You should get a secured credit card if you have bad or limited credit and the money to place a small deposit. Secured credit cards are available to people with bad credit because they require you to pay a refundable security deposit, which typically serves as your credit line. So there’s less risk for the issuer and higher approval odds for you. Plus, you’ll get the money back when you close your account, after paying any remaining balance. And most importantly, secured cards report to the credit bureaus exactly like unsecured cards. That means they can help you build credit if you use them responsibly.
As a result, a secured card is the best type of second-chance credit card and a pretty good starter credit card. People with limited or no credit history may have better options that don’t require a security deposit. That’s especially true for students, who tend to get a lot better credit card deals than their experience would usually warrant. A secured card won’t do you much good if you need an emergency loan, either. But none of the unsecured options for people with limited or bad credit are as easy to get as a secured credit card. Some secured cards don’t even check your credit when you apply.
Here’s when you should get a secured credit card:
You have bad credit and don’t need an emergency loan. If rebuilding a credit score below 640 is your top priority, there’s no better way to do it than with a secured credit card. As long as you pay your bill on time, positive information will be added to your credit reports each month, helping to cover up past mistakes. But a secured card only allows you to spend what you put down. So if you need to borrow money for an emergency expense, you’ll have to settle for an unsecured credit card for bad credit, with its high, non-refundable fees.
If you’re not sure whether you have bad credit, you can check your latest credit score for free on WalletHub.
You have limited credit and aren’t a college student. College students with little credit history can get unusually attractive credit cards. But there aren’t too many general-consumer credit cards for people with no credit. So if you want to begin building credit but are concerned about getting rejected, a secured card is a great way to start your credit career with confidence.
You can afford a $200 deposit. Many secured cards require a deposit of at least $300-$500, but some of the best options are available with just $200 down.
You want to improve your credit score. All major secured cards report account information to the credit bureaus each month. Paying your bills on time will ensure that information is positive, allowing your credit to grow.
You should get a secured credit card as a way to build your credit, not to finance a large purchase. Since your credit limit is your deposit amount, you won’t be able to buy anything you didn’t already have the cash for. But since secured cards tend to have lower fees than unsecured cards for damaged credit, they’re the cheapest way to get your credit standing back where you want it. And WalletHub’s personalized credit analysis can help, too.