card-032917.png Card Image
Apply Now ON Capital Bank's secure website

OpenSky® Secured Visa® Credit Card

Recommended Credit Score:
See Terms

A FICO score/credit score is used to represent the creditworthiness of a person and may be one indicator to the credit type you are eligible for. However, credit score alone does not guarantee or imply approval for any financial product.

300 850
N/A Purchases intro APR
N/A Balance Transfers intro APR
19.14% (variable) Regular APR
$35 Annual Fee

Bankrate Score

68 out of 100

Card Details

  • 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.
Terms and Restrictions Apply

Best for no required credit check

first-progress-platinum-prestige-mastercard-secured-credit-card-010318.png Card Image
Apply Now ON First Progress's secure website

First Progress Platinum Prestige MasterCard® Secured Credit Card

Recommended Credit Score:
300 - 670

A FICO score/credit score is used to represent the creditworthiness of a person and may be one indicator to the credit type you are eligible for. However, credit score alone does not guarantee or imply approval for any financial product.

300 850
N/A Purchases intro APR
N/A Balance Transfers intro APR
10.24% (Variable) Regular APR
$49 Annual Fee

Bankrate Score

65 out of 100

Card Details

  • 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
Terms and Restrictions Apply

USAA® Secured Visa Platinum® Card

usaa-secured-card-platinum-visa-062915.png Card Image
Apply Now ON USAA's secure website
Recommended Credit Score:
300 - 670

A FICO score/credit score is used to represent the creditworthiness of a person and may be one indicator to the credit type you are eligible for. However, credit score alone does not guarantee or imply approval for any financial product.

300 850
N/A Purchases intro APR
N/A Balance Transfers intro APR
11.90% - 21.90% Variable Regular APR
$35 Annual Fee

Card Details

  • Best for members rebuilding or establishing credit
  • It's not a debit or prepaid card
  • Determine your own credit limit ($250 to $5,000) with a security deposit
  • USAA membership is available to active and former military and their eligible family members
Terms and Restrictions Apply

Editorial disclosure: All reviews are prepared by Bankrate.com staff. Opinions expressed therein are solely those of the reviewer and have not been reviewed or approved by any advertiser. The information, including card rates and fees, presented in the review is accurate as of the date of the review. Check the data at the top of this page and the bank’s website for the most current information.


Author: Bankrate Staff | Last Updated: November 1, 2018

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In This Article

How we chose our favorite secured cards

Here at Bankrate, we’re pretty serious about finding the best credit card for you. Bankrate experts have studied 228 secured credit cards to try and identify the best deal. Each card has been awarded a Bankrate score out of 100.

Review criteria

If you need a secured credit card, you’re probably focused on establishing or re-establishing credit. Our experts know that and have made sure to pay extra attention to this aspect of a secured credit card. Bankrate’s proprietary scoring method takes lots of factors into account when analyzing a card — the opportunity to build credit, the cards annual fees, security deposit, APR rates, introductory bonuses, balance transfers, hidden fees, rewards value, travel perks, and any extras and discounts. For secured cards we focused on the following factors:

  • Annual fee – A lot of secured credit cards will charge cardholders an annual fee. Our analysis takes into account the overall value offered by the card — through rewards and other perks — against the annual fee to make sure you’re getting enough bang for your buck.
  • Surprise fees – Secured cards can sometimes have extra fees that you may not see on other credit cards. We pay close attention to the fine print so we can factor these fees into the cards overall score and make sure you’re aware of them before.
  • Rewards – There are some secured cards that also have rewards. Rewards can be hard to understand but we make it simple with a breakdown that clearly shows the real value they offer to cardholders.
  • Extras and discounts – Some cards have extra advantages for cardholders. Introductory offers and standard benefits — such as Discover’s cashback match for the first year and social security number monitoring — are great perks.

Bankrate’s top picks for secured credit cards

Card Name Best for Bankrate Review Score
Capital One® Secured Mastercard® No annual fee 84/100
Discover it® Secured Overall secured credit card 95/100
Citi® Secured Mastercard® No monthly maintenance fee 56/100
OpenSky® Secured Visa® Credit Card No minimum credit score requirement 68/100
First Progress Platinum Prestige MasterCard® Secured Credit Card No required credit check 65/100

Expanded editor’s take on our best secured credit cards of 2018

Capital One® Secured Mastercard®

This is one of the only secured cards with a deposit requirement that could be lower than your limit.

Highlights:

  • Depending on your credit history, get a $200 credit line for either a $49, $99 or $200 deposit. You can deposit more to get a higher limit — up to $1,000.
  • The APR is a variable 24.99 percent, but there are no annual fees, application fees or foreign transaction charges.
  • If you make the first five payments on time, you can increase your credit limit without any additional deposits.

Discover it® Secured

This is one of the only no-fee secured cards that offer rewards, which are competitive with some unsecured credit cards.

Highlights:

  • Earn 2 percent back on gas stations and restaurants — up to $1,000 in combined purchases every quarter —  and get 1 percent back on everything else.
  • Minimum security deposit is $200 to open the account, but you can deposit up to $2,500 depending on your creditworthiness.
  • The APR is a variable 24.99 percent.

