The best secured credit card for bad credit is Discover it® Secured Credit Card because it has a $0 annual fee, rewards you with 1 - 2% cash back on purchases, doubles the rewards you’ve earned after the first year, and accepts people with bad credit. The Discover it Secured Credit Card’s main approval requirements are being 18+ years old and having enough income to afford monthly bill payments, plus a refundable security deposit of $200 or more.
Most secured credit cards are open to applicants with bad credit. The more lenient approval requirements are due to the fact that your security deposit will act as collateral for your credit limit. There are several secured credit cards that people with bad credit might want to consider.
Best Secured Credit Cards for Bad Credit:
Best Overall:Discover it® Secured Credit Card$0 annual fee. Earn 2% cash back at gas stations and restaurants (up to $1,000 spent each quarter combined), and 1% back on all other purchases. Minimum deposit of $200.
Low Deposit:Capital One Platinum Secured Credit Card$0 annual fee. Minimum deposit of $49, $99 or $200 (depending on factors such as income, debt, and creditworthiness) in exchange for a starting credit line of $200.
Cash Back:U.S. Bank Cash+® Visa® Secured Card$0 annual fee. Earn 5% cash back on two categories of your choice (up to $2,000 each quarter), 5% back on prepaid air, hotel and car reservations booked in the Rewards Travel Center, 2% back on your choice of one everyday category (like gas stations, EV charging stations, grocery stores or restaurants) and 1% back on all other purchases. Minimum deposit of $300.
In general, secured credit cards are the best type of credit card for people with bad credit. Secured cards offer the highest approval odds of any credit cards, and they tend to be a lot cheaper in the long run than unsecured cards for bad credit.
You just have to make sure to pay your bill on time and preferably in full, every month. If you do that, your credit should steadily improve. And that should help you qualify for a credit card upgrade sooner than you might think.
The fastest ways to improve your credit score are to pay down your balances, dispute incorrect information on your credit report, make more frequent payments, and reduce credit utilization. Credit utilization (how much of your credit limits you use each month) contributes to a portion of your credit score that accounts for 20% - 30% of your overall score. So, an adjustment there can result in a big credit boost pretty quickly. Similarly, you can dispute incorrect information with a quick online request or phone call. You won’t always get an immediate credit score increase, but correcting errors on your credit report is a great place to start.… read full answer
There are a few other ways to increase your credit score quickly, from becoming an authorized user to increasing your credit limit. They may not all be equally effective for everyone, as it can take years to build a consistently good or excellent credit score. In fact, some strategies could send your credit score in the wrong direction before leading to an increase. For example, requesting a credit limit increase can result in a hard inquiry that damages your credit a bit in the short-term, but having more credit available could produce long-term gains if used responsibly.
Here’s how to improve your credit score fast:
Pay down your balances. If you aren’t eligible for a credit limit increase, focus on paying down existing debt. Paying down a large chunk of debt at once will help your credit utilization ratio and bump up your score. If you can’t make a large payment all at once, try to pay more than just the minimum monthly amount. If you have multiple debts, start by making payments on the debt that has the highest interest rate so you can limit interest charges.
Dispute incorrect information on your credit report. You should file a dispute for any incorrect negative info on your report. Once the dispute goes through, incorrect items will drop off your file, and your score should improve. You may have to wait 30 days for the credit bureau to review your dispute before you see any changes.
Make more frequent payments. Credit utilization is calculated based on the statement balance on each of your credit cards. You can reduce these balances, thus decreasing your credit utilization and increasing your credit score, by making payments before the end of each billing period. Then, pay off the remaining balance by the due date to avoid interest charges and credit-score damage.
Become an authorized user. If you’re just starting out, or your credit report has a string of negative marks, a good move would be to become an authorized user on someone else’s credit card and build your credit over time. Just make sure the primary holder is responsible and pays their bills on time.
Add new payments to your credit file. There are new services that can add positive information, like on-time utility payments, rent payments, and positive bank balances to your credit report. Not all of these programs apply to all credit bureaus, and some cost money to utilize, but they could boost your credit score over a few months.
