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Best secured credit cards of 2023

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 ★★★★★

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on Capital Bank N.A.'s secure site
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Most credit-building cards will check your credit when you apply. It knocks a few points off your credit score, which can add up quickly if you apply for too many cards in a short period of time. Luckily, with the OpenSky® Secured Visa® Credit Card, you don't have to worry about that. Your approval is based on your ID and finances rather than your credit score. The OpenSky® Secured Visa® Credit Card also comes with a reasonable purchase APR and it reports to all three major credit bureaus.

Best secured card for low deposit and no annual fee

Capital One Platinum Secured Credit Card

Finder Rating: 4.4 / 5 ★★★★★

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on Capital One's secure site
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With most secured credit cards, the amount you deposit acts as your credit line. But this card breaks the rules: Depending on your credit score, you can deposit $49, $99 or $200 and still get a $200 credit line. This is a great value if you think you have a reasonable credit score, as high security deposits can often act as major roadblocks to rebuilding credit.

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 also 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. If you're just as concerned with earning every bit of value from your purchases as you are raising your credit score, this card has you covered.

Best secured card for highest potential limit

U.S. Bank Secured Visa® Card

Finder Rating: 3.9 / 5★★★★★

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. However, this card has a maximum security deposit of $5,000 — the highest available on the market. 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 ★★★★★

There aren't many secured credit cards on the market that also come with a balance transfer offer. While the UNITY Visa® Secured Credit Card isn't a 0% intro offer, you do get six months of lower interest rates to help you consolidate your debt you transfer to the card. This is handy if you want a secured card to help you rebuild your credit score, but would rather focus on paying off older debts before making new purchases.

Best for consumer friendliness

Chime Credit Builder Visa® Secured Credit Card

Secured cards aren't always the easiest cards to manage, but the Chime Credit Builder Visa® Secured Credit Card makes great effort to put the consumer's experience first. This card works more like a debit card in that you need to open a Chime account and place your deposit there. There's no limit to how much you place into this account and your purchases made on the Chime card for the month are automatically paid off from that balance at the end of the month. The end result is a card with few fees or interest rates to worry about.

Best for no security deposit

Petal® 1 "No Annual Fee" Visa® Credit Card

Finder Rating: 4.5 / 5★★★★★

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on WebBank, Member FDIC's secure site
Terms apply, see rates & fees
If you want a card that can help you build credit but don't wish to put down a security deposit, the Petal® 1 "No Annual Fee" Visa® Credit Card is a great pick. The card is essentially a standard credit card that's light on fees and offers the opportunity for rewards on select purchases. The only trade-off is you'll need a credit score that hovers at least around fair to potentially qualify.
Petal credit cards are issued by WebBank, Member FDIC

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.

Scott Nelson, CEO of MoneyNerd Ltd, tells Finder: “A secured credit card is worth it when you either don’t have a credit record or you have a poor credit record which is stopping you from applying for credit.

The unfortunate thing about credit is that you can’t be granted credit unless you have a credit history or a positive credit history. You can’t have a credit history or positive credit history without getting credit.

So, whether a secured credit card is worth it is down to your own judgment. Do you trust your own ability to follow the terms of the credit agreement? If so, a secured credit card is worth it if you don’t have any credit history and you’re looking to build some or if you’re trying to improve your existing credit. This is because a secured credit card is a great way to build credit because regular consistent payments are reported directly to credit bureaus.

If you have a bad credit history and you personally know you struggle paying credit back then a secured credit card isn’t worth it as you’re likely to lose your deposit — or worse, your property — if you used it for collateral.”

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.
  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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