The 3 Best Secured Credit Cards of 2014
In America, we believe that everyone deserves a second chance. If you've seen your credit suffer due to bankruptcy, joblessness, medical bills or just a pattern of poor decisions, there is always a way for you to re-establish your credit. The problem is that you must obtain credit in order to build it, but it can be difficult to find a reputable lender when you have poor credit. A secured credit card can help.
%VIRTUAL-article-sponsoredlinks%These cards require users to place a deposit with the bank as a condition of opening their account. The deposit is held as a security against default, but in all other ways secured cards are just like standard credit cards. Cardholders receive monthly bills that they must pay, and they will incur interest on any balance they carry over until the next month. The good news is that payments are reported to the major consumer credit reporting agencies, so that your credit score will rise with your record of timely payments.
Also, some of these cards come with benefits such as rental car collision damage waiver coverage, and standard consumer protections under federal law. For example, the Fair Credit Billing Act ensures that credit card users do not have to pay for fraudulent charges or goods not received. Finally, nearly anyone can qualify for a secured card once they have discharged any bankruptcies and proven their identity.
How We Chose the Winners
While there are some excellent secured cards on the market, there are also some inferior products with excessively high rates and fees. We looked for cards with a low annual fee, low interest rates and an affordable minimum deposit. Other valuable benefits can include rental car coverage, a credit limit beyond the deposit amount, cellphone insurance and even a travel rewards program. These are all things applicants should consider when trying to find the best secured credit card.
As you work to build credit with a secured credit card, it's also good to get into the habit of monitoring your credit. Free tools can help you do that, like at Credit.com, where you get two credit scores and an overview of your credit profile updated every month, along with a personalized plan to help you build your credit over time. Now, let's take a look at this month's Best Credit Cards in America picks for the best secured credit cards.
1. Harley Davidson (HOG) Visa (V) Secured Card From US Bank (USB)
- Why it won: There are many different secured credit cards offered by the major banks, but this is the only one with no annual fee. And it has as a rewards program.
- The benefits: Customers place a deposit that becomes their credit limit. They can then enjoy benefits such as auto rental collision damage waiver and automatic bill payment. Cardholders also earn Harley Davidson rewards points, but with no annual fee, this card can appeal to those who aren't even riders.
- The costs: This card has an interest rate of 22.99 percent that applies to new purchases, cash advances and balance transfers plus a balance transfer fee of 3 percent.
- Why it's first runner-up: With low fees and impressive benefits, Wells Fargo allows customers to rebuild their credit quickly and easily.
- The benefits: This card offers a complete range of Visa benefits including an auto rental collision damage waiver policy, roadside dispatch, as well as travel and emergency assistance services. In fact, cardholders are even covered by a mobile phone protection policy that covers against theft or damage up to $600, with a $25 deductible.
- The costs: There is a $25 annual fee for this card. The 18.99 percent APR is very competitive for a secured card. This rate applies to balance transfers (with a 5 percent balance transfer fee), and the cash advance rate is 23.99 percent.
- Why it's second runner-up: This card has the lowest minimum deposit and is the rare secured card with no foreign transaction fees.
- The benefits: Cardholders place a minimum deposit of $49 but then receive a credit line of at least $200.
- The costs: There is an annual fee of $29 for this card, and an interest rate of 22.9 percent that applies to new purchases, cash advances and balance transfers plus a balance transfer fee of 3 percent.