Best Secured Credit Cards in 2021 [Build Your Credit]

Are you looking to build or rebuild your credit by using the best secured credit cards out there? Then take a close look at the list we’ve compiled. You’ll be able to make the perfect choice by learning about everything these credit cards have to offer. In this article, expect to see:

  • ✓  Our methodology
  • ✓  Reviews
  • ✓  Buyer’s guide
  • ✓  Benefits
  • ✓  FAQs

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Best Secured Credit Cards - Reviews

1. OpenSky® Secured Visa® Credit Card

Auto rental insurance

No hard credit check needed

$0 fraud liability

Best For Rebuilding Credit After Bankruptcy

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If you’re looking for secured credit cards for rebuilding credit, even if you have recently declared bankruptcy, OpenSky® Secured Visa® Credit Card is a great choice. There’s no hard credit check, you have no fraud liability, and auto rental insurance is included.

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Bank Requirements

Application Process

Bonuses and Rewards

Fees & Rates

2. First Progress Platinum Prestige Mastercard Secured Credit Card

No hard check

Low APR

Expedited processing available

Best for Credit Building With No Hard Check

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You’ll hardly find a secured credit card with a lower APR than 9.99%, which is what First Progress Platinum Prestige Mastercard Secured Credit Card offers. There are hardly any fees, and no credit history is needed.

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Bank Requirements

Application Process

Bonuses and Rewards

Fees & Rates

3. Discover it® Secured Credit Card

Identity alerts

No annual fee

2% cash back

Best Secured Credit Card With Rewards

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For those who want plenty of benefits and rewards, the Discover it® Secured Credit Card offers amazing options. Cash back, identity alerts, and the chance to move on to an unsecured credit card are just some of the perks.

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Bank Requirements

Application Process

Bonuses and Rewards

Fees & Rates

4. Green Dot Primor Visa Gold Secured Credit Card

Warranty extensions

Low APR

Travel accident insurance

Best For Those Who Frequently Travel

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If you travel often, be it by rental car or some other way, Green Dot Primor Visa Gold Secured Credit Card offers benefits you shouldn’t miss. From insurance to warranty extensions, it’s worth every penny.

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Application Process

Bonuses and Rewards

Fees & Rates

5. UNITY Visa Card

Low intro balance for six months

Expedited delivery available

Access to the How to Rebuild Credit program

Best Rebuilding Credit Program

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This Visa secured credit card offers an affordable way to rebuild credit. By accessing the How to Rebuild Credit Program, you’ll also get the education necessary to make the most of this credit card.

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Bank Requirements

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Bonuses and Rewards

Fees & Rates

6. Citi® Secured Mastercard

$0 liability for unauthorized changes

No annual fee

Automatic account alerts

Best For Building Credit With No Annual Fee

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If you have no credit history and are looking for a cheap secured credit card that allows you to build one, you’ve found it. Throughout the whole process, you’ll be kept in the loop about your balance and payments.

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Bank Requirements

Application Process

Bonuses and Rewards

Fees & Rates

How We Created This List - Our Methodology

Between interest charges and the minimum credit deposit, choosing the perfect credit card for yourself can be tricky. To make sure our list only consists of the best secured cards out there, we reviewed plenty of features. Not only did we make sure the requirements for getting a secured credit card aren’t too demanding, we also took things like the application process, fees, and notable card features into consideration. Here’s everything we based our list on:

  • Requirements. We only featured secured credit cards without minimum credit score requirements or those requiring limited credit history. We also made sure that the credit cards on our list have scarce additional requirements. In fact, some of them don’t even perform a credit check.
  • Application Process. Applying for secured credit cards from our list is a breeze, and can often be done online in a couple of minutes.
  • APR and Fees. Secured credit cards generally have high APRs and plenty of fees. That being said, we made sure to find ones with the lowest rates, as well as those whose higher rates mean plenty of additional value.
  • Notable Card Features. While these types of credit cards seldom offer rewards, we made sure to find some that do. On the other hand, most credit cards from our list offer quite a few extra benefits.
  • Customer Reviews. Finally, to ensure we’re featuring the best, most trustworthy secured credit cards out there, we looked at what users have to say.

