Best secured credit cards of August 2022

Whether you have no credit, you're building credit or are in the process of rebuilding, there's likely a secured credit card that can help. CardRatings editors compare the best secured credit cards.
Jennifer Doss, CardRatings Editor
Terms apply; see the online credit card application for full terms and conditions of offers and rewards
Best secured credit cards 2021

TOP SECURED CREDIT CARDS

A secured credit card is one that requires the applicant to put down a refundable deposit in order to establish a line of credit for the credit card. Usually this line of credit, at least initially, will be equal to the amount put down as a deposit. This might not sound like the most exciting option, but secured credit cards a great way to build your credit and help you become eligible for cards that require higher credit scores and offer more perks (and don't require security deposits).

By using a secured credit card responsibly (not maxing out your credit limit each month, making your payments on time, etc.) you have an opportunity to show lenders that you're a trustworthy borrower. With continous responsible use, you should see your credit score creep up, and could soon graduate to more lucrative credit card options.

The secured credit card market is improving every day. Though the focus with secured credit cards is to build credit, to keep up with the competition, we're seeing more and more secured credit cards offering rewards, welcome bonuses, and perks like car rental insurance and cell phone protection. Improving your credit doesn't have to be daunting, and these days, secured credit cards can even make it fun. Here are our top picks for secured credits cards to rebuild your credit:

BEST SECURED CREDIT CARD WITH REWARDS AND PERKS

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About Our Ratings
Why We Like It: The number of perks this card offers puts it in closer competition with unsecured credit cards than secured credit cards. Cell phone damage protection, rental car insurance, price protection and price assurance, a welcome bonus, plus unlimited cash-back earning potential makes this card a strong competitor.

Bonus Opportunity: Get a dollar-for-dollar match on all cash back earned at the end of your first year.

Rewards: Earn 2% cash back with popular retailers and services such as Amazon, Spotify, Netflix, Uber, Uber Eats, Hulu, and Whole Foods Market; earn unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases.

Security Deposit: Your credit limit will be equal to the amount of security you put down, which can be up to $10,000. Technically there is no minimum amount required but you must have a Sable bank account to fund your account. Funds can be added to your security deposit by using the "increase credit limit" option in your Sable app. This will automatically deduct the funds from your Sable banking account to your credit account to act as the security deposit for your credit limit.

Annual Fee: AnnualFees

Purchase APR: RegAPR

Credit Management Tools: Make on-time payments and hit Sable milestones to speed up your graduation to unsecured credit and build credit even faster. Track your progress in the Sable app with personalized support, and get updates on what really impacts your credit. Graduate to unsecured credit in as fast as four months, and get 100% of your secured deposit back, with no credit check or negative impact to your credit score.

Added Perks: Cell phone damage protection in the event your covered cell phone is stolen or damaged when you pay your cell phone bill with your card; rental car insurance to help you pay for physical damage and theft to most rental vehicles through Mastercard Rental Insurance; reimbursement for the difference in price on eligible items paid with your card should you find the same item for a lower price; and coverage for most new items purchases with your card that are damaged or stolen within 90 days of the date of purchase.

PROS:

  • Most secured cards do not offer bonuses or ongoing rewards to cardholders, so the fact that this card offers both, plus a handful of other perks, is impressive.
  • Cell phone protection is a perk usually reserved for premium credt cards. The fact that this card offers such a lucrative benefit really caught our attention.
  • This card offers the possibility to graduate to an unsecured card in as little as four months, which is quite a bit quicker than many other secured credit cards.

CONS:

  • You must have a Sable bank account in order to apply for a Sable credit card.
  • This card charges foreign transaction fees so it's not the best option for international travel.

Read our full CardName.

We have not polled this card yet, but would love to hear your thoughts on it if you are a cardholder. Comment below or email us at editor@cardratings.com to share more about your experience.

BEST SECURED CREDIT CARD WITH NO INTEREST

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About Our Ratings
Why We Like It: Though no interest may sound too good to be true, that's what this card offers. The card is a bit unique in how it works though. To start, you must have a Chime checking account to use this credit card. Then, the money you move into the secured credit card account is the amount you can spend on the card. Unlike other secured credit cards, that money can be used to pay off your monthly balances. Since Credit Builder doesn’t have a pre-set limit, spending up to the amount you added won’t contribute to a high-utilization record on your credit history.

Rewards: This card does not earn rewards on purchases.

