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From the Experts at Credit.com

The Best Secured Credit Cards in America

by Jason Steele

The Best Secured Credit Cards in America

In America, we believe that everyone deserves a second chance. If you’ve seen your credit suffer due to bankruptcy, joblessness, medical bills or just a pattern of poor decisions, there is always a way for you to re-establish your credit.

The problem is that you must obtain credit in order to build it, but it can be difficult to find a reputable lender when you have poor credit. However, a secured credit card can be a helpful solution. These are cards that require users to place a deposit with the bank as a condition of opening their account.

The deposit is held as a security against default, but in all other ways secured cards are just like standard credit cards. Cardholders receive monthly bills that they must pay, and will incur interest on any balance they carry over until the next month. The good news is that payments are reported to the major consumer credit reporting agencies, so that your credit score will rise with your record of timely payments. Also, some of these cards come with benefits such as rental car collision damage waiver coverage, and standard consumer protections under federal law. For example, the Fair Credit Billing Act ensures that credit card users do not have to pay for fraudulent charges or goods not received. Finally, nearly anyone can qualify for a secured card once they have discharged any bankruptcies and proven their identity.

This month, we took a look at the best secured credit cards and determined which ones ranked among the best.

How We Chose the Winners

While there are some excellent secured cards on the market, there are also some inferior products with excessively high rates and fees. We looked for cards with a low annual fee, low interest rates and an affordable minimum deposit. Other valuable benefits can include rental car coverage, a credit limit beyond the deposit amount, cellphone insurance, and even a travel rewards program. These are all things applicants should consider when trying to find the best secured credit card.

As you work to build credit with a secured credit card, it’s also good to get into the habit of monitoring your credit. There are free tools that can help you do that, like at Credit.com, where you get two credit scores and an overview of your credit profile updated every month, along with a personalized plan to help you build your credit over time.

Now, let’s take a look at this month’s Best Credit Cards in America picks for the best secured credit cards.

The Winner: Harley Davidson Visa Secured Card from US BankBCCA-secured-Harley

There are many different secured credit cards offered by the major banks, but this is the only one with no annual fee.

Why it won: This card features no annual fee as well as a rewards program.

The benefits: Customers place a deposit that becomes their credit limit. They can then enjoy benefits such as auto rental collision damage waiver and automatic bill payment. Cardholders also earn Harley Davidson rewards points, but with no annual fee, this card can appeal to those who aren’t even riders.

The costs: This card has an interest rate of 22.99% that applies to new purchases, cash advances and balance transfers plus a balance transfer fee of 3%.

1st Runner-Up: Wells Fargo Secured Card

Why it’s 1st runner-up: With low fees and impressive benefits, Wells Fargo allows customers to rebuild their credit quickly and easily.

The benefits: This card offers a complete range of Visa benefits including an auto rental collision damage waiver policy, roadside dispatch, as well as travel and emergency assistance services. In fact, cardholders are even covered by a mobile phone protection policy that covers against theft or damage up to $600, with a $25 deductible.

The costs: There is a $25 annual fee for this card. The 18.99% APR interest rate is very competitive for a secured card. This rate applies to balance transfers (with a 5% balance transfer fee), and the cash advance rate is 23.99%.

2nd Runner-Up: Capital One Secured MasterCardCapital One Secured MasterCard

Why it’s 2nd runner-up: This card has the lowest minimum deposit and is the rare secured card with no foreign transaction fees.

The benefits: Cardholders place a minimum deposit of $49 but then receive a credit line of at least $200.

The costs: There is an annual fee of $29 for this card, and an interest rate of 22.9% that applies to new purchases, cash advances and balance transfers plus a balance transfer fee of 3%.

At publishing time, the Capital One Secured MasterCard is offered through Credit.com product pages, and Credit.com is compensated if our users apply for and ultimately sign up for this card. 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.

We want to hear from you and encourage a lively discussion among our users. Our credit experts regularly review your comments & questions and chime in with guidance and information. Our experts moderate all comments so it may take a little time for you to see them on the page. We appreciate your patience.

Any comments posted below, including those posted under Credit.com’s official account, are not reviewed or endorsed by representatives of financial institutions affiliated with the credit cards listed on the this page.


  • Matt

    I can honestly say I genuinely appreciate this site for it’s valuable information and guidance; however, I don’t agree with your #1 pick. Reasons being, the interest is 5% higher, the benefits/awards are “business” oriented. A 23% interest rate compared to an 18% interest rate is not negligible. Additionally, Wells Fargo’s annual fee is one of the most affordable secured CC fees around, less than 5% interest over 12 months; but, mostly because the rewards are limited to the offering business.
    I have a secured CC from my Credit Union the required deposit will gradually be eliminated over 18 months so that it will then be considered a regular credit card.
    That is what is most important to me. Again, THANK-YOU so much for all you do with assisting our finances on this free site.
    Regards
    EME.

    • http://www.credit.com/ Credit.com Credit Experts

      Thanks for pointing out this additional option to our readers. Glad you find the site helpful


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  • Meet Our Expert

    jason_steele GravatarJason Steele has worked as a computer systems administrator, a commercial pilot, and a contributor to several of the top personal finance sites as an expert on credit cards and travel. He is a graduate of the University of Delaware with a degree in History.
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