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Best secured credit cards in 2020

Use your card responsibly to improve your credit score and graduate to an unsecured credit card.

Updated

Fact checked

Our pick for a secured card: First Progress Platinum Select MasterCard® Secured Credit Card

First Progress Platinum Select MasterCard® Secured Credit Card logo

from $200

Security deposit

  • No minimum credit score
  • Low annual fee of $39
  • Reports to all three credit bureaus to help build credit
Apply now

Credit card offers and features are rapidly changing in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. To bring you the most current information, Finder updates reviews and guides as changes occur. If the pandemic is impacting your finances, check out our COVID-19 credit card guide to keep your credit intact and your finances afloat during this time.

If you have poor or no credit, a secured card could be a step forward to building your credit score and qualifying unsecured cards with lower APRs.
Some secured cards come with perks like reward programs, but most require a security deposit and have low credit limits. We examine the features, requirements and perks across secured cards, and provide advice from our experts to help you find the best card for you.

Best secured credit cards

We gathered a few secured cards we feel are most valuable for consumers this year. To compare these cards side by side, jump down to our comparison table.

Best secured card for no credit check

OpenSky® Secured Visa® Credit Card

OpenSky® Secured Visa® Credit Card logo
Finder Rating: 3.8 / 5

★★★★★

Credit recommended (300-579)
Apply now
on Capital Bank N.A.'s secure site
300
Min. credit score
$35
Annual fee
0% intro
Purchase APR
From $200
Min. deposit
You'll pay a $35 annual fee for the OpenSky® Secured Visa® Credit Card. For the price, however, you'll find not only a reputable secured card from a provider that doesn't require a credit check for approval, but a secured card that offers 3 months 0% intro APR on purchases.
  • Build your credit. The card reports to all three major credit bureaus, which can help strengthen your credit. All you have to do is keep your utilization low and make timely payments.
  • No credit check. OpenSky only uses your ID to confirm your identity — it won't do a credit pull.
  • Credit line. You have full control over your credit line, as it's the sum of your security deposit. You can make a deposit from $200 up to $3,000.
  • Annual fee. The card comes with a $35 annual fee.
Annual fee $35
Minimum deposit required Starting at $200
Purchase APR 0% intro for the first 3 months (then 17.39% variable)
Balance transfer APR N/A
Recommended minimum credit score 300

Compare more low deposit credit cards

Best secured card for low APR

Green Dot primor® Mastercard® Gold Secured Credit Card

Green Dot primor® Mastercard® Gold Secured Credit Card logo
Finder Rating: 4 / 5

★★★★★

Credit recommended (300-579)
Apply now
on Green Dot Bank's secure site
300
Min. credit score
$49
Annual fee
9.99% fixed
Purchase APR
From $200
Min. deposit
While this card has a high $49 annual fee, it offers a 9.99% fixed purchase APR that's much lower than you'll find with other secured cards. Green Dot Bank, the issuer, says you'll be approved after verifying your identity and address and funding a savings account.
  • Build your credit. The card reports to all three major credit bureaus — Equifax, Experian and TransUnion. If you keep your utilization low and pay your balance on time, you'll be on a good track to build your credit.
  • Fixed APR. Most cards come with a variable APR, but with this card, you'll get one of the lowest APRs at 9.99% fixed.
  • No minimum credit score. You can apply without credit history or if you have a poor credit score.
  • Annual fee. You'll pay an annual fee of $49 for the card.
Annual fee $49
Minimum deposit required Starting at $200
Purchase APR 9.99% fixed
Balance transfer APR N/A
Recommended minimum credit score 300