Security Deposit: Technically there is no minimum security deposit required, but you need at least $200 to open a Chime checking account, and because you need a Chime checking account to open a credit card account, you could consider the minimum to be $200. You could choose to transfer a lower amount to your credit account though. The money you move to your secured account is the amount you can spend on your card.

Annual Fee: AnnualFees

Purchase APR:N/A

Credit Management Tools: On-time payment is a crucial aspect of building your credit score. At the end of each month, you can pay your monthly balance with the money in your secured account and Chime will report your monthly balance paid in full to the major credit bureaus. This way, your everyday purchases can count towards your credit history.

PROS:

  • When this card says no fees, it means it. No annual fees, no foreign transaction fees, even no interest fees.
  • Credit utilization plays a big role in determining your credit score. Usually with secured cards the limit isn't very high, so people worry about spending too much and using too much of their available credit. With this card, though, there is no pre-set credit limit. That means spending up to the amount you added will not show a high-utilization card on your credit history.
  • There is no hard check required to apply so you don't have to worry about your application hurting your credit score.

CONS:

  • You must have a Chime checking account in order to open a Chime Credit Builder credit card.
  • There is a $200 minimum deposit required to open a Chime checking account.

Read our full CardName.

We have not polled this card yet, but would love to hear your thoughts on it if you are a cardholder. Comment below or email us at editor@cardratings.com to share more about your experience.

BEST SECURED CREDIT CARD WITH A WELCOME BONUS

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Why We Like It: Discover is pretty well known for their cash-back match offer, but the fact that they extend this offer to those working on their credit with a secured credit card is impressive. With this card, new cardholders can earn a cash-back match on all the cash back earned during the first year of card membership. That means that earning $200 cash back will effectively mean you've earned $400 cash back in that first year.
  • No credit score required to apply.
  • No Annual Fee, earn cash back, and build your credit with responsible use.
  • Establish your credit line by providing a refundable security deposit of at least $200. That means a $200 deposit for a $200 credit line. Or a $500 deposit for a $500 credit line. Bank information must be provided when submitting your deposit, and the security deposit equals your credit limit.
  • Automatic reviews starting at 7 months to see if we can transition you to an unsecured line of credit and return your deposit.
  • Earn 2% cash back at Gas Stations and Restaurants on up to $1,000 in combined purchases each quarter. Plus, earn unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases - automatically.
  • NEW! Discover helps remove your personal information from select people-search websites. Activate by mobile app for free.
  • Get an alert if we find your Social Security number on any of thousands of Dark Web sites.* Activate for free.
  • Click "Apply Now" to see terms and conditions.
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PROS:

  • Most secured cards do not offer bonuses to new cardholders but this card will match the rewards you earn the first year, at the end of the year.
  • No foreign transaction fee, which can save you money if you need to make purchases outside of the U.S.
  • This card includes access to your FICO score so you can track and manage your credit.

CONS:

  • You'll need a security deposit to get started with this card.
  • If you spend a lot with this card, your 2% cash back on gas and restaurants is capped when you hit $1,000 in spending each quarter and then those purchases will only earn 1% cash back. Still, it's a minor quibble given that many secured credit cards don’t offer rewards.

Read our full CardName.

Current Scores Past Scores (avg.)
Overall Score 81.6 82.8
Features Satisfaction 7.9 8.2
Customer Service 8.2 8.3
Website/App Usability 8.3 8.3
Likelihood of Continuing to Use 8.8 8.7
Recommend to a Friend/Colleague 8.3 8.2

*Scores above reflect the results of surveys with actual cardholders. Full methodology below.

BEST SECURED CREDIT CARD FOR FLEXIBLE REWARDS EARNING

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Why We Like It: This card offers unlimited 1.5% cash back on all purchases made with the card with no caps or categories to worry about. This level of flexibility and potential is a nice perk for someone working on their credit score.

Rewards: Earn unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase.

Security Deposit: $200 minimum refundable deposit

Annual Fee: AnnualFees

Purchase APR: RegAPR

Credit Management Tools: Get CreditWise alerts when your TransUnion or Experian credit report changes. Be automatically considered for a higher credit line in as little as six months with no additional deposit.

PROS:

  • There's no limit on the amount of cash back you can earn, and the categories aren't restricted. Earn 1.5% on every purchase made with the card. It's as simple as that.
  • This card doesn't charge foreign transaction fees so it's a suitable option to bring along on your next international vacation.
  • Capital One allows you to find out if you're pre-approved for the card with no risk to your credit score.

