Whether you’re just starting out in the world of credit or hoping to rebuild a damaged credit report, using secured credit cards can help. However, you’ll need some cash to get started.
First, let’s define what secured credit cards are. They are REAL credit cards, generally Visa or MasterCard, that can be used for anything Visa or MasterCards can be used for. The difference is that they require the cardholder to deposit a certain amount of money into a checking or savings account to use as security against the card.
Secured credit cards also differ from debit cards in that secured credit cards are loans made against the money in your account, rather than simply having the money automatically deducted from your account, as is the case with debit cards. In that way, they can be a helpful tool toward either establishing or reestablishing your credit.
The interest rates on secured cards are generally higher than on standard cards, but not always. For instance, the website www.bankrate.com lists twenty-four secured credit cards, starting at 7.2% and going as high as 23.98%. Annual fees can vary from zero to $69.00, according to the site, as well.
Normally, you’ll need to deposit at least $300 into a checking or savings account, which will then determine your credit limit on the card. (Each card will be different, so you’ll want to do some shopping for the card that best suits your needs.)
Secured cards can allow you to begin rebuilding your creditworthiness by charging responsibly and then repaying according to your agreement. They can be a relatively quick way of either establishing or reestablishing your credit, and are worth checking out in your plan to gain control of your financial future.