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The information for the following product(s) has been collected independently by Business Insider: U.S. Bank Cash+® Visa® Secured Card, Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards Secured Credit Card, U.S. Bank Altitude® Go Visa® Secured Card. The details for these products have not been reviewed or provided by the issuer.
Secured credit cards tend to be devoid of flashy ongoing benefits and high earning rates. They instead serve one main purpose: to get someone with poor (or no) credit on their feet.
Whether you’re applying for your first credit card, are new to the US and looking to improve your credit score, or are trying to rebuild your credit after previous financial blunders, a secured credit card is one of the best plans of attack.
Best Secured Credit Cards
U.S. Bank Cash+® Visa® Secured Card – Product Name Only: Best overallBank of America® Customized Cash Rewards Secured Credit Card – Product Name Only: Best for choosing your own bonus categoriesU.S. Bank Altitude® Go Visa® Secured Card – Product Name Only — Best for diningCapital One Quicksilver Secured Cash Rewards Credit Card – Product Name Only — Best for collecting travel rewardsDiscover it® Secured Credit Card – Product Name Only — Best welcome offer
Once you’ve nurtured a credit score of 700 or above, you can begin applying for the best credit cards that come with travel benefits, hundreds of dollars in statement credits, enormous welcome bonuses, and more.
If you’re in the market for a secured credit card, it needs to be one on this list. Other secured cards simply cannot stack up against the earning rates of those detailed below.
Let’s take a look at the best secured credit cards available to help you decide which is best for your lifestyle — and your future credit card goals.
Compare Secured Credit Cards
Secured Credit Card Frequently Asked Questions
What is a secured credit card?
A secured credit card is a card that banks will extend to customers who have little to no credit history — or to those who have made mistakes with credit in the past and are trying to repair their credit. If you’re just beginning your credit journey, or if you’re trying to rebuild, a secured credit card may be the only card you qualify for.
How does a secured credit card work?
Secured credit cards work by minimizing the risk involved with a bank extending to you a credit line. Because you’ve got either a negative or nonexistent credit history, the bank will require you to give them a cash deposit (usually between $200 and $5,000). The size of your deposit will dictate how large your credit line is. For example, if you want a credit line of $1,000, you’ll have to deposit $1,000 to the bank.
The bank will hold this money as collateral. This ensures that if you are unable to pay your loan, the bank can pay your bill with your money. If you close your secured credit card, or if you are upgraded to a non-secured card, you’ll get your money back.
Do secured credit cards build credit?
Secured credit cards can help you build your credit history, as long as you use them responsibly. That means paying your bill on time and not spending more than you can afford. Secured cards report your account and activity to the major credit bureaus, meaning they will show up on your credit report and factor into your credit score calculation.
What is a good secured credit card?
A good secured credit card is one that successfully helps you improve your credit score. You’ll need to “secure” your line of credit by putting down a deposit, but as long as you pay off your balance, you’ll be showing the credit card issuer that you can be responsible with a line of credit. A good secured credit card may also offer other perks, like rewards on your spending.
U.S. Bank Cash+® Visa® Secured Card – Product Name Only
The U.S. Bank Cash+® Visa® Secured Card – Product Name Only might not look exciting at first glance, but it’s a surprisingly valuable product available to those new to the world of credit.
First, you’ll earn 5% cash back on prepaid air, hotel, and car reservations booked through the US Bank Rewards Travel Center. The bonus cash you can earn is uncapped.
You’ll also get 5% cash back on your first $2,000 in combined spending each quarter in two categories you choose. Eligible categories are fast food, home utilities, TV/internet/streaming, department stores, cell phone providers, electronic stores, sporting goods stores, gyms/fitness centers, ground transportation, movie theaters, furniture stores, and select clothing stores. That’s a healthy number of categories to choose from — though seemingly well selected to eliminate much possibility of spending too much per quarter.
Additionally, you can receive 2% cash back on eligible purchases in your choice of one of the following categories: Grocery stores and grocery delivery, restaurants, and gas stations/EV charging stations. You’ll earn 1% cash back on all other eligible purchases.
Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards Secured Credit Card – Product Name Only
The Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards Secured Credit Card – Product Name Only, similar to the U.S. Bank Cash+® Visa® Secured Card – Product Name Only, allows you to choose your own bonus categories. You’ll earn 3% cash back from one of the following categories: Gas, online shopping, dining, travel, drug stores, and home improvement/furnishings.
These are extremely practical bonus categories that powerfully complement the spending habits of most of us. You can change your bonus category once per calendar month, so if you anticipate spending a lot on home furnishings in the coming month, you can prepare for it. You’ll also get 2% back at grocery stores and wholesale clubs and 1% back on everything else.
You can further boost your rewards if you’re also a member of Bank of America Preferred Rewards. For those with a certain amount of assets in a Bank of America or Merrill account, you could earn between 25% and 75% more cash back — bringing your potential rewards up to a whopping 5.25%.
This card’s 3% and 2% bonus categories are only valid on up to $2,500 in total spending each quarter. Once you reach $2,500 in spending, you’ll earn 1% cash back.
U.S. Bank Altitude® Go Visa® Secured Card – Product Name Only
The U.S. Bank Altitude® Go Visa® Secured Card – Product Name Only is likely your best bet for a meaningful return on spending if you eat out regularly. You’ll get 4 points per dollar on dining, takeout, and restaurant delivery. You’ll also get 2 points per dollar at grocery stores, gas stations/EV charging, and for eligible streaming services, which include popular platforms such as Amazon Prime Video, Apple TV+, Hulu, Netflix, YouTube TV, and many more.
You’ll receive 1 point per dollar for everything else. The points you earn with this card can be redeemed for a flat 1 cent each — meaning this card effectively earns 4% back on dining.
One other benefit of this card (which is excellent for a no-annual-fee credit card) is its annual streaming credit. For each 12-month period that you make a qualifying streaming purchase, you’ll automatically receive a $15 credit on your account.
Capital One Quicksilver Secured Cash Rewards Credit Card – Product Name Only
The Capital One Quicksilver Secured Cash Rewards Credit Card – Product Name Only might appear to underdeliver when it comes to earning rewards for everyday spending, especially compared to the other cards on this list. You’ll get 5% cash back on hotels and car rentals booked through the Capital One Travel Portal and a flat 1.5% cash back on all other eligible purchases.
However, this card has a secret ability that others do not: You can turn the cash back you earn into valuable Capital One miles at a rate of 1 mile per cent. The key is to also hold a Capital One miles-earning card such as the Capital One VentureOne Rewards Credit Card – Product Name Only or the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card – Product Name Only. Per Insider’s points and miles valuations, Capital One miles are worth 1.7 cents each when you transfer them to airline and hotel loyalty programs such as British Airways, Air Canada Aeroplan, Wyndham, and more.
If your future goals include travel, refrain from cashing out the rewards you earn with this card. Once your credit score is around 700, open a Capital One miles-earning card and combine your rewards. You may instantly have enough for a free trip to just about anywhere.
Discover it® Secured Credit Card – Product Name Only
The Discover it® Secured Credit Card – Product Name Only is a pretty straightforward cash-back card with few bonus categories that are easy to keep track of. It earns a simple 2% back at gas stations and restaurants on up to $1,000 in combined purchases each quarter (then 1% back). You’ll earn 1% cash back on everything else.
This card is exceptionally valuable during the first year of cardmembership, however. Discover will match all the cash back you earn during your first 12 months. That means you’ll earn up to 4% cash back at gas stations and restaurants and 2% cash back on all other purchases.
If much of your everyday spending doesn’t fall into the bonus categories of the other credit cards on this list, the Discover it® Secured Credit Card – Product Name Only is the clear winner for you, as you’ll earn no less than 2% back during your first 12 months.
Why Trust Us: How We Chose the Best Secured Credit Cards
With little exception, secured credit cards do not provide ongoing benefits that are worth mentioning. The approval requirements are also extremely similar across the board. Therefore, we chose the best credit cards based on each card’s earning rate and rewards currency.
Many secured credit cards come with no return whatsoever for spending. The cards on our list not only earn rewards, but they also rival (and even outperform) some of the best no-annual-fee cash back credit cards on the market.
Here’s a full breakdown of how we rate credit cards at Insider.