The Best Secured Credit Cards

Secured credit cards offer perks such as rewards, insurance.

best secured credit cards

Getting approved for a credit card can be a challenge if you are starting from scratch or have blemishes on your credit report. Signing up for a secured credit card can be a smart idea when you need to rebuild or establish credit.

What is a secured credit card? A secured credit card is a credit card that requires you to put up cash as a security deposit that serves as your credit line. It’s easier to qualify for a secured credit card than a standard credit card. Plus, when you use a secured card, the activity is reported to the three main credit reporting agencies, which can help you rebuild your credit.

Read: 10 Things That Happen When You Don’t Use a Credit Card

GOBankingRates identified the best secured credit cards based on the following criteria:

  • Annual fee
  • Balance transfer fee
  • Cash advance fee
  • Balance transfer and purchase APRs
  • Security deposit
  • Rewards
  • Special features

Click on a link below to learn more about how to find the best secured credit cards:

Here is a comparison of the top 10 best secured credit cards you can sign up for in 2016:

Secured Credit CardAnnual FeeBalance Transfer FeeCash Advance FeeBalance Transfer APRPurchase APRSecurity DepositWhere to Apply
Discover it Secured Credit CardDiscover it Secured Credit Card$03% of amount of each transferGreater of $10 or 5% of each advance23.24%23.24%$200Apply Now
 Capital One Secured MasterCardCapital One Secured MasterCard$0 VariableGreater of $10 or 3% of each advance 24.99% 24.99%$49, $99 or $200Apply Now
 Navy Federal Credit Union nRewards Secured CardNavy Federal Credit Union nRewards Secured Card$0 NoneNone if Navy Fed branch/ATM; otherwise $0.50 or $1 9.24%-18% 9.24%-18%$500Apply Now
 Wells Fargo Secured Visa CardWells Fargo Secured Visa Card$25Greater of 5% or $5Greater of $10 or 5% of each advance19.24% 19.24%$300Apply Now
 Citi Secured MasterCardCiti Secured MasterCard$25Greater of $5 or 3% of each transferGreater of $10 or 5% of each advance22.24%22.24%$200Apply Now
 U.S. Bank Secured VisaU.S. Bank Secured Visa$29Greater of 3% or $5 of each transferGreater of 4% or $10 of each advance19.24%19.24%$300Apply Now
 OpenSky Secured Visa Credit CardOpenSky Secured Visa Card$35n/aGreater of $6 or 5% of each advancen/a17.64% $200Apply Now
 BankAmericard Secured Credit CardBankAmericard Secured Credit Card $39Greater of $10 or 3% of each transferGreater of $10 or 3% of each advance 20.49% 20.49%$300Apply Now 
 First Progress Platinum Prestige MasterCard SecuredFirst Progress Platinum Prestige MasterCard Secured Credit Card$44n/aGreater of $10 or 3% of each advancen/a11.99%$200Apply Now

 

Discover it Secured Credit Card 

The Discover it credit card offers consumers the chance to establish or re-establish credit. Although many banks offer secured credit card options, the Discover it secured credit card is unusual for its rewards program and lack of an annual fee. 

Annual fee: $0

Balance transfer fee: 3 percent of each balance transfer

Cash advance fee: Greater of $10 or 5 percent of each advance

Introductory balance transfer APR: 10.99% intro APR for six months from date of first transfer — applies to transfers that post to your account by Sept. 10, 2016

Regular balance transfer APR: 23.24%

Purchase APR: 23.24%

Required security deposit: $200 minimum

Rewards:

  • 1 percent cash back on all purchases
  • 2 percent cash back on up to $1,000 in combined purchases each quarter at gas stations and restaurants
  • Cash back matched after account is open for 12 consecutive billing periods

Pros

  • Can freeze your account via mobile app or on website if your card is misplaced
  • Free FICO credit score
  • Payment history reported to the three major credit bureaus
  • No annual fee

Cons

  • After promotional period, has slightly higher purchase and balance transfer APR than many other cards
  • Balance transfer fee  

Related: Discover it Secured Credit Card Review

Capital One Secured MasterCard

Capital One’s secured card gives cardholders a chance to build credit without having to pay an annual fee. Capital One determines a cardholder’s refundable security deposit of $49, $99 or $200. Everyone begins with a credit line limit of $200, although you can get a higher initial limit — up to $3,000 — by making a larger deposit before your account opens.  