Compare more low APR secured credit cards

Best secured card for low deposit and no annual fee

Capital One® Secured Mastercard®

Capital One® Secured Mastercard® logo
Finder Rating: 4.4 / 5

★★★★★

Credit recommended (580-669)
Read review
Rates & fees

580
Min. credit score
$0
Annual fee
26.99% variable
Purchase APR
From $49
Min. deposit
The possibility of depositing less than your credit limit is what makes this card unique. You can receive a $200 starting credit limit with an initial deposit of $49, $99 or $200.
  • You'll pay no annual fee to use this card.
  • Depending on your credit, you may pay a security deposit as low as $49 and still get a $200 credit limit.
  • Make your first 5 monthly payments on time and Capital One will raise your credit limit.
  • This card features a high APR of 26.99% variable.
  • No rewards.
Annual fee $0
Minimum deposit required $49, $99 or $200
Purchase APR 26.99% variable
Balance transfer APR 26.99% variable
Recommended minimum credit score 580

Best secured card for rewards

Discover it® Secured

Discover it® Secured logo
Credit recommended (300-669)
Read review
300
Min. credit score
$0
Annual fee
22.99% variable
Purchase APR
From $200
Min. deposit
The Discover it® Secured has long been the best choice in this category. It offers cashback rewards, which is rare among secured cards.
  • Build your credit. Responsible use of the card will help you build your credit score, as the card reports to all three major credit bureaus — Equifax, Experian and TransUnion.
  • Earn cash back. Earn 2% back on dining and gas on up to $1,000 in combined purchases each quarter. On everything else you buy, you'll earn 1% cash back.
  • Intro APR period on balance transfers. Enjoy a 10.99% intro APR period on balance transfers for 6 months. After that, a variable APR of 22.99% applies.
  • Balance transfer limitation. You must make your balance transfers by a rolling deadline to use the intro APR period.
Annual fee $0
Minimum deposit required Starting at $200
Purchase APR 22.99% variable
Balance transfer APR 10.99% intro for the first 6 months (then 22.99% variable)
Recommended minimum credit score 300

Compare more secured cards with rewards

Best secured card for military members

nRewards® Secured Credit Card

nRewards® Secured Credit Card logo
Credit recommended (300-579)
Read review
300
Min. credit score
$0
Annual fee
18% variable
Purchase APR
From $200
Min. deposit
The nRewards® Secured Credit Card offers 1x points on all purchases, and it's light on fees. After six months, Navy Federal Credit Union reviews your account to see if you're eligible for an upgrade to an unsecured card.
  • No annual fee. You won't pay an annual fee to use this card.
  • Few miscellaneous fees. There are no fees for balance transfers, foreign transactions or cash advances.
  • Rewards. You can earn 1 point per dollar spent on eligible purchases.
  • Membership required. You'll need to be a NFCU member to qualify for this card.
Annual fee $0
Minimum deposit required Starting at $200
Purchase APR 18% variable
Balance transfer APR 18% variable
Recommended minimum credit score 300

How we selected our top cards

We evaluated secured credit cards on several dimensions, including credit check, low deposit, rewards and more. The cards we selected for this list showed standout features compared to competitors.

What’s changed in 2020

Many longtime winners remain on this list. The Discover it® Secured and Capital One® Secured Mastercard®, in particular, are still excellent options.

  • Why trust us? Finder’s credit card experts spend close to 400 hours a week researching and writing about credit card strategies and comparisons. Thanks to this experience, we know what makes the right type of credit card for the right type of consumer. Above all, we want to help our readers quickly and easily compare their options so that they can find the card that suits them best. Under our editorial guidelines, our content is always unbiased and as accurate and current as possible.

Compare secured credit cards

While secured cards don’t typically offer the breadth of features and perks that come with unsecured cards, you’ll still find a decent variety of secured cards to suit your needs.

Note that you may need to pay the security deposit when you apply for the card. If you don’t have enough to fund
the deposit, learn how to save up for a deposit before you apply.

Name Product Filter values Minimum deposit required Purchase APR Annual fee Recommended minimum credit score
First Progress Platinum Select MasterCard® Secured Credit Card
Starting at $200
13.99% variable
$39
300
No minimum credit score and no credit history required.
Green Dot primor® Visa® Gold Secured Credit Card
Starting at $200
9.99% fixed
$49
300
Fast, easy application process with no processing or application fees.
OpenSky® Secured Visa® Credit Card
Starting at $200
0% intro for the first 3 months (then 17.39% variable)
$35
300
A rare secured card with a 0% intro APR on purchases for the first 3 months, then 17.39% variable.
Green Dot Platinum Visa® Secured Credit Card
Starting at $200
19.99% fixed
$39
300
The power to build your credit with reporting to the three major credit bureaus.
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.
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Compare up to 4 providers

What type of card do you need?

