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The Best Secured Credit Cards of 2021: Credit Cards With No Credit Check

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Last updated on December 7, 2022 Comments: 26

With most of the emphasis in the credit card space being devoted to increasing your credit score, and getting a card with the lowest rate and/or best rewards, an entire market segment is often ignored–people with poor credit, or no credit at all. For this very large segment of consumers, the focus needs to be on finding the best secured credit cards. They represent a starting point: a place to begin building or rebuilding your credit rating.

We’ve looked at dozens of secured credit cards to determine which will be the greatest benefit to the largest number of people. We’ve come up with five, but the best of the lot is the Capital One Platinum Secured Card.

According to Experian, one of the three major credit bureaus, 66% of consumers have a credit score deemed to be “good” or better. That loosely translates into a credit score of 670 or higher, which will generally be high enough to get traditional credit cards. But that also means that a full 34% of consumers have a credit score that’s considered fair or poor. That generally translates into a credit score below 670 (or below 580 in the case of poor credit).

That means tens of millions of people may not be able to get a traditional credit card and may need to make a serious effort to improve their credit scores. Secured credit cards are one of the best ways to do this, for the following reasons:

  • You can qualify for a secured credit card even with fair or poor credit.
  • For the most part, you’ll be approved for the card based on your security deposit.
  • Issuers of secured credit cards typically report your payment history to all three major credit bureaus. If you make your payments consistently on time, that will improve your credit score with each bureau.
  • Some secured credit cards let you transition to a traditional unsecured credit card once you’ve met certain payment requirements.
  • Once you improve your credit score–as a result of using secured credit cards–you’ll eventually be able to qualify for traditional non-secured credit cards and get better interest rates on other loans, like auto loans.

With those benefits in mind, let’s move on to our list of the best secured credit cards of 2021.

Our Top Pick | Capital One Platinum Secured Credit Card

With a lower deposit requirement and no annual fee, the Capital One Platinum Secured Credit Card is one of the best cards on the market if you need to get going without putting a bunch of money down up front. And if your goal is to increase your credit score quickly, this card could help. They regularly evaluate your account if you make on-time payments to see if they can raise your credit limit. A higher limit and low balance mean good things for your credit score. Wish to learn more about this offer, check it out here.

Runner Up | OpenSky® Secured Visa® Credit Card

This card actually has a $35 annual fee, which we don’t love, and a 21.14% variable interest rate. With that said, it’s an excellent option for those with absolutely no credit or terrible credit history. They don’t even check your credit score, and your flexible credit limit is based solely on how much money you put down up front. So this isn’t the best card for long-term use, but it’s a great option for increasing your credit when it’s in the hole.

Our Selection Methodology

Since there are so many secured credit card offers available today, it can be difficult to narrow down those that warrant a “best” consideration. In our evaluation of the best secured credit cards, we used the following checklist:

  • Credit requirements
  • Credit limit offered
  • Security deposit required
  • Annual fee
  • Interest rate range
  • Rewards and other perks

In selecting the best secured credit card for you, look at all the factors above, plus any others you consider important.

Top 4 Best Secured Credit Cards of 2021

1. Capital One Platinum Secured Credit Card

Capital One Secured Mastercard

What makes Capital One Platinum Secured Credit Card stand out is that it has potentially the lowest security deposit requirement. The maximum initial credit limit is $200, and while the security deposit requirement may be $200, it can also be $49, or $99. So you could get at least a partially unsecured credit line. This is especially great if you’re low on cash but still want to work on building your credit score.

The specific amount of the security deposit requirement will depend on your creditworthiness. Obviously, the better your credit score, the lower the deposit requirement will be. And you can increase your credit line at any time by increasing your deposit. But Capital One also regularly evaluates your account to consider raising your credit limit. They could decide to raise it after you make just five on-time payments in a row.

Capital One Platinum Secured Card features:

  • Credit requirements: New and poor credit
  • Credit limit offered: $200
  • Security deposit required: $49, $99 or $200
  • Annual fee: $0
  • Interest rate: 26.99% APR
  • Rewards and other perks: Access to higher credit limit after your first five on-time monthly payments. Also comes with auto rental collision damage waiver and no foreign transaction fees.

