- How a secured credit card works
- The benefits of a secured credit card
- The drawbacks of a secured credit card
If you’re looking to improve your credit score, you might be considering a secured credit card. But how do they work? In this blog post, we’ll break down everything you need to know about secured credit cards, from how they’re different from regular credit cards to how to use them effectively.
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How a secured credit card works
A secured credit card is a type of credit card that is backed by a deposit that you make with the credit card issuer. For example, if you have a secured credit card with a $500 credit limit, you would need to deposit $500 with the issuer. The deposit is typically held in a savings account, and it acts as collateral for the credit card account. If you default on your payments, the issuer can use the deposit to cover the outstanding balance.
How to get a secured credit card
A secured credit card can help you establish or rebuild your credit history. When you open a secured credit card account, you deposit money into a savings account at the credit card issuer. The amount of money you deposit (usually $200 to $2,000) becomes your credit limit.
While a secured credit card looks and feels like a regular credit card, it works differently. First, your deposit is completely refundable if you close your account and pay your balance in full. Second, most secured cards require that you make monthly payments and may charge an annual fee. But if you manage your account responsibly by making on-time payments and keeping your balance low, you’ll improve your credit score over time. And as your credit score improves, you may eventually be able to qualify for an unsecured credit card with better terms.
How to use a secured credit card
A secured credit card is a type of credit card that requires you to put down a deposit in order to secure a line of credit. The deposit is usually equal to the credit limit on the card, so if you have a $500 deposit, your credit limit will also be $500.
Using a secured credit card can help you improve your credit score by building up your payment history and demonstrating your ability to use credit responsibly. If you use your card wisely and make all of your payments on time, you can eventually qualify for an unsecured credit card with a higher credit limit and better terms.
Here’s how to use a secured credit card:
1. Apply for the card and make sure you meet the eligibility requirements. When you’re approved, you’ll need to make a deposit into a savings account that the issuer sets up for you.
2. Once you’ve made your deposit, you can start using your secured credit card like any other credit card. Be sure to keep track of your spending and make all of your payments on time—just as you would with any other type of credit card.
3. As you use the card and demonstrate responsible behavior, the issuer will periodically review your account and may offer to convert it to an unsecured card. If this happens, you’ll get your deposit back and will no longer be required to make payments into the savings account.
The benefits of a secured credit card
A secured credit card can help you build or rebuild your credit. When you open a secured credit card, you deposit money into a savings account. The deposit is usually equal to your credit limit. For example, if you deposit $500, you usually have a $500 credit limit. Your credit limit secures the credit card company if you don’t pay your bill.
The best secured credit cards
When your credit is bad, it’s tough to get approved for a decent credit card. But a secured credit card can help you rebuild your credit history and improve your credit score. A secured card is a regular credit card that’s backed by a cash deposit you make upfront. The deposit acts as collateral for the credit line, so if you don’t pay your bill, the issuer can keep your deposit.
You might think that because you have to put down a deposit, a secured card isn’t worth it. But in fact, secured cards can be very beneficial — particularly if you use them to rebuild your credit. Here are some of the best secured cards available today:
Capital One® Secured Mastercard®: This is one of the most popular secured cards on the market, and for good reason. There’s no annual fee, and you can get a variable APR as low as 23.99% after an initial period of high interest rates. You also have the potential to get your deposit back after making your first five monthly payments on time.
Discover it® Secured Card: This card also has no annual fee, and offers rewards — something that’s rare among secured cards. You’ll earn 2% cash back at restaurants or gas stations on up to $1,000 in combined purchases each quarter, and 1% cash back on all other purchases. You also have the opportunity to get your deposit back after making your first year of payments on time.
Citi® Secured Mastercard®: This card offers an introductory APR of 21.49% for 18 months on purchases (after that, the APR will be 24.49%), and there’s no annual fee. another nice feature is that Citi will automatically review your account after eight months to see if you qualify for an unsecured card — meaning you could get your deposit back.
How to rebuild your credit with a secured credit card
If you’re looking to rebuild your credit, one of the best things you can do is get a secured credit card. A secured credit card is a type of credit card that requires you to put down a deposit, which serves as your credit limit. For example, if you put down a $200 deposit, your credit limit — and maximum balance — will be $200.
The main benefit of a secured credit card is that it can help you rebuild your credit score by adding positive information to your credit report. Because secured cards require a deposit, they’re much easier to get than traditional unsecured cards, even if you have bad credit. And as long as you use your card responsibly — by making payments on time and keeping your balance low — you can graduate to an unsecured card and get your deposit back.
Here are some things to keep in mind if you’re considering a secured credit card:
-Your deposit is usually refundable: Once you’ve established good enough credit to qualify for an unsecured card, you can usually get your deposit back.
-You may be able to “graduate” to an unsecured card: Some issuers automatically review account holders after a certain period of time and may offer an unsecured card if they determine that the customer is eligible.
-Not all secured cards are created equal: Some issuers offer better terms than others, so it pays to shop around. Look for features like low fees, high limits and rewards programs.
The drawbacks of a secured credit card
A secured credit card is a type of credit card that is backed by a security deposit. The deposit is usually equal to the credit limit on the card. This deposit acts as collateral for the credit card issuer in case the cardholder defaults on their payments. While a secured credit card can help people build or rebuild their credit, there are some drawbacks to consider.
Fees associated with a secured credit card
A number of fees may be associated with a secured credit card, including an annual fee, a monthly maintenance fee, and a one-time setup fee. You may also be charged interest on your balance if you choose to carry a balance from month to month. Be sure to compare the fees associated with different secured credit cards before you decide which one is right for you.
The risks of a secured credit card
The main risk of a secured credit card is that if you don’t make your payments, the issuer can close your account and keep your deposit. This is different from an unsecured credit card, where the issuer can send your debt to collections, but can’t just keep your money.
Another risk is that some issuers may treat a secured credit card like a debit card. This means they may not report your activity to the credit bureaus, which would prevent you from building credit.
Finally, secured credit cards usually have higher fees than unsecured cards. For example, some issuers charge an annual fee, and most require a processing fee when you open the account.