Visa vs. Mastercard secured credit card – who's better? |

Secured credit cards: Visa vs. Mastercard

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If you’re looking for a secured credit card, you may wonder whether you should pick Visa over Mastercard. Or vice versa.

Both card networks offer many choices: You’ll rarely find a secured card that’s not a Visa or Mastercard. Beyond the Discover it Secured and the USAA Secured Card, there aren’t any contenders from Discover or American Express.

Once you’ve decided to get either a Visa or Mastercard, don’t worry about picking the wrong one. For secured cards, both providers offer similar benefits.

Green Dot primor® Mastercard® Gold Secured Credit Card

Our Pick: Green Dot primor® Mastercard® Gold Secured Credit Card

If you have low or no credit, this card offers easy-to-meet eligibility criteria — with no fees or credit check required.

  • Annual fee: $49, waived the first year
  • Purchase APR: 9.99% fixed


    Visa and Mastercard are the most widely accepted credit cards in the world. In this regard, they have an advantage over their competitors: Discover and American Express aren’t as widely accepted.

    Here’s the bottom line for Visas and Mastercards: If a merchant accepts one, they’ll most likely accept the other. So regardless of which secured card you choose, you can probably use it anywhere credit cards are accepted.

    Credit card networks vs. issuers: What’s the difference?

    Credit card networks are companies that dictate the usage of credit cards between merchants and card users — think Visa, Mastercard, Discover and American Express. Networks set fees that allow merchants to accept their product.

    Credit card issuers are companies who lend credit out to the consumers. For example, you have a Visa credit card that is issued by Chase bank — in this case, Chase is the issuer and Visa is the network. However, American Express and Discover are both networks and issuers.

    Chances of approval

    It isn’t easier to get approved for one over the other. Instead, it’s more important to consider your card issuer. For example, some issuers have tight approval standards, while other issuers accept consumers with poor credit.

    If you’re worried that you could be denied for a card, look for a secured card that doesn’t require a credit check.


    Depending on which product you’re approved for, Visa and Mastercard may offer:

    • Zero liability for unauthorized purchases. If your card is used without your knowledge, you won’t pay anything.
    • Cardholder assistance. Call a 24/7 hotline whenever you have problems with your card.

    A Visa or Mastercard may come with additional features, especially if it’s a Platinum card:

    • Auto rental collision damage waiver. An auto rental collision damage waiver (CDW) will reimburse you if your rental car is damaged or stolen.
    • Roadside assistance. If you have problems with your vehicle while you’re on the road, give a call to the roadside assistance hotline. Services include towing, tire changes, jump-starts, lockout service, fuel delivery and more.
    • Extended warranties. In many cases, your item’s original warranty is doubled if you’ve purchased it with your card.
    • Travel insurance. You may be covered for travel emergencies like trip cancellation and medical evacuation.

    To see if a card offers these benefits, check with your issuer. Cards may offer different perks depending on issuers’ agreements with the card networks.

    Visa vs. Mastercard: Which is better?

    Look for these benefits instead

    Generally, secured cards from Visa and Mastercard offer similar benefits. More important is what you’ll get from your issuer.

    When considering a secured card, look at these factors:

    • Annual fee. You’ll find great secured cards with no annual fees.
    • Security deposit. Typically, you’ll pay $200 to $300 to open a secured card. However, there are cards that require lower security deposits.
    • Reporting to major credit bureaus. A secured card can help you build credit, but only if your provider reports your payment history to the major credit bureaus. Ask if your provider reports your payments to TransUnion, Equifax and Experian.
    • Potential to graduate to an unsecured card. Some card providers will return your security deposit after a specified period of time. This effectively makes your secured card an unsecured card.

    Compare Visa and Mastercard secured credit cards

    Rates last updated June 25th, 2018
    Name Product Product Description APR for Purchases ( Purchase Rate ) Bonus Points Interest Free Period
     Applied Bank® Secured Visa® Gold Preferred® Credit Card
    This secured card can help you rebuild your credit with an initial deposit of $200 to $1,000.
    9.99% fixed
    0 interest free days
    Apply now Read review
    OpenSky® Secured Visa® Credit Card
    A secured Visa® credit card that helps you build your credit quickly.
    18.64% variable
    Up to 25 days
    Apply now Read review
    UNITY Visa® Secured Credit Card
    Borrow up to $10000 and get your credit score back on track.
    17.99% fixed
    Up to 25 days
    Apply now Read review
    Green Dot primor® Visa® Gold Secured Credit Card
    Fast, easy application process. No processing or application fees!
    9.99% fixed
    Up to 25 days
    Apply now Read review
    Green Dot primor® Visa® Classic Secured Credit Card
    Credit lines available from $200 to $5,000! You decide where you want to start and open your Personal Savings Deposit Account to secure your line.
    13.99% fixed
    Up to 25 days
    Apply now Read review

    Compare up to 4 providers

    Rates last updated June 25th, 2018
    Name Product Product Description APR for Purchases ( Purchase Rate ) Bonus Points Interest Free Period
    Platinum Prestige MasterCard® Secured Credit Card
    You can increase your credit limit by adding funds to the initial deposit.
    9.99% variable
    Up to 25 days
    Apply now Read review
    Platinum Elite MasterCard® Secured Credit Card
    With just a security deposit and 19.99% variable APR, start building or rebuilding your credit history.
    19.99% variable
    Up to 25 days
    Apply now Read review
    Green Dot primor® Mastercard® Classic Secured Credit Card
    Have little or poor credit? The primor® Secured Mastercard® Classic has no minimum credit score requirements and no processing or application fees to worry about.
    13.99% fixed
    Up to 25 days
    Apply now Read review
    Green Dot primor® Mastercard® Gold Secured Credit Card
    Low fixed interest rates with no penalty rate.
    9.99% fixed
    Up to 25 days
    Apply now Read review

    Compare up to 4 providers

    For a few top Visa and Mastercard picks, look into these cards.

    1. State Department Federal Credit Union (SDFCU) Secured Visa Platinum Card. You’ll pay no annual fee and a receive very low APR of 13.49% variable. Join SDFCU for as little as $5 along with a minimum $1 deposit into a savings account.
    2. Secured Mastercard from Capital One. This card has no annual fee. You may qualify to deposit only $49 or $99 and still get a $200 credit line. After you pay your bill on time for the first five months, you’ll automatically qualify for a higher credit line. Because the card is a Platinum Mastercard, you’ll get benefits like:
    • Extended warranty.
    • Auto rental insurance.
    • Travel accident insurance.
    • 24/7 travel assistance.
    • 24/7 roadside assistance.
    • Price protection.
    • Citi Secured Mastercard. A solid option with no annual fee. Like the Capital One Secured Card, it includes Mastercard benefits like extended warranties and auto rental insurance.

    Frequently asked questions

    Adrienne Fuller

    Adrienne Fuller leads the publishing team at She has one goal: to deliver the accurate and transparent information she wishes she had when she made some of life's important financial decisions. When she's not helping folks save money, she's hiking with her two Catahoulas around her home in San Diego.

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