Learn More About This Offer Here

2. OpenSky® Secured Visa® Credit Card

OpenSky Secured Visa Credit Card – Bad Credit

What makes OpenSky® Secured Visa® Credit Card unique–and perfect for those with bad credit–is that OpenSky doesn’t even check your credit when you apply. Your eligibility is determined strictly on your security deposit, not your credit score.

So this is a particularly good option if you have no credit history or a very low credit score.

The security deposit is referred to as the Pledged Deposit Account, which is refundable and held on deposit by Capital Bank, the issuer of the card.

One notable disadvantage with this card is that it will always be a secured card. There is no provision to convert it to an unsecured card.

OpenSky® Secured Visa® Credit Card features:

  • Credit requirements: Bad credit
  • Credit limit offered: $200 to $3,000, depending on the security deposit
  • Security deposit required: $200 to $3,000, as described above
  • Annual fee: $35
  • Interest rate: 21.14% (Variable)
  • Rewards and other perks: Email alerts; security deposit is FDIC insured, and fully refundable.

Learn More About This Offer Here

3. Primor Secured Visa Gold Card

primor secured visa gold

This card from Green Dot has no specific credit score requirements, and it doesn’t have any processing or application fees. You can choose your line of credit depending on your deposit, which can range from $200 to a whopping $5,000.

And this card has a fairly low interest rate, for a credit card, at 9.99%.

The main drawback of this one is its steep annual fee of $49. It reports to all three national credit bureaus, but it doesn’t advertise an option to automatically switch to a regular credit card after responsible use.

Primor Secured Visa Gold Card features:

  • Credit requirements: None
  • Credit limit offered: $200 to $5,000
  • Security deposit required: $200 to $5,000
  • Annual fee: $49
  • Interest rate: 9.99%
  • Rewards and other perks: Auto rental insurance

Learn More About This Offer Here

4. Another Option: Green Dot 5% Cash Back

What if your issue isn’t that you want to build credit but that you actually want to manage your money better? If this is the case and your bad credit is keeping you from opening a bank account, check out the Green Dot 5% Cash Back card. This prepaid Visa debit card lets you run direct deposit to your card, has a straightforward fee plan, and offers 5% cash back rewards, up to an annual maximum of $250.

This card costs $9.95 to use, and only has additional fees for a few actions like cash withdrawals, balance inquiries, replacement cards, and foreign transaction fees.

The Green Dot 5% Cash Back Card features:

  • Credit requirements: None
  • Credit limit offered: None. Not a secured credit card.
  • Security deposit required: None
  • Monthly fee: $9.95
  • Interest rate: 0%
  • Rewards and other perks: 5% cash back up to $250 per year. Direct Deposit services. Simple fee plan.

Learn More About This Offer Here

Best For

Even though most secured credit cards function in a similar way, each has its own advantage over the other cards. You may want to choose a card based on a specific benefit where it stands out ahead of the pack.

Here is our evaluation of where each of the cards on our list makes the top spot:

Factors to Consider

In some respects, secured credit cards function just like ordinary credit cards. But since they are actually credit builder cards, you’ll have to be prepared to handle the arrangement a bit differently. After all, secured credit cards come with more limitations than traditional cards. You have to be aware of those limitations when you’re shopping for a card.

  • You’ll need to be able to come up with the security deposit: This is generally no more than $200 or $300, but it’s the most critical piece in the secured credit card arrangement.
  • You need to be able to make your monthly payments on time: Late payments will be reported to the credit bureaus, further lowering your credit score.
  • Credit limits are low: That’s not accidental. Since you’re considered a higher credit risk, lenders will start you out with a very low credit limit. It’s usually tied to your security deposit, which is an additional constraint. So you’ll have to be prepared to work within that low credit limit.
  • You may want to add a second secured credit card: If a positive payment history on one secured credit card will improve your credit score, the improvement will be multiplied by adding an additional card. Just make sure you wait at least 6 months or a year before adding the second card. You don’t want to take on more debt than you can comfortably handle.
  • Plan to pay off your balance monthly: The interest rates charged on most secured credit cards are very high. But if you pay off your balance in full each month, you’ll avoid paying those steep interest charges and keep your debt-to-credit ratio lower, which is great for your credit score.
  • Make sure the security deposit is refundable: It’s typical that the deposits on secured credit cards are refundable. But pay close attention to the fine print. There may be a provision that enables the issuer to retain part or all your deposit on a very small number of cards.

