Best secured credit cards for March 2024

Credit is complex to begin with, especially when you’re starting with bad credit or working tirelessly to build a healthier FICO score. Imagine you’re at this crossroads, looking for a reliable financial tool to help reshape your credit.

Secured credit cards emerge as a beacon of hope in this journey, acting as a bridge between your current financial status and the creditworthiness you aspire to achieve. Unlike traditional credit cards, secured options often require a deposit from your bank account, serving as collateral and making them accessible even for those with less-than-perfect credit.

Here our are picks for the best secured credit cards, each tailored to foster your credit growth.

Best secured credit card overall: Discover it® Secured Credit Card

Topping our best secured credit cards list, the Discover it® Secured Credit Card is an excellent option for those looking to build or rebuild their credit. With a $0 annual fee and a $200 refundable security deposit, it’s an accessible choice for many users. This card stands out with its cash back rewards program, which includes:

Annual fee: $0

Security deposit: $200 (refundable)


  • Earn 2% Cashback Bonus® at Gas Stations and Restaurants on up to $1,000 in combined purchases each quarter
  • Unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases
  • Enjoy a dollar-for-dollar cashback match at the end of your first year

Why it’s good for credit builders

The Discover it® Secured Credit Card is particularly beneficial for credit builders due to its generous rewards program, cash back match and low entry barrier. The refundable security deposit makes it a safer bet for those new to credit cards, while the cashback rewards incentivize responsible spending.

Earning up to 2% back in specific categories encourages users to be mindful of their spending habits, and unlimited 1% back on all other purchases ensures rewards on everyday spending. The absence of an annual fee reduces the overall cost of holding the card, making it an excellent tool for building a strong credit history without incurring extra expenses.

Best for cash back: Capital One Quicksilver Secured Cash Rewards Credit Card

The Capital One Quicksilver Secured Cash Rewards Credit Card is an excellent choice for individuals working on building or rebuilding their credit. This card stands out with its 1.5% unlimited cash back, $0 annual fee and a refundable security deposit. The highlight of this card is its straightforward and rewarding cash back program. The key details of the card include:

Annual fee: $0

Security deposit: $200 (refundable)


  • Earn 1.5% cash back on every purchase, with no limits or category restrictions

Why it’s good for credit builders

The Capital One Quicksilver Secured Cash Rewards Credit Card is particularly advantageous for credit builders due to its simple and effective rewards structure. The 1.5% cash back on all purchases encourages consistent, responsible use of the card, which is a key factor in building a credit history.

This reward rate is quite competitive, especially for a secured card, and it applies universally to all purchases without any complex category restrictions. Plus, the absence of an annual fee makes this card a cost-effective choice for those looking to enhance their credit profile without incurring additional expenses. It’s a straightforward, rewarding option for anyone on the path to credit improvement.

Best security deposit: Capital One Platinum Secured Credit Card

The Capital One Platinum Secured Credit Card is a solid choice for individuals looking to establish or rebuild their credit history. It comes with no annual fee and a flexible security deposit requirement, which can be as low as $49, $99, or $200, the choice is yours. This card is particularly appealing for its pathway to unsecured credit (a traditional credit card) and the potential for credit line increases. Key features include:

Annual fee: $0

Security deposit: $49, $99, or $200 (refundable)


  • Opportunity to earn back your deposit and graduate to an unsecured Platinum card with responsible use.
  • Automatic consideration for a higher credit line in as little as 6 months.
  • Pre-approval process with no impact on your credit score.

Why it’s good for credit builders

The Capital One Platinum Secured Credit Card is an excellent long-term tool for credit builders primarily due to its upgrade potential and low barrier to entry. The Platinum secured card allows you the choice of having a low refundable security deposit of $49– a great incentive for those not wanting to invest the average $200-$300 that other secured credit cards require. The card’s structure also encourages responsible credit use, as timely payments and good financial habits can lead to earning back the security deposit and transitioning to an unsecured card. The possibility of a credit line increase within just six months of responsible card use is a significant incentive for users to maintain good credit habits.

Plus, the pre-approval process allows individuals to gauge their eligibility without affecting their credit score, making it a low-risk option for those starting their credit journey or working towards credit improvement.

