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Home » The best secured credit cards: Cards that help you build your credit with no annual fee and give you a path to get your deposit back.

The best secured credit cards: Cards that help you build your credit with no annual fee and give you a path to get your deposit back.

If you are working on building or rebuilding your credit and cannot qualify for an unsecured credit card with no annual fee, you might be interested in a secured credit card. A secured credit card gives you a line of credit, secured by a deposit, that helps you build your credit.

What to look for in a secured credit card

There are a ton of secured credit cards that are bad products meant to extract fees out of people wanting to build credit. These predatory products are not designed to help people build a better credit score and transition them into unsecured credit lines. The cards on our list of the best secured credit cards will help you steer clear of these products,

Here’s what we look for in a secured credit card:

  • No annual fee. There’s no need to pay an annual fee to have a basic secured credit card.
  • A path to an unsecured credit card. Many secured credit cards want to keep you locked in (and keep your deposit) forever. Look for a card that will continuously reevaluate your account based on your current credit and give you an unsecured credit card once you’ve built up a good credit rating.
  • Tools to help you understand your credit. If you are trying to build your credit with a secured card, having tools that give you free access to your credit report and credit score is useful so that you can see your progress.
  • Rewards. Most secured credit cards don’t offer cash back rewards or points, but some do. All other things equal, having access to rewards on a secured card is a nice perk.

All of the secured cards in our list have no annual fee and offer a path to getting an unsecured credit card (and getting your deposit back.) Most have tools to help you keep tabs on your credit and many offer rewards.

The best secured credit cards

We like all of these secured credit cards. If you’re trying to establish or reestablish your credit, any of these cards is a solid choice.

Minimum security deposit and credit lineRewards and perks
BankAmericard® Secured Credit Card card art
BankAmericard® Secured Credit Card
Annual fee: $0
$200 minimum security deposit.
Credit lines up to $5,000.

Access your FICO score for free.
Access to credit education resources.
Periodic account reviews to see if you qualify to have your security deposit returned.
$0 liability for fraud.
Capital One Platinum Secured Credit Card
Capital One Platinum Secured Credit Card
Annual fee: $0
Check for pre-approval with no impact to your credit score.

$49, $99, or $200 minimum deposit.
$200 minimum credit line.
$1,000 maximum credit line.

Automatic credit line reviews for a higher credit limit.
Upgrades to an unsecured Capital One Platinum card.
No foreign transaction fees.
$0 liability for fraud.
50% off handcrafted beverages at Capital One Cafe locations.
Discover it® Secured Credit Card card art
Discover it® Secured Credit Card
Annual fee: $0
Check for pre-approval with no impact to your credit score.

$200 minimum deposit.
$200 minimum credit line.

Get your FICO score for free.
Get your deposit back after six consecutive on-time payments and six months of good status on all your credit accounts.
$0 liability for fraud.
100% U.S. based customer service.

Earns cash back rewards:
2% at gas stations and restaurants each quarter, on up to $1,000 in combined purchases.
1% elsewhere.
Cash back rewards are matched dollar-for-dollar at the end of the first year.
U.S. Bank Altitude Go® Secured Visa® Card card art
U.S. Bank Altitude Go® Secured Visa® Card
Annual fee: $0
$300 minimum deposit.
$5,000 maximum credit line.

U.S. Bank will monitor your credit activity. If you qualify you may be automatically be upgraded to the U.S. Bank Altitude Go® Visa Signature® Card.

More about the U.S. Bank Altitude Go® Secured Visa® Card
$0 liability for fraud.

Earns points:
4x points on dining, takeout, and restaurant delivery.
2x points on streaming services, at grocery stores, and at gas stations/EV chargers
1x point on all other eligible purchases.
U.S. Bank Cash+® Secured Visa® Card card art
U.S. Bank Cash+® Secured Visa® Card
Annual fee: $0
$300 minimum deposit.
$5,000 maximum credit line.

U.S. Bank will monitor your credit activity. If you qualify you may be automatically be upgraded to the U.S. Bank Cash+® Visa Signature ® Card.
$0 liability for fraud.

Earns cash back rewards:
5% on your first $2,000 of combined eligible purchases each quarter in two categories you choose.
5% cash back on prepaid air, hotel, and car reservations booked in the U.S. Bank Travel Rewards Center.
2% cash back on eligible purchases in one everyday category.
1% cash back on other purchases.
The best secured credit cards

More about the best secured credit cards

Here’s a bit more about each of the best secured credit cards that made our list.

BankAmericard® Secured Credit Card

BankAmericard® Secured Credit Card card art
BankAmericard® Secured Credit Card

The BankAmericard® Secured Credit Card is a basic secured credit card with no annual fee. The card doesn’t offer rewards, but if learning about credit and managing your finances appeals to you, the financial education resources that Bank of America offers alongside the card might be more valuable than rewards anyway.

The card also offers a $200 minimum credit line and credit lines up to $5,000, so it’s flexible enough to be your card whether you want to put down a minimum deposit or you need a card with a larger credit line. Bank of America will periodically review your account to see if you qualify to convert to an unsecured credit card and get your deposit back. Once you’ve built your credit enough to convert to an unsecured credit card, you’ll probably want to shop around for a better card.

Get the BankAmericard® Secured Credit Card:

Click here to go to the Bank of America website and apply.

The link above is a link directly to the bank’s website. We don’t make money when you use the above link, but we always show you the best offer.

All information about the BankAmericard® Secured Credit Card has been collected independently by cardsandpoints.com.

BankAmericard® Secured Credit Card card art

BankAmericard® Secured Credit Card at a glance:
Annual fee: $0
Rewards: none
Benefits: Free FICO score. $0 liability for fraudulent transactions.

Discover it® Secured Credit Card

Discover it® Secured Credit Card card art
Discover it® Secured Credit Card

The Discover it® Secured Credit Card is my pick for the best secured credit card. You can check for pre-approval with no impact to your credit score. The card has no annual fee and a modest ($200) minimum deposit requirement.

The card does offer rewards which, while not as valuable as some of the U.S. Bank options on our list, are pretty good among secured credit cards. I also like how Discover clearly lays out what you need to do to upgrade to an unsecured card: Have six consecutive months of on-time payments and have all of your credit accounts reporting a good status.

Get the Discover it® Secured Credit Card:

Click here to go to Discover’s website and see if you are pre-approved.

Click on “Check Now” on the Discover website to check for pre-approval.

The link above is a link directly to the bank’s website. We don’t make money when you use the above link, but we always show you the best offer.

All information about the Discover it® Secured Credit Card has been collected independently by cardsandpoints.com.

Discover it® Secured Credit Card card art

Discover it® Secured Credit Card at a glance:
Annual fee: $0
Rewards: 2% on up to $1,000 of combined gas and restaurant purchases each quarter. 1% other purchases.
Benefits: U.S. based customer service. Free FICO score.

Capital One Platinum Secured Credit Card

Capital One Platinum Secured Credit Card
Capital One Platinum Secured Credit Card

If you want to put down the least amount of a deposit, the Capital One Platinum Secured Credit Card can be a good choice. The card’s advertised minimum deposit requirements are $49, $99, or $200. That conceivably means that you could be issued a credit line that is larger than your deposit—a relative rarity among secured credit cards.

The card doesn’t offer rewards, but it does allow you to check for a pre-approval with no impact to your credit score. Although it is not a benefit of this card, I’ve found that CreditWise from Capital One is a great tool to keep tabs on your credit.

Get the Capital One Platinum Secured Credit Card:

Click here to go to Capital One’s website and see if you’re pre-approved.

Click on the “See If I’m Pre-Approved” button on the Capital One website to check your pre-approval status.

The link above is a link directly to the bank’s website. We don’t make money when you use the above link, but we always show you the best offer.

All information about the Capital One Platinum Secured Credit Card has been collected independently by cardsandpoints.com.

Capital One Platinum Secured Credit Card

Capital One Platinum Secured Credit Card at a glance:
Annual fee: $0
Rewards: none
Benefits: 50% discount on handcrafted beverages at Capital One Cafe locations.

U.S. Bank Altitude Go® Secured Visa® Card

U.S. Bank Altitude Go® Secured Visa® Card card art
U.S. Bank Altitude Go® Secured Visa® Card

The U.S. Bank Altitude Go® Secured Visa® Card has a higher minimum deposit ($300) than some of the other cards on our list, but that higher minimum deposit gives you access to rewards. With this card, you can earn points for your eligible purchases:

  • 4x points on dining, takeout, and restaurants delivery
  • 2x points on streaming services, at grocery stores and at gas stations
  • 1x points on other purchases

You can also get a $15 streaming credit when you charge an entire year of recurring streaming subscription charges to the card.

