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Best secured credit cards for April 2024

Updated April 08, 2024

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Issuers design secured credit cards as a more accessible way to build or repair your credit, and some cards even provide solid rewards without an annual fee. However, you’ll need to pay a refundable security deposit to establish your credit limit.

Check out our recommendations for the best secured credit cards from our partners and start building credit today.

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Best for building credit
Rating: 4.1 stars out of 5
4.1
Info
Apply now Lock
on Capital One's secure site
No Credit History
Info
Recommended Credit

N/A

Intro offer

Info

Annual fee

Regular APR

Best for flexible deposit
Rating: 4.2 stars out of 5
4.2
Info
Apply now Lock
on Chime's secure site
No Credit History
Info
Recommended Credit

N/A

Regular APR

Annual fee

BEST CARD WITH A WELCOME OFFER
Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5
4.5
Info
Apply now Lock
on Discover's secure site
No Credit History
Info
Recommended Credit

Regular APR

Annual fee

Best starter rewards card
Rating: 4 stars out of 5
4.0
Info
Apply now Lock
on Capital One's secure site
No Credit History
Info
Recommended Credit

Regular APR

Annual fee

Best for high credit limit
Rating: 3.3 stars out of 5
3.3
Info
Apply now Lock
on First Progress's secure site
No Credit History
Info
Recommended Credit

Regular APR

Annual fee

Best for building a credit mix
Rating: 3.1 stars out of 5
3.1
Info
Apply now Lock
on Self's secure site
No Credit History
Info
Recommended Credit

Regular APR

Annual fee

Best for low interest
Rating: 2.8 stars out of 5
2.8
Info
Apply now Lock
on First Progress's secure site
No Credit History
Info
Recommended Credit

Regular APR

Annual fee

Best for after bankruptcy
Rating: 3.1 stars out of 5
3.1
Info
Apply now Lock
on Capital Bank's secure site
No Credit History
Info
Recommended Credit

Regular APR

Annual fee

Compare Bankrate's top secured credit cards

Card Name Best For Annual fee Bankrate Review Score

Building credit

$0

4.1 / 5

Info
(Read card review)
Apply now Lock
on Capital One's secure site

Flexible deposit

None

4.2 / 5

Info
(Read card review)
Apply now Lock
on Chime's secure site

Welcome offer

$0

4.5 / 5

Info
(Read card review)
Apply now Lock
on Discover's secure site

Starter rewards card

$0

4.0 / 5

Info
(Read card review)
Apply now Lock
on Capital One's secure site

High credit limit

$29

3.3 / 5

Info
(Read card review)
Apply now Lock
on First Progress's secure site

Building a credit mix

$25

3.1 / 5

Info
(Read card review)
Apply now Lock
on Self's secure site

Low interest

$49

2.8 / 5

Info
(Read card review)
Apply now Lock
on First Progress's secure site

Card for after bankruptcy

$35

3.1 / 5

Info
(Read card review)
Apply now Lock
on Capital Bank's secure site

What you need to know about secured credit cards

A secured credit card is similar to an unsecured credit card, except it has a refundable security deposit as collateral. You pay this deposit and it typically acts as the card’s credit limit, and the issuer may refund the deposit and upgrade the card to an unsecured version after you show responsible credit use.

Want to learn more? Read our full guide on how secured credit cards work

Secured vs. unsecured credit cards

Credit builders often start with a secured credit card, and then graduate to an unsecured credit card with better rewards rates and lower fees as their scores improve. While you may prefer an unsecured credit card for bad credit, especially if you want to avoid the upfront deposit, it might not be the most cost-effective choice. If you’re deciding between these two types of credit cards, here are a few differences to note:

  • Require a security deposit
  • Can be more accessible than some unsecured cards
  • Starting credit lines are often equal to the amount you deposit
  • Tend to have more built-in features to help build credit
  • Don’t require a security deposit
  • Have stricter credit requirements
  • May charge annual fees and a higher APR in exchange for lending to borrowers with poor credit

Our data: Secured cards might be easier to get

When you’re building or rebuilding credit, it’s important to apply for a new credit card with the confidence you’ll get approved. Otherwise, your credit score could take a slight hit with a hard inquiry and you don’t even end up with a new card. We analyzed our proprietary data to compare the approval rates for secured cards and unsecured cards that Bankrate readers applied for on our site in 2023.

According to our data, Bankrate users with bad credit and thin credit are 23 percent more likely to get approved for a secured credit card than they are to get approved for an unsecured card for bad credit.