Best points: U.S. Bank Altitude® Go Secured Visa® Card

The U.S. Bank Altitude® Go Secured Visa® Card offers a unique blend of benefits for those looking to build or strengthen their credit history. With no annual fee and a $300 refundable security deposit, this card is accessible for a wide range of users. Its rewards program is particularly appealing, offering multiple points on various everyday spending categories. The card’s features include:

Annual fee: $0

Security deposit: $300 (refundable)


  • 4X points on dining, takeout, and restaurant delivery
  • 2X points at grocery stores, grocery delivery, streaming services, gas stations, and EV charging stations
  • 1X points for all other eligible purchases
  • Receive a $15 streaming credit annually for services like Netflix and Spotify

Why it’s good for credit builders

For individuals focused on building their credit, the U.S. Bank Altitude® Go Secured Visa® Card is a great option due to its rewarding points system and additional perks.

The ability to earn multiple points on common spending categories such as dining, groceries, and streaming services makes it a highly advantageous card for everyday use. This system encourages regular, responsible card usage while maximizing the benefits from typical expenditures.

Additionally, the annual $15 streaming credit is a unique feature that adds value, especially for those who regularly use streaming services. With no annual fee, this card is a cost-effective tool for enhancing credit scores, offering substantial rewards and benefits without extra expenses.

Best APR: First Progress Platinum Prestige Secured Credit Card

The First Progress Platinum Prestige Secured Credit Card rounded out our top five picks for the best secured credit cards. It is tailored for individuals who are keen on building or improving their credit with a manageable annual fee and a reasonable security deposit. This card is notable for its cash-back rewards on timely payments and a comparatively low APR of 15.24%. Its primary features are:

Annual fee: $49

Security Deposit: $200


  • Earn 1% cash back on account payments

Why it’s good for credit builders

The First Progress Platinum Prestige Secured Credit Card is a beneficial tool for credit builders, especially due to its incentive for on-time payments. The 1% cash-back reward serves as a motivation for maintaining good payment habits, which is crucial for building a positive credit history.

Additionally, the card’s low APR starting at 15.24% is an attractive feature for those who may carry a balance, as it can help minimize interest costs compared to higher-rate cards. The modest annual fee and security deposit make this card a viable option for individuals looking to improve their credit score while enjoying some rewards and manageable costs.

Other secured credit cards to consider

Chime Credit Builder Secured Visa® Credit Card

  • What we like: The Chime Credit Builder Card offers a unique approach to building credit without the need for a traditional credit check, making it accessible to a broader range of users. Additionally, the card helps in improving credit scores by reporting to all three major credit bureaus.
  • What could be improved: The card’s offerings can be somewhat opaque due to the intricacies, stipulations, and fine print. Since Chime is not a bank, customers often have to navigate through their partnering financial institution to fully understand the features and limitations of the card.

Self Visa® Credit Card

  • What we like: This card offers a unique combination of a credit-builder account and a secured credit card, providing a two-pronged approach to building credit. It’s also beneficial for those with no credit history or those looking to rebuild their credit scores.
  • What could be improved: The lack of rewards, absence of a pre-approval process, and no option to transition to an unsecured credit card can be seen as limitations, especially for users looking for more traditional credit card benefits and the potential for card upgrades.

First Progress Platinum Elite Mastercard® Secured Credit Card

  • What we like: The card offers a lower-than-average APR, starting at 25.24%, which is beneficial for those who may carry a balance. This lower interest rate can significantly reduce the cost of borrowing.
  • What could be improved: The annual fee of $29, on top of the minimum security deposit of $200, without any cash back or rewards, diminishes its value proposition. Offering some form of reward or reducing additional fees could enhance its appeal.

Bank of America Business Advantage Unlimited Cash Rewards Secured Credit Card

  • What we like: This card caters specifically to business owners, filling a niche in the secured card market. It offers the opportunity for business owners with limited or damaged credit to build their credit profiles.
  • What could be improved: The card could be improved by offering rewards tailored to common business expenses or providing features like free employee cards. Additionally, more transparent terms and a lower security deposit threshold could make it more accessible to small business owners.

How do secured credit cards work?

A secured credit card is a type of credit card designed for individuals looking to build or rebuild their credit history. Similarly to traditional, unsecured credit cards, users can make purchasespay bills, and incur charges. However, secured credit cards require the user to make a security deposit, which typically determines the credit limit.

The security deposit does not cover monthly payments; instead, it secures the account — acting as collateral for the card issuer, and reducing the risk involved in extending credit to someone with a limited or damaged credit history. The cardholder is still responsible for paying the balance in full or making minimum payments each month.

