Sign up for your free Credit.com account    Sign Up Now

Best Secured Credit Cards vs. Best Unsecured Credit Cards 2017

Advertiser Disclosure

woman with credit card

[DISCLOSURE: Cards from our partners are reviewed below.]

If you find yourself struggling with debt, you’re not alone. Millions of Americans deal with debt every day. And right alongside debt usually comes an ailing credit score. So how do you get yourself back on track? It all starts with a plan. By using a credit card responsibly, most people can improve their credit faster than they could imagine. Unfortunately, it’s hard to get a credit card when you have bad credit. You do have choices, though, and most come in the form of a secured card.

What’s the difference between a secured and an unsecured credit card?

The biggest difference between a secured credit card and an unsecured credit card is that the issuer requires a deposit for a secured card. Because secured cards are meant for people with less-than-ideal credit, this offers protection for the card issuer. The deposit also determines the cardholder’s credit limit.

Here’s a look at some of the best secured and unsecured credit cards on the market this year.

Our Picks for the Best Secured Credit Cards

Discover it Secured Carddiscover it secured

The typical secured card is pretty simple. It gives you the chance to rebuild your credit, but it doesn’t offer many perks. The Discover it Secured card is a little different. With it, you will earn 2% cash back on up to $1,000 each quarter at restaurants and gas stations. Plus, after 12 months with the card, Discover will match your earnings. You will still be required to place at least a $200 refundable deposit, which will act as your credit limit. After eight months, Discover will assess your account and consider moving you to an unsecured card. There is a $0 annual fee for this card and its variable APR is 23.99% Variable on purchases & balance transfers.

Capital One Secured Mastercardcapital one secured

Most secured cards offer their cardholders a credit limit equal to the deposit placed on the account. However, the Capital One Secured Mastercard will allow a cardholder to put down either $49, $99 or $200 and receive a $200 limit. It all depends on your credit standing. 

If you make your first five payments on time, you may be able to receive a higher limit without having to put down any additional deposit. Capital One will report your credit utilization and payments to the three major credit bureaus. The annual fee for this card is $0, and the variable APR on purchases and balance transfers is 24.99% (Variable).

OpenSky Secured Visa Credit CardOpenSkyHighRes

One of the big drawbacks to most secured cards is their high APR. However, one of the few secured cards offering a lower APR is the OpenSky Secured Visa credit card. While this card does come with an annual fee of $35, it offers a variable APR of 18.39% Variable.

When you apply for the OpenSky Secured Visa card, there is no credit check, which means a hard inquiry will not appear on your account. You will still be required to place a deposit between $200 and $3,000, which will serve as your credit limit. This card reports to all three of the major credit bureaus.

Our Picks for the Best Unsecured Credit Cards

Credit One Bank Unsecured Visa Credit Card

Credit One Bank® Unsecured Visa® - No Deposit Required

Apply Now
on Credit One Bank's secure website
Card Details
Intro Apr:
N/A*

Ongoing Apr:
16.99% - 24.99% Variable

Balance Transfer:
N/A*

Annual Fee:
$0 - $99

Credit Needed:
Fair-Poor-Bad
Snapshot of Card Features
  • No security deposit required. Get a 100% unsecured card that can help grow and build credit.
  • Focused on growing or rebuilding your credit? We report account activity to all three major credit bureaus each month to help keep your credit score up-to-date.
  • Find out if you're Pre-Qualified without harming your credit score. It's fast, easy, and secure.
  • Looking for more credit? Get credit line increase opportunities, a fee may apply
  • Get 1% cash back on eligible purchases including gas, groceries, and services such as mobile phone, internet, cable and satellite TV. Terms apply.
  • Your account is safeguarded against unauthorized charges with Zero Fraud Liability at no additional charge
  • Stay in-the-know about your account with custom email and text alerts that remind you of your payment due date, notify you when a payment posts, or warn you if your available credit runs low
  • Show off your style with a premium card design, a fee may apply.

Card Details +

The Credit One Bank Unsecured Visa credit card is completely unsecured, which means no security deposit is required. The focus is on rebuilding credit, which will be helped along by them reporting details to all three credit bureaus. This card also offers the opportunity to earn rewards. Cardholders receive 1% cash back on eligible purchases. You can get pre-qualified for this card, which will give you an idea of your approval chances before you apply and have a hard inquiry placed on your credit report. Depending on your creditworthiness,the annual fee is $0 - $99. The card comes with an APR of 16.99% - 24.99% Variable on purchases.

Indigo Platinum Mastercard

Another good unsecured card for those with poor credit is the Indigo Platinum Mastercard. As with the Credit One Bank Unsecured Visa card, you can get pre-qualified to get you an idea of whether you’ll be approved without a hard inquiry. Depending on your creditworthiness, there will be an annual fee of $0 - $99*. The variable APR is 23.90% on purchases.

At publishing time, the Discover It Secured Card, Capital One Secured Mastercard, OpenSky Secured Visa Credit Card, Credit One Bank Unsecured Visa Credit Card, and Indigo Platinum Mastercard are offered through Credit.com product pages, and Credit.com is compensated if our users apply and ultimately sign up for these cards. However, these relationships do not result in any preferential editorial treatment. This content is not provided by the card issuers. Any opinions expressed are those of Credit.com alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the issuers.

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.


Comments on articles and responses to those comments are not provided or commissioned by a bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by a bank advertiser. It is not a bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

Please note that our comments are moderated, so it may take a little time before you see them on the page. Thanks for your patience.


Sign up for your free Credit.com account. Learn More

Certain credit cards and other financial products mentioned in this and other articles on Credit.com News & Advice may also be offered through Credit.com product pages, and Credit.com will be compensated if our users apply for and ultimately sign up for any of these cards or products. However, this relationship does not result in any preferential editorial treatment.