Updated on Dec 4, 2017

Best Secured Cards for 2017

Take the first step toward positive credit with a secured credit card.
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Advertiser Disclosure

This page includes analysis of our favorite cards from Money360’s advertisers and the marketplace. Visit our advertiser disclosure to learn more.

One tool to build positive credit is a secured credit card. While a security deposit is required, the best secured credit cards make it easy to rebuild or establish credit. Check out our list, apply online, and start building positive credit today!

Summary

Best secured credit cards of 2017

Money360’s top picks

Best overall

Capital One® Secured Mastercard®
Security deposit $49, $99, or $200 based on creditworthiness
Reward details None

Free monthly credit score Available
Annual Fee $0
Highlights Provided by Capital One Show Highlights
  • No annual fee, and all the credit building benefits with responsible card use
  • Unlike a prepaid card, it builds credit when used responsibly, with regular reporting to the 3 major credit bureaus
  • You will get an initial $200 credit line after making a security deposit of $49, $99, or $200, determined based on your creditworthiness
  • Get access to a higher credit line after making your first 5 monthly payments on time with no additional deposit needed
  • Easily manage your account 24/7 with online access, by phone or using our mobile app
  • It's a credit card accepted at millions of locations worldwide
  • Issuer: Capital One
  • Rewards Details: N/A
  • Annual Fee: $0
  • Balance Transfer Fee: $0
  • Cash Advance APR: 24.99% (Variable)
  • Foreign Transaction Fee: None
  • Introductory APR: N/A
  • Introductory APR Period: N/A
  • Introductory Balance Transfer APR: N/A
  • Introductory Balance Transfer Period: N/A
  • Ongoing APR: 24.99% (Variable)
  • Penalty APR: None

Our two cents

Who should get it

For a minimal security deposit, consider the Capital One® Secured MasterCard®. You could get a $200 line of credit for as little as $49 or $99. Use your card responsibly to possibly qualify for a credit limit upgrade after five months – no additional deposit.

How to use it
  • Deposit $49, $99, or $200 to open a $200 line of credit. Add funds for more credit.
  • Pay your balance in full and on time to avoid interest, build credit, and possibly increase your credit line.
  • Keep an eye on your credit score with Capital One’s CreditWise tool.
Consider this

The Capital One® Secured MasterCard® has 24.99% variable APR, a late payment fee of up to $35. Pay your balance in full and on time each month to avoid interest and fees.

Why you'll love it

There’s no annual fee and minimal upfront costs with the Capital One® Secured MasterCard®, allowing you to rebuild credit and possibly qualify for a deposit refund and higher credit line.

Start your application now

Best for low fees

Discover it® Secured Card - No Annual Fee
Security deposit $200 to $2,500
Reward details 2% cash back at restaurants & gas stations; 1% cash back on other purchases

Free monthly credit score Available
Annual Fee $0
Highlights Provided by Discover Show Highlights
Card Highlights Provided by Discover:
  • No Annual Fee, cash back on every purchase, and helps you build your credit with responsible use.
  • Your Secured Credit Card requires a refundable security deposit up to the amount we can approve of at least $200 which will establish your credit line. You will need to provide your bank information when submitting your security deposit.
  • We will automatically begin reviewing your account starting at 8 months to see if we can transition you to an unsecured line of credit.
  • Earn 2% cash back at restaurants & gas stations on up to $1,000 in combined purchases each quarter. Plus, 1% cash back on all your other purchases.
  • Get a dollar-for-dollar match of all the cash back you've earned at the end of your first year, automatically.
  • New! Receive FREE Social Security number alerts-Discover will monitor thousands of risky websites when you sign up.
  • Issuer: Discover
  • Rewards Details: 2% cash back at restaurants & gas stations on up to $1,000 in combined purchases each quarter. 1% cash back on all your other purchases.
  • Annual Fee: $0
  • Balance Transfer Fee: 3%
  • Cash Advance APR: 25.99% Variable
  • Introductory APR: N/A
  • Introductory APR Period: N/A
  • Introductory Balance Transfer APR: 10.99%
  • Introductory Balance Transfer Period: 6 months
  • Ongoing APR: 23.99% Variable

Our two cents

Who should get it

If you want to build credit while earning rewards, consider the Discover it® Secured Card - No Annual Fee. You’ll earn up to 2% cash back on purchases with automatic cash back matching your first year. Use your card responsibly and you may qualify for a deposit refund after eight months.

