Improve Your Credit Score with a Secured Credit Card

Sunday, May 11th, 2014
Updated: May 11th, 2014
The content is accurate at the time of publication and is subject to change.

If your credit has seen better days and you’ve been turned down for an unsecured credit card, you need to know about secured credit cards.

Many people don’t know what a secured credit card is, or how it works. After all, with so many types of cards on the market these days—reloadable prepaid cards, debit cards, gift cards, cash back cards, balance transfer cards, student cards—it can be hard to keep track of what card does what.

But for people who have poor credit and want to improve it, secured cards are an important type of credit card. Here’s why: to improve your credit, you need to show that you can use credit responsibly. But when your credit is bad, it can be difficult to be approved for a regular credit card. This leaves people with bad credit in a tricky spot. A secured credit card can help get them out of it.

What is a secured credit card?

A secured credit card is a card that is guaranteed by a deposit made by the cardholder when opening the account. The credit issuer is protected from default on the part of the cardholder, because to get the card, applicants must put down a lump sum equal to the amount of credit they are applying for. This acts as collateral for the “loan” the credit issuer is giving by extending a line of credit.

To get a secured card, customers fill out an application and pay an amount between $200 and $2,000. This can be more or less depending on the card, and applicants can choose how much to put down, according to their desired credit limit.

Once they have been approved and received the card, people can use the secured card the same way they would use a regular credit card. Stores, restaurants and any vendor who accepts credit cards will also take secured cards. Secured cards are available from major credit card payment networks including MasterCard, Visa. As long as the merchant accepts the payment network that issues the secured card, it can be used as a method of payment, up to the credit limit.

A statement is issued each month with a payment due date, and people can pay a minimum amount due or the balance in full. Secured cards do tend to carry higher interest rates than unsecured credit cards, so it’s a good idea to pay the balance off each month and avoid carrying a balance from month to month.

Prepaid cards and secured cards: what’s the difference?

Like a prepaid card, a secured card is opened using an up-front payment from the customer, and the amount paid by the applicant is equal to the amount of credit available on the card. But that’s where the similarity ends.

With a prepaid card, people actually use the funds they loaded onto the card to make purchases. There is no bill to be paid each month. It’s like exchanging cash for a card, then using the card until the money is gone—and putting more on it.

With secured cards, the initial deposit stays with the credit card issuer as collateral. When people use their card to make purchases, they must pay them off each month. This benefits them because their payment history is reported to credit bureaus, which in turn can impact credit.

Prepaid cards do not affect credit scores or history. Secured cards, on the other hand, are a great way for people with poor credit to improve their credit scores.

All rates and fees, and other terms and conditions of the products mentioned in this article/post are actual as of the last update date but are subject to change. See the current products' Terms & Conditions on the issuing banks' websites.

Latest Secured Credit Cards Guides

Secured Credit Cards – When You Should Prefer Them March 13th, 2020

If you need to build credit, a credit card is a sure method. But sometimes it’s hard to get a credit card having not so good credit score. That’s where secured credit cards come to the rescue.
Secured credit cards are very similar to general unsecured credit cards, except for one thing.

Continue »
Secured Credit Card: How To Use It Right February 1st, 2020

Sometimes people with bad credit history are at a dead end and are looking for a way out. There are several options for people in a quandary. There are different types of credit cards. Here we want to show you the most common. A secured credit card may be the best option for people who […]

Continue »
Here’s How A Secured Credit Card Helps You Build Good Credit January 8th, 2020

If you’ve ever wondered what exactly a “secured” credit card is, or why they’ve become so popular recently, read on to find out how this type of credit card is helping people establish and repair their credit.

Continue »
Easy Ways To Get Your Credit Back On Track March 9th, 2018

If your credit is less than perfect, you might be wondering how you can ever get it back to where it used to be – or even better than it’s ever been before. A great credit score is helpful in all kinds of situations, including buying a home, a car, getting a business loan, renting an apartment, and even getting a job.

Continue »
The Surprising Credit Card Trend That’s Helping People Build Good Credit October 31st, 2017

It used to be that many people hadn’t heard of secured credit cards. If you said the words “credit card,” folks assumed you were talking about a regular, unsecured credit card, and didn’t even know there was another kind. However, these days secured cards are making a huge splash, and more and more people are signing up for them.

Continue »
Best Credit Offer
Applied Bank® Secured Visa® Gold Preferred® Credit Card
Check off the cards you want to compare. Then click the Compare link to go to the comparison table.
Consumer Rating: 4 / 5
Horizon Card Services Group One Freedom Card
Copyright © 2001-2024 All Rights Reserved.

See the credit card's terms and conditions on the online application page. Note that this website may be compensated by credit card issuers when the visitor applies for a card through the links on this website. We do our best to maintain all information accurate and up to date. However, we do not warrant the credit card information won't change. Click the "Apply Online" button and review the current info on the secure credit card terms page.

Information in these articles is brought to you by Banks, issuers, and credit card companies mentioned in the articles do not endorse or guarantee, and are not responsible for, the contents of the articles.

The webpage is a free service and an information resource for credit cards and financial products and services available to eligible United States consumers. does not offer any warranties and is not a direct service. There are no guarantees for approval or offers when applying for a credit card. Please refer to the application if you would like more information on each credit card. When you click "Apply" for a particular credit card, please take the time to review the terms and conditions of the product/service at the issuer's website. All logos on the website are property of their respective owners.

Disclaimer: This editorial content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuer. Opinions expressed here are the author's alone, not those of the credit card issuer, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuer. Reasonable efforts are made to present accurate info, however all info is presented without warranty. Consult a card's issuing bank for terms & conditions. makes every effort to keep information up to date and accurate. However, the information regularly changes and is presented without warranty. Therefore, we strongly recommend all our readers to visit the credit card application page by clicking "Apply Online!" button to review the detailed credit card's terms and conditions. Note that may be compensated by the credit card issuers when the readers apply for a credit card through this site. is an independent, advertising-supported website which receives compensation from the credit card issuers and companies whose offers appear on the site. Compensation may impact how and where products appear on our site, including, for example, the order in which they may appear on the site pages. does not review or list all available financial or credit offers.

You've successfully subscribed!

Please specify the following:All these fields are optional

Thank you for providing this information! We will make sure our letters are useful for You.

User Generated Content Disclaimer: These responses are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.