What Is a Secured Credit Card? – NerdWallet

What is a secured credit card?

A secured accredit circuit board is a card that requires a cash security deposit when you open the account. The deposit reduces the risk to the credit card issuer : If you do n’t pay your bill, the issuer can take the money from your deposit. That ‘s why these cards are available to people with bad credit or no recognition. The down payment is normally adequate to your accredit limit, so if you deposit $ 200, you ‘ll have a $ 200 limit. Use the tease responsibly, and you can improve your accredit enough to qualify for an unbarred card — one that does n’t require a depository. Some of the best batten cards allow you to upgrade your account directly to an unguaranteed card. Others do n’t have an upgrade process, so you ‘ll have to apply elsewhere, then close the secure card. When you upgrade a batten card or close the account in good standing ( meaning you ‘re paid up ), the issuer gives you binding your depository.

The minimal and maximal sum you can deposit varies by circuit board, but you should be prepared to come up with at least $ 200 for a batten card deposition.

Secured credit cards vs. unsecured credit cards

Whether you need a plug card comes down to how good your credit is. For unguaranteed cards, which do n’t require a deposit and therefore pose more risk to the issuer, credit-card companies typically require at least average credit, and good or excellent accredit for the best ones. Some unguaranteed citation cards advertise themselves as easy to qualify for tied if you have bad credit rating. But these cards normally charge extremely high fees. NerdWallet recommends applying for a guarantee card rather than a high-fee unguaranteed card.

How secured credit cards work

once the initial deposition is paid, secured cards work good like unbarred ones :

    • You can use them wherever credit cards are accepted, including on-line .
    • Your bill comes monthly, and you pay for the purchases you ‘ve made. ( Your deposit is not used to pay for purchases. See the dispute between secured and prepaid cards, below. )
    • You incur interest if you carry a poise .
    • You can build or rebuild your credit by using the card responsibly and paying your remainder on time .

Most major credit card issuers offer both secured and unbarred cards. annual fees are common, but you should n’t pay more than $ 50. You can find multiple options with no annual fee at all among our front-runner secured cards. If you ca n’t qualify for an unbarred circuit board, a guarantee card can be a capital tool as you look to improve your credit. But it ‘s ampere significant to be responsible with a procure card as it is with any other loan or bill that shows up on your recognition report.

Secured credit cards: Examples

While secured credit cards all work the lapp manner — wage a depository, use the circuit board, build credit rating, get your lodge back and move to an unbarred card — they come with different features. For exercise :

  • compromising deposits and credit lines : The Capital One Platinum Secured Credit Card typically requires a $ 200 minimum situate, but some applicants may be able to get a $ 200 credit course with a $ 49 or $ 99 sediment. You can deposit up to $ 1,000 to get a higher credit channel. Unlike with most fasten cards, you can pay your situate in installments. And if you make on-time payments, you may be considered for a higher credit line without depositing more money. annual tip : $ 0 .
  • Rewards : The Capital One Quicksilver Secured Cash Rewards Credit Card earns 1.5 % cash back on all purchases — the lapp rewards offered by the unconstipated Quicksilver calling card for people with good to excellent credit rating. annual fee : $ 0. minimum down payment : $ 200 ; maximum : $ 1,000 to $ 3,000 .
  • Automatic report reviews : With the Discover it® Secured Credit Card, your account will be mechanically reviewed for an upgrade to an unguaranteed card after seven months. This card besides has rewards — 2 % cash back at flatulence stations and restaurants on up to $ 1,000 in unite purchases each draw ; all early purchases earn 1 %. annual fee : $ 0. minimum situate : $ 200 ; maximum : $ 2,500 .
  • No credit check : The OpenSky® Secured Visa® Credit Card does n’t offer rewards, and the issuer does n’t have unguaranteed cards to upgrade to ( meaning that once you qualify for a regular card, you ‘ll have to close this account to get your sediment back ). But there ‘s no credit rating crack required to get this circuit board, thus even people with ill damaged credit might qualify, even if they ‘ve been rejected for early secured cards. This comes at a cost, though : an annual fee of $ 35. minimum deposit : $ 200 ; maximal : $ 3,000 .

Secured credit cards vs. prepaid debit cards

Prepaid debit cards seem like to secured credit cards. You have to pay money before you can use the card, and they typically have a Visa, MasterCard or American Express logo. But with prepay debit cards, you ‘re using your own money to make purchases — not money borrowed from the issuer. You load money onto the card, then the issuer uses that money to pay for your purchases. Since these cards do n’t extend any accredit, account action is n’t reported to the accredit agency. consequently, you ‘re not building a citation history by using a prepay card. Prepaid debit cards can besides have fees that secured credit cards do not. If build credit is your goal, a secured recognition tease is in truth your best bet.

How to use a secured credit card to build credit

Although they require a deposit, secured credit cards are a knock-down tool for rebuilding credit. hera ‘s how to use one most effectively :

  1. Use the card meagerly, making only one or two little purchases every calendar month. Try not to let your balance ever exceed 30 % of your credit limit. Keeping it under 10 % is evening better .
  2. Pay your balance in full every calendar month before the ascribable date. When you pay in full moon, you wo n’t be charged sake. Interest rates on guarantee cards are by and large higher than those on unbarred cards .
  3. Keep an eye on your credit score over clock time ; when it has meaningfully improved, ask your issuer about upgrading to an unbarred poster .