Final Thoughts on the Best Secured Credit Cards of 2021

Secured credit cards don’t compare with traditional unsecured cards, so you have to change your perspective a bit when shopping for one. The primary purpose of these cards is to enable you to either build credit or rebuild bad credit. And in that capacity, they work as planned. Even though they have low credit limits, and require security, as long as you make your payments on time, you’ll be building a good credit reference.

If you have no credit or bad credit, you absolutely need some good credit behavior to get your credit score up. Some cards offer a few more perks than others, but you have to choose the card that will work best for you. Look closely at the annual fee because it will have a bigger impact since your credit limit is smaller.

And just as important, as your credit score begins to improve, you should look to either convert the secured card to an unsecured one or use your better credit score to apply for a traditional credit card. If used properly, a secured credit card should be only a temporary arrangement.

Article comments

26 comments
Anonymous says:

Harley davidson secured card has no annual fee. the visa is handled by us bank.

Anonymous says:

The secured card information on this website is out of date. Applied Bank no longer issues secured credit cards.

Anonymous says:

I’m surprised the BankAmericard is not on her. 20% APR and $39 Annual Fee, and it has the ability to be converted into a credit card, which you want, so you can avoid having to close a credit line (lowering you credit score).

Anonymous says:

I plan on paying my balance off in full monthly, so APR is not a huge factor, with that being said what secured card has the best advantages, Raises credit? Low fees? ect.. and how do I use it to my advantage?

Anonymous says:

If the Allied Platinum Secured CC only reports to 2 credit bureaus, will this help me rebuild my credit score? Please help me to understand. Thank you.

Anonymous says:

After my BF filed for bankrupcy, I got him two different secured credit cards to help rebuild his credit. They really do work.

Anonymous says:

if you have a secured credit card, is it possible down the line to increase the credit limit (even if it means an additional security deposit)?

Anonymous says:

The CITY SECURED CREDIT CARD link does not work. :-/

Anonymous says:

For years I have been using my Chase Debit card to pay for everything.

I was put into a situation where now I have to rebuild credit. I am currently still paying my bills with automatic withdrawl. I have about $1000 in monthly bills (auto payment, cell phone and school loan).

I am starting with a new employer should I
1. Get a Secured Credit Card and have my paycheck direct deposited into it and then all automatic payments are with Secured Credit Card, OR
2. Keep Chase checking account, still have direct deposit go to checking, transfer bills to be automatically payed with Secured Credit Card, and have the secured card on automatic payment from checking account?

(The other day a Chase representative said in about 5 or so months Chase is coming out with a secured credid card.)

I could use anyone’s help with this issue.

Anonymous says:

People’s card is now handled by capital bank and they offer a secured card that they don’t even pull ur credit to approve. open sky credit card

Anonymous says:

Public Savings Bank is no longer in business. People who already have secured cards with them can continue to use them (through the bank that purchased their accounts). But you can’t open a new secured card account.

This happened back in August. So, I’m a little skeptical of the accuracy of the rest of your article. Did you research these cards yourself, or just compile information from other (old) online articles?

Luke Landes says:

Charles,

Thanks for the update. I knew the card was no longer being offered to new customers, but left the listing here to benefit existing customers. Based on your recommendation, I removed the card from the list.

Anonymous says:

I opted for a Citi Secured Credit card in February, 2010. This is because I did not have any credit history and wanted to build it.Until now, I paid a total of $58 as annual fees, and got a check for $20 in January, 2011, as interest on my CD amount. By August, 2010, the Credit Union of which I am a member, introduced a new credit card and I applied. I was approved for it with a limit of $1000. I applied in December, 2010 for a discovery credit card; as expected (I am told it is very hard to get a Discovery credit card approved), I was declined. Recently, in July, 2011, I applied for a Chase Visa credit card and got it approved, the limit is $1500. Yesterday (9th August, 2011) I got a letter from Citibank saying that after my 18-month period is over, my secured credit card will be converted into an unsecured/normal credit card and my CD amount with interest will be sent back to me. I called them and the customer service guy told that my new unsecured card will have no annual fees. So I think, Citi secured credit card is not that bad an option. I believer that I got the other two credit cards because I started with a Citi secured card to build my credit history.