Citi® Secured Mastercard®

If your credit card wish list includes a secured card with no annual fee, no monthly maintenance fee, and higher credit limit options, the Citi® Secured Mastercard® may be right for you.

Highlights:

  • With a credit limit range of $200 to $2,500, this card gives those with subprime or no credit history the opportunity to have a higher credit limit than some other secured cards
    offer.
  • There are no annual or monthly maintenance fees, which means more money in your wallet.
  • This card comes with several travel and auto protections, including roadside assistance dispatch service and damage and theft protections.
  • Citi® Secured Mastercard® has a variable APR of 24.49%

OpenSky® Secured Visa® Credit Card

If you have the kind of credit score that would make a banker blush, the OpenSky Secured Visa Credit Card might be your savior. To apply for this card, you don’t need any credit history and there’s no credit check either.

Highlights:

  • The card reports monthly to all three credit bureaus.
  • You can choose a credit limit as low as $200.
  • The APR on this card is less than that of other secured cards—which typically hover between 24 percent up to 36 percent.

First Progress Platinum Prestige Mastercard® Secured Credit Card

If you’re looking for a secured card with an ultra-low APR, the First Progress Platinum Prestige Mastercard Secured Credit Card fits the bill. With an APR 10.24% variable, this rate bests even that of most unsecured cards.

Highlights:

  • This card reports to all three of the major credit bureaus, a must if you’re looking to improve your credit.
  • Approval is easy—there’s no credit check or minimum score requirement.
  • Credit limit ranges from $200 to $2,000, depending on how much you put down.

How secured credit cards work

A secured card functions similarly to a prepaid debit card. In most cases, the amount you put down as a security deposit on a secured card is equal to the amount of credit you’re granted. With a prepaid debit card, the amount of value on the card is equivalent to the amount you deposit. There are a few key differences though between the two types.

Unlike a prepaid debit card which just stores the value of the money, you’ve put on the card, a secured card functions like a credit card in that you don’t have to pay the entire balance at the time of purchase.

For example, with a prepaid debit card, if you have $500 on the card, and you make a $250 purchase, you have $250 left to spend on the card. After that, there’s no money left on the card unless you add more funds. With a secured card, if you have a $500 credit limit because you made a $500 security deposit, you can spend $250 on an item, but you don’t have to pay it immediately at the time of purchase. Just like with an unsecured credit card, you can pay back a portion of that $250 charge each month until it’s paid off but you will also accrue interest for each month you carry a balance.

It’s important to know that if you have poor credit due to prior financial missteps, carrying a balance on your secured card is only likely to further hurt your score, as the APRs on many secured cards are high. The best reason to own a secured card is because you want to show good payment habits and behaviors to the credit reporting agencies so you can improve your financial standing.

Who should get a secured credit card?

The main reason to own a secured card is to help repair or build your credit if you don’t qualify for an unsecured card—which is a typical credit card that allows you to charge up to a predetermined limit without depositing any money first as security. Secured cards, like unsecured cards, will charge you interest if you don’t pay your balance in full and on time every month. Because these cards are designed for those with little to no credit, the APRs on a secured card generally are higher than those of unsecured cards.

A secured card could be a good fit if:

  1. You are confident in your ability to pay your bill in full and on time every month.
  2. You plan to only charge what you can afford to pay back right away.
  3. Your goal in owning one is to improve your credit.

Pros and cons of secured credit cards

Pros

  • A secured card lets you have a credit card for the times when a merchant doesn’t accept cash—like a hotel room or car rentals.
  • With regular on-time payments, you can improve your credit score.
  • Because you can typically only spend up to the amount of your security deposit, a secured card can help keep your spending in check as you theoretically can’t spend more than you have.

Cons

  • Some secured cards may charge fees for opening the account, which can impact the amount of available credit you have left to use.
  • If you only qualify for a low limit on your secured card and you use the card too much, it can have a negative effect on your debt-to-available-credit ratio which can impact your score.
  • If you have a secured card that won’t let you eventually graduate to an unsecured card, when your credit improves, you could be stuck with a card you no longer need.
  • Many secured cards charge higher than average APRs, which can further hurt those who have trouble paying their bills each month.

Things to consider before you apply

Even if a secured card may initially seem like a good fit for you, it’s important to know if the card reports to at least one of the credit reporting agencies. Without reports of good payment behavior to the credit bureaus, your credit standing won’t improve.

Maintain good payment habits, and eventually, you’ll be able to switch to an unsecured card. It’s a good idea to choose a secured card that will allow you to “graduate” to an unsecured card after a period of time. This means the issuer will let you switch your card to another one within their portfolio that doesn’t require a security deposit. This can be a big deal as it allows you to avoid two things that can ding your credit—applying for a new line of credit and closing a card you’ll no longer use.

* See the online application for details about terms and conditions for these offers. Every reasonable effort has been made to maintain accurate information. However all credit card information is presented without warranty. After you click on the offer you desire you will be directed to the credit card issuer's web site where you can review the terms and conditions for your selected offer.