What Are the Best Secured Cards for Rebuilding Credit?

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Last updated on August 23rd, 2023

When people want to rebuild their credit they usually look for personal loans to pay off debt or consolidate existing credit card balances. They may also consider using a credit repair service, or a credit reporting service. One credit repair route that they should consider carefully, however, is secured credit cards. Secured cards allow build your credit history, boost your credit score, and enjoy the purchasing power a real credit card. So, what are the best secured credit cards for rebuilding your credit?

The Best Secured Credit Cards for Repairing Your Credit Score

One of the most crucial aspects of rebuilding credit is creating a history of on-time payments and responsible use of credit products. While many might shy away from them, secured credit cards are an excellent option for those looking to bounce back from bankruptcy, default, or any other credit issues.

What Makes a Good Secured Credit Card?

When looking for a secured credit card for rebuilding credit, there are certain things to consider. First, note the minimum deposit. This deposit is what makes a secured card “secured.” The minimum deposit varies significantly and can make the difference between a good option and a bad one. Look for a secured card with a minimum deposit of $200. This deposit level makes the card much more affordable for those with limited access to funds.

Here’s what to look for in a secured card:

The Most Important Things to Look for:
Security deposit Secured credit cards require a deposit to open. This deposit acts as the collateral for the loan (it "secures" the loan, hence "secured card") and the credit limit. If you deposit $200, your credit limit will be $200, for example. Most secured cards require a deposit of around $200 to open, but some, like Self, only require $100.
Annual fee Having to pay an annual fee for a secured credit card doesn’t automatically make it unfavorable, though there are many available that waive said charge. If you find a credit card with the limit, APR, and perks that you prefer, paying an annual fee isn’t a bad thing if the benefits are greater than the cost. Depending on your creditworthiness, you may be able to find a secured credit card that balances both of these aspects perfectly.
Application eligibility The best credit card applications use language that is clear and easy to understand. Select card applications may charge a processing fee, for example, that other similar cards don’t.

This threshold is removed completely when applying for certain secured credit cards, as the deposit you’ll be making covers the risk that the issuer is taking on. While not the case for all secured credit cards, there are some available to you even with a really bad credit rating.
Other Things to Look For:
Upgrade If you use your secured credit card responsibly and pay off your balance each month, in a few years or sooner, you may qualify for an unsecured credit card. These financial products do not require a deposit on your part, and generally offer a better APR and much more enticing benefits, such as a higher return on travel rewards points and cash back on dining and entertainment purchases. Some issuers may automatically switch you over to an unsecured credit card after you’ve established your credit and improved your score. Often you will have to apply for these cards on your own, though you’ll be in a better position to qualify for the unsecured card that you want with your improved credit score in hand.
Credit tools The time that you’ll be spending establishing or building up your credit with the responsible use of a secured credit card is not the time that you should be forgetting to make even a single account payment. Doing so may hurt your credit score and increase the time that it will take you to eventually qualify for an unsecured credit card. Nearly all credit card issuers and financial institutions offer nowadays offer online banking features to help account holders keep track of their expenses 24/7. There are also mobile apps that can be installed on your smartphone and other online electronic devices from these institutions that will alert you if you are approaching your limit or have a payment due soon, making the process of building your credit more convenient than ever before.
Rewards It’s not unheard of to come across secured credit cards that offer cash back rewards, though they are more difficult to find than their unsecured counterparts. Finding one with these benefits can serve as another incentive to use the card responsibly, aside from showing your creditworthiness to the three credit bureaus.

The Best Secured Credit Cards

Paying your statement valance in full each month is one of the best ways to repair a bad credit score quickly. Sometimes, however, you can’t pay your entire credit card statement. When this scenario arises, make sure you have a secured card that offers the versatility to carry a balance from month-to-month.

First Progress Platinum Prestige Mastercard® Secured Credit Card

First Progress Platinum Prestige Mastercard® Secured Credit Card
Poor-No Credit Required
BestCards refers to a variation of FICO Score 9, which is one of many different types of credit scores. A financial institution may use a different score when deciding whether to approve you for a credit card. Please note that the range shown here is our own estimation and not a guarantee of credit needed to be approved for any given card. Recommended Credit: Poor / No Credit Required
Mastercard Processing Network
$49 Annual Fee

First Progress Platinum Prestige Mastercard® Secured Credit Card

  • 15.24% variable based on the Prime Rate Regular Purchase APR
  • 24.24% variable based on the Prime Rate Cash Advance APR

At a Glance

The Platinum Prestige Mastercard Secured Credit Card offers an excellent rate, robust Mastercard security, and the ability to rebuild or establish credit – all in one package.