While secured credit cards usually require a security deposit to back your credit limit, this extra requirement makes them easier to get approval for. As long as you can afford to put down the security deposit, you may have better chances of getting approved for a secured card than an unsecured card.

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LEARN MORE What’s the difference between secured and unsecured credit cards?
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Pros and cons of secured credit cards

Pros

  • Checkmark

    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.

  • Checkmark

    Lighter application requirements: People with limited or low credit scores typically find application requirements for secured cards to be more forgiving and accessible. For instance, some applications don't even require a credit check to apply.

  • Checkmark

    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.

  • Checkmark

    Refundable deposits: You can often get your deposit back after demonstrating responsible card use for a time.

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 APRs: Many secured cards charge higher-than-average APRs, 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 welcome offers, intro APR offers or other perks that add long-term value.

Expert advice on secured credit cards

When used responsibly, secured credit cards can help you build or rebuild credit. Working on your credit will get you closer to qualifying for cards with better features and benefits. Once you're ready to apply, here’s what to consider when choosing a secured credit card that’s right for you:

Try it out: Bankrate’s CardMatch™ feature is an easy way to find a selection of cards you may be prequalified for.

Tips for maximizing a secured credit card

While people often hope to avoid secured cards altogether or make plans for a quick upgrade, you can still use your time with your secured card to your advantage. Use the following tips to make sure you get the most out of your secured credit card. 

  • Credit Card Time

    Take this time to practice good habits

    Use your secured card as a tool to help build your credit with relative ease. Keep your credit utilization ratio in check and stay on top of your credit card bills. You should pay at least the minimum due every month, but it’s best to pay off the entire balance to avoid interest charges. It takes time to increase your credit score, so be patient as you learn to use credit cards.

  • Lock Secure

    Add more to your security deposit if you can

    Most secured cards have a minimum security deposit requirement and some let you deposit amounts into the thousands of dollars. Putting down more money could result in a higher credit limit, making it easier to keep your credit utilization in check. Try putting down as much as you can for a deposit and stay within the 30 percent rule on credit utilization. If you can only put down the required minimum, prioritize keeping your utilization low so you don’t hurt your score. 

  • Credit Card Best

    Upgrade to an unsecured card when possible

    Once you’ve worked your way up to fair credit and beyond, you can think about upgrading to an unsecured card that might offer better rewards programs and lower fees.  If your secured card has maintenance or inactivity fees, it may be a good idea to close your card. Otherwise, there’s no harm in keeping it open for the occasional small purchase to add to the length of your credit history.

  • Dollar

    Get your security deposit back

    If you decide to close your secured card, make sure to get your security deposit back. It may take 30 to 90 days for the issuer to refund your deposit in the form of a statement credit or check.

What people are saying about secured cards

It’s very important to make sure you’re starting off on the right foot when you begin your credit journey, and advice from people who’ve been in the same spot can be a big help. We explored what Redditors from the r/CreditCards community had to say about their preferred choice for a secured card. 

When asked which card they considered the best secured card, many Redditors were quick to point to the Discover® it Secured Credit Card. Users especially appreciated the card’s 2 percent cash back rate and $0 annual fee.  U.S. Bank secured cards were also highlighted as great options.

“Check out US Banks secured cards. Excellent rewards, and yes, it may take longer to graduate, compared to Discover’s seemingly automatic 7-month [review] (ymmv), but at least when you graduate with one of US Banks secured cards, you have a great card. When you graduate with Discover, you’re stuck with the [Discover it® Chrome] card, which is 2% restaurants and gas stations, up to $1,000 every quarter [in combined purchases, then 1 percent].”

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As this user notes, when looking for a secured card, it’s important to not only take into consideration your needs now but possible needs in the future. Your choice will most likely depend on the amount of money you want to spend on the security deposit, your personal timeline and future financial goals.

How we assess the best secured cards

Checkmark
50+
cards rated
Search
500+
data points analyzed
Debt
250+
fees tracked
Star
40+
perks evaluated

When evaluating the best cards for building credit, we consider a mix of factors, including how cards score in our proprietary card rating system and whether cards offer features that make it easy to build credit history while minimizing costs.

We analyzed over 50 of the most popular cards designed for people with no credit history, bad credit or a fair credit score and rated each based on its cost, APR, credit-building features and more to determine whether it belonged in this month’s roundup.

Here are some of the key factors that we considered:

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.

For Capital One products listed on this page, some of the above benefits are provided by Visa® or Mastercard® and may vary by product. See the respective Guide to Benefits for details, as terms and exclusions apply.

Frequently asked questions about secured credit cards