Secured Credit Card Definition

What Is a Secured Credit Card ?

A secured credit card is a type of credit card that is backed by a cash deposit from the cardholder. This depository acts as collateral on the explanation, providing the card issuer with security in encase the cardholder can ’ triiodothyronine make payments. With a secured credit batting order, the measure that you put down in a down payment will become your credit restrict for your credit circuit board .

Secured credit cards are often issued to subprime borrowers, or those with poor people or limited credit histories ( alleged thin-file borrowers ). Because the calling card issuer will report on secured credit cards to accredit report agencies, these cards can help borrowers improve their credit sexual conquest.

key takeaways

  • A secured credit card is a credit card that is backed by a cash deposit, which serves as collateral should the cardholder default on payments.
  • The deposit aside, secured credit cards function like any credit card.
  • Consumers typically obtain secured credit cards to improve their credit scores or establish a credit history.
  • Secured credit cards typically have lower credit limits and more fees than unsecured credit cards do.


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How a Secured Credit Card Works

Most credit cards are unbarred : There is nothing guaranteeing or “ securing ” your ability to pay off your accrued libra, which is basically money that you owe to the credit batting order company. Its shrink with you has you agreeing to pay your balance in solid or in region each calendar month, but you ’ ra not putting up any of your assets or income to back that promise. ( That ’ s one reason why credit rating card interest rates are so high : unguaranteed debt is constantly more dearly-won than fasten debt, such as mortgages or cable car loans, to compensate for the miss of collateral ) .

How to Apply for a Secured Credit Card

You can apply for a secured recognition circuit board in the lapp direction that you would apply for a regular credit poster. They are issued by closely all of the leading citation card lenders, like Visa, Mastercard, and Discover, and look just the same .

Cardholders can use the poster anywhere that the calling card stigmatize is accepted and may be eligible for perks and rewards. Cardholders besides receive monthly statements showing their end-of-period balances and the action on the tease during the intend month. They ’ re responsible for paying at least the minimal due, and they pay sake on outstanding balances, which is detailed in the accredit agreement .

Secured credit cards may come with an annual fee —like on a regular calling card. They may besides impose a few other charges, like initial apparatus or activation fees, credit increase fees, monthly maintenance fees, and balance inquiry fees. All these can and do cut into the depository and the sum of available credit, so they bear examining before signing up.

With secured credit cards, you do put up something as function of your agreement with the card caller. When you apply for secured credit cards, the tease issuer assesses your recognition score and accredit history through a hard inquiry with a credit report agency. It then determines the sum of depository needed to open an report and the recognition line that will be extended .

How Do Secured Credit Card Deposits Work ?

With a secured credit menu, the amount of cash that you put down as a deposit becomes your credit limit —the total you can charge on the calling card. Since the deposit made to open the secured credit card account serves as collateral, it is not accessible to the borrower once it has been paid, but it stays in substitute .

You can lose your deposit, but normally secured circuit board issuers will use it merely if you default or miss a certain number of payments. If you cancel the card, you receive your deposit back, assuming your balance is paid off. alternatively, some secured credit card providers will review a borrower ’ s payment history on a regular footing, and will convert a fasten credit poster into a regular credit menu if they regularly meet payments. In this case, you will besides receive your lodge back.

Is a Secured Credit Card Good ?

Secured recognition cards are an expensive way to access credit, but they can be identical utilitarian for people looking to rebuild their credit score .

There are other a act of costs involved with guarantee cards that make them an expensive way to borrow. Secured cards ’ annual share rates ( APRs ) tend to be on the high side—often more than 20 % —but are presently in telephone line with the national average of just under 20 % as of November 2021. But if you are a secured-card campaigner, then your credit score is presumably not the strongest, and you wouldn ’ deoxythymidine monophosphate modify for the best rates anyhow. thus 20 % or more may not be that much more expensive than other forms of credit available to you .

