Bankrate-Icons-Final Editor's Pick

Best secured card for building credit

Apply now
On Capital One's secure site
Rewards rate

N/A

Intro offer
N/A
Annual fee
$0
Regular APR
26.99% (Variable)
Recommended credit
No Credit History 

BEST SECURED CARD FOR FLAT-RATE REWARDS

Apply now
On Capital One's secure site
Rewards rate
  • 5% Earn unlimited 5% cash back on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel, where you'll get Capital One's best prices on thousands of trip options. Terms apply
  • 1.5% Earn unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase, everywhere
Intro offer
N/A
Annual fee
$0
Regular APR
26.99% (Variable)
Recommended credit
No Credit History 

Best secured card with rewards

Apply now
On Discover's secure site
Rewards rate
  • 2% Earn 2% cash back at Gas Stations and Restaurants on up to $1,000 in combined purchases each quarter.
  • 1% Earn unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases – automatically.
Intro offer
Cashback Match™ 
Annual fee
$0
Regular APR
24.49% Variable
Recommended credit
No Credit History 
Apply now
On Self's secure site
Rewards rate

N/A

Intro offer
N/A
Annual fee
$25
Regular APR
24.24% (Variable)
Recommended credit
No Credit History 

Best for no minimum credit score requirement

Apply now
On Capital Bank's secure site
Rewards rate

N/A

Intro offer
N/A
Annual fee
$35
Regular APR
18.99% (variable)
Recommended credit
No Credit History 

Best for no monthly maintenance fee

Apply now
On Citi's secure site
Rewards rate

N/A

Intro offer
N/A
Annual fee
$0
Regular APR
24.74% (Variable)
Recommended credit
No Credit History 
Apply now
On First Progress's secure site
Rewards rate

N/A

Intro offer
N/A
Annual fee
$29
Regular APR
22.24% (Variable)
Recommended credit
No Credit History 
Apply now
On First Progress's secure site
Rewards rate

N/A

Intro offer
N/A
Annual fee
$49
Regular APR
12.24% Variable
Recommended credit
No Credit History 

Compare Bankrate’s top secured credit cards

Card Name Best For Annual fee Bankrate Review Score
Capital One Platinum Secured Credit Card Building credit $0 4.2 / 5
(Read full card review)
Capital One Quicksilver Secured Cash Rewards Credit Card Secured card for flat-rate rewards $0 3.8 / 5
(Read full card review)
Discover it Secured Credit Card Secured card with rewards $0 5 / 5
(Read full card review)
Self – Credit Builder Account with Secured Visa Credit Card Building credit with savings $25 3.1 / 5
(Read full card review)
OpenSky Secured Visa Credit Card No minimum credit score requirement $35 3.1 / 5
(Read full card review)
Citi Secured Mastercard No monthly maintenance fee $0 3.0 / 5
(Read full card review)
First Progress Platinum Elite Mastercard Secured Credit Card Easy application and processing $29 2.9 / 5
(Read full card review)
First Progress Platinum Prestige Mastercard Secured Credit Card No required credit check $49 2.6 / 5
(Read full card review)

A closer look at our best secured credit cards

Capital One Platinum Secured Credit Card: Best secured card for building credit

  • What we love about the Capital One Platinum Secured: With this card, you can start with a refundable security deposit of either $49, $99 or $200, but your initial credit limit will be at least $200 no matter what you put down. After demonstrating responsible habits, Capital One may automatically increase your credit limit in as little as six months.
  • Who this card is good for: Credit newbies and people who need to rebuild their credit with an affordable card that streamlines the focus on credit building.
  • Alternatives: If rewards are something you’re after, even among secured cards, the Discover it Secured offers some of the most competitive rewards rates among secured credit cards. Just keep in mind that you’ll be required to put down at least a $200 security deposit on the Discover it, a larger up front cost than what’s required with the Capital One Platinum Secured.

Read our full Capital One Platinum Secured Credit Card review or jump back to offer details.

Capital One Quicksilver Secured Cash Rewards Credit Card: Best secured card for flat-rate rewards

  • What we love about the Capital One Quicksilver Secured: Few secured credit cards offer rewards and many of the ones that do impose caps on earnings, so this card’s offer of unlimited 1.5 percent cash back on every purchase is truly noteworthy.
  • Who this card is good for: Credit builders seeking out hassle-free rewards as they work to build better credit.
  • Alternatives: Few secured cards on the market offer rewards, the Quicksilver Secured is already a step ahead of a lot of secured card options. If you’re willing to forego rewards in exchange for a slightly lower APR, which could save you a bit on interest if you ever have to carry a balance, the Citi Secured Mastercard has a slightly more palatable variable APR alongside not charging a monthly maintenance fee.

