We look at minimum and maximum deposit amounts, how long you have to fund your card and more.
Secured credit cards are one of the best ways to build credit if you’ve had trouble being approved for an unsecured card. Secured cards are almost indistinguishable from unsecured credit cards, except for one major difference: Secured card require that you pay a deposit.
If you’re new to credit or need to improve your credit score, a secured card is a step in the right direction. Secured cards let you build your credit as long as you make on-time and regular payments. To lower their risk, credit card companies require a refundable deposit as collateral. The amount of your deposit determines your monthly credit limit, and if you miss a payment, not only is it reported to the credit bureau, you’ll lose your deposit amount.
How to fund a secured credit card
Once you are approved for a secured card, you need to fund your security deposit before you can use your card. Most secured cards expect you to choose your deposit, though some do have minimums and maximums. Funding your deposit can be done in a handful of ways:
Funding your card by mail
Many lenders allow you to fund your new card by sending a check or money order by mail. Generally, you’ll complete a security funds to be mailed with the deposit check. You can find the address and any other necessary information on the credit card website or by following the instructions in the package you received from the issuer.
Funding your card by phone
Most new credit cards have a sticker on the front or back of the card with a number to call to activate the card. If the issuer uses an automated system, follow the prompts to fund your deposit and activate the card. If you’d like to speak to a representative, they can walk you through the process.
Funding your card online
Many secured credit cards offer an online system to manage your account, often with the option to pay your deposit. Once you’ve receive your card, follow the instructions to set up your online account. Once your account is set up, navigate to the section dedicated to deposits, then fill out and submit all required information.
How to find the minimum and maximum deposit amounts
Secured credit cards allow you to choose a deposit amount that’s right for your financial situation. Chose a manageable amount that won’t break your budget. Remember that the goal is to build your credit score.
Credit limits vary from card to card, so make sure you know what’s available as you compare cards. Here’s how to find the minimum and maximum deposit amounts on a secured credit card:
1. The majority of secured credit cards have an official website, either standalone or through its issuer. Navigate to the website and look for a product details or card features section. Take the Green Dot primor® Mastercard® Gold Secured Credit Card, for example:
2. Most of the time, the minimum and maximum deposit amounts will be listed in plain sight, but if not, you might have to do some digging.
3. If you can’t find the information, look for a link to the terms and conditions or full cardholder agreement. This document should have details regarding deposit, fees and APR.
4. If you’re still having trouble finding the minimum and maximum deposit, you can always contact the issuer for more details. The customer service number can usually be found on the contact page of the website.
How long do I have to fund my secured credit card?
When you apply for a secured credit card, you’ll be required to provide a deposit when you apply or shortly afterwards. Most issuers require a payment once you’re approved. However, there are a few cards that are a bit more lenient, like the OpenSky® Secured Visa® Credit Card that gives you 60 days to pay your deposit, and the Secured Mastercard® from Capital One® that gives 80 days.
The best secured credit cards with low minimums or delayed deposits
What happens if I don’t fund my secured card in time?
If you don’t fund your secured card in time, your approved application may be voided. It’s best to have a plan of how you’ll pay the deposit before filling out the application.
Credit card companies do a hard pull on your credit, causing your score to drop a few points. The initial dip in credit isn’t a big deal once you start using the card, but it can be if the card is rejected before you use it. The deadline for your deposit varies between each issuer, so it’s important to be aware to avoid further damaging your credit.
Getting a secured credit card is exciting, helping you lay the groundwork on a path towards a positive credit history. However, it’s important to pay attention to the details and deadline to get the most out of your card. From credit limits to security deposits, you should always read the brochure, website or terms and conditions to better understand the features and benefits of your card. Like any other financial product, be sure to weigh your options to find a card that is right for your financial situation.