How do secured credit cards work?

A secured credit card is designed to help you build your credit score and works similarly to a traditional credit card. The main difference is you need to put down a security deposit before you can open a secured card.

This deposit helps protect the issuer in the event you fall behind on your payments or default. Because of this, the bank extends you credit when you otherwise wouldn’t qualify for a credit card. This gives you the opportunity to build your credit by showing you can responsibly manage a credit card. To learn how secured credit cards work, read up on our guide.


1. Compare & apply for a card

Avoid predatory cards with high fees or rates. Once you choose a card, you may have to provide your bank credentials during the application to pay the deposit.


2. Raise your credit score

Now that you have a card, use it to raise your credit score by paying your full balance on time each month.


3. Graduate to an unsecured card

Once you raise your credit score, you’re ready for a new card. Contact the bank to see if you can upgrade your card and get your deposit refunded.

Back to top

How to compare credit cards

On top of a secured card’s APR, you’ll want to look at the following card features before making your choice:

Security deposit

The required security deposit can make or break your ability to obtain the card, depending on your financial situation.

Credit reporting

You’ll want to make sure the secured card reports to all three major credit bureaus.

Fees

Watch out for secured cards with annual or monthly fees. These can make it difficult to keep up on your payments.

Graduation

Some secured cards will let you graduate to an unsecured version or will upgrade your credit limit after you demonstrate strong financial habits.

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.

Rewards

While rare, some secured cards can let you earn rewards while you build your credit.

When is a secured credit card worth it?

If you’re pursuing a secured card, it’s likely because you have poor or no credit and can’t qualify for other types of cards, like a rewards or cashback card. Getting a secured card is an investment in your credit future, but whether or not it’s worth it depends on a couple of factors.

On average, most secured cards require a security deposit of around $200. You need to determine if you can part with that cash upfront because you won’t see it again until you close your account. In exchange for the deposit, however, you get an opportunity to directly build your credit, albeit with a more limited credit card. You trade functionality for privilege.

Since secured cards typically feature lower credit limits, you can focus on the ebb and flow of strong credit card habits rather than using your card on large purchases or chasing rewards.

For these reasons, using a secured card can help raise your credit score and teach you effective spending habits. That’s why a secured credit card is often worth it.

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.
  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.

Read more about secured credit cards

Kevin Chen

Kevin Chen
Credit Cards Writer

My sister once asked me for a credit card recommendation, but her credit score wasn’t that great. I advised her to apply for a secured card. She did, and was approved. In several months, her provider — Bank of America — upgraded her to an unsecured card. If you need help building your credit, a secured card is a great idea — and you’ll find many excellent products. Here are a few articles to help you find the right one.

Ask the experts

Andrei Simonov profile picture
  • Andrei Simonov
  • Chairperson of the Department of Finance
  • Michigan State University
Travis Davidson profile picture
  • Travis Davidson
  • Associate Professor of Finance
  • Ohio University
Daniel Folkinshteyn profile picture
  • Daniel Folkinshteyn
  • Associate Professor
  • Rowan University
Neel Das
  • Neel Das
  • Associate Professor
  • Appalachian State University
Al Kamienski
  • Al Kamienski
  • PhD Professor of Finance
  • North Park University
Julio Sevilla
  • Julio Sevilla
  • Assistant Professor in the Terry College of Business
  • University of Georgia

Bottom line

Secured cards are a useful tool for building or rebuilding your credit score and moving on to an unsecured card. Your main goal is to spend responsibly, pay your balance on time and graduate to more beneficial credit cards as soon as possible

Back to top

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.

Read more on this topic

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