How to use it
  • Deposit $200 to $2,500 to open your secured line of credit.
  • Earn 2% cash back at restaurants and gas stations (up to $1,000 on combined purchases each quarter) and 1% cash back everywhere else.
  • Pay your balance in full and on time to avoid interest, build credit, and possibly receive a deposit refund.
Consider this

Take advantage of free FICO® credit score reporting to monitor your score. As it improves, consider upgrading to an unsecured credit card.

Why you'll love it

With the Discover it® Secured Card - No Annual Fee, you can build positive credit with no annual fee or penalty APR while earning cash back rewards.

Start your application now

Best for military members and their families

USAA Secured Card® Platinum Visa®
Security deposit $250 to $5,000 in the form of an interest-earning CD
Reward details None. However, your CD will earn interest at a variable rate over two years.

Free monthly credit score Available
Annual Fee $35
Highlights Provided by USAA Savings Bank Show Highlights
  • Best for members rebuilding or establishing credit.
  • Determine your own credit limit ($250 to $5,000) with an interest-earning CD.
  • No foreign transaction fees when you travel outside the United States.
  • USAA membership is available to active and former military and their eligible family members
  • Issuer: USAA Savings Bank
  • Annual Fee: $35
  • Balance Transfer Fee: 3% of the amount of each transfer (maximum fee per transfer $200).
  • Cash Advance APR: 10.90% to 20.90%
  • Introductory APR: N/A
  • Introductory APR Period: N/A
  • Ongoing APR: 10.90% to 20.90%
  • Penalty APR: None

Our two cents

Who should get it

Military members and their families should consider the USAA Secured Card® Platinum Visa®. There’s a small annual fee, super-low 4% APR during deployment and PCS, and your security deposit earns money as a two-year interest-earning certificate of deposit (CD).

How to use it
  • Deposit $250 to $5,000 to open your secured line of credit.
  • Pay your balance in full and on time to avoid interest and build credit.
  • Take advantage of $0 foreign transaction fees during international trips.
Consider this

Be prepared to keep your security deposit as a CD for two years to avoid an early-withdrawal penalty.

Why you'll love it

The USAA Secured Card® Platinum Visa® lets you take advantage of a low annual fee, no penalty APR, no foreign transaction fees, and super-low APR during deployment or PCS.

Start your application now

Best for moving to an unsecured card

U.S. Bank Secured Visa® Card
Security deposit $300 to $5,000
Reward details None. However, your security deposit will be placed in an interest-earning savings account.

Free monthly credit score Not available
Annual Fee $29
Highlights Provided by U.S. Bank Show Highlights
  • You are not responsible for unauthorized transactions if your U.S. Bank Secured Visa card is ever lost or stolen.
  • detects and notifies you of any unusual card activity to help prevent fraud.
  • It's yours automatically - at no extra cost - when you charge your entire car rental on your U.S. Bank Secured Visa Card and decline the rental company's collision damage waiver option. Coverage on a 24-hour basis for damage due to collision or theft.
  • The easiest way to bank online! With this service you can view current statements, download account history, check your balance, make a payment from your U.S. Bank Checking or Savings account, get a cash advance and much more.
  • Take advantage of this easy way to pay bills online.
  • U.S. Bank offers this online tool that can help you avoid interest and late fees with automatic payments that put you in control. It can also help you pay down a balance faster. Learn more at usbank.com/flexcontrol.
  • Issuer: U.S. Bank
  • Annual Fee: $29
  • Balance Transfer Fee: Either 3% of the amount of each transfer or $5 minimum, whichever is greater.
  • Cash Advance APR: 24.99%
  • Foreign Transaction Fee: 2% USD, 3% Foreign Currency
  • Ongoing APR: 19.99%
  • Penalty APR: Not applicable

Our two cents

Who should get it

The U.S. Bank Secured Visa® Card is for anyone who wants to transition to an unsecured account. After a year of responsible use, request an account review to upgrade your status!

How to use it
  • Deposit $300 to $5,000 to open your secured line of credit.
  • Pay your balance in full and on time to avoid interest, build credit, and possibly upgrade to an unsecured credit card.
Consider this

Keep your credit utilization low and your balance paid in full and on time to upgrade to an unsecured credit card.

Why you'll love it

With the U.S. Bank Secured Visa® Card, you have a straightforward path to building positive credit and possibly qualifying for an upgrade to an unsecured credit card.

