Best secured credit cards in 2020

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

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If you have poor or no credit, getting a secured credit card is a great step toward building credit so you can eventually graduate to an unsecured card. Even with a secured card, however, you can find something with perks and features that serve your financial needs best. We examined a number of factors shared across secured cards — including minimum security deposits, credit limits, intro and overall APRs, fees, qualification requirements and perks such as rewards programs. Compare the results and learn more about secured credit cards from our experts.

Best secured credit cards

Here is a collection of secured cards we feel are most valuable for consumers this year. If you want to compare these cards side by side, jump down to our comparison table below.

Best secured card for no annual fee: Citi® Secured Mastercard®

Citi® Secured Mastercard®
Apply now
Citi® Secured Mastercard® helps those with no credit history to build it. It has no annual fee and a $200 opening deposit — and an assortment of Mastercard perks.

Annual fee$0
Minimum deposit requiredStarting at $200
Purchase APR23.99% variable
Balance transfer APR23.99% variable
Recommended minimum credit score580
Pros
  • No annual fee. You won’t pay an annual fee to use this card.
  • Mastercard perks. Purchase benefits, travel insurance and other Mastercard perks.
  • Minimum deposit. A fairly standard minimum deposit of $200 to open.
Cons
  • Penalty APR.Fail to make payments and Citi may apply a 29.99% penalty APR to your account.

Compare more secured cards with no annual fee

Best secured card for no credit check: OpenSky® Secured Visa® Credit Card

OpenSky® Secured Visa® Credit Card
Apply now

The OpenSky® Secured Visa® Credit Card skips the credit check, so those with no credit could qualify for this secured card.

Annual fee$35
Minimum deposit requiredStarting at $200
Purchase APR18.89% variable
Balance transfer APRN/A
Recommended minimum credit score300
Pros
  • No credit check necessary. You can apply regardless of your credit score.
  • Builds credit fast. OpenSky reports your card activity to all three major credit bureaus.
  • Low minimum deposit. You’ll need to deposit $200 as collateral for this card, which is average for secured cards.
Cons
  • Annual fee.This card carries a $35 annual fee which is charged to your account open opening.

Compare more secured credit cards with no credit check

Best secured card for low deposit: Capital One® Secured Mastercard®

Capital One® Secured Mastercard®
See offer
Capital One® Secured Mastercard® doesn’t require a deposit that corresponds to your credit limit. Instead, your credit score determines your security deposit. You can pay as little as $49 and still get a $200 credit limit.

Annual fee$0
Minimum deposit required$49, $99 or $200
Purchase APR26.99% variable
Balance transfer APR26.99% variable
Recommended minimum credit score580
Rates & feesrates & fees
Pros
  • Flexible minimum deposit. You’ll pay either $49, $99 or $200 for your security deposit, depending on your credit.
  • No annual fee. You won’t pay an annual fee to use this secured card.
  • Credit limit upgrades. Capital One® might increase your credit limit if you pay your first five monthly payments on time.
Cons
  • High APR.This card comes with a purchase APR of 26.99% variable.

Compare more low deposit credit cards

Best secured card for rewards: SKYPASS Visa® Secured Card

SKYPASS Visa® Secured Card

The SKYPASS Visa® Secured Card comes with rewards and a signup bonus. Plus, when you renew your card, you’ll earn additional SKYPASS miles and travel accident insurance.

Annual fee$50
Minimum deposit requiredStarting at $500
Purchase APR17.74% variable
Balance transfer APR17.74% variable
Recommended minimum credit score300
Rates & feesrates & fees
Pros
  • Reward access. Earn 1x SKYPASS mile for each dollar spent on eligible purchases. Redeem these miles on flights, hotel bookings, merchandise and more.
  • Signup bonus. Earn 5,000 SKYPASS miles after making your first purchase with your card.
  • Renewal bonus. Earn 1,000 SKYPASS miles after you renew your card. You’ll receive these miles after paying your annual fee.
Cons
  • Annual fee.You’ll need to pay a $50 annual fee to use this secured card.

Compare more secured cards with rewards

Best secured card for low APR: DCU Visa® Platinum Secured Credit Card

DCU Visa® Platinum Secured Credit Card

The DCU Visa® Platinum Secured Credit Card offers one of the lowest variable APRs for purchases, balance transfers and cash advances among secured cards, all while avoiding numerous fees. To apply for this secured card however, you’ll need to open a savings account at DCU.

Annual fee$0
Minimum deposit requiredStarting at $500
Purchase APR13% variable
Balance transfer APR13% variable
Recommended minimum credit score300
Pros
  • No annual fee. You won’t pay an annual fee to use this secured card.
  • Low interest rate. The DCU Visa® Platinum Secured Credit Card sports a 13% variable APR on purchases, balance transfers and cash advances.
  • Few fees. You’ll pay no fees for balance transfers, cash advances or foreign transactions.
Cons
  • Membership required.You must have DCU membership to qualify for this card.

Compare more low APR secured credit cards

Best secured card for military members: nRewards® Secured Credit Card

nRewards® Secured Credit Card

The low rates and fees on the Navy Federal Credit Union® nRewards® Secured Credit Card help military members build credit without building debt.

Annual fee$0
Minimum deposit requiredStarting at $200
Purchase APR18% variable
Balance transfer APR18% variable
Recommended minimum credit score300
Pros
  • 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.
Cons
  • Membership required. You’ll need to be a NFCU member to qualify for this card.

  • 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.

Our pick for a secured credit card

Citi® Secured Mastercard®

  • The Citi® Secured Mastercard® is a no annual fee credit card that helps you build your credit when used responsibly.
  • Unlike a debit card, it helps build your credit history with monthly reporting to all 3 major credit bureaus. Once available, you will also have free access to your FICO score online.
  • Use your card anywhere Mastercard® is accepted — worldwide.
  • A security deposit is required. Once approved, your credit limit will be equal to your security deposit (minimum of $200).
  • Get help staying on track with Auto Pay and account alerts.
  • With Flexible Payment Due Dates, you can choose any available due date in the beginning, middle or end of the month.
  • Manage your account 24/7 online, by phone, or in our mobile app.
  • The standard variable APR for Citi Flex Plan is 23.99%. Citi Flex Plan offers are made available at Citi’s discretion.
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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
Citi® Secured Mastercard®
Starting at $200
23.99% variable
$0
580
A no annual fee secured card for people who are new to credit or have limited credit history with a fair to average credit score.
OpenSky® Secured Visa® Credit Card
Starting at $200
18.89% variable
$35
300
A secured Visa® credit card that helps you build your credit quickly.
Applied Bank® Secured Visa® Gold Preferred® Credit Card
Starting at $200
9.99% fixed
$48
300
This secured card can help you rebuild your credit with an initial deposit of $200 to $1,000.
CardMatch™ from creditcards.com
See terms
See issuer's website
See terms
300
Can't decide on a card? Get personalized credit card offers with CardMatch™.
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.

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.

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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.

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

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

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