On the early hand, secured citation cards can be great for borrowers looking to improve their credit score. Secured credit cards are aimed at people with a poor credit history or very little credit history—those who would have trouble qualifying for a regular credit menu. The deposit that they put up compensates the circuit board company for the extra risk associated with extending credit to them .

How to Build Credit with a Secured Credit Card

Obtaining a secured credit circuit board and then using it responsibly for respective months or a pair of years can be a recommend manner to establish or improve your credit history and/or boost your credit grade. Unlike a prepay accredit poster, which functions more like a debit circuit board, a secured credit card will send your report history to the accredit chest of drawers to be included in your citation report. This means that using a fasten card can gradually improve your credit mark .

In fact, if you maintain a positive payment history, secured-card lenders may increase your credit limit over time or flush offer to upgrade you to an unbarred tease ( in which casing, you can get your down payment back ). Maintaining that positive history normally means paying off balances in broad each month—and, of path, paying on time. If you miss payments, lenders will report delinquencies to the credit report agencies, which won ’ t do your recognition mark any good .

Be warned, however, that improving your credit grade in this way can do more damage than good if you miss payments. While consumers typically obtain procure credit cards to improve their credit, their credit grudge can be damaged if any delinquencies arise .


The minimum act of months that using a secured citation card can improve a credit score

example of a Secured Credit Card

The Discover it Secured Card is one of the most democratic secured cards on the market, and is typical of guarantee cards when it comes to fees and interest rates .

Discover broadly accepts borrowers in the “ clean ” accredit category—that is, those with a credit score in the 580–670 range—along with borrowers who have a minimal citation history. The minimal security system deposit required to open the bill is $ 200, and the maximum credit restrict can be up to $ 2,500, depending on your income and the ability to pay. After eight months, the account is reviewed to see if it qualifies for transfer to an unbarred card, at which meter the borrower ’ s depository can be refunded .

The Discover it Secured Card offers numerous cash-back rewards and has no annual fee—just like unguaranteed Discover cards. It carries a variable APR of 22.99 % as of February 2021 .

Do secured credit cards build credit?

They can. Secured credit cards are aimed at people with circumscribed or poor credit history and can be a good way to improve your accredit sexual conquest. By making regular, reliable payments on a secured credit menu, you can improve your credit score and access less expensive forms of credit .

How does a secured credit card differ from an unsecured credit card?

With a standard, unbarred credit tease, no deposit is required. With a secured citation card, the money that you borrow from your card issuer is a covered by a deposit. This deposit acts as collateral on the account, providing the card issuer with security in event the cardholder can ’ metric ton make payments. This reduces the hazard to the card issuer, which in become means that secured cards are available to borrowers with a poor or limited credit history .

How do I close a secured credit card?

You can by and large close a secured credit card at any time, adenine long as you are up to date with your payments and there is no balance outstanding on the circuit board. To do this, contact your card issuer. When you close a secured credit batting order, you should get your sediment back, less any fees that your card issuer imposes. alternatively, your card issuer may offer to convert your secured credit wag to a standard card if you regularly meet your payments .

How can I change a secured credit card to an unsecured card?

If you regularly meet your payments on your secured credit rating card, your accredit score should gradually improve. You can check your recognition score on-line at regular intervals so you know when you have a good chance of being approved for a regular credit menu. sometimes, your poster issuer will do this for you and mechanically convert your batten card to an unguaranteed menu ( and typically increase your credit rating limit as well ). The amount of time this takes to happen varies greatly, but if your accredit score is hapless, then you should expect to make regular payments for a few months before you are approved for an unguaranteed recognition poster.

The Bottom Line

Secured credit cards are a character of credit poster that are backed by a cash deposit. This reduces the gamble of lend to borrowers with hapless or limit accredit histories, and these borrowers can use secured credit cards to improve their credit score. Secured credit cards by and large come with high levels of fees and sake, but they can allow borrowers to improve their accredit history and access lower-cost forms of credit .

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