CONS:

  • The ongoing APR is a bit high, so be careful not to carry a balance if you can help it.
  • There is a $200 minimum refundable deposit required.

Read our full CardName.

We have not polled this card yet, but would love to hear your thoughts on it if you are a cardholder. Comment below or email us at editor@cardratings.com to share more about your experience.

BEST SECURED CREDIT CARD WITH NO ANNUAL FEE

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EditorRating
About Our Ratings
Why We Like It: A great feature of the CardName is the flexible low threshold some applicants will have for securing their line of credit. Many cards require at least a $200 security deposit, but the CardName requires access to an authorized bank account to make your $49, $99 or $200 refundable security deposit, in order to obtain an initial $200 line of credit. Plus, with this card, there's no annual fee to worry about.

Rewards: The CardName isn't a rewards card, but it does offer Platinum Mastercard® benefits like rental car insurance, 24/7 roadside assistance, price protection that reimburses you the price difference if you pay for an eligible item that then goes on sale, and automatic travel accident insurance when you use your card to purchase a trip. And, as a sort of "reward" for your good payment behavior, you could receive access to a higher credit limit in as little as six months.

Security Deposit: $49, $99 or $200 based on your creditworthiness. Your initial credit line will be $200. You can raise your initial credit line by depositing more than the minimum amount (up to a maximum limit of $1,000).

Annual Fee: AnnualFees

Credit Needed: CreditScoreNeeded

Purchase APR: RegAPR

Credit Management Tools: Get CreditWise alerts when your TransUnion or Experian credit report changes. Be automatically considered for a higher credit line in as little as six months with no additional deposit.

PROS:

  • Don't forget to pack this card on your next trip abroad! With this card there are no foreign transaction fees to worry about.
  • You’ll get some nice benefits with this card, including auto rental insurance, price protection and 24/7 roadside assistance.
  • With this card, you can also select your billing due date, which should make it that much easier to pay on-time, every time.

CONS:

  • There's no welcome bonus offered to new cardholders.
  • There are no ongoing rewards associated with this card.

Read our full CardName.

Current Scores Past Scores (avg.)
Overall Score 80.1 81.5
Features Satisfaction 8.0 8.1
Customer Service 7.9 8.2
Website/App Usability 8.2 8.2
Likelihood of Continuing to Use 8.4 8.5
Recommend to a Friend/Colleague 7.9 8.1

*Scores above reflect the results of surveys with actual cardholders. Full methodology below.

BEST SECURED CREDIT CARD FOR CHOOSING YOUR PAYMENT DUE DATE

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About Our Ratings
Why We Like It: The CardName provides an opportunity to rebuild your credit. One difference between this card and other secured cards is the option to choose the payment due date that works best for your budget.(Citi is a CardRatings advertiser.)

Bonus Opportunity: There is no bonus offer with this card.

Rewards: This card does not offer a rewards program for purchases.

Security Deposit: A security deposit between $200 and $2500 is required. The amount of your security deposit will determine your credit limit.

Annual Fee: AnnualFees

Purchase APR: RegAPR

Credit Management Tools: This card offers free access to your FICO score.

PROS:

  • Your payments are reported to all three credit bureaus, which can help you rebuild or build credit if you manage your account responsibly.
  • You can choose the payment due date that works best for your finances.
  • There is no annual fee for this card.

CONS:

  • This card does not offer any rewards or new cardholder bonuses.
  • The focus and primary purpose of this card is to help rebuild a positive credit rating through responsible management of the account. So, there aren't too many benefits or perks.

Read our full CardName.

Current Scores Past Scores
Overall Score 75.9 Did not survey
Features Satisfaction 7.3 n/a
Customer Service 7.5 n/a
Website/App Usability 7.4 n/a
Likelihood of Continuing to Use 7.7 n/a
Recommend to a Friend/Colleague 7.3 n/a

*Scores above reflect the results of surveys with actual cardholders. Full methodology below.

BEST SECURED CREDIT CARD WITH NO CREDIT CHECK

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About Our Ratings
Why We Like It: This card doesn't require a credit check during the application process, which means you can dodge that step that does generally lower your credit score, if only temporarily. Furthermore, your credit limit depends upon the amount of your deposit, so if you want a higher limit you have the ability to deposit more.

Rewards: This card doesn't offer rewards.

