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Best secured credit cards of 2021

Our top 7 picks for building your credit score.

Finder’s credit card experts spent hundreds of hours evaluating and comparing nearly 100 secured cards to find the top-performing secured cards within seven categories. We considered features such as credit check requirements, credit reporting, fees, deposit requirements and interest rates. Finder’s experts provide unbiased, trustworthy evaluations of all secured credit cards and providers, not just those we partner with on the site.

7 best secured credit cards

Best secured card for no credit check

OpenSky® Secured Visa® Credit Card

Finder rating 4 / 5 ★★★★★

Apply now
on Capital Bank N.A.'s secure site
Most credit-building cards will check your credit when you apply. This can knock a few points off your credit score. Luckily, with the OpenSky® Secured Visa® Credit Card, you don't have to worry about that. The OpenSky® Secured Visa® Credit Card also comes with a reasonable purchase APR.

Best secured card for low deposit and no annual fee

Capital One Platinum Secured Credit Card

Finder rating 4.4 / 5 ★★★★★

Apply now
on Capital One Bank®'s secure site
With most secured credit cards, the amount you deposit acts as your credit line. With this card, however, you can deposit $49, $99 or $200 and get a $200 credit line.

Best secured card for signup bonus

Discover it® Secured

Finder rating 4.4 / 5 ★★★★★

This card offers the same signup bonus as you would earn with any other Discover card. Given that secured cards rarely offer signup bonuses, this is a great option to earn rewards on your purchases.

Best secured card for military members

nRewards® Secured Credit Card

Finder rating 4.4 / 5 ★★★★★

This card features rewards on all purchases, no annual fee and a relatively low APR, all of which is rare with secured cards. However, only military personnel who are Navy Federal Credit Union members can apply for the card. On top of small reward opportunities, the Navy Federal Credit Union will review your account after six months to potentially upgrade you to an unsecured card.

Best secured card for cash back

Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards Secured

Finder rating 4.2 / 5 ★★★★★

No other secured card offers as heavy cashback rewards as the Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards Secured. In essence, this is the same card as the unsecured version with the same name, except you can get this one with a lower credit score.

Best secured card for highest potential limit

U.S. Bank Secured Visa® Card

Finder rating 3.9 / 5 ★★★★★

Read review
Terms apply, see rates & fees
The amount you can spend on your secured card is limited by your secured deposit, which tends to max out at a few hundred dollars on most secured cards. This card however has a maximum security deposit of $5,000. A high deposit is useful if you want to focus on building credit, but still have a lot of essential purchases you need to make on your secured card.

Best for balance transfers

UNITY Visa® Secured Credit Card

Finder rating 4.1 / 5 ★★★★★

It's hard to find a secured credit card that comes with a balance transfer offer. With the UNITY Visa® Secured Credit Card, you get six months of lower interest rates to help you consolidate your debt.

What’s changed in 2021

In 2021, we added three new categories: best secured card for cash back, best for high secured deposit and best for balance transfers.

Compare all secured credit cards

If you’re not seeing a product that fits your financial needs on our list of top picks, you can compare even more secured credit card options. See more secured credit cards to find the right one and build your credit.

6 factors to consider when choosing the best secured credit card

To find the right secured card, keep these points in mind:

  1. Find the right security deposit for you. The required security deposit depends on the card and can range from $200 to $5,000. If you need a lot of credit to work with, you’ll want a card with a high deposit limit. But if you don’t have much cash on hand, you’ll want a low deposit.
  2. Check what credit bureaus the card reports to. You’ll want to make sure the secured card reports to all three major credit bureaus. If a card only reports to one bureau, providers may not have a full, updated view of your credit history.
  3. Avoid the fees. Watch out for secured cards with annual or monthly fees. These can make it difficult to keep up on your payments, which defeats the purpose of using a secured card in the first place.
  4. See if the card offers graduation. Some secured cards will let you “graduate” to an unsecured version or will upgrade your credit limit after you demonstrate strong financial habits.
  5. Check if the secured card performs a credit check. If you’re worried you won’t qualify for a secured card because of your credit, look for one that doesn’t check your credit score for qualification.
  6. Consider a card that offers rewards or similar perks. While rare, some secured cards let you earn rewards while you build your credit. Such cards are a great way to reward yourself for building strong credit.

When is a secured credit card worth it?

Using a secured card can help raise your credit score and teach you effective spending habits. Once you’ve established your credit history, you can apply for way better cards down the line and earn generous rewards on your purchases.

  • Get a secured card if you want to build your credit score and you can afford at least a $200 secured deposit.
  • Don’t get a secured card if you qualify for a better and an unsecured card.

You asked, we listened: Top 5 common questions

Secured credit cards function similarly to standard cards, but with some important distinctions. Here are the five most common questions we receive on the subject.

  1. Do secured credit cards really help you build credit? With responsible use, yes. They’re designed to limit your total credit card spending while you work on improving your credit score. They also typically report to all three credit bureaus.
  2. How much will I need to deposit for a secured card? The deposit amount depends on the specific credit card as well as your existing credit score. Typically, the lowest amount you can deposit is either $200 or $300.
  3. Why do I need to place a security deposit? Your security deposit serves as collateral for the card issuer in the event that you fall behind or default on your account.
  4. Can you get denied for a secured card? Yes. Depending on your financial and credit history, an issuer can deny you a secured credit card. Read our guide on what to do if your application is denied.
  5. How many secured cards should I have? If you can manage and use them responsibly, having more than one secured card can increase your total limit and improve your utilization ratio.

3 Alternatives to secured credit cards

Although secured credit cards are one of the best financial tools you can find, there are three similar options available to you.

1. Unsecured cards for bad credit

This type of card is the most similar to secured cards because they both help you build credit. Aside from that, unsecured cards for bad credit could be more expensive in the long run. But if you can’t make a $200 or $300 deposit for a secured card right away, unsecured cards are the next alternative.

2. Prepaid cards

If a low credit score is preventing you from getting a secured credit card, prepaid cards could be another alternative. While these cards won’t help you build credit, they’re best for those who have a low credit score as they don’t require a credit check. They also help you stay on a budget because you’re limited to spending funds linked to the card. But they typically require a monthly fee.

3. Debit cards that build credit

Although most debit cards don’t report your activity to credit bureaus and won’t help you build a stronger credit score, there are a few debit cards that build credit. For example, the Extra card, can help you boost your score and earn rewards, but it requires a monthly fee from $8 to $12. Another credit-building debit card is the Sequin card which has no monthly fee and while it’s marketed for women, anyone can sign up for an account.

Bottom line

A secured card can help you build up your credit score, but you’ll often face higher fees and lower rewards. If you’re on the fence, compare alternative credit cards to find the right pick for you.

Credit card ratings

★★★★★ — Excellent

★★★★★ — Good

★★★★★ — Average

★★★★★ — Subpar

★★★★★ — Poor

Our team evaluates credit cards to determine their value against similar cards on the market.

We rank card types — travel, cash back, business — on a set of factors that are most relevant to that type of card. We create these rankings to help you narrow down a credit card that best suits your spending and budget.

Learn the details of our methodology and scoring.

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