When you have the U.S. Bank Altitude Go® Secured Visa® Card, U.S. Bank will monitor your account activity and credit report to see if you qualify for a unsecured version of the card. Once you qualify, U.S. Bank will “graduate” you to an unsecured card and refund your security deposit.

Get the U.S. Bank Altitude Go® Secured Visa® Card:

Click here to go to the U.S. Bank website and apply.

The link above is a link directly to the bank’s website. We don’t make money when you use the above link, but we always show you the best offer.

All information about the U.S. Bank Altitude Go® Secured Visa® Card has been collected independently by cardsandpoints.com.

U.S. Bank Altitude Go® Secured Visa® Card card art

U.S. Bank Altitude Go® Secured Visa® Card at a glance:
Annual fee: $0
Rewards: 4x on dining, takeout, and restaurants delivery. 2x on streaming services, at grocery stores and at gas stations. 1x on other purchases.
Benefits: $15 streaming bonus.

U.S. Bank Cash+® Secured Visa® Card

U.S. Bank Cash+® Secured Visa® Card card art
U.S. Bank Cash+® Secured Visa® Card

Like the other U.S. Bank card on this list, the U.S. Bank Cash+® Secured Visa® Card is essentially a secured version of the excellent U.S Bank Cash+® Visa Signature® Card, the card that you’ll get once U.S. Bank “graduates” you to an unsecured credit card.

You’ll need to put down a minimum of $300 to secure your credit line, but if you can come up with the cash, you’ll get a card that offers a secured credit line with excellent cash back rewards.

The U.S. Bank Cash+® Secured Visa® Card earns 5% cash back on your first $2,000 spent in combined purchases in two eligible categories you choose. Eligible categories include fast food, electronics stores, TV, internet and streaming services, home utilities, cell phone providers, furniture stores, department stores, ground transportation, gyms/fitness centers, select clothing stores, sporting goods stores, and move theaters. You’ll also earn 2% cash back in one everyday category you choose (grocery stores, gas & EV charging stations, or restaurants). And you’ll earn 1% on other purchases.

Get the U.S. Bank Cash+® Secured Visa® Card:

Click here to go to the U.S. Bank website and apply.

The link above is a link directly to the bank’s website. We don’t make money when you use the above link, but we always show you the best offer.

All information about the U.S. Bank Cash+® Secured Visa® Card has been collected independently by cardsandpoints.com.

U.S. Bank Cash+® Secured Visa® Card card art

U.S. Bank Cash+® Secured Visa® Card at a glance:
Annual fee: $0
Rewards: 5% on the first $2,000 spent in two categories you choose each quarter. 2% in one everyday category you choose. 1% on other purchases.

How do I get my deposit back?

With all of the cards on our list, you will get your security deposit back if one of two things happens:

  • You pay your balance in full and close your credit card account. If you leave as a customer, you’ll get your security deposit back, provided your account is paid in full.
  • Your secured card is upgraded to an unsecured credit card. All of the cards on our list offer a path to getting an unsecured credit card.

Other cards we considered, but didn’t meet our criteria

You might find other lists of secured cards on the internet that include products we don’t. Anything with an annual or monthly fee got cut, but some commonly-promoted no-annual-fee secured credit cards didn’t make the list. Here are a few of the secured cards that didn’t make the cut and why:

  • Citi® Secured Mastercard®. The secured card does not offer a path to converting to an unsecured card and getting your deposit back.
  • U.S. Bank Secured Visa® Card. U.S. Bank has many great secured credit cards, but this one doesn’t make an upgrade path to an unsecured credit card obvious, so we left it off our list.

Frequently asked questions

Is it better to have more secured credit cards?

In most cases, you’ll do better having just one secured credit card with a higher limit. If you need more spending power and have additional money for a deposit, contact your card issuer to see if you can put down an additional deposit to get a higher limit.

What happens if I max out my secured credit card?

If you spend up to the limit of your secured credit card, it will hurt your credit score—at least until you’ve paid off your balance. A large part of your credit score comes from the amount of available credit you are using relative to the total available credit you have. A good rule of thumb is to try to keep your balances below 30% of your available credit.

Will I pay interest on balances with secured credit cards?

Yes. Just like any other credit card, you will pay interest if you carry a balance month-to-month and you’ll pay fees if you miss payments. Remember, you do not need to carry a balance or pay interest to build credit. In fact, you’ll build a solid credit history the fastest if you pay off your card in full by the due date every month.