Security Deposit: $200-$3,000, with the amount you deposit determining your credit limit

Annual Fee: AnnualFees

Credit Needed: CreditScoreNeeded

Purchase APR: RegAPR

Credit Management Tools: The Visa Zero Liability policy protects cardholders against fraud. If any unusual activity occurs on your account, Visa will contact you to verify its authenticity. The card also offers fraud protection, financial literacy tools in the form of online education and a regular newsletter that covers topics such as understanding your credit score, building credit and debt management.

PROS:

  • The variable fee is somewhat on the low side for a secured credit card. You should still try and avoid carrying a balance, though.
  • High credit limit, up to $3,000, and, no, you won’t necessarily have to put $3,000 down to get that credit limit. The card reviews your situation periodically and may give you a credit limit higher than your security deposit.
  • You can add authorized users to the card – with no authorization fee. And the purchases from the authorized users, if they use the card responsibly, may help you build your credit.

CONS:

  • There's no path for upgrading with this card. Many secured credit cards allow you to transition to the company's unsecured credit card. With this one, you'll have to apply for another credit card and then either keep this card or close it.
  • This card does not offer anyway perks or rewards.

Read our full CardName.

Current Scores Past Scores (avg.)
Overall Score 66.7 74.9
Features Satisfaction 6.5 7.5
Customer Service 6.5 7.4
Website/App Usability 6.7 7.4
Likelihood of Continuing to Use 7.0 7.9
Recommend to a Friend/Colleague 7.0 7.4

*Scores above reflect the results of surveys with actual cardholders. Full methodology below.

BEST SECURED CREDIT CARD WITH LOW ONGOING INTEREST

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About Our Ratings
Why We Like It: There is no minimum credit score or credit history required and the ongoing interest rate is among the lowest you'll get with a secured card.

Rewards: There are no rewards offered with this card.

Security Deposit: A security deposit of at least $200 is required. Your initial credit limit cannot be more than $2,000.

Annual Fee: AnnualFees

Credit Needed: CreditScoreNeeded

Purchase APR: RegAPR

Credit Management Tools: There are no special credit management tools with this card.

PROS:

  • This card offers one of the lowest variable APRs of any secured card.
  • No minimum credit score or credit history is required to qualify for this card.

CONS:

  • Although it offers a low variable APR, you’ll pay a slightly higher annual fee with this card.
  • There are no other extra perks or rewards with this card. It’s primarily for focusing on building or rebuilding credit.

Read our full CardName.

We have not polled this card yet, but would love to hear your thoughts on it if you are a cardholder. Comment below or email us at editor@cardratings.com to share more about your experience.

What Is a Secured Credit Card?

A secured credit card is one that requires the applicant to put down a deposit, usually ranging from $49 to $200 or more depending on your credit and the card for which you are applying, in order to establish a line of credit for the credit card. Usually (though not always), the cardholders line of credit, at least initially, will be equal to the amount he/she is able to put down as a security deposit.

If you fail to make monthly payments or you exceed your limit, your deposit will cover the loss for the issuer and, more than likely, the credit-building deal you've agreed upon will be off.

Often, credit card issuers will begin reviewing a secured credit card account after several months of activity to see whether the cardholder has shown a track record of spending responsibly and paying the bill on time.

Over time, responsible use of a secured credit card should build your credit in the same way that a traditional unsecured credit card would and, assuming your account remains in good standing, your security deposit will be fully refundable to you when it's time to graduate to an unsecured credit card.

What Is the Best Secured Credit Card?

The best secured credit card for you will be a card that reports your account activity to the three major credit bureaus so that, with responsible use, you can improve your credit score. It will also depend on your creditworthiness whether you have the security deposit the issuer requires.

As far as specific cards go, the CardName offers pretty much everything you’d probably want in a credit card, especially one that is secured. Not only does this card give you an opportunity to rebuild your credit, but it’s also a rare secured card that offers somewhat of a welcome bonus and a rewards program. You won’t find all of these types of features with other secured credit cards.

Do Secured Credit Cards Help Build Credit?

Yes, a secured credit card can be a great option for those who want to build credit. They are typically available for those who have no credit history, little credit history or poor credit scores. By requiring a deposit, issuers protect themselves against losing money while providing customers a chance to prove their creditworthiness.

Several factors go into determining someone's credit score. For instance, myFICO, the official consumer division of FICO, the company that invented the FICO credit score, says its scores are calculated based on the following criteria:

  • Payment history - 35%
  • Amounts owed - 30%
  • Length of credit history - 15%
  • New credit - 10%
  • Credit mix (types of accounts) - 10%

One of the most effective ways to build credit with a secured credit card is to make on-time payments. In most cases, those payments get reported to the credit bureaus Experian, Equifax and TransUnion, and then companies like FICO and VantageScore use that data to calculate credit scores.

