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Best secured credit cards for February 2024

Updated February 20, 2024

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.

Best for building credit

Capital One Platinum Secured Credit Card

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

Chime Credit Builder Secured Visa® Credit Card

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

awards-badge
2024 Bankrate Awards Winner
BEST CARD WITH A WELCOME OFFER

Discover it® Secured Credit Card

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

Capital One Quicksilver Secured Cash Rewards Credit 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

First Progress Platinum Elite Mastercard® Secured Credit Card

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

Self - Credit Builder Account with Secured Visa® Credit Card

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

First Progress Platinum Prestige Mastercard® Secured Credit Card

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

OpenSky® Secured Visa® Credit Card

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 to know about secured credit cards

A secured credit card is similar to an unsecured credit card except that 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

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: Applications for secured credit cards often are more accessible to people with limited or low credit scores. 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.

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    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.

Secured vs. unsecured credit cards

Credit builders often start with a secured credit card, 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 cost of a 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
  • May be more likely to offer rewards
  • More likely to have a $0 annual fee
  • 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
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LEARN MORE What’s the difference between secured and unsecured credit cards?
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A secured card is a good idea for…

Getting a secured card can start you on an excellent path toward a good credit score. Their relaxed application requirements make them a great fit for many types of people who want to build or repair their credit.

  • Credit rebuilders: If you have bad credit (a FICO score of 580 or lower), you likely have a few negative marks on your credit report (factors that hurt your score include carrying too much debt, making late payments, defaulting on a loan or filing for bankruptcy). Secured cards could be your best or even only option as you work to rebuild your credit. Some of these cards don’t require a credit check or a minimum score to apply.
  • Credit newbies: Many cards are available for people with a limited credit history and even people with no credit history. However, getting approved for unsecured credit cards can be difficult unless you’re eligible for a student credit card. If you don’t prequalify or fail to get approved for an unsecured credit card, a secured card is an accessible option that can help you build credit and give you time to show off your responsible credit habits.

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.

Tips on choosing the best secured credit card for you

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:

  • Take a look at the security deposit. Before applying, check to make sure the card’s minimum and maximum security deposits fit your budget. A minimum deposit could be as low as $49 or $200 and the maximum as high as $2,000 to $5,000, 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. In the best-case scenario, you should get a credit limit high enough to keep your credit utilization ratio below 30 percent, once you’ve accounted for your usual monthly spending.
  • Ask if there is a path to upgrade the card in the future. 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, upgrading with the same issuer is an easy way to graduate to an unsecured credit card without going through a hard credit check.
  • Check 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. It’s still a good idea to know what your potential card will charge if you miss a payment. You can even avoid an annual fee with some of the top secured cards.
  • Consider whether you value rewards. Some of the best-reviewed secured credit cards earn rewards. Cards like the Discover it® Secured Credit Card, Capital One Quicksilver Secured and Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards Secured Credit Card can earn you plenty of rewards value and experience before you upgrade to an unsecured rewards card.
  • Determine if you can prequalify. 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. Doing so can give you a better idea of how likely you are to be approved for a card and potentially help you avoid a hard credit pull for a card you aren't likely to be approved for.
  • Make sure it reports to all three credit bureaus. Reports of good payment behavior to Equifax, Experian or TransUnion are essential for building or repairing credit. Make sure that the issuer will report your card usage to at least one of the bureaus so that your good habits — on-time payments, paying in full, low utilization and more — don’t go unnoticed.

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

*Information about the Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards Secured Credit Card has been collected independently by Bankrate.com. The card details have not been reviewed or approved by the card issuer.

Expert advice on secured credit cards

Here’s what you need to know about secured credit cards as you consider your options.

Be patient as you build credit

Building credit with a secured card is an effective way to dip your toes into credit. Just make sure you 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.

Upgrade to an unsecured card when possible

Once you’ve worked your way up to fair credit and beyond, you can think about shopping around for an unsecured card that might offer better rewards programs and lower fees. Here’s what you need to know about upgrading to an unsecured card.

  • Ask your issuer if it offers an unsecured version. You may be able to simply call your issuer’s customer service line and ask to upgrade without applying again.
  • Keep or close your secured card. 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.
  • Get your security deposit back. If you 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. 

Consider alternatives to secured credit cards

Applying for a secured card is a simple and effective way to build up less-than-ideal credit, but it may not be your only option. If you struggle to qualify for a secured credit card, here are a few alternatives. 

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