  • Best Benefits
  • Rates & Fees
  • Why Should You Apply?
  • 1% Cash Back Rewards on payments
  • Choose your own credit line - $200 to $2000 – based on your security deposit
  • Build your credit score.¹ Reports to all 3 credit bureaus
  • No minimum credit score required for approval!
  • ¹ Cardholders who keep their balance low and pay their credit card bill on time every month typically do see an increase in their credit score.
  • Regular Purchase APR: 15.24% variable based on the Prime Rate
  • Cash Advance APR: 24.24% variable based on the Prime Rate
  • Cash Advance Transaction Fee: Either $10 or 3% of the amount of each cash advance, whichever is greater
  • Annual Fee: $49
  • Foreign Transaction Fee: 3% of the transaction amount
  • Late Payment Penalty Fee: Up to $41
  • Return Payment Penalty Fee: Up to $30
  • Minimum Deposit Required: $200
  • You're looking to rebuild a damaged credit score
  • You plan to carry a balance
  • You prefer the versatility of a credit card vs. a debit card or prepaid cards
  • You want the freedom to use your card virtually anywhere worldwide
First Progress Platinum Prestige Mastercard® Secured Credit Card

First Progress Platinum Prestige Mastercard® Secured Credit Card

Terms & Conditions

The First Progress Platinum Prestige is one of the best credit cards for carrying a balance. The card, which features a modest $49 annual fee, has Firs Progress’ lowest variable-rate APR.. Most secured cards have an interest rate double the Prestige’s figure, making it an excellent option to consider. First Progress actually offers three secured credit cards:


First Progress Platinum Elite

First Progress Platinum Select


First Progress Platinum Prestige
$29 annual fee $39 annual fee $49 annual fee
No credit history needed No credit inquiry required First Progresses lowest rate
Does not earn rewards 1% cash back rewards 1% cash back rewards

Since there are three cards from First Progress, how can you tell which is right for you? Here’s a basic breakdown of how the three credit cards differ:

Annual fee The larger the annual fee you pay with your First Progress, the lower your APR, with the Prestige having the lowest APR and the highest annual fee, followed by the Select and finally the Elite.
Starting credit limit First Progress charges the annual fee on the first billing statement. This means that the card's starting credit limit will not match the cash deposit until that fee is repaid.
Credit check First Progress credit cards do not require a credit inquiry, or hard pull. No credit check means those with bad credit can access a card with no negative impacts or checks.

Applied Bank® Secured Visa® Gold Preferred® Credit Card

Applied Bank® Secured Visa® Gold Preferred® Credit Card
Fair-Poor
BestCards refers to a variation of FICO Score 9, which is one of many different types of credit scores. A financial institution may use a different score when deciding whether to approve you for a credit card. Please note that the range shown here is our own estimation and not a guarantee of credit needed to be approved for any given card. Recommended Credit: Fair / Poor
Visa Processing Network
$48 Annual Fee

Applied Bank® Secured Visa® Gold Preferred® Credit Card

  • 9.99% Fixed Rate Regular Purchase APR
  • 9.99% Fixed Rate Cash Advance APR

At a Glance

The Applied Bank® Secured Visa® Gold Preferred® Card offers those with limited credit history or a poor credit score the chance to receive a full-fledged Visa card without the need for a credit check. The card also boasts and impressively low fixed APR on purchases and cash advances – all for the modest annual fee of $48.

  • Best Benefits
  • Rates & Fees
  • Why Should You Apply?
  • Better than Prepaid...Go with a Secured Card! Load One Time - Keep On Using
  • Absolutely No Credit Check or Minimum Credit Score Required
  • Automatic Reporting to All Three National Credit Bureaus
  • 9.99% Low Fixed APR - Your Rate Won’t Go Up Even if You Are Late
  • Activate Today with a $200 Minimum Deposit - Maximum $1,000
  • Increase Your Credit Limit up to $5,000 by Adding Additional Deposits Anytime
  • Regular Purchase APR: 9.99% Fixed Rate
  • Cash Advance APR: 9.99% Fixed Rate
  • Cash Advance Transaction Fee: Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each cash advance, whichever is greater
  • Annual Fee: $48
  • Foreign Transaction Fee: 3% of the transaction amount in U.S. dollars
  • Late Payment Penalty Fee: Up to $38
  • Return Payment Penalty Fee: Up to $38
  • Minimum Deposit Required: $200
  • You have bad credit, limited credit, or no credit history at all
  • You want a card that automatically reports to all the major credit bureaus
  • You are tired of spending money on reloadable prepaid cards
  • You can make a minimum deposit of at least $200
Applied Bank® Secured Visa® Gold Preferred® Credit Card

Applied Bank® Secured Visa® Gold Preferred® Credit Card

Terms & Conditions

The Applied Bank Gold Preferred Secured Visa offers the same low APR as the First Progress Platinum Prestige and a similar annual fee ($48 per year). Thanks to monthly reporting to all the major credit bureaus, the Applied Bank Card is an ideal companion for those looking to build credit – but carry a small balance. Applied Bank makes it easy to build your credit with no credit check and no minimum credit score requirement. Simply apply for the Applied Bank® Secured Visa® and submit a deposit of between $200 and $1,000 – that’s it! 

The Best Secured Card Without a Credit Check

Carrying a balance is not advisable for those trying to rebuild their credit score. And, while paying interest and keeping a balance is a reality for many people, if you do not have to – don’t. Those who will pay their statement balance in full each month can pay less attention to the APR, and more to the annual fee.