Increase your credit limit. A higher credit limit can reduce your credit utilization ratio, assuming your spending does not increase. The only potential problem is that asking for a credit limit increase usually results in a hard credit inquiry, which would temporarily hurt your credit score a bit. But if you get a credit limit increase without asking, or you have a few months before you need the highest credit score possible, a higher limit could definitely help.
Everyone’s credit situation is different, so not every option will be relevant or available to you. The best way to find out exactly what you can do to quickly improve your score is to check out the personalized advice in the Credit Analysis section of your WalletHub dashboard.
You can build credit with a secured credit card in as little as one to two months, but it will take many months or even years to build a consistently good or excellent credit score. The length of time also depends on whether you’re building credit from nothing or rebuilding damaged credit.… read full answer
If you have no credit, you could see a good score after just a few months of paying on time. You’ll have a VantageScore after one month and a FICO Score after 6. With bad credit, though, it will probably take 12-18 months of responsible use for you to move up to the fair credit range. Secured credit cards are great for building credit because they are easy to get and report to the credit bureaus just like unsecured cards.
But it's hard to give you an accurate estimate of how long it will take to build credit with a secured credit card without knowing the details of your situation. That’s where WalletHub can help. Just sign up for a free account, and we’ll give you a personalized credit analysis that will tell you what to improve and give you a better sense of how long it will take.
Here’s how long it takes to build credit with a secured credit card:
If you have no credit, it will take 1 month to get a VantageScore and 6 to get a FICO score. Depending on how responsibly you use your card, your first score could be anywhere from bad to good.
If you pay your bill on time and otherwise manage your finances responsibly, you can rebuild from a bad credit score (300-639) to a fair credit score (640-699) in approximately 12-18 months.
A good credit score based on limited information could easily fall due to an increase in credit utilization or a single missed payment. Building and then keeping a good or excellent credit score requires consistency over time. This is a project measured in years.
For people rebuilding credit, it will take 7-10 years for some negative information, like bankruptcies and late payments, to disappear from your credit report. But the older they are, the less impact they will have on your score.
If you’re looking to rebuild your credit, secured credit cards are the best way to do it. They’re easy to get and are indistinguishable from unsecured cards aside from the deposit requirement.
Rebuilding credit will take a while, so it’s best to get started as soon as possible. Some good behaviors to practice are always paying on time and using less than 30% of your available credit.
A secured credit card helps you build credit by reporting account information to at least one of the big three credit bureaus every month. Monthly credit reporting gives you the opportunity to add positive info to your credit report, which is the key to building credit. Whether the credit that you build with your secured card is good or bad depends on your ability to pay the bills on time. You can also build credit just by having a secured card open, even if you don’t use it to make purchases.… read full answer
If you use a secured credit card irresponsibly, maxing it out or missing payments, you’ll have negative information on your credit report. That can lead to a bad credit score. But on the flip side, responsible use of a secured card builds credit just as well as any unsecured card. The only difference between a secured card and an unsecured card is that secured cards require a security deposit and give you a credit limit equal to that deposit. Secured and unsecured cards look the same, both physically and on credit reports.
How Secured Cards Build Credit
All major secured credit cards report to 1-3 of the major credit bureaus on a monthly basis.
Secured credit cards report information about your payment history, balance, spending limit and more to the credit bureaus each month.
The information secured cards report to the bureaus contributes to your credit history.
Responsible use of a secured card results in positive information being reported, helping to cover up past mistakes or build out a thin file.
The key to building credit with a secured card is to never miss a due date, or to just never use your card. As long as your account is open and in good standing, you’re in good shape.
Keeping your statement balance below 30% of your credit limit will help you build credit faster with a secured card.
Secured cards are the best credit cards to use if building credit is your main objective. And they’re particularly useful for rebuilding credit after mistakes. Not only do secured cards report to the credit bureaus, but they also approve even applicants with bad credit. Some don’t even do a credit check. And secured cards are known for low fees. The high approval odds and low fees are all because of the refundable security deposit.
But just because all major secured credit cards can help you build credit does not mean they’re equally attractive. They differ in several important areas, including their annual fees, minimum deposit requirements and rewards. It’s important to shop around and pick the best card for you.
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