Get a secured credit card in 3 easy steps
Build good credit by following these three easy steps.
Having a non-existent or poor credit history can limit your credit card options. Often, secured cards are the only choice you’ll have with low or no credit, meaning you’ll need to rely on them to help build or rebuild your credit score. Thankfully, the path to getting a secured card in your hand and knowing what to do with it can be easily followed in just three simple steps.
1. Find the right secured credit card for you
There are a few secured credit cards to choose from on the market, which means you have options. Our guide to secured credit cards can help you find the right one for your spending habits and financial history. Just like travel and cash back cards come with different strengths, secured cards can bring different perks to the table as well.
Here are a few types of secured cards you might consider:
- No annual fee. You already have to put down a security deposit to open a secured card. To avoid paying more money up front, a no annual fee card can help.
- Low deposit. Secured cards aren’t exactly cheap — it’s not uncommon for providers to require minimum deposits of $200, $300 or even $500. If you don’t anticipate spending much with your card, consider a low deposit card. You can build credit without tying up a lot of money in your deposit. Remember that your deposit will usually serve as your credit limit.
- No credit check. Even secured card providers can decline you if your credit score is too low. To get around this possibility, consider applying for a card that doesn’t require a credit check.
- Low APR. If you think you’ll carry a balance from month to month, a secured credit card with a low purchase APR can save you money that you’d otherwise be paying in interest if you were using a card with a standard or high APR. If you’re trying to rebuild your credit score, you should avoid carrying an overdue balance and strive to pay off your card balance in full every month.
2. Apply for the card
Once you’ve narrowed it down to the secured card that is a perfect fit for your needs, click the green Go to site button or head to the card provider’s website. Next, you’ll need to complete the application, which typically requires providing your personal, employment and financial information. You will likely need to provide the following:
- Your name, address, phone number, email and birth date.
- Your Social Insurance Number (SIN).
- Your job title and employers name.
- Your total annual income.
- Your banking details.
- The cost of your monthly rent or mortgage payments.
You’ll also need to indicate how much you want to put down as a security deposit. If you’re approved, your card provider will withdraw that amount from your bank account. If you’re not asked to provide a deposit amount, your card provider will collect the deposit from you later.
Once you submit your application, sit tight while the provider reviews it. In some cases, you’ll receive an immediate decision — if not, you’ll need to wait a few days or even a few weeks to receive word on whether your application has been approved or not.
3. What to do now that you’ve got the card
Whether you’re building or repairing your credit, using a secured credit card responsibly can be essential to pushing your credit score in the right direction. In order to effectively use your card, you should make timely payments, maintain a low credit utilization ratio and pay your balance in full each month.
Your credit score will only go up if the bureaus see that you’re using your card responsibly. Because you want to build your credit, it’s crucial that your payment history is reported to the two credit bureaus: TransUnion and Equifax. Reach out to the provider and ask if they report to the credit bureaus, and if not, look for a different secured card.
What if my application for a secured credit card was denied?
The first course of action to take once you’ve been denied for a secured credit card is to identify the reason why you’ve been denied. You can do this by contacting the lender directly and asking for answers. There may be inaccurate information on your credit report — if this is the case, contact the credit bureaus to dispute the errors.
Getting rejected for a secured card doesn’t mean you’ve got no other options. You could also consider applying for a secured credit card at a credit union or with a lender that doesn’t conduct a credit check. Another option could be becoming an authorized user on someone else’s credit card account.
Secured credit card
What should I look for in a secured credit card?
When researching what card will best fit your needs, there are a few main factors to take into consideration:
- How much do you have to deposit?
- What’s the annual or monthly fee?
- How high is the purchase APR?
- Is there an interest-free grace period?
- Is your payment history reported to the two credit bureaus?
A provider’s website should clearly list the card’s minimum and maximum deposit amounts, annual fee and APRs. When you’re confident you understand all of the card’s details, you can gather your personal, financial and employment information and submit your application.
That was easy, wasn’t it?
Once you receive your secured credit card, it’s time to start building or rebuilding your credit score. Keep track of your payment due dates and make your payments on time to avoid late fees and penalty APRs.
Over a few months to a year, you’ll slowly see your credit score tick upward — and, eventually, you’ll be ready to apply for an unsecured card.