At a Glance

  • $0 fraud liability
  • Auto rental insurance
  • No hard credit check needed
  • Credit limit change fees
  • Review process for credit limit change is not transparent

If you’ve recently declared bankruptcy or have a tax lien, it won’t stop you from getting this secured credit card. It’s among the best secured credit cards requiring no hard credit check, and it reports to all three major credit bureaus. You can apply for and receive it in a very short amount of time.

There are a few fees to look out for. The annual fee of $35 is pretty standard for secured credit cards, but the 5% (or $6 – whichever is greater) fee for cash advances is among the higher ones. Not only that, but it starts to accrue right away. When you first start using this card, the minimum amount on your deposit account – and consequently the minimum credit limit is $200. Starting from the second year, if you want to change that limit, you’ll have to pay $25 in credit limit change fees. Additional fees you should expect with one of the best secured credit cards after bankruptcy are:

  • Foreign transaction fee – 3% of every transaction
  • Late payment – up to $38
  • Returned payment – up to $25
  • Inactive account fee (after 12 months of no activity) – $10

A variable APR of 17.39% is a standard one for this type of card.

There are a couple of benefits OpenSky® Secured Visa® Credit Card offers, including $0 credit card fraud liability and rental insurance. On top of all that, making a deposit is simple as you can choose between debit card/bank transfer, wire transfer to Capital Bank, Western Union money transfer, or mailing cheques/money orders. One downside is the uncertainty that comes with raising your line of credit. You can apply for it, but the review process isn’t transparent.

APR 17.39% (Variable)
Annual Fee $35
Minimum Deposit $200

At a Glance

  • Expedited processing available
  • No hard check
  • Low APR
  • High annual fee
  • Not available in NY, Arkansas, Iowa, and Wisconsin

Customers love the Discover it® Secured Credit Card. With reports to all three major bureaus, free FICO score monthly statements, and the option to easily freeze their accounts, users can feel completely carefree. Plus, it’s among the best secured credit cards with no annual fee.

Besides a standard APR of 22.99%, other fees include:

  • Balance transfers – currently 3% of each transfer, 5% after January 10, 2021
  • Cash advance – 5% of each cash advance, or $10 (depending on which is greater)
  • No late payment the first time, up to $40 after that
  • Returned payment – up to $40

When we compare secured credit cards, it’s obvious that a high APR and all of these fees are more than worth the benefits you’re getting. A $200 minimum deposit will get you not only monthly FICO score statements, but also identity alerts. The credit card issuer will monitor your Experian credit report and each new inquiry, notifying you of anything suspicious. It will also follow the Dark Web in search of your Social Security Number. On top of it all, you can freeze your account in case you lose your credit card, and get overnight card replacement.

One big reason Discover it® Secured is among the top 10 secured credit cards out there is the chance to move on to an unsecured credit card. After just eight months of using it, if your portfolio shows you’re trustworthy, you can get an unsecured credit card instead.

Finally, there are lucrative rewards. Each quarter, you can get up to $1,000 back on restaurant and gas station purchases. With all other merchants, you get 1% cash back. Discover will match every dollar you save, proving it’s one of the best secured credit cards out there. One downside is that the refundable deposit can take up to two billing cycles plus 10 days to be returned to you.

APR 22.99% (standard)
Annual Fee $0
Minimum Deposit $200

At a Glance

  • Free FICO score statements
  • Identity alerts
  • No annual fee
  • 2% cash back
  • High APR
  • Long time to return the deposit
  • Higher balance transfers after January 10, 2021

Customers love the Discover it® Secured Credit Card. With reports to all three major bureaus, free FICO score monthly statements, and the option to easily freeze their accounts, users can feel completely carefree. Plus, it’s among the best secured credit cards with no annual fee.