Annual fee: $0

Balance transfer fee: Variable

Cash advance fee: Greater of $10 or 3 percent of each advance

Introductory balance transfer APR: None

Regular balance transfer APR: 24.99%

Purchase APR: 24.99%

Required security deposit: $49, $99 or $200 refundable deposit based on creditworthiness

Rewards: None

Pros

  • No annual fee
  • Regularly reports payment history to major credit bureaus
  • Free credit report from CreditWise
  • Fraud coverage

Cons

  • No rewards
  • No intro APR

Navy Federal Credit Union nRewards Secured Credit Card 

If you are an active or former military member — or a family member of one — consider the Navy Federal Credit Union nRewards secured card. It is a great option for those with bruised credit.

The Navy Federal Credit Union nRewards secured card boasts a low APR with no annual fee. It also rewards you with one point for every dollar you spend. You can start redeeming those points once you have earned 1,000, and rewards don’t expire until four years after the date they were earned.  

Annual fee: $0

Balance transfer fee: None

Cash advance fee: None at NFCU branch or ATM; $0.50 at domestic non-NFCU ATMs; $1 at foreign non-NFCU ATMs

Introductory balance transfer APR: None

Balance transfer APR: 9.24% to 18%

Purchase APR: 9.24% to 18%

Required security deposit: $500

Rewards: 1 point for every $1 spent on purchases

Pros

  • No annual fee
  • Activity reported to credit agencies
  • Offers rewards

 Cons

  • Eligibility limited to those involved with the Department of Defense or family members of those involved with the DOD
  • Higher security deposit amount than other secured credit cards

Related: 4 Best Credit Cards for Military Service Members

Wells Fargo Secured Visa Credit Card 

The Wells Fargo secured credit card has an annual fee, but it comes with a modest APR compared with some of its competitors. Additionally, the card offers a higher credit line than most — up to $10,000. All you need is the security deposit to match that amount. 

Annual fee: $25

Balance transfer fee: Up to 5 percent for each transfer with a $5 minimum

Cash advance fee: Greater of $10 or 5 percent of each advance

Introductory balance transfer APR: None

Balance transfer APR: 19.24%

Purchase APR: 19.24%

Required security deposit: $300

Rewards: None

Pros

  • Reports account activity to credit agencies
  • Credit line up to $10,000, depending on security deposit
  • Fraud protection with zero liability 

Cons

  • Charges an annual fee
  • No rewards or sign-up incentives

Citi Secured MasterCard

With Citi’s secured MasterCard, you get a credit line equal to your security deposit — anything between $200 and $5,000. Some key perks include the fact that your activity is reported to credit agencies and you get travel protection, such as accident and car rental insurance. 

Annual fee: $25

Balance transfer fee: Greater of $5 or 3 percent of each transfer

Cash advance fee: Greater of $10 or 5 percent of each advance

Introductory balance transfer APR: None

Balance transfer APR: 22.24%

Purchase APR: 22.24%

Required security deposit: $200 minimum

Rewards: None

Pros

  • Reports to credit rating agencies
  • Offers travel protection, including worldwide accident insurance and rental car insurance, and travel cancellation reimbursement 

Cons

  • Annual fee
  • No rewards, sign-up bonuses or other current promotions
  • Applicants with bankruptcies in the last two years not eligible

U.S. Bank Secured Visa Card

Although the U.S. Bank secured Visa card has an annual fee of $29, the APR is modest in comparison to others. The card also boasts additional perks, such as car rental insurance. Its FlexControl program allows you to make automatic payments and pay down a balance faster, according to the company.

Annual fee: $29

Balance transfer fee: Greater of 3 percent or $5 of each transfer

Cash advance fee: Greater of 4 percent or $10 of each transfer

Introductory balance transfer APR: None

Balance transfer APR: 19.24%

Purchase APR: 19.24%

Required security deposit: $300 minimum

Rewards: None

Pros

  • Helps rebuild credit
  • Offers additional perks such as FlexControl, auto rental insurance and automatic bill pay

Cons

  • Annual fee
  • No rewards

USAA Secured Card American Express

The United Services Automobile Association’s secured card is one of the best secured credit cards and a valuable option for military members and their families to build credit. The USAA secured card requires you to use a two-year CD account as your security deposit, a unique feature compared with other secured credit cards.