Read our full Capital One Quicksilver Secured Cash Rewards Credit Card review or jump back to offer details.

Discover it Secured Credit Card: Best secured card with rewards

  • What we love about the Discover it Secured: The cash back rewards opportunity this card provides is pretty much unheard of even among the best secured credit cards. Plus, Discover will match all of the cash back you’ve earned at the end of your first year.
  • Who this card is good for: Rewards seekers and credit builders alike who don’t want to sacrifice earning opportunities because they are building or rebuilding credit.
  • Alternatives: The Petal® 2 “Cash Back, No Fees” Visa® Credit Card may be an option to look into, as it’s recommended for people with little to no credit history and offers a competitive rewards rate while incentivizing good credit habits. Plus, this card is unsecured so you won’t need to worry about a security deposit at all.

Read our full Discover it Secured Credit Card review or jump back to offer details.

Self – Credit Builder Account with Secured Visa Credit Card: Best secured card for building credit with savings

  • What we love about the Self — Credit Builder Account + Secured Visa Card: The savings account and credit card combination is a unique pairing in the first place. You can also begin building your credit score before ever obtaining a card with this set up.
  • Who this card is good for: Savvy savers and credit builders interested in building up savings, establishing a credit mix and working on their credit score all at once.
  • Alternatives: As unique as this card and savings account combo is, it can get a bit complicated when it comes to managing the tool. The Capital One Quicksilver Secured card offers low-maintenance flat-rate rewards and skips the annual fee, so you won’t have to foot the bill for much outside of your security deposit.

Read our Self – Credit Builder Account with Secured Visa Credit Card review or jump back to offer details.

OpenSky Secured Visa Credit Card: Best secured card for no minimum credit score requirement

  • What we love about the OpenSky Secured Visa: This card doesn’t even require a checking account to open, furthering the lenient approval process. You also set your own credit limit with whatever you submit as a deposit and you can put down up to $3,000.
  • Who this card is good for: Credit-building self-starters who want to be in charge of setting their own credit limit and who don’t mind putting a little more investment in their journey in exchange for more lenient approvals.
  • Alternatives: The greatest drawback of this card is its $35 annual fee on top of whatever you put down as a security deposit. The Petal® 1 “No Annual Fee” Visa® Credit Card is unsecured so you won’t need to put down a security deposit to get the card. It also has no annual fee and is recommended for people who have little or no credit history.

Read our full OpenSky Secured Visa Credit Card review or jump back to offer details.

Citi Secured Mastercard: Best secured card for no monthly maintenance fee

  • What we love about the Citi Secured Mastercard: You’ll get exclusive access to the Citi Entertainment program, where you can find pre-sale and Citi preferred tickets for concerts, events and other fun-filled opportunities.
  • Who this card is good for: No-fuss credit-builders who want a well balanced and fairly affordable card to get their credit-building journey started.
  • Alternatives: With no annual fee, no rewards program and no welcome offer, the Citi Secured Mastercard places a strict focus on credit building and not much else. If you’re after a bit more incentive for your efforts, the Discover it Secured is the best secured on the market that offers rewards. You’ll also reap the benefits of Discover’s Cashback Match program as your welcome offer and you still won’t have an added annual fee on top of your security deposit.

Read our full Citi Secured Mastercard review or jump back to offer details.

First Progress Platinum Elite Mastercard Secured Credit Card: Best secured card for easy application and processing

  • What we love about the First Progress Platinum Elite: In addition to making your application process as smooth as possible, the First Progress reports all of its credit data to all three major credit bureaus so you’ll know you’re giving yourself the best shot at speedy credit growth.
  • Who this card is good for: No-fuss credit builders who want to get in, get a card and get started right away with building credit with few questions asked.
  • Alternatives: The Capital One Platinum Secured card has no annual fee and your security deposit could be as low as $49. The Capital One Platinum Secured also has a fairly easy path to upgrade to more unsecured options in the Capital One card portfolio, which isn’t necessarily the case with the First Progress Platinum Elite.

Read our full First Progress Platinum Elite Mastercard Secured Credit Card review or jump back to offer details.

First Progress Platinum Prestige Mastercard Secured Credit Card: Best secured card for no required credit check

  • What we love about the First Progress Platinum Prestige: The 12.24 percent variable APR is lower than most cards, making it a great choice if you know you’ll have to carry a balance. Also, with this card’s lack of a credit check, you’ll avoid a hard credit inquiry and won’t take any major dings to your score for the application.
  • Who this card is good for: Credit rebuilders who could use a break on any hits to their credit score. This card doesn’t require a credit check, making it a viable option even if you have an unsavory financial history.
  • Alternatives: This card is ideal for consumers who may need to carry a balance often and want to avoid major dings to their credit. If you want to skip the $49 annual fee and carrying a balance is not something you think you’ll need to account for, the Capital One Quicksilver Secured card has no annual fee, competitive and unlimited flat-rate rewards and is still a viable option for folks with little to no credit history.

Read our full First Progress Platinum Prestige Mastercard Secured Credit Card review or jump back to offer details.


What is a secured credit card?

A secured credit card is a type of card backed by collateral, usually in the form of a deposit from the cardholder. This deposit often serves as your credit limit. The typical consumer who gets a secured card has no credit history or a low credit score, but the deposit makes a secured card easier to qualify for. You might have an opportunity to upgrade to an unsecured card with no deposit if you use the secured card responsibly.

Pros and cons of secured credit cards

Pros

  • Access to a credit card in credit-only situations—A secured card lets you have a credit card for the times when a merchant doesn’t accept cash, like for a hotel reservation or a rental car.
  • Chance to improve your credit score—With regular on-time payments, you can improve your credit score with a secured credit card.
  • Responsible spending accountability—Because you can typically spend only up to the amount of your security deposit, a secured card can help keep your spending in check.

Cons

  • Extra fees—Some secured cards may charge fees for opening the account, which can reduce the amount of available credit you have left to use.
  • Easy to outgrow—If you have a secured card that won’t let you eventually graduate to an unsecured card, you could be stuck with a card you no longer need when your credit improves.
  • High regular APRs—Many secured cards charge higher than average APR, which can be expensive if you don’t pay your credit card bill on time and in full.

 

Who should get a secured credit card?

Getting a secured card can be an excellent path to take on the journey to a good credit score. Their relaxed application requirements make them a great fit for many types of people looking to build or repair their credit:

Still unsure if a secured credit card is right for you? Check out our Credit Card Spender Type Tool where you can get personalized credit card recommendations based on your credit score, spending habits and daily needs.

Who should skip a secured credit card?

How to choose the best secured credit card

If you’re looking for a secured credit card, it’s important to remember what they’re for: building or repairing credit. Secured cards won’t come with luxury perks, but with intelligent use, you’ll be on your way to qualifying for premium cards. Here’s what to consider when choosing a secured credit card:

    • What are the security deposit requirements? Look for cards that have favorable security deposit minimums and maximums. Higher deposit requirements can make it difficult to open an account if you can’t afford them. Low security deposits for secured cards could limit how you can use the card, especially if your deposit functions as your credit limit. A low deposit can make it harder to have a low credit utilization ratio. It’s best to find a good middle ground, or a card that may give you a larger limit despite a lower deposit.
    • Is there a path to upgrade? Secured cards are temporary solutions to help you build credit for future financial goals. Some of the best secured card issuers also have cards for good and excellent credit. When you’ve improved your credit, you can potentially acquire these cards, often without incurring another hard inquiry on your credit report or closing your current account.
    • What’s the issuer’s reputation? If you’re searching for a secured credit card, you likely don’t have the best credit score. Some card issuers who market directly to consumers with bad credit charge absurdly high interest rates and exorbitant fees. These companies also typically come with less-than-favorable consumer reviews. Be sure to complete a quick internet search when shopping for card companies so you can find out what other customer experiences have been.
    • What are your approval odds? While secured cards are among the easiest to qualify for, that doesn’t mean you’ll be approved for every secured card available. Some secured credit card issuers won’t give cards to consumers with past bankruptcies, high levels of debt or incomes that are too low.

You can use Bankrate’s CardMatch™ tool and check out some cards you may be prequalified for to see if they’re a good match for you.

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Bankrate Insight
Getting ahold of your credit report is only half the battle—you also need to know how to interpret it. Check out our guide to reading your credit report to make sure you’re not missing any errors.

How to get a secured credit card

  • Look for and utilize prequalified offers. Many cards and issuers will let you know ahead of time (with near-certainty) whether you’ll be approved, so you don’t have to go through the full process or take a hit to your credit. Bankrate’s CardMatch feature is an easy way to find a selection of cards you may be prequalified for.
  • Make sure you have enough money for the deposit. It could be as low as $49 or as high as a few thousand dollars, depending on the card and the issuer. Some cards require a bank account to pay for the deposit, while others allow payment by check or money order.
  • Seek out secured cards that report to at least one of the major credit bureaus. Reports of good payment behavior to Equifax, Experian or TransUnion are essential for building or repairing credit.

