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This offer is no longer available on our site: Capital One® Secured Mastercard®
Hear from our editors: Best secured credit cards of July 2020
Updated June 17, 2020
This offer is no longer available on our site: Discover it® Secured.
This date indicates our editors’ last comprehensive review and may not reflect recent changes in individual terms.
Editorial Note: Credit Karma receives compensation from third-party advertisers, but that doesn’t affect our editors’ opinions. Our marketing partners don’t review, approve or endorse our editorial content. It’s accurate to the best of our knowledge when it’s posted.
Written by: Ben Luthi
Secured credit cards and the upfront security deposits they require aren’t always ideal. But with the right card, you can start building your credit to increase your chances of qualifying for a better card. What’s more, you may get access to great benefits along the way. Here’s our take on the top secured credit card choices.
- Best for rewards: Discover it® Secured
- Best for a low deposit: Capital One® Secured Mastercard®
- Best for no credit check: OpenSky® Secured Credit Visa® Card
Here’s why: The Discover it® Secured credit card offers 1% cash back on every purchase you make, plus 2% cash back bonus on your first $1,000 in combined gas and restaurant purchases each calendar quarter. What’s more, Discover will double all the cash back you earn during your first year.
The card requires a minimum security deposit of $200 if you’re approved, and your deposit must equal your credit limit. Your maximum credit limit (up to $2,500) will be determined by your income and ability to pay. Once you’ve been a cardholder for eight months, Discover will review your account and consider returning your security deposit.
The Discover it® Secured has no annual fee.
Read our review of the Discover it® Secured credit card to learn more.
Here’s why: With the Capital One® Secured Mastercard® , you may qualify for an opening credit line of $200 with a deposit of $49, $99 or $200.
You could get access to a higher credit line after you make your first five monthly payments on time. The card doesn’t offer a rewards program, but it does come with some decent benefits.
For example, this card has a $0 foreign transaction fee, so purchases abroad won’t incur any additional costs to you. And since it’s a Mastercard, you won’t have to worry much about international acceptance. The annual fee is $0, and you can pick your monthly due date as well.
Get more details in our review of the Capital One® Secured Mastercard®.
Here’s why: The OpenSky® Secured Credit Visa® Card doesn’t require a credit check to get approved, or even a checking account for that matter. This makes the card a great fit for people who may have negative items on their credit reports or who are underbanked.
The minimum deposit amount is $200, and can be paid with a debit card, mailing a check, money order or Western Union. The annual fee for the card is $35. But if your credit is in bad shape, this card could be a strong alternative to other cards that don’t require great credit but charge high fees.
Read our review of the OpenSky® Secured Credit Visa® Card to learn more.
How we picked these cards
There are many secured credit cards on the market. But many of them don’t offer special perks or exciting benefits that make them stand out. While that may not matter much if your primary goal is to build credit, it’s nice to have features that can help you save money — or even earn some.
As a result, we selected our top choices based on how they can either keep money in your wallet — through low fees, APRs and deposit requirements — or return it to you in the form of rewards.
How to make the most of secured credit cards
The ultimate goal of applying for and using a secured credit card is to build or rebuild your credit. While some secured cards may return your deposit to you before you close the account, that’s not always the case. As a result, it’s essential to start practicing good credit habits as quickly as possible to help improve your credit health.
One of the most important things you can do is pay your monthly bill on time each month. And if you want to avoid interest, make sure to pay the balance in full, too. Also, try to keep your balance relatively low. Your credit utilization rate — the percentage of your credit limit that you’re using — is another key factor in your credit scores.
As you do these things and build your credit, you may have a better chance of getting approved for an unsecured card in the future.