How fast does a secured card build credit?

many people find that by using a secured card cautiously, it takes six months to a year to improve their credit sexual conquest adequate that they ‘re able to qualify for an unguaranteed batting order. Some issuers will let you transfer your guarantee cable of recognition to an unguaranteed one, which is better for your recognition score because it does n’t require you to open a new account. But even if you do have to apply for a newly unbarred credit tease, you may be able to enjoy some of the benefits of having dear credit — lower interest, rewards and more competitive fees. When that sidereal day comes, your prison term rebuilding your citation with a secured credit calling card will have been worth it. frequently asked questions What is a guarantee credit poster ? A secured credit menu is a credit card that requires you to provide a cash security lodge to open an account. The sediment protects the issuer from losing money if you do n’t pay your bill, so procure accredit cards are easier to get for people with bad credit or no credit history . How do secured credit cards knead ? When you open a secured credit card report, you provide a cash security lodge. Minimum down payment requirements are normally $ 200 to $ 300. Your deposit is normally equal to your accredit limit — so if you put down a $ 500 deposit, you ‘ll have a credit line of $ 500. once the history is open, you use a batten menu like any early accredit circuit board : You make purchases with it, and then you pay off those purchases. eminence that the money from your security system deposition is not “ loaded ” onto the poster, and it is not used to pay for your purchases. Your deposit comes into dally only if you fail to pay your bill. If that happens, the circuit board company will use your sediment to cover the sum you owe — and if it has to do that, it will credibly close your bill. Using a secured credit poster responsibly can help you build credit rating to the period where you qualify for a regular “ unbarred ” menu. You may be able to upgrade your secured card to an unguaranteed choice from the same issuer, or you can apply with a different issuer. If you upgrade or close your fasten card bill in good digest, you get your deposit back . Do secured citation cards build credit ?

A secured citation card is one of the easiest and quickest ways to build recognition, provided you use it responsibly :

  • Use the circuit board regularly, but do n’t max it out .
  • Keep your balance below 30 % of your credit specify. Staying below 10 % is even better .
  • Pay your bill by the due date every calendar month. To avoid being charged interest, pay the fully balance shown on your statement .

Some secure card holders are able to boost their credit enough to qualify for a regular circuit board in less than a year . Do I get my deposit back with a secured citation card ? If you close your guarantee menu bill in good standing — mean you have paid in wax — you ‘ll get your depository back. If you upgrade your history to an unbarred wag from the like issuer, you should besides get your deposit back . Is a batten credit batting order a postpaid poster ? Secured credit cards and prepay cards both require you to provide some money before you can use the wag, but secured and postpaid cards are basically different in how that money is used :

  • With a secured recognition card, the money you put down is a security situate, which the card company holds in casing you do n’t pay your placard. The money is not used to pay for purchases. If you provide a $ 200 lodge and then use the card to buy something for $ 50, you ‘ll have to pay $ 50 when your bill comes .
  • With a prepay circuit board, the money you provide is loaded onto the menu and is used to pay for purchases. If you load $ 200 on the circuit board and then use the batting order to buy something for $ 50, the amount on the poster drops to $ 150 .

What is a plug credit poster ? A secured accredit tease is a credit circuit board that requires you to provide a cash security deposit to open an report. The deposition protects the issuer from losing money if you do n’t pay your beak, so procure citation cards are easier to get for people with bad credit or no credit history. How do secured credit cards ferment ? When you open a secured credit batting order account, you provide a cash security deposit. Minimum depository requirements are normally $ 200 to $ 300. Your sediment is normally equal to your credit limit — so if you put down a $ 500 deposit, you ‘ll have a citation pipeline of $ 500. once the history is capable, you use a secure tease like any other recognition card : You make purchases with it, and then you pay off those purchases. bill that the money from your security situate is not “ loaded ” onto the card, and it is not used to pay for your purchases. Your deposit comes into play only if you fail to pay your poster. If that happens, the card company will use your deposit to cover the amount you owe — and if it has to do that, it will probably close your account. Using a secured credit menu responsibly can help you build credit rating to the point where you qualify for a regular “ unbarred ” circuit board. You may be able to upgrade your secured circuit board to an unbarred option from the same issuer, or you can apply with a different issuer. If you upgrade or close your secure calling card account in good standing, you get your depository back. Do secured recognition cards build credit ? A secured recognition card is one of the easiest and quickest ways to build credit, provided you use it responsibly :

  • Use the card regularly, but do n’t max it out .
  • Keep your remainder below 30 % of your recognition terminus ad quem. Staying below 10 % is even better .
  • Pay your circular by the due date every calendar month. To avoid being charged interest, pay the full balance shown on your statement .

Some procure calling card holders are able to boost their citation enough to qualify for a regular calling card in less than a year. Do I get my deposition back with a secured credit card ? If you close your procure circuit board report in good stand — meaning you have paid in full — you ‘ll get your deposit back. If you upgrade your report to an unbarred card from the like issuer, you should besides get your deposit back. Is a batten credit card a postpaid card ? Secured credit cards and prepay cards both require you to provide some money before you can use the card, but secured and prepaid cards are basically different in how that money is used :

  • With a secured credit tease, the money you put down is a security system deposit, which the card company holds in case you do n’t pay your bill. The money is not used to pay for purchases. If you provide a $ 200 sediment and then use the card to buy something for $ 50, you ‘ll have to pay $ 50 when your charge comes .
  • With a prepay wag, the money you provide is loaded onto the wag and is used to pay for purchases. If you load $ 200 on the card and then use the card to buy something for $ 50, the come on the card drops to $ 150 .
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