Discover it® Secured Credit Card review: Build your credit and earn rewards

Man using a phone to check his Discover it Secured Credit Card balance Man using a phone to check his Discover it Secured Credit Card balance Image:

In a Nutshell

Secured credit cards are often no-frills utility players for those who are working on building their credit. The Discover it® Secured Credit Card stands out for its cash back opportunities.

We generally make money when you get a product (like a credit card or loan) through our platform, but we don’t let that cloud our editorial opinions. Learn more about how we keep this compensation from affecting our editorial views.
Advertiser Disclosure

We think it's important for you to understand how we make money. It's pretty simple, actually. The offers for financial products you see on our platform come from companies who pay us. The money we make helps us give you access to free credit scores and reports and helps us create our other great tools and educational materials.

Compensation may factor into how and where products appear on our platform (and in what order). But since we generally make money when you find an offer you like and get, we try to show you offers we think are a good match for you. That's why we provide features like your Approval Odds and savings estimates.

Of course, the offers on our platform don't represent all financial products out there, but our goal is to show you as many great options as we can.

Secured credit cards, which require a deposit and often have lower credit limits than regular credit cards, can be effective tools to help you build your credit if you use them responsibly.

The Discover it® Secured Credit Card is one of the rare secured cards that offers cash back.

If you’re working on strengthening your credit and don’t qualify yet for traditional, unsecured cards, a secured credit card like the Discover it® Secured Credit Card might be a good option for you.

What we like Heads up
  • 2 percent cash back on up to $1,000 in combined purchases at restaurants and gas stations per quarter (then 1 percent)
  • No annual fee
  • Builds credit with responsible use
  • 10.99 percent intro APR for balance transfers for six months from date of first transfer (23.99 percent variable APR after that)
  • Requires a minimum security deposit of $200
  • Variable purchase APR of 23.99 percent

  1. The rundown: Everything we like about the Discover it® Secured Credit Card
  2. Heads up: What you should consider before applying
  3. Do the math: How to get the most out of the Discover it® Secured Credit Card
  4. The competition: How Discover it® Secured Credit Card stacks up against similar cards.
  5. Bottom line: Is the Discover it® Secured Credit Card right for you?

The rundown: Everything we like about the Discover it® Secured Credit Card

If you’re approved for the Discover it® Secured Credit Card, you’ll have to make a minimum security deposit of $200. How much you deposit will be your credit limit for the card. But paying that deposit may be worth it for several reasons.

Earn cash back

With the Discover it® Secured Credit Card, you can earn 2 percent cash back on up to $1,000 in combined purchases at restaurants and gas stations each quarter (then 1 percent). You’ll get 1 percent cash back on everything else.

As an added bonus, Discover will match all the cash back you earn on your card the first year.

Pay no annual fee

The card has no annual fee, which is great if you want to build your credit without adding additional costs.

Build your credit with responsible use

Starting eight months after your account is opened, Discover will review your account each month and determine if you qualify to have your deposit returned. On-time payments and paying off your balance in full reflects good credit card behavior and could boost the chance your deposit will be returned.

Discover also provides your FICO® credit score for free on each of your monthly statements. You can also access it on Discover’s mobile app and your online account.

How does a secured credit card work?

Heads up: What you should consider before applying

The variable purchase APR on this card is high — 23.99 percent — which means you’ll have to be careful about how you use the card. Consider paying off your balance on time and in full each month — or as much of it as possible — to help you avoid interest charges.

The card has a maximum credit limit of $2,500. Discover will determine your credit limit based on your income and ability to pay. You can apply to increase your credit limit after your first monthly statement, but you’ll also be required to increase your security deposit.

One Credit Karma member said in a review that it took him or her an extended time to get upgraded to an unsecured card without a deposit (at least a year), so this could be another potential drawback of the Discover it® Secured Credit Card.

Do the math: How to get the most out of the Discover it® Secured Credit Card

Be careful about the 23.99 percent variable APR for purchases. With potential for a credit limit as high as $2,500, maxing out your card could lead to ongoing interest fees and a higher credit utilization rate that could hurt your credit scores.

The best strategy for this card is to use it wisely: pay off your balances and avoid late payments.

Learn more about credit card utilization and your credit scores

The competition: How the Discover it® Secured Credit Card stacks up against similar cards

Here’s how the Discover it® Secured Credit Card compares to other secured cards:

Citi® Secured Mastercard® Minimum security deposit of $200; max $2,500
Capital One® Secured Mastercard® Get access to a higher credit line after making your first five monthly payments on time, with no additional deposit required
USAA Secured Cards® American Express® Card Your security deposit is a CD (Certificate of Deposit), which will earn interest

Citi® Secured Mastercard®

From our partner

Citi® Secured Mastercard®

From cardholders in the last year

See Details, Rates & Fees

This card requires a minimum security deposit of $200. It has a $0 annual fee, but there is a high variable APR of 23.49 percent for purchases and balance transfers. And unlike the Discover it® Secured Credit Card, the Citi® Secured Mastercard® doesn’t offer cash back or any match.

Capital One® Secured Mastercard®

From our partner

Capital One® Secured Mastercard®

From cardholders in the last year

See Details, Rates & Fees

This card requires a security deposit of $49, $99 or $200, depending on your credit history. The minimum security deposit will get you the lowest credit limit the Capital One® Secured Mastercard® offers — $200. (There’s a maximum of $1,000).

Capital One® Secured Mastercard® also has a $0 annual fee. And Capital One will automatically increase your credit line if you make your first five monthly payments on time. With the Discover it® Secured Credit Card, you’ll have to call and ask for an increase, and it isn’t guaranteed you’ll be approved.

USAA Secured Cards® American Express® Card

From our partner

USAA Secured Cards® American Express® Card

From cardholders in the last year

See Details, Rates & Fees

The USAA Secured Cards® American Express® Card has a variable APR of 10.90 to 20.90 percent for purchases and balance transfers.

The card also has a $35 annual fee. However, you can get a credit limit of $250 to $5,000 with a CD that earns you interest.


Bottom line: Is the Discover it® Secured Credit Card right for you?

The Discover it® Secured Credit Card reports your information to the three major credit bureaus. This can make it a useful tool to help you build your credit, as long as you use it responsibly. Earning cash back on top of that is icing on the cake.

And even if you’re not approved for the card, Discover will share information on which credit score they looked at, which credit bureau reported it and why you weren’t approved for the card. This valuable information could help you address credit issues directly, whether that means paying off large balances on other cards, avoiding late payments or correcting errors on your credit reports.


Editorial Note: The opinions you read here come from our editorial team. While compensation may affect which companies we write about and products we review, our marketing partners don't review, approve or endorse our editorial content. Our content is accurate (to the best of our knowledge) when we initially post it, but we don't guarantee the accuracy or completeness of the information provided. You can visit the company's website to get complete details about a product. See an error in an article? Use this form to report it to our editorial team. For questions about your Credit Karma account, please submit a help request to our support team.