OpenSky® Plus Secured Visa® Credit Card

OpenSky® Plus Secured Visa® Credit Card
Fair-Poor-No Credit Required
BestCards refers to a variation of FICO Score 9, which is one of many different types of credit scores. A financial institution may use a different score when deciding whether to approve you for a credit card. Please note that the range shown here is our own estimation and not a guarantee of credit needed to be approved for any given card. Recommended Credit: Fair / Poor / No Credit Required
Visa Processing Network
$0 Annual Fee

OpenSky® Plus Secured Visa® Credit Card

  • 29.99% (Variable) Regular Purchase APR
  • 29.99% (Variable) Cash Advance APR

At a Glance

Building credit without hidden fees is a breeze with the OpenSky® Plus Secured Visa® Credit Card. You can build credit, graduate to unsecured credit, and boost your financial knowledge base while paying $0 in annual fees.

  • Best Benefits
  • Rates & Fees
  • Why Should You Apply?
  • Limited Time Offer: $200 minimum refundable security deposit. Click “Apply Now” to see additional terms and conditions.
  • No annual fee
  • No credit check to apply. Find out instantly if you are approved- Zero credit risk to apply!
  • Looking to build or rebuild your credit? 2/3 of cardholders receive a 48+ point improvement after making 3 on-time payments
  • Get considered for an unsecured credit line increase after 6 months - no additional deposit
  • Monitor your credit progress with free access to your FICO Credit Score.
  • Reports to all 3 major credit bureaus monthly to establish and build credit history.
  • Add to your mobile wallet and make purchases using Apple Pay, Samsung Pay and Google Pay
  • Secure your credit line with a refundable security deposit - as low as $300.
  • Easy application, apply in less than 5 minutes right from your mobile device
  • Offer flexible payment due dates which allow you to choose any available due date that fits your payment schedule
  • Now you can make smaller partial payments towards funding your security deposit over 60 days
  • Over 1.2 Million Cardholders Have Used OpenSky Secured Credit Card To Improve Their Credit
  • Regular Purchase APR: 29.99% (Variable)
  • Cash Advance APR: 29.99% (Variable)
  • Cash Advance Transaction Fee: Either $10 or 3% of the amount of each cash advance, whichever is greater
  • Annual Fee: $0
  • Foreign Transaction Fee: 3% of the transaction amount in U.S. dollars
  • Late Payment Penalty Fee: Up to $40
  • Return Payment Penalty Fee: Up to $40
  • Minimum Deposit Required: $300
  • You want a secured credit card but don't want to pay an annual fee
  • You have at least $300 available for a security deposit (up to $3,000)
  • You are serious about building credit and plan to pay on-time each month
  • You want to graduate to unsecured credit
OpenSky® Plus Secured Visa® Credit Card

OpenSky® Plus Secured Visa® Credit Card

Terms & Conditions

The OpenSky® Plus Secured Visa® Credit Card is one of the most popular secured cards on the market – and it’s easy to see why. The card features no annual fee and the usual purchasing power and security that comes from a full-fledged Visa credit card. The real value of the OpenSky Secured, however, comes from the fact that there is no credit check required to apply. No credit check means applying for the card will not hurt your credit score. This feature lets you build credit quickly – and without any initial harm to your credit score.

Like First Progress, OpenSky also has another credit card option. Here’s how the two OpenSky Visa credit cards compare:


OpenSky® Secured Visa®

OpenSky® Plus Secured Visa®
Annual fee $35 $0
Upgrade to unsecured? Chance to receive an OpenSky Gold Unsecured Card after as few as 6 months Chance to receive an OpenSky Gold Unsecured Card after as few as 6 months
Reports credit? Yes, to all 3 major credit bureaus monthly Yes, to all 3 major credit bureaus monthly

Conclusion

Finding the ideal secured card to rebuild your credit can be challenging but paying attention to the tips provided can increase your chances significantly. Always take note of the annual fee, the minimum deposit, and the perks the card offers. If you want a higher credit line, consider saving for an additional deposit amount – typically up to $2,000, depending on credit card issuers. For those who still need to carry a balance, prioritize the APR, and stick with a card that provides the lowest possible interest rates. For those who want to protect their credit score, consider a card that does not require a credit check.

Related Article: Easiest Credit Cards to Get with Bad Credit

Photo by Moritz Mentges on Unsplash

Editorial Disclosure – The opinions expressed on BestCards.com's reviews, articles, and all other content on or relating to the website are solely those of the content’s author(s). These opinions do not reflect those of any card issuer or financial institution, and editorial content on our site has not been reviewed or approved by these entities unless noted otherwise. Further, BestCards.com lists credit card offers that are frequently updated with information believed to be accurate to the best of our team's knowledge. However, please review the information provided directly by the credit card issuer or related financial institution for full details.

About: Cory Santos
Cory Santos

Cory is the senior credit card editor at BestCards, specializing in everything credit card-related. He’s worked extensively with credit cards and other personal finance topics, including nearly five years at BestCards. Cory’s extensive knowledge is an essential part of the BestCards experience, helping readers to live their best financial lives with up-to-date insights and comprehensive coverage of all facets of the credit card space, including market trends, rewards guides, credit advice, and comprehensive credit card reviews.

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