Start your application now

Best for low APR

First Progress Platinum Prestige MasterCard® Secured Credit Card
Security deposit $200 to $2,000
Reward details None

Free monthly credit score Not available
Annual Fee $49
Highlights Provided by Synovus Bank Show Highlights
  • Fund your new MasterCard® secured credit card with your tax refund today!
  • Our card reports monthly to all three major bureaus and approval is based upon a fully-refundable security deposit.
  • We can approve you at any credit score, no minimum required.
  • No processing or application fees required.
  • Full-featured Platinum MasterCard, accepted for car rentals, hotels, and millions of other locations worldwide.
  • Credit Line Secured by Your Fully-Refundable Deposit of $200 - $2,000 Submitted with Application
  • Nationwide Program though not yet available in NY, IA, AR, or WI
  • Issuer: Synovus Bank
  • Annual Fee: $49
  • Cash Advance APR: 18.99%, Variable
  • Foreign Transaction Fee: 3%
  • Ongoing APR: 9.99% (Variable)

Our two cents

Who should get it

If you carry a balance occasionally, consider the First Progress Platinum Prestige MasterCard® Secured Credit Card. It’s recommended you pay your balance in full each month, but things happen. In those cases, you can rely on this card’s low 9.99% APR.

How to use it
  • Deposit $200 to $2,000 to open your secured line of credit.
  • Pay your balance in full and on time to avoid interest, build credit, and possibly receive a credit line increase.
Consider this

Don’t fall back on the low APR if you can avoid it. Paying your balance in full and on time helps you avoid interest and can help boost your credit score.

Why you'll love it

You can rely on the First Progress Platinum Prestige MasterCard® Secured Credit Card to pay less in interest while building credit. Just don’t get in the habit of carrying a balance!

Start your application now

Money360’s top picks: summed up

What is a secured credit card?

Unlike regular credit cards (unsecured credit cards), secured credit cards are bankrolled by you, not the card issuer. That means to open an account you’ll have to pay a security deposit that also serves as your credit limit, minus the fees. (If you deposit $400, then your credit limit is roughly $400.)

That makes secured credit cards far less risky for lenders. In turn, they don’t require an excellent credit score to qualify, and are a great tool for building or even repairing your credit history. If you use one correctly, you’ll also improve your credit score enough to qualify for a credit card with a rewards program.

No matter what type you have, always treat your card like cash

It doesn’t matter what type of card you have or what your credit limit is: Don’t spend more than you can pay in full every month. If you carry a balance from month to month, you’ll risk paying a bunch on interest charges and crippling your credit score — both of which can be a severe blow to your financial health.

How can I rebuild my bad credit?

Using a credit card is a great way to start improving your credit score. It takes time, but using your card for small purchases and paying your bill in full every month can rebuild your credit history, a record of your borrowing and repayment history.

Read our guide to building credit for more ways to safely improve your credit score and reach your financial goals.

How do I get my credit score for free?

Check your credit score for free on sites such as or , and see where you are in the range:

  • Exceptional: 800+
  • Very good: 740-499
  • Good: 670-739
  • Fair: 580-669
  • Poor: 300-579

How do you check your credit history?

Request a free copy of your credit report from . Look for any inaccuracies as well as areas where you could improve.

How soon is too soon to apply for another credit card?

There’s no hard-and-fast rule on when it’s too soon to apply, but six months is a good place to start. If you have excellent credit and a solid payments history, there’s a chance you could be successful in as little as two to three months. If you have fair credit (669 for FICO®), waiting a year or more is your safest play.

How do credit inquiries work?

Every time a lender reviews your credit history because you’ve applied for credit (like an auto loan, mortgage, or credit card), a “hard inquiry” is generated. Unlike “soft inquiries,” such as pre-qualification checks with certain credit cards, hard inquiries can impact your credit score and stay on your credit report for up to two years.

The level of impact varies depending upon several factors, including the time since your last inquiry, how many accounts you have, and the length of your credit history. Some people with a robust credit history might not be affected at all. For others, it could slash five or more points depending upon their credit report.

The more inquiries on your account, the more lenders view you as a risk. For example, FICO says that people with six inquiries or more on their credit reports are eight times more likely to declare bankruptcy.

Editorial Note: Compensation does not influence our rankings and recommendations. However, we may earn a commission on sales from the companies featured in this post. To view a list of partners, click here. Opinions expressed here are the author's alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by our advertisers. Reasonable efforts are made to present accurate info, however all information is presented without warranty. Consult our advertiser's page for terms & conditions.

The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.