Advertiser Disclosure

Best of

Best Secured Credit Cards with Low Deposit Requirements – July 2019

Editorial Note: The editorial content on this page is not provided or commissioned by any financial institution. Any opinions, analyses, reviews, statements or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and may not have been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities prior to publication.

secured credit cards
iStock

Secured credit cards are used as a tool to build credit history from scratch or put positive information on a credit report after negative incidents such as bankruptcy, missed debt payments or accounts in collections. By feeding positive information into a credit report, you can improve a credit score, which is essential for getting the best financial products on the market.

In order to be eligible for a secured credit card, you must provide a minimum deposit. This deposit typically serves as your line of available credit, but in some cases your line of credit may be higher. Plenty of secured cards require rather hefty minimum deposits of $300 or more, which may be prohibitive for many Americans living paycheck-to-paycheck.

Fortunately, alternatives to the high deposits exist. We’ve pulled together a list of the best secured cards that require a deposit and/or credit union membership fee of $200 or less.

$200 minimum deposit: Discover it® Secured

Discover it® Secured The Discover it® Secured has a minimum deposit of $200. This is our favorite secured credit card for a number of reasons including: no annual fee, the ability to earn cash back, and our favorite feature — automatic monthly reviews of your account that start at month eight. However, the one downfall of this card is the high ongoing APR, but you should always pay your bill on time and in full so you avoid interest charges.

Here are the benefits of the Discover it® Secured in more detail:

Automatic monthly reviews starting at month 8: Discover will start automatic monthly reviews of your account at month 8. If you qualify, you could be transitioned to an account with no security deposit. Even better, you could potentially be eligible for a bigger credit limit. This feature really sets Discover apart from the competition – and your goal should be to get back your deposit as quickly as possible through responsible credit behavior.

No annual fee: There is a $0 annual fee for this card.

Bankruptcy? No problem: If you have filed Chapter 7 bankruptcy in the past, you can still qualify for this card. It is a great way for people to rehabilitate their credit.

Earn cash back: Most secured credit cards do not offer any rewards. With the Discover it® Secured, you have the opportunity to earn cash back while earning rewards. You can earn 2% at restaurants and gas stations (on up to $1,000 of spend each quarter). Plus, get 1% cash back on all your other purchases. Earning cash back is not the primary reason to select a secured credit card, but it is a nice option to have available.

Free FICO® Credit Score: Discover will provide you with a copy of your official FICO® credit score. A good step in proper credit behavior is to monