Bankrate-Icons-Final Editor's Pick

Best for building credit

Capital One Platinum Secured Credit Card

Apply now
On Capital One's secure site
Rewards rate

N/A

Intro offer
N/A
Annual fee
$0
Regular APR
28.49% (Variable)
Recommended credit
No Credit History 
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
28.49% (Variable)
Recommended credit
No Credit History 
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
25.99% 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
26.99% (Variable)
Recommended credit
No Credit History 

Best for a high credit limit

OpenSky® Secured Visa® Credit Card

Apply now
On Capital Bank's secure site
Rewards rate

N/A

Intro offer
N/A
Annual fee
$35
Regular APR
20.39% (variable)
Recommended credit
No Credit History 

Best for Citibank members

Citi® Secured Mastercard®

Apply now
On Citi's secure site
Rewards rate

N/A

Intro offer
N/A
Annual fee
$0
Regular APR
26.24% (Variable)
Recommended credit
No Credit History 
Apply now
On First Progress's secure site
Rewards rate

N/A

Intro offer
N/A
Annual fee
$29
Regular APR
23.74% (Variable)
Recommended credit
No Credit History 
Apply now
On First Progress's secure site
Rewards rate

N/A

Intro offer
N/A
Annual fee
$49
Regular APR
13.74% 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 Flat-rate rewards $0 3.8 / 5
(Read full card review)
Discover it Secured Credit Card Rewards $0 5 / 5
(Read full card review)
Self – Credit Builder Account with Secured Visa Credit Card Building a credit mix $25 3.1 / 5
(Read full card review)
OpenSky Secured Visa Credit Card A high credit limit $35 3.0 / 5
(Read full card review)
Citi Secured Mastercard Citibank members $0 3.0 / 5
(Read full card review)
First Progress Platinum Elite Mastercard Secured Credit Card Easy application and processing $29 3.3 / 5
(Read full card review)
First Progress Platinum Prestige Mastercard Secured Credit Card Low interest $49 2.7 / 5
(Read full card review)

A closer look at our best secured credit cards

Capital One Platinum Secured Credit Card: Best for building credit

  • What we love about the Capital One Platinum Secured: You can start with a uniquely low security deposit of either $49, $99 or $200, but your initial credit limit will always be at least $200. And after just six months of responsible card use, Capital One may increase your credit limit and refund your deposit.
  • Who this card is good for: Credit newcomers and credit repairers who might not have $200 upfront for a security deposit but are looking for a streamlined card centered around affordability and building credit.
  • Alternatives: If you’re after rewards, the Discover it® Secured Credit Card 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 Secure card.

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 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 unlimited 1.5 percent cash back on every purchase is a standout offer.
  • Who this card is good for: Credit builders seeking out hassle-free rewards as they work to build better credit. You won’t have to change your spending habits to earn rewards, and you can even set your cash back to redeem automatically so you won’t be distracted from your credit-building goal.
  • Alternatives: Depending on your spending habits, the Discover it Secured card’s bonus categories may be more lucrative. This card’s first-year cash back match is especially impressive considering how few credit-building cards carry a welcome offer.

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

Discover it Secured Credit Card: Best for rewards

  • What we love about the Discover it Secured: This card offers some of the best cash back potential of any secured credit card. Plus, Discover will match all the cash back you’ve earned at the end of your first year. Although some secured cards may provide stronger rewards rates, Discover’s first-year offer can make this card the most rewarding on the market since you likely won’t use a secured card long term.
  • 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 doesn’t require a security deposit, poses fewer fees and offers a decent rewards rate that incentivizes good credit habits.

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 for building a credit mix

  • What we love about the Self – Credit Builder Account + Secured Visa Card: The savings account and credit card combination is a unique pairing and adds an exclusive credit-boosting dimension with its mix of credit types (installment and revolving). Its credit builder loan means you can even contribute to your credit profile before ever using the Self secured card.
  • 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, all the moving parts can get a bit complicated. That’s not to mention pricey after the $25 annual fee and loan interest. 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 for a high credit limit

  • What we love about the OpenSky Secured Visa: This card’s $3,000 maximum credit limit (based on your deposit) surpasses that of many of the top secured cards (which typically carry a $2,000 to $2,500 maximum limit). A high potential limit is especially important for efficient credit building since it can make it much easier to maintain a good credit utilization ratio.
  • Who this card is good for: Since you don’t even need a checking account to apply, this card is an accessible option for self-starters who want to set their own credit limit and don’t mind putting up a security deposit.
  • 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 2 cash back credit card is unsecured, so you can earn rewards without worrying about a security deposit, annual fee, late payment fee or foreign transaction fee.

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

Citi Secured Mastercard: Best for Citibank members

  • What we love about the Citi Secured Mastercard: Although you might not earn rewards or obtain the lowest rates and fees, Citibank members may enjoy more convenience from this secured card. A financial history with Citi could aid in the approval process, and any ThankYou Points earned by banking with Citi can come in handy if you upgrade to another Citi card in the future.
  • Who this card is good for: Citibank clients and no-fuss credit-builders looking for a simple, affordable card as they launch their credit-building journey.
  • 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 Self – Credit Builder Account with Secured Visa Credit Card gives you both a savings account and credit card, letting you have a foot in both saving and credit building at the same time. Be aware it does come with a $25 annual fee.

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: You can apply and get this card quickly if you’re approved, without worrying about a hard credit pull, credit history requirement or even having a discharged bankruptcy on file. You can also put down as much as $2,000 as a security deposit and get a matching credit limit after you get the card. Over time, you may be able to increase your deposit up to an impressive $5,000 if your request is approved, which could help keep your credit utilization in check.
  • Who this card is good for: No-fuss credit builders who want to get a card right away with few questions asked.
  • Alternatives: While the $35 annual fee is a bit higher than the First Progress Platinum Elite’s, the OpenSky Secured Visa Credit Card has a potential $3000 maximum credit limit, great for those who are looking for credit utilization room.

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 13.74 percent variable APR is lower than the rate you’ll find on most cards — secured or unsecured — making it a great choice if you know you’ll have to carry a balance. There’s also no credit check, so 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 looking for a card that doesn’t require a credit check.
  • Alternatives: This card is a decent choice for consumers who may need to carry a balance occasionally, but it’s pricey and has limited long-term value. If you don’t see yourself carrying a balance often it may be better to opt for the First Progress Platinum Elite Mastercard Secured Credit Card, which also avoids credit checks but is cheaper to carry with its $29 annual fee.

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 credit. A secured card is handy for 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 may improve your credit score with a secured credit card.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Limited features. Secured cards tend to focus on credit-building and typically lack features like a sign-up bonus, intro APR offers or other perks that add value to the card.

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.

How to choose the best secured credit card

When used responsibly, secured credit cards can help you build or rebuild credit, which will get you closer to qualifying for cards with better features and benefits. But not every secured card will be a good fit for you. Here’s what to consider when choosing a secured credit card:

  • What are the security deposit requirements? Before applying, check to make sure the card’s minimum and maximum security deposits fit your budget.
  • Is there a path to upgrade? Some secured cards will let you upgrade to an unsecured version of the card once your credit has improved. While it’s a good idea to see what other cards are available to you, this is an easy way to graduate to an unsecured credit card without going through a hard credit check.
  • What are the fees? On top of higher interest rates, watch out for common credit card fees. With the right card and careful use, you can avoid late payment fees, foreign transaction fees and penalty APRs, but it’s still a good idea to know what your potential card will charge if you make a mistake.
  • What are your approval odds? While secured cards are among the easiest to qualify for, some issuers won’t give cards to consumers with past bankruptcies, high levels of debt or low income. Depending on your financial situation, consider looking at cards that let you see if you are prequalified before you apply, which can give you a better idea of how likely you are to be approved for a card.

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 in 5 steps

Thanks to lenient approval requirements, secured credit cards are far more accessible than traditional credit cards. But you can still get denied if you look like too much of a risk or apply for the wrong card. So, follow these tips to make sure you’re ready to get a secured card.

#1. Correct any errors on your credit report.

Inaccurate information in your credit history could cause your loan applications to be denied. Be mindful of any recent name or address changes as this can affect your credit. You can get a free weekly copy of your online credit report from the three major credit bureaus at AnnualCreditReport.com. If you find any errors, contact the bureau immediately.

#2. Link utility and rent payments.

If you have a limited credit history, a 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.

#3. 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. Make sure that your card reports to at least one of the bureaus so that your good habits — on-time payments, low utilization, paying utilities — don’t go unnoticed.

#4. Look for prequalified offers.

Many issuers will let you know ahead of time 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.

#5. 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.

How to upgrade to an unsecured card

After using your secured card responsibly for a while, your credit score should start to rise. Depending on your personal financial situation, progress may happen 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.

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.

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. Applying for a new card may temporarily chip your credit score since you’re asking for new credit. The new account will decrease your average account age as well, but your deeper pool of available credit will more than level out these drawbacks in the long run.

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 which accounts for 15 percent of your credit score.

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. It’s a good idea to reach out to your issuer after six months about upgrading before you begin applying elsewhere for a bigger and 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, but they may not be your only option. If you struggle to qualify for a secured credit card, here are two alternative options:

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 an effective 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.

Another option is 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.

Whether you decide to become an authorized user or use a cosigner, it’s important to understand that it is a chance to build your own patterns when using credit so make sure to establish good habits early on. Like a secured card, you should be able to move to an unsecured card once you built your credit over a period of six or more months.

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.

More information on secured credit cards


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.