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Are secured cards worth it?

Make a secured deposit to your card account and start building credit.

Updated

Fact checked

Secured cards may not always be a first choice credit card, but they are great for one thing — building credit. Of course, all cards, if used responsibly, can help you build your credit, but secured cards are designed for individuals who likely can’t get approved for an unsecured card.

How do I know if it’s worth getting a secured credit card?

Ask yourself the following questions to decide if a secured credit card would be worth it for you:

  1. Do you need to build credit?
    If you have a poor credit score or no credit history at all, a secured card can certainly be worth having, and it might even be your first option to consider. Using this type of card, you can build credit over time with responsible use.
  2. Note: To build credit score with a secured card, the card provider must report your payment activity to the three major credit bureaus — TransUnion, Experian and Equifax.
  3. Do you want a card with low fees?
    In general, secured credit cards come with lower fees compared to unsecured cards for building credit. Also, most secured cards have either a low annual fee of up to $49 or have no annual fee. On the other hand, unsecured cards for building credit can cost you up to $300 per year with a variety of fees.
  4. Would you benefit from having a flexible credit line?
    Secured credit cards require that you make a deposit which will act as your credit line. Typically, your secured deposit can range from $200 to $10,000. This gives you flexibility to deposit the amount you feel comfortable with. Once you decide to close your secured credit card account, the card issuer will return your deposit if you don’t have an outstanding balance.

Who are secured credit cards best for?

If you have poor credit score and you’re struggling to build your credit, getting a secured credit card is one of the first options you should consider.

Our pick for a secured credit card

OpenSky® Secured Visa® Credit Card

  • No credit check necessary to apply. OpenSky believes in giving an opportunity to everyone.
  • The refundable* deposit you provide becomes your credit line limit on your Visa card. Choose it yourself, from as low as $200.
  • Build credit quickly. OpenSky reports to all 3 major credit bureaus.
  • 99% of our customers who started without a credit score earned a credit score record with the credit bureaus in as little as 6 months.
  • We have a Facebook community of people just like you; there is a forum for shared experiences, and insights from others on our Facebook Fan page. (Search “OpenSky Card” in Facebook.)
  • OpenSky provides credit tips and a dedicated credit education page on our website to support you along the way.
  • *View our Cardholder Agreement located at the bottom of the application page for details of the card.
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Compare secured credit cards

Data indicated here is updated regularly
Name Product Filter values Minimum deposit required Purchase APR Annual fee Recommended minimum credit score
OpenSky® Secured Visa® Credit Card
Starting at $200
17.39% variable
$35
300
Apply for this card with no credit check if you're new to credit or have bad credit.
Assent Platinum 0% Intro Rate Mastercard® Secured Credit Card
Starting at $200
0% intro for the first 6 months (then 12.99% variable)
$49
300
A rare secured card with a 0% intro APR on purchases for 6 months, followed by 12.99% variable.
First Progress Platinum Elite MasterCard® Secured Credit Card
Starting at $200
19.99% variable
$29
300
Build your credit with all three major credit bureaus.
Applied Bank® Secured Visa® Gold Preferred® Credit Card
Starting at $200
9.99% fixed
$48
300
No credit check is required for this secured card. Make a deposit of at least $200 to open this card and get a low 9.99% fixed APR on purchases.
Self Visa® Credit Card
Starting at $100
21.74% variable
$25
300
Build your credit with a low minimum security deposit of $100 and no credit score required.
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When shouldn’t you get card a secured credit card

If you have fair credit score or higher, you can apply for an unsecured credit card and use better credit card perks than you would get with a secured credit card.

Bottom line

Secured credit cards are designed for individuals with a poor credit score who have difficulty qualifying for an unsecured credit card. Depending on the card, you may get a signup bonus or an intro APR period, but often you’ll have to skip these kinds of perks.

If you’re not sure whether a secured card is worth applying for, compare all your credit card options until you find what suits you best.

Frequently asked questions

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