You’re looking for a secured credit cards because you have no credit or bad credit, and you want to improve your credit profile. With cash deposits as collateral, you can build or rebuild your credit scores until you can transition to unsecured credit cards.
When MyBankTracker looked for the list of best secured credit cards, we examined the cards’ annual fees, APRs, security deposit minimums and credit line maximums. Here are our top recommendations:
1. Capital One® Secured MasterCard®
Why you should get it: You want the most well-rounded secured credit card that encourages credit improvement.
The Capital One® Secured MasterCard® is a solid choice for a secured credit card because of its low initial security deposit requirement and access to the Credit Tracker tool. In fact, you’ll get the minimum $200 credit limit with security deposit of just $49. The credit line can increase to $3,000, but you’ll have to add additional deposits.
This card offers a low entry point for someone who wants a secured credit card, but doesn’t have enough cash around to meet minimum security deposit requirement. You can begin to work on boosting your credit limit after getting approved for the card. With good credit behavior, Capital One is willing to raise your credit limit without additional deposits.
Capital One offers its free Credit Tracker tool, which simulates how various financial events will affect your credit profile. You get a monthly credit score based on a TransUnion scoring model to help keep track of your progress.
The tradeoff to the whole package is the 22.9% APR, which is more of a reason that you should not be carrying a balance on the card. The card’s $29 annual fee falls in line with the costs of most secured credit cards.
- Pros: Low initial security deposit of $49
- Cons: A high APR
2. First Progress Platinum Prestige MasterCard® Secured Credit Card
Why you should get it: You want a low APR because you expect to carry a balance.
The First Progress Platinum Prestige MasterCard® Secured Credit Card caters to cardmembers who want to minimize the amount that they pay in interest charges. Although the card has a relatively high annual fee of $44, it has a low APR of 11.99% (something you’re more likely to see on well-qualified accounts on unsecured credit cards). If you expect to carry a balance from month to month, the low interest rate will be a cost-saver in the long run.
Your opening security deposit can range from $300 to $2,000. But, you can add more deposits to raise your credit line up to $5,000. The deposits are held by Synovus Bank.
- Pros: Low regular APR
- Cons: High $44 annual fee
3. Wells Fargo Secured Visa Card
Why you should get it: You want a big credit line on a secured credit card.
If you sign up for the Wells Fargo Secured Visa Card, you can have access to a large credit limit for someone who cannot qualifying for a traditional unsecured credit card. Wells Fargo offers a credit limit of $300 to $10,000, depending on your security deposit, which is placed in a simple Wells Fargo collateral account. The maximum credit limit is very high for a secured credit card. There’s potential for great spending, but the high credit limit also contributes to better credit scores.
The card has an extremely low annual fee of $25 and a reasonable APR of 18.99%.
With responsible credit behavior, Well Fargo will consider upgrading the card to one of its unsecured credit cards.
Unfortunately, the Wells Fargo Secured Visa Card is available only by applying at a Wells Fargo branch (Wells Fargo operates branches in 39 of the 50 U.S. states).
- Pros: High potential credit limit of up to $10,000
- Cons: Low $25 annual fee and you must apply at a Wells Fargo branch
4. First Progress Platinum Elite MasterCard® Secured Credit Card
Why you should get it: You want to pay a low annual fee for a generous credit line.
The First Progress Platinum Elite MasterCard® Secured Credit Card is a no-frills secured credit card with a rather low annual fee of $29. It’s 19.99% APR also isn’t too bad compared to other secured credit cards on the market.
Your initial security deposit can range from $300 to $2,000. Over time, you can add deposits to achieve a maximum spending limit of $5,000. The security deposit held in a non-interest bearing deposit account at Synovus Bank.
- Pros: Low $29 annual fee
- Cons: Regular APR still on the higher end
5. USAA Secured Credit Card
Why you should get it: You want a very low APR and you want your deposits to earn interest.
The USAA Secured Credit Card offers an extremely consumer-friendly secured credit card for anyone who can qualify for it. With a reasonable annual fee of $35, the card carries a very low variable APR of 9.9%.
The available credit line ranges from $250 to $5,000, based on your security deposit. Unlike most other secured credit cards, your security deposit is held in a 2-year USAA certificate of deposit that carries a variable rate and it allows for additional deposits (thus, increasing your credit limit).
Although the USAA Secured Credit Card is an attractive option, it is available only to consumers with a U.S. military affiliation.
- Pros: Low APR and your security deposit earns interest
- Cons: Requires military affiliation for membership
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