Furthermore, the card comes with a lower variable APR. To be eligible, you must either be a current USAA member, a member of the military or a family member of someone in the military. The card’s military benefits include a low APR on all balances for up to 12 months during your deployment or permanent change of station, and a low APR on existing balances at the time of active military enrollment until a year after service is completed. Also, rebates are available on all finance charges during qualified active duty.

 

Pros

  • Accrue interest on your deposit
  • Identity-theft resolution services
  • Collision damage and theft coverage on car rental
  • Military benefits, including rebates and lower APRs

Cons

  • Annual fee
  • No rewards
  • Must be a military member, family member of someone in the military, or a USAA member to qualify

Read: What Type of Credit Card Should I Get?

OpenSky Secured Visa Card 

If you are looking for a secured credit card that gives you a little more control, consider OpenSky’s secured credit card. The OpenSky secured Visa does not require a credit check, making the application process fast and easy.

Another special feature is that you set your own credit line depending on the amount you provide as a security deposit, between $200 and $3,000. Additionally, the card offers a decent APR for purchases.

Annual fee: $35

Balance transfer fee: None

Cash advance fee: Greater of $6 or 5 percent of each advance

Intro balance transfer APR: None

Balance transfers APR: None

Purchase APR: 17.64%

Required security deposit: $200 minimum

Rewards: None

Pros

  • No credit check necessary
  • Can choose your own starting credit line and increase at any time
  • Automatic credit reporting to major credit reporting agencies
  • Competitive APR 

Cons

  • Higher annual fee than that of many other secured cards
  • No rewards

BankAmericard Secured Credit Card

The BankAmericard secured credit card operates similarly to Bank of America’s other cards and offers many of the same account features, including digital wallet technology, mobile banking, and text and email notifications.

The card gives you the opportunity to create a temporary card number when shopping online, so your real card number remains protected. To open a secured card, you will need a security deposit minimum of $300. The maximum credit limit is $4,900. Cardholders have the option to add the card to their mobile devices and shop by Apple Pay, Android Pay or Samsung Pay.

Annual fee: $39

Balance transfer fee: Greater than $10 or 3 percent of each transfer

Cash advance fee: Greater than $10 or 3 percent of each transfer

Intro balance transfer APR: None

Balance transfer APR: 20.49%

Purchase APR: 20.49%

Required security deposit: $300

Rewards: None

Pros

  • Reports to all three credit rating agencies
  • Digital wallet technology: Apple Pay, Android Pay and Samsung Pay
  • Mobile banking
  • Text or email alerts to keep you on top of your finances
  • Zero liability guaranteed 

Cons

  • Annual fee that is higher than others
  • No rewards

First Progress Platinum Prestige MasterCard Secured Credit Card

The First Progress secured card is the final card in our survey to help you build credit. Its annual fee is on the high side, but a low APR makes it an attractive option to consider when shopping for secured credit cards. The card’s APR is among the lowest APR of secured credit cards.

Annual fee: $44

Balance transfer fee: None

Cash advance fee: Greater of $10 or 3 percent of each advance

Intro balance transfer APR: None

Balance transfer APR: None

Purchase APR: 11.99%

Required security deposit: $200

Rewards: None

Pros

  • Low APR 

Cons

  • Annual fee
  • No rewards

Methodology: GOBankingRates assessed information about secured credit cards, including sourcing information from the credit card and financial institution provider websites as of May 31, 2016. To comprise this list of the best secured credit cards, GOBankingRates considered the following factors: (1) annual fee; (2) APR; (3) Rewards, (4) Security deposit, (5) Cash and balance transfer fees.

GOBankingRates is a personal finance and consumer interest rate website owned by ConsumerTrack, Inc.an online marketing company serving top-tier banks, credit unions, and other financial services organizations. Some companies mentioned in this article might be clients of ConsumerTrack, Inc., which serves more than 100 national, local and online financial institutions. Rankings and roundups are completely objective, and no institution, client or otherwise, paid for inclusion or specific placement. Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone and have not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by the companies included in the article.