Besides a standard APR of 22.99%, other fees include:

  • Balance transfers – currently 3% of each transfer, 5% after January 10, 2021
  • Cash advance – 5% of each cash advance, or $10 (depending on which is greater)
  • No late payment the first time, up to $40 after that
  • Returned payment – up to $40

When we compare secured credit cards, it’s obvious that a high APR and all of these fees are more than worth the benefits you’re getting. A $200 minimum deposit will get you not only monthly FICO score statements, but also identity alerts. The credit card issuer will monitor your Experian credit report and each new inquiry, notifying you of anything suspicious. It will also follow the Dark Web in search of your Social Security Number. On top of it all, you can freeze your account in case you lose your credit card, and get overnight card replacement.

One big reason Discover it® Secured is among the top 10 secured credit cards out there is the chance to move on to an unsecured credit card. After just eight months of using it, if your portfolio shows you’re trustworthy, you can get an unsecured credit card instead.

Finally, there are lucrative rewards. Each quarter, you can get up to $1,000 back on restaurant and gas station purchases. With all other merchants, you get 1% cash back. Discover will match every dollar you save, proving it’s one of the best secured credit cards out there. One downside is that the refundable deposit can take up to two billing cycles plus 10 days to be returned to you.

APR 22.99% (standard)
Annual Fee $0
Minimum Deposit $200

At a Glance

  • Travel accident insurance
  • Warranty extensions
  • Low APR
  • High annual fee
  • A lot of extra fees

This is one of the best secured credit cards for no credit history or those with limited (up to 3 years) credit history. Not only can you apply in minutes, but your activity will also be reported to all three major credit bureaus, and there are additional benefits you’ll be reaping.

The fixed APR of 9.99% is the lowest one you’ll see, so it only follows that the annual fee would be higher. In the case of Green Dot Primor Visa Gold Secured Credit Card, it’s $49. This low APR secured credit card has several additional fees to look out for:

  • Foreign transaction – 3% of each transaction
  • Cash advance – Either 5% of each advance or $5 (whichever is higher)
  • Replacing a stolen card, adding another user, or having your account reinstated$29
  • Being granted a credit limit increase without an additional deposit – $49

If you’re wondering whether these fees are worth what you’re getting, you can be certain that they are. With a $200 minimum deposit, you can enjoy a grace period of 25 days, extended warranties, as well as rental car collision insurance. This is one of the best secured credit cards out there, and there’s more. In case of an accidental injury or death on a trip, you or your dependents can receive up to $100,000. Let’s hope it’s a benefit you’ll never need!

APR 9.99% (fixed)
Annual Fee $49
Minimum Deposit $200

At a Glance

  • Access to the How to Rebuild Credit program
  • Low intro balance for six months
  • Expedited delivery available
  • Minimum deposit somewhat high
  • A lot of fees

Looking for secured credit cards for bad credit? With decent fees and reports to all three major credit bureaus, Unity Visa Card is a great choice. As a bonus, you’ll get access to the program How to Rebuild Credit.

For the first six months, your intro balance transfer APR will be 9.95%, while the fixed APR of 17.99% is average for this type of card. However, if you’re more than 60 days late to pay, you’ll lose the right to the intro APR. The annual fee of $39 is also pretty regular. One downside of this credit card is that it’s not among the lowest deposit secured credit cards. To start using your UNITY Visa Card, you’ll need to deposit $250. Though there are quite a few fees, they are rather low compared to the competition:

  • Balance transfers – The greater of 3% or $10 (up to $150)
  • Cash advance – 3% or $10 (whichever is greater)
  • Foreign fee – 3% of each transaction
  • Expedited card delivery – $35
  • Credit limit increase – $10
  • Late payment – up to $10
  • Returned payment – up to $37

Not only are these fees decent, but you can also use Speedpay to make online payments over your phone. And as you could notice in the list of fees, there’s the expedited card delivery option as well.

