If you’re looking for the best secured credit card, you’re not alone. Too many consumers have applied for a secured credit card only to find out too late just how bad the card really was. Do yourself a favor and forgo the whole trial-and-error approach. Use these five tips to find the best secured credit card available.
1. Acceptable Fees
Almost every secured credit card in existence has its associated fees. That doesn’t, however, mean that you should have to pay an arm and a leg to open a secured credit card account.
The best secured credit card will offer an acceptable fee schedule. While the fees associated with a secured credit card vary from company to company, you should never pay more than $50 or $60 in total annual fees.
Avoid applying for a secured credit card that breaks their total annual fees into multiple charges. Some credit card companies charge an annual fee, a monthly maintenance fee, a processing fee and an application fee. The best secured credit card will charge an annual fee and perhaps a low processing fee — nothing more.
2. A Good Deposit/Credit Limit Ratio
The best secured credit card will extend you a line of credit equal to 100-percent of your security deposit. Your security deposit is intended to guarantee your line of credit. If you place $300 in the deposit account, you should have a credit limit of $300.
Some secured credit card companies only grant you a credit line of 50-percent of the amount you put on deposit. This isn’t acceptable.
3. The Interest Is Yours
When you open up a secured credit card your deposit money is put in an account. Who gets to keep the interest earned on that deposit?
When looking for the best secured credit card, make sure that the card you apply for gives you the interest earned on your security deposit. The credit card company should make their money on the interest charged to the card, not the interest earned from your deposit.
4. Rewards For Good Behavior
The best secured credit card will reward you for good behavior. Before applying for a card, check to see what they offer in regards to credit limit increases and transitioning from a secured card to an unsecured card.
5. The Reporting Factor
Of course, one of the main purposes of a secured credit card is to rebuild your credit. The best secured credit card will report your monthly account activity to the three credit bureaus. Don’t waste your time with credit card companies that don’t.
Everyone knows that there can be huge differences between one credit card and the next. These differences can be even greater when dealing with secured credit cards. If you want to make sure that you’re only applying for the best secured credit card possible, check to see if the credit card follows the five guidelines above.