We say, "in most cases," because banks aren't required by law to report your activity. If a bank doesn't report to the credit bureaus, none of your responsible behavior will help you build your credit. That's why it's important to ask whether a secured credit card issuer reports to the bureaus. It's just one of the questions you should ask about how secured cards work.

Beyond paying on-time, you should try to pay off your balance each month or, at the very least, pay more than the minimum. Carrying a low balance on your card can improve your score while owing a lot of money has the opposite effect.

Finally, even when you become eligible to receive an unsecured card, you may want to keep your secured credit card open. Since the length of your credit history accounts for 15% of your score, it's helpful to keep an older account open on your credit file.

Of course, in order to improve your credit score with a secured credit card, you need to use it wisely. That means only spending what you can afford to repay.

Rather than using a secured credit card for discretionary spending, consider using your card for monthly bills instead. For instance, your cable or wireless provider may allow credit card payments without any additional fee.

Pay your bill with your secured credit card and then immediately pay off the balance from your bank account. This will give you a record of timely payments that will help build a positive credit history. However, don't use this strategy on any bill that may charge a service fee for a card payment. Those fees can often tack an extra 2-3% onto your bill, and the benefit to your score may not be worth the cost.

How to Use a Secured Credit Card

Opening a new secured credit card can improve your credit score – that is, after the initial and temporary drop due to the credit check for most applications require; however, opening a new card will not solve deep financial issues. It's important to remember what secured cards can do as well as what they can’t. For instance, secured credit cards should not be viewed as "free money" or as a quick fix after years of complex money trouble.

Here are a few important rules to keep in mind as you consider applying for and then using a secured credit card:

  • Just because you can open a card, doesn't mean you should. If you must scrape together the money for a security deposit to the point that you know you aren't going to be able to pay off the amount you put on the card each month, then it isn't the right time to open a card. Focus instead on paying your existing bills on time and reducing the debt you may already have.
  • NEVER miss a payment. The whole point of a secured credit card is improving your credit and that isn't going to happen if you're missing payments. Pay on time, every time, even if you can't pay the balance in full.
  • Pay the balance in full if at all possible. How much debt you are carrying in relation to how much credit is available to you is called your credit utilization and it is one of the factors affecting your credit score. Not paying your balance off in full each month will cost you in interest payments, but it could also keep your credit score from going up as quickly as you'd like.
  • Having a secured credit card won't magically improve your credit score. Furthermore, they aren't a source of instant cash. To reap the full benefits of credit cards, you'll need to keep your secured account in good standing for a year or two. Commit to earning and saving more money, so you can control your credit cards instead of letting them control you.

Survey Methodology: CardRatings commissioned Op4G in September and October 2021 to conduct surveys among 1,524 cardholders nationwide. CardRatings website analytics from Jan. 1, 2021-Aug. 31, 2021 were used to determine a selection of the most popular cards and additional cards were included to add survey breadth. Responses to each of nine questions were given on a scale of 1-10 and respondents' scores were then averaged under broad topics. To determine the overall score, responses from questions 1-8 were summed and the answer to "How likely are you to recommend this card to a friend, coworker or family member?" was double weighted. "Current Scores" reflect scores from the most recent survey; "Past Scores (avg.)" are the scores averaged over each prior year the card has been surveyed. "Past Scores" indicates a card has only been surveyed in one prior year.

Ranking Methodology: CardRatings experts review the fine print, details, perks, rewards and features of hundreds of cards and compare them side-by-side with similar cards. A card that makes an excellent balance transfer card may not make a great cash-back rewards card even though it offers those rewards. While the Best of the Year list is announced annually, that list – and all other “best of” lists on CardRatings – are regularly reviewed and updated as issuers change the terms and features of each card often.

Disclaimer:

The information in this article is believed to be accurate as of the date it was written. Please keep in mind that credit card offers change frequently. Therefore, we cannot guarantee the accuracy of the information in this article. Reasonable efforts are made to maintain accurate information. See the online credit card application for full terms and conditions on offers and rewards. Please verify all terms and conditions of any credit card prior to applying.

This content is not provided by any company mentioned in this article. Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed here are those of the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any such company. CardRatings.com does not review every company or every offer available on the market.

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