P.S. I always pay my bills much before time, and am used to not buying things I cannot afford. I buy only what I can pay for by the end of the month.

Anonymous says:

I’m looking to improve my credit score now that I have a 0 balance on all my debt. I just applied for a secured card through Bank of America. If I should not make these cards great options for everyday spending, what type of spending should I use it for?

Anonymous says:

My question would be, “How does one cancel a card like this?” Can you cancel it and get your cash back? I would assume if you just didn’t pay, your credit history would be dinged and fees would be applied.

Anonymous says:

As far as Citi secured credit card is concerned, I think you need to wait for 18 months, and then, if your history is good, they would convert your secured card into an unsecured one, and send you the CD cash back. This is based on my personal experience, though I still have another 15 days to make it 18 months, and thus to receive the check. But they have already sent me a letter telling that they are going to make my secured card an unsecured one, and my CD amount with interest will be sent back to me.

Anonymous says:

This is absolutely crazy! Charging people an annual fee, plus interest to use the credit card and they have to fund the card to begin with!!!!!! I feel very badly for the people whose credit is so bad, this is what they have to do to build up their credit. Seems unfair, and unlawful.

Anonymous says:

thank you for the list! years ago, i used a secured card to establish credit for myself. i am currently educating a friend on this very topic, hoping that he will use this option to help repair his poor credit. i will be sure to forward a few of these options to him!

Anonymous says:

What a deal! I want to start a secured credit card company. I get to charge an annual fee, charge interest of 8% to 24% for the consumer to use their money. There must be a risk to the credit card company, but I don’t see it. So thi sis what it takes to rebuild your credit! Wow!

Anonymous says:

risk is the people who need these cards to rebuild credit have bad credit and most don’t know how to keep their payments current. Most, not all, but most will default even on a secured card and to service an account costs the bank money (personnel, accounting, card services). So it does make sense that even though it’s a secured card, that they cover themselves with interest and an annual fee. Think about it, someone maxes their card out and thinks, well it’s my money anyway so why bother paying it. Who pays for those charges? the secured account they had to open to get the card. So what does the bank get out of it? Additional costs to service this account. So that’s where the fees and interest charges come in. Btw, most or all of these cards will refund your money either by converting the card to an unsecured or when you close the account. If the account is a zero balance, some will even pay you back interest it has earned during the time they had it.

Anonymous says:

Unfortunately, this looks like the best bet for my husband who has no credit at the moment. He has tried applying for some credit apps and gets turned down because he has no credit history. Personally, I do not like the sound of these cards and am really turned off by the annual fees. Why should we pay someone a annual fee to give them our money anyway? Still hoping for a better way around this. If we cannot find one, I guess I know where to turn.

Anonymous says:

If u have credit cards just add him as an Authorize user and ur credit history will gover to his credit report giving him instant credit history and a score high school add him to bout 3-4 of your cards..

Anonymous says:

Yeah thanks Flexo – picking cards with a $120 annual fee – you knucklehead

Anonymous says:

The secured credit card market has pretty limited options. They know that they are looking to shoot fish with poor credit scores in a barrel, so they are happy to make it painful.

Anonymous says:

Whatever you do when considering credit cards DO NOT consider Citibank. Citi’s customer service is rude, arbitrary and inconsistent. DO WHATEVER YOU CAN to get credit from a bank that treats you like a valued customer and not like just another number. After 20 years with Citibank (and EXCELLENT credit) they denied me the credit open on my card, then gave a barrage of BS excuses. I will never do biz w them again. CITIBANK CANNOT BE TRUSTED!

Anonymous says:

I worked for a credit card company some years ago(I know, sleeping with the enemy) and the secured card was a good option for rebuilding credit. Ya just gotta do it right and show them you can handle credit better….