How to upgrade to an unsecured card

After using your secured card responsibly for a while, your credit score should start to rise. Progress happens quickly if you keep your balances low and make your payments on time. Once you’ve achieved a good credit score (FICO or VantageScore of 670 or greater), you can think about shopping around for an unsecured card that might offer better rewards programs and lower fees. Here are some steps on how to upgrade to an unsecured card.

  1. Start by looking for secured cards that also have an unsecured option. Some credit cards have both a secured and unsecured version. If that’s the case with your secured card, you may be able to simply call the customer service line and ask to upgrade for free. Some issuers may even allow you to upgrade to a variety of unsecured cards while keeping the same account. Keep in mind that you may not be eligible for the new card’s sign-up bonus if you’re upgrading from a secured card.
  2. Apply for an additional card instead of upgrading your existing account. With cards for fair credit and beyond, you have more options to explore credit cards from other issuers this way. However, your credit may take a temporary dip since the new account will decrease your average age of accounts.
  3. Keep or cancel your secured card. If your secured card comes with fees, such as a maintenance or inactivity fee, it may be a good idea to cancel it. Otherwise, there’s no harm in keeping it open for the occasional small purchase to add to the length of your credit history (15 percent of your credit score).
  4. Get your security deposit back. If you cancel your secured card, you should make sure to get your initial security deposit back. Once the account is closed, it’ll take 30 to 90 days to process, and you will receive it in the form of either a check or statement credit on your unsecured card. If you have not received it in this time frame, contact your issuer.
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Bankrate Insight
Secured credit card providers have different time requirements for graduating to an unsecured card. In any case, you can contact your issuer and request to upgrade your card after you’ve demonstrated good habits. Set the trend for at least 6 months before reaching out for a better card.

Alternatives to secured credit cards

Applying for a secured card is a simple and effective way to build up less-than-ideal credit. However, there are other avenues if you decide against it.

  • Become an authorized user. One way to dip a toe into credit building is to become an authorized user on a parent’s or spouse’s card. For parents, this is great for monitoring your child’s purchases. For young adults, this can be a good way to establish credit without the pressure of choosing a credit card. Once you’ve built up your credit, you’ll be more likely to be approved for the best credit cards.
  • Get a cosigner for an unsecured credit card. Some credit card issuers will allow you to apply with a cosigner—ideally someone who has good credit and trusts you to use your card responsibly. Though you are the primary cardholder in this situation, the cosigner is also liable for your debts. Like being an authorized user, having a cosigner could give you access to unsecured credit cards that you wouldn’t qualify for with your credit alone.
  • Correct any errors on your credit report. Inaccurate information in your credit history can make you a less attractive customer in the eyes of lenders. Make sure that the information on your credit report, a long-term record of how you’ve used credit from the past to the present, is accurate and up-to-date. Contact AnnualCreditReport.com to request a free copy of your credit report from the major credit bureaus: Equifax, Experian and TransUnion.
  • Link utility and rent payments. If you have a limited credit history, a so-called “traditional” credit score might not tell the whole story. Newer credit score products put added emphasis on good credit habits such as timely payments on utility bills, rent payments and positive bank account balances. UltraFICO, Experian Boost or similar options benefit people who handle their finances responsibly but don’t have experience with credit cards or loans.

How we chose the best secured credit cards

Every card that Bankrate reviews is evaluated on a 5-star scoring system. If you need a secured credit card, you’re probably focused on establishing or re-establishing credit. Making our choices for cards this category involves putting special attention on factors such as:

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 help you find the most value.

Additional 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 overall scores and make sure you’re aware of them beforehand.

Rewards

Some secured cards offer rewards programs, such as cash back. Rewards can be complicated, but we make it simple with a breakdown that clearly shows the real value they offer to cardholders.

Extras and perks

Some cards have extra advantages for cardholders. Introductory offers and credit monitoring are examples of benefits that add to a card’s overall value.


Have more questions for our credit cards editors? Feel free to send us an email, find us on Facebook, or Tweet us @Bankrate.

Frequently asked questions about secured credit cards

about the author
As a Bankrate credit cards editor, Ashley Parks is fascinated by the ways people can make credit cards work for them when armed with the right knowledge.
about the editor
Courtney Mihocik is an editor at Bankrate Credit Cards and CreditCards.com specializing in credit card news and personal finance advice. Previously, she led insurance content at Reviews.com and worked as the loans editor at The Simple Dollar.

* 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.