Best Secured Credit Cards in 2019

A secured credit card can be a secret weapon in the battle to repair damaged credit or simply build credit from scratch.

Even if you’re just starting out and have no prior credit history, a secured credit card can allow you to get in the practice of paying your monthly credit card bill and earn a good reputation with the credit bureaus as someone who can be trusted with a larger unsecured line of credit.

Most people who apply for a secured credit card use it for a period of time — between a few months to a year — before they become eligible for a credit card with fewer fees and larger limits.

But you can still find secured credit cards with good features and some that grow with you as your credit improves.

Do Secured Credit Cards Come With Rewards?

Unfortunately, the vast majority of secured credit cards do not come with perks like cash back rewards. These are, admittedly, low-frills cards designed to help consumers learn to use credit responsibly and build a positive credit history.

That said, secured cards, like all types of credit cards, come with good fraud and purchase protection in the event your card is lost or stolen, or you have a dispute over a purchase made with the card.

Admittedly, secured credit cards are not as widely advertised as other credit cards. It might take a bit of research, but most people can find a secured credit card that suits their needs.

How to Get a Secured Credit Card

best secured credit cardsGetting a secured credit card is just like getting an unsecured credit card, but with one extra step. First, you will need to research and find a card that will approve you based on your credit rating.

Then you will apply for the card. Once you are approved for a secured credit card, you’ll need to make a refundable security deposit to the lending bank. The deposit is held in a collateral holding account for a particular amount of time.

You may or may not earn interest on this deposit, depending on the card. Even if you do earn interest on your deposit, the amount of interest will be trivial compared to the interest you will pay on the card if you do not pay your balance in full every month.

The amount you deposit will determine your credit limit. For example, if you deposit $500, then you will be able to borrow up to that amount. Most secured credit cards have a minimum deposit of around $200, but it varies.

Some secured credit cards have a maximum credit limit of $300 while others allow you to borrow more after you prove creditworthiness.

If these credit limits seem low, don’t be discouraged. Remember, the point of a secured credit card isn’t to give you spending power, it is to get into the habit of using a card, paying the balance, and showing the bank you can be responsible with credit.

The 5 Best Secured Credit Cards of 2019

Capital One® Secured Mastercard®

capital one secured mastercard
This secured credit card starts with an initial security deposit of $49. You can also opt for $99 or $200.You can increase this by increasing your security deposit or by making your first 5 payments on time.

Why It Stands Out

Super accessible – Start building credit even with a limit as low as $49.

Other Benefits

Pick your own due date to make payments when it’s best for your cash flow.

  • Fees: $0 annual fee

OpenSky® Secured Visa® Credit Card

opensky secured visa credit card
This secured card boasts a reasonable, fixed annual fee so you’ll always know what to expect. Unlike the Capital One Secured Mastercard, the OpenSky card has a minimum deposit of $200.

Why It Stands Out

First and foremost – there is no credit check required. Plus, we love this card’s straightforward and fair fee structure + lower than average APR.

Other Benefits

Your regular payments will be reported to all 3 credit bureaus so you can watch your score improve every month.

Watch Out For

This card does have an inactivity fee if you don’t use your account for 12 months or longer. First, your deposit will be returned to you, but if it is unsuccessful a $10 per month charge will be deducted from your balance.

  • Fees: $35 annual fee, 3% foreign transaction fee

Green Dot Primor® Visa® Gold Secured Credit Card

primor secured visa gold card
While a lot of secured credit cards come with high APRs, the Green Dot Primor Visa Gold card caps its APR at 9.99%. This is low enough that even veteran credit card users might take a second look.

Though we always recommend paying off your balance each month, an APR under 10% makes those unexpected months less when you can’t pay off your balance.

Why It Stands Out

One of the lowest interest rates we’ve seen, plus flexible credit limits between $200 to $5,000!

Other Benefits

Fast, easy, and free application process. Like most secured credit cards, this one reports your good behavior three national credit bureaus, helping you grow your score and creditworthiness across the board.

  • Fees: $49 annual fee

Citi® Secured Mastercard®

citi secured mastercardWhat better way to save money than to save on annual fees? A $0 annual fee makes this card exceptionally helpful at the purpose it’s intended for – helping you build your credit and meet your financial goals.

Enjoy $0 annual fees with this Citi Mastercard that is accepted worldwide at millions of merchants.

Why It Stands Out

Flexible credit limits between $200 to $2,500

Other Benefits

Reporting to national credit bureaus, strong identity theft protection, and zero liability purchase protection for unauthorized charges. Plus, free online and mobile banking tools.

Watch Out For

Not available for people who have filed bankruptcy within the last 2 years.

  • Fees: $0 annual fee

Merrick Bank Double Your Line™ Visa® Credit Card

merrick bank double your line visa credit card imageThis card was designed for people with limited choices who are motivated to make some changes – and fast. With a $75 set up fee, a high annual fee in the first year, and $8 per month after that, this card is a motivating force if nothing else.

We recommend this card if you find yourself without many good options and need something – anything – to get you started on the path to credit repair. Use it strategically, and it can be the shovel to help dig you out of a hole. But it’s an expensive one. Keep your focus on the day you’ll no longer need it.

Use the Merrick Bank Double Your Line Visa to build your credit score and double your credit limit. Once your score is more competitive you can apply for less expensive cards for long-term use.

Why It Stands Out

Your credit line will double after you make on-time minimum payments for the first 7 months.

Other Benefits

Your regular payments will be reported to all 3 credit bureaus so you can watch your score improve every month.

  • Fees: $75 set up fee, up to $96 for the first year, then up to $8 per month

What Happens If You Don’t Pay Your Balances on a Secured Credit Card?

While we don’t ever recommend letting your credit card balances go unpaid, this scenario is precisely why secured credit card lenders require you pay a deposit.

Your security deposit acts as collateral and protects the lending bank.

If a customer doesn’t pay their credit card balance, the deposit is used to pay off any debts before the remaining amount is returned.

Assuming you use your secured credit card responsibly and repay your balance as agreed, eventually the bank may agree to convert your secured card into an unsecured account. When this happens — or you close your account, whichever comes first — the bank will refund your security deposit.

David Weliver

David Weliver

David Weliver is the Credit Cards Editor at Millennial Money. He is the Founder of Money Under 30 and is widely regarded as one of the top credit card rewards experts in the world. David has been writing about personal finance and credit cards since 2006 and been featured in The New York Times, NPR, USA Today, Forbes, and many others.
David Weliver

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Millennial Money has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Millennial Money and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers.

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