APR 17.99% (fixed)

Intro Balance Transfer APR: 9.95% for 6 months

Annual Fee $39
Minimum Deposit $250

At a Glance

  • Automatic account alerts
  • $0 liability for unauthorized changes
  • No annual fee
  • High cash advance rates
  • Not suitable for those with bad credit

If you have little or no credit history, Citi® Secured Mastercard is another option you may want to consider. Monthly reports to all three major credit bureaus and free access to your FICO score are provided with no annual fee and only a couple of additional costs. Just be aware that if you’re looking for the best secured credit cards for poor credit, you may need to keep looking. This amazing credit card is aimed toward those with up to 3 years of credit history. Besides an understandably high variable APR of 22.49%, additional fees include:

  • Balance Transfers – 3% of every transfer or $5 (whichever is higher)
  • Cash advance – 5% or $10, depending on which one is higher
  • Foreign transaction fee – 3% of each purchase
  • Late or returned payment – up to $40

If you’re looking for a no-fee secured credit card, this is as good as it gets. With a minimum deposit of $200, you’re getting access to numerous benefits. For starters, you are not liable for unauthorized changes on your revolving credit. To make the whole process as convenient as possible, the credit card issuer reminds you when your payments are due, lets you know what your balance levels are, and alerts you when you’re over your credit limit. Once you set your payment due date, you can choose to pay the full balance or only the minimum required. For easier payments, digital wallets are also available.

APR 22.49% (variable)
Annual Fee $0
Minimum Deposit $200

How To Choose A Credit Card - Buyers Guide

While all secured credit cards on our list have plenty of perks, not each one of those suits everyone’s needs. Depending on why you want to have a secured credit card, what kind of fees you’re comfortable with, and some other factors, some secured credit cards will work better than others. Here’s what you should pay attention to:

  • Purpose. 

What’s best for one person won’t always be good for another. Depending on whether you’re looking to build credit, rebuild it, or get certain perks and rewards, you’ll opt for a different credit card.

  • Is there an income threshold? 

While there likely won’t be a specific income threshold for any secured credit card, you’ll still have to prove you can pay off your annual fee and minimum deposit. Therefore, go through our list of secured credit cards and choose one that fits your budget.

  • Bank requirements.

A lot of banks won’t ask for your minimum credit score, but some will want to check whether there’s a bankruptcy or tax lien in your recent history. They may require you to have a limited credit history if the credit card you’re applying for is created for building credit from scratch. Overall, you shouldn’t be too worried about these requirements. Unlike unsecured credit cards, where even a charge-off could be the deal-breaker, the top secured credit cards in 2021 are a lot more lenient.

  • Annual fees.

The credit cards we’ve chosen have annual fees ranging from $0 to $49. Before you make a choice, be sure to check their interest, interchange fees, and other rates as well.

  • Rewards/Bonuses on offer.

While secured credit cards rarely offer rewards, there are some that do. So if you’re bent on getting some cash back, you can still find what you’re looking for.

  • Additional perks and advantages.

On the other hand, the best rated secured credit cards often come with additional benefits such as insurance or identity alerts. Depending on whether you’re a frequent flyer and want extra safety, or you prefer protection against credit card fraud, you’ll choose one over the other.

How to Get a Secured Credit Card 

Getting a secured credit card is usually a lot simpler than getting an unsecured one. There are only two steps you need to go through before getting your digital card:

  • Provide some basic information.

To apply for a secured credit card, you need to provide your age and a valid Social Security Number. Showing some proof of your income is also a requirement. For some of the best secured credit cards, that’s all it will take. For others, there will be a hard credit check as well.

  • Compare options before submitting your application.

Check to see which card issuer offers you what you need, and which of them have fees, APR, and minimum deposit you’re comfortable with. Find the balance between your preferences and budget and choose the secured credit card which best reflects it.

