[DISCLOSURE: Cards from our partners are mentioned below.]
Have you found yourself getting in over your head with your credit cards? If so, then you need to know you’re not alone. Roughly 39% of Americans reported having credit card debt in 2015 during a study conducted by Pew Charitable Trusts. Just because you had a little financial hiccup, doesn’t mean it’s the end of the world. With a little hard work, you can see your debt diminish and your credit score begin to improve. (You can see where you credit currently stands by viewing two of your scores, updated every 30 days, for free on Credit.com.)
To start this process, it’s important to do two things. First, understand that you need to make a change. No more shopping for things that you can’t afford. That will only make the problem worse. Second, you need to find a credit card that you can actually trust having in your wallet. A card that you can use to not only build better habits, but also a better credit score.
Enter secured credit cards: Secured credit cards can provide a solid failsafe for borrowers worried about running up a balance beyond what’s in their bank account, since they generally require you to put down a cash deposit that serves as your credit limit. Plus, they’re specifically geared to people with thin-to-bad credit so if you’re looking to slowly rebuild, you have a point of entry.
Remember, it’s important to read the fine print carefully before applying for a credit card. With that in mind, here are five different credit cards you can trust yourself with to consider.
Secured credit cards seldom come with a lot of the benefits you receive with an unsecured card. One of the exceptions is the Discover it Secured (see full review here), which actually offers cardholders rewards on purchases. When you use your card at restaurants or gas stations, you earn 2% back on your first $1,000 in combined purchases each quarter. For all other purchases, you earn 1% back. Plus, similar to other Discover credit cards, the issuer is currently matching all cash back earned by new accountholders at the end of their first year.
A minimum deposit of $200 is required to open up an account. After you have been using this credit card for a year, you will undergo monthly reviews to assess your ability to repay your debts. If you have proven yourself, then Discover can opt to move you onto a unsecured card that has more to offer.
While you will not pay an annual fee, the card comes with a pretty steep variable annual percentage rate (APR) of24.74% Variable on purchases & balance transfers. If you want to transfer a balance, the APR will be 10.99% for the first six months.
While most secured credit cards require you to pay a deposit that also acts as the credit limit you receive, the Capital One Secured MasterCard is a little different. Depending on your credit score, you could receive an initial credit limit of $200 with a deposit of just $49, $99, or $200, based on your creditworthiness. If you make your first five payments on time with this no annual fee credit card, then you could be eligible to receive a higher credit limit without being required to add an additional deposit.
If you are working hard to build your credit, then an attractive feature of this card is that it reports to all three major credit bureaus. While most credit cards have started making this a normal practice, not all do.
With this card, you will receive an APR of 24.99% (Variable).
One of the biggest downsides to secured credit cards is that they typically come with fairly high interest rates. Not so much with the First Progress Platinum Prestige MasterCard Secured. This card has aAPR of 9.99% Variable APR for Purchases. Other than some of the secured cards that you can find through credit unions, this is one of the lowest rates available on a secured card. It even beats a lot of unsecured cards.
When you apply for this card you will need to put down a deposit of between $300 and $2,000. You credit limit will equal your deposit minus $49 taken out for the card’s annual fee.
4. BankAmericard Secured Credit Card
When you apply for the BankAmericard Secured Credit Card, you’ll put down a deposit of anywhere from $300 to $4,900. The bank will then determine your credit limit by factoring in your deposit, your income, and how likely it feels you are to pay back what you spend. (If you provided a deposit that exceeds this limit, the difference will be returned to you via check.) After using the card for 12 months, Bank of America will assess your account and you may be eligible to have your deposit returned while you continue to use the card.
This card doesn’t have have a standard variable APR as low as the First Progress Platinum Prestige MasterCard Secured card, but at 20.24% for purchases and balance transfers, it is slightly below a lot of other secured cards on the market. There is a $39 annual fee for this card.
Like the rest of the cards mentioned, the credit limit you receive with the OpenSky Secured Visa Credit Card is directly correlated to the deposit that you put down. It can be anywhere from $200 to $3,000. You will receive an APR rate of 18.89% Variable and there is an annual fee of $35
There is one thing that is a little different about this card than most: The issuer does not run a credit check, which means there will be no hard inquiry on your credit report. For someone trying to build up credit, this is a big plus.
At publishing time, the Discover it Secured, Capital One Secured MasterCard, First Progress Platinum Prestige Secured MasterCard and OpenSky Secured Visa credit cards are offered through Credit.com product pages, and Credit.com is compensated if our users apply and ultimately sign up for these cards. However, this relationship does not result in any preferential editorial treatment.
Note: It’s important to remember that interest rates, fees and terms for credit cards, loans and other financial products frequently change. As a result, rates, fees and terms for credit cards, loans and other financial products cited in these articles may have changed since the date of publication. Please be sure to verify current rates, fees and terms with credit card issuers, banks or other financial institutions directly.