The Discover it® Secured Credit Card is a terrific choice if you have no credit history or a low credit score. This card reports your activity to the three major credit bureaus, helping you establish credit and become eligible for more premium cards in the future.

Though secured credit cards are usually light on benefits, the Discover it Secured is a rare option that offers attractive, ongoing cash back rewards and a first-year welcome bonus. Further, after seven months in “good standing,” or of using your card responsibly, you’ll be automatically considered for an unsecured credit card.

As a reminder: Details of the Discover it Secured Credit Card

  • Rewards rate: 2 percent cash back at gas stations and restaurants on up to $1,000 in combined purchases each quarter (then 1 percent); 1 back on all other purchases
  • Welcome bonus: Discover will match all the cash back you’ve earned at the end of your first year
  • Annual fee: $0
  • Intro APR: 10.99 percent intro APR for six months on balance transfers
  • Regular APR: 27.24 percent variable

Discover it Secured Credit Card benefits

The Discover it Secured Credit Card offers a surprising number of benefits, including cash back rewards that are comparable to those of unsecured credit cards. Here’s a list of the top Discover it Secured benefits to focus on:

Ongoing cash back rewards

The cash back rewards are likely the best benefit of this card. You’ll earn 2 percent cash back at gas stations and restaurants on up to $1,000 in combined purchases per quarter, then 1 percent. Further, you’ll earn 1 percent cash back on all spending outside of those categories. Rewards can be redeemed at any time, and there’s no minimum you need to earn before redeeming them.

Cashback Match welcome offer

As a welcome offer, Discover will match your cash back rewards at the end of your first year — known as Discover’s Cashback Match program. There’s no limit to how much you can earn, and there are no hoops to jump through in order to receive your bonus; it’s automatically applied. If you earn $100 in cash back during your first year of card membership, for example, Discover will award you an additional $100, for a total of $200 in cash back earnings.

Freeze it feature

Discover’s “Freeze it” feature lets you deactivate your card from your online portal or app, blocking new purchases, cash advances or balance transfers. This feature acts as an on-and-off switch for your card, which is helpful if your card is lost or stolen.

Automatic account reviews

Discover will automatically consider your eligibility for an unsecured card after you’ve been a Discover it Secured credit card holder for seven months. Typically, the issuer will take a look at your payment history and see how responsible you were in terms of card use.

Online Privacy Protection feature

With its Online Privacy Protection feature, Discover will remove any personal information about you from 10 of the most popular people-search websites. These websites often store personal information, such as addresses and phone numbers. Similar services typically charge around $100 per year.

You’ll also be able to receive free alerts whenever someone pulls your credit and if your Social Security number ever shows up on the dark web.

FICO credit score access

As a Discover it Secured credit card holder, you’ll have free access to your FICO credit score via the Discover mobile app. This can help you monitor your credit and keep track of what’s impacting it.

No annual fee

You won’t have to worry about offsetting the cost of this card with rewards earned given there is no annual fee. It’s common for secured credit cards to charge an annual fee between $25 and $50, so this perk will save you an extra expense.

To open an account, though, you will have to provide a refundable security deposit, which will become your credit line. You’ll need to provide $200 at a minimum, and the maximum credit limit is $2,500.

Maximizing the Discover it Secured Credit Card

The Discover it Secured works best as a transition or starter card — in other words, a card for building your credit until you can eventually graduate to an unsecured card with higher rewards.

The best way to receive the most benefits from this card is by paying your card on time and in full. That way, you’ll build your credit and be in the best possible position to be approved for an unsecured Discover card — such as the Discover it® Cash Back — after seven months. You’ll also want to avoid having to pay the card’s 27.24 percent variable APR, which could easily eat up your rewards.

To further boost your chances of graduating to an unsecured card, be sure to keep an eye on your credit score and personal info with this card’s various perks, as well.

The bottom line

The Discover it Secured Credit Card is one of the best secured credit cards available to those with limited or no credit given its ongoing cash back rewards structure, welcome offer and even its low-interest introductory period on balance transfers.

Before you make the call to apply, be sure to check out our list of the best secured credit cards for this month in case another option catches your eye.