Regular, on-time payments are reported to some or all of the major credit bureaus — Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion — helping to gradually improve the cardholder’s credit score.

Be aware that secured credit cards may come with higher fees and interest rates, and it’s important to understand all the terms and conditions before applying for one.

Secured credit cards have four essential features:

Security deposit

A security deposit is a preset amount of money that you give to the credit card company when you get the card. Think of it like a deposit you might make when renting something; it’s there to show the company that you’re serious and to cover them in case there’s a problem.

When you apply for the card, you pay a certain amount of money upfront as your deposit. This amount usually becomes your credit limit, which is the maximum amount you can spend on the card. For example, if you deposit $300, then you can spend up to $300 with your card.

The deposit is important because it lowers the risk for the credit card company. Since they have your deposit, they feel more comfortable giving a credit card to someone who might not have a strong credit history or any credit history at all.

Typically, as long as you use the card responsibly and make your payments on time, you can usually get your deposit back when you close the account in good standing or upgrade to an unsecured card.

Credit reporting

Credit reporting is when the credit card company reports your credit card activity to the major credit bureaus. This includes whether you’re making payments on time, how much of your credit limit you’re using, and other key details.

As an example, let’s say you have a secured credit card with a $500 limit. You use it to buy a few things and pay the bill in full and on time every month. The credit card company reports this good behavior to the credit bureaus.

This helps build your credit score, which is like a financial report card that banks and lenders look at when you want to borrow money or get another credit card in the future. The higher the score, the more you’re viewed as financially responsible. This can lead to better loan terms, higher credit limits and more.

Annual fees

When it comes to annual fees and secured credit cards, it’s pretty straightforward. An annual fee is a charge that the credit card company applies once a year for using their card. Not all secured credit cards have annual fees, but some do. It’s like a membership fee for the privilege of having the card. This fee can vary from one card to another.

For instance, one secured credit card might charge $35 per year, while another might charge $50. It’s important to consider this fee when choosing a card because it can add to the overall cost of using the card.

Who is a secured credit card best for?

Secured credit cards are a unique financial tool designed to cater to various individuals looking to build or rebuild their credit history. Here’s a look at who can benefit most from these cards:


For students just beginning their financial journey, secured credit cards are an excellent starting point. They offer a safe way to build credit, which is crucial for future financial endeavors like renting an apartment or applying for loans. With typically low credit limits and the requirement of a security deposit, these cards teach responsible credit usage early on.

No credit

Individuals with no credit history can find it challenging to get approved for standard credit cards. Secured credit cards provide a gateway into the world of credit. By requiring a deposit that usually serves as the credit limit, these cards lower the risk for issuers, making them more accessible to those without a credit track record.

Poor credit

For those looking to improve a poor credit score, secured credit cards are a practical solution. Since these cards often have more lenient approval criteria, they are ideal for people who have had financial missteps in the past. Responsible use of a secured card, such as timely payments and low credit utilization, can be instrumental in rebuilding credit health.

Upgrading from a secured to an unsecured credit card

Upgrading from a secured to an unsecured credit card is not only possible but also a common step in the credit-building journey for many secured credit card users. Here’s how this transition typically works:

  • Build a positive credit history: The first step is to use your secured credit card responsibly. This means making all your payments on time, keeping your credit utilization low, and adhering to all other terms of the card agreement. Over time, these actions contribute to building or improving your credit score.
  • Review your credit card’s policy: Many issuers of secured credit cards have policies in place for transitioning to an unsecured card. This usually involves a review of your account after a set period – often 12 to 18 months – to determine if you qualify for an upgrade. During this review, the issuer will assess your payment history and overall creditworthiness.
  • Automatic vs. requested upgrade: In some cases, the credit card issuer may automatically review your account and offer an upgrade to an unsecured card if you meet their criteria. In other instances, you may need to request a review of your account for an upgrade. It’s important to know your card issuer’s specific process.
  • Security deposit refund: Upon upgrading to an unsecured card, your initial security deposit on the secured card is usually refunded. This can be in the form of a check, a statement credit, or a direct deposit, depending on the issuer’s policies.

Upgrading to an unsecured card often comes with a higher credit limit, lower interest rates, and access to better credit card rewards. It also signifies an improvement in your credit health, as you’ve demonstrated responsible credit behavior.

If your request to upgrade is denied, don’t be discouraged. Continue using your secured card responsibly to further build your credit. You can also periodically check in with your issuer to see if you’ve become eligible for an upgrade.