Who Can be Approved?

According to secured credit card reviews, those who are 18 or above can be approved in most states. However, some states like Nebraska or Alabama require you to be at least 19. The card issuer will require some proof of income to ensure you can pay off your credit limit and annual fee. Some secured credit cards also need a hard credit check to be performed. While this lets them know whether you have bad credit, the more important thing is figuring out whether you’ve recently declared bankruptcy or have a tax lien. Finally, many banks that offer secured credit cards aimed towards credit building will require you to have a limited credit history. In those cases, if your credit history is longer than three years, it’s unlikely that you’ll be approved.

Get The Most Out Of Your Secured Credit Card – Tips

Being approved for a secured credit card doesn’t automatically mean you’ll be getting the benefits you expect. To help you get the most out of your credit card, we’ve prepared some tips.

  • Start small.

While getting a high line of credit right away can be alluring, it’s not a good idea. Financial management takes practice, so your set spending limit should be minimal at first no matter which of the popular secured credit cards you decide to go for. Once you’re sure you can easily pay it off, start going up.

  • Make on-time payments.

If you’re late on your payments, not only will you incur a higher interest, but your credit won’t be improving, either.

  • Keep it safe.

While many credit card companies provide advanced identity protection (including chip and PIN technology), and even the option to freeze your card, it’s up to you to keep it safe. Don’t share your personal identification number (PIN) and report lost/stolen credit cards right away. Also, third parties should never have access to security codes on the backs of your credit cards.

  • Choose a secured credit card that reports to all three bureaus.

Even if you’re not looking to improve your credit score (but especially if you are), finding a credit card company that reports to all credit bureaus is important. Otherwise, your success in paying off the credit spent won’t amount to much in the long run.

Best Secured Credit Cards in 2021 At A Glance

OpenSky® Secured Visa® Credit Card – Best for rebuilding credit after bankruptcy

First Progress Platinum Prestige Mastercard Secured Credit Card – Best for credit building with no hard check

Discover it® Secured – Best secured credit card with rewards

Green Dot Primor Visa Gold Secured Credit Card – Best for those who frequently travel

UNITY Visa Card – Best rebuilding credit program

Citi® Secured Mastercard – Best for building credit with no annual fee

Key Takeouts

No matter what your credit history is like or how long you’ve had one, you’re eligible for a secured credit card. Even if you’re in debt or have declared bankruptcy, the best secured cards let you start fresh and improve your standing, especially if you don’t have a savings account to fall back on. You can choose the deposit you’re comfortable with (usually starting from $200) and even enjoy additional perks such as identity alerts, warranty extension, insurance, etc. For those looking to build or rebuild credit and enjoy some extra benefits, secured credit cards are a great choice.

FAQs

What is a secured credit card?

This type of credit card requires you to deposit a certain amount of money before you’re able to spend it. This deposit will act as your credit limit, and you can raise it as you go.

Which secured credit card is the best to rebuild credit?

It depends on what fees are acceptable to you, what kind of minimum deposit you’re alright with, and what interest charges you’d accept. Looking for certain rewards or benefits will also mean one credit card is better for you than some other.

What is the best secured credit card to get?

That also depends, mostly on why you’re getting a credit card. If you want to build credit from scratch, one credit card will be the best choice. If you want to rebuild it, some other option will better fit your needs.

What is the minimum credit score for a secured credit card?

There’s usually no such thing. The bank may perform a hard credit check, but it’s likely they’ll only be looking for recent bankruptcy or tax lien. Since you’d only be spending the amount you’ve deposited, figuring out the credit risk isn’t as vital as it is with unsecured credit cards.

What is the easiest credit card to be approved for?

It’s easiest to be approved for best secured credit cards that don’t perform hard checks at all. That means that neither your credit score nor bankruptcy or a tax lien matter. As long as you can pay off the credit limit, you should be approved.