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Is there a secured credit card that will convert to an unsecured card?

By , CardRatings contributor
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Yes. If you're having trouble qualifying for an unsecured credit card, you've got a few options from some sympathetic credit card issuers:

Capital One Secured MasterCard

For years, Capital One has tried to serve the widest array of customers by relying on its own consumer database to supplement information from credit reporting agencies. The company's acquisition of the Orchard Bank and Household Bank brands from HSBC solidified its stance as the country's premier provider of credit cards for limited credit. If Capital One's credit card approval system can't approve you for an unsecured account, you'll likely get an offer for one of the issuer's secured cards.

Unlike typical secured cards, you may not have to leave a deposit for your entire credit limit. Capital One has issued secured credit cards with deposits of just 30 to 50 percent of available credit. After 6 to 18 months of on-time monthly payments, responsible use and your creditworthiness, Capital One may re-evaluate your credit. If you qualify, your partially secured credit line may convert to a standard MasterCard at the same rate schedule. According to postings on our credit card forum and elsewhere, some Capital One secured account holders receive offers for unsecured, secondary cards a few months into their relationships with the bank.

Secured credit cards from your bank or credit union

Bank of America and Wells Fargo also offer secured credit cards at reasonable annual fees for customers who hold checking accounts or mortgages at their banks. Unlike other banks that offer secured credit cards, these two lenders have integrated their products into their online banking services. That way, you can manage your collateral account and set up your security deposit from your existing checking or savings account. If you belong to a neighborhood credit union, you may find a similar secured credit card on offer, usually powered by the same infrastructure as Bank of America's credit cards.

Remember that you'll need to use your secured credit card sparingly and pay it off routinely to improve your credit score over time. Avoid secured credit card offers from companies that want to charge unreasonable annual fees or exaggerated APRs. By building a relationship with a brand you trust, you can quickly outgrow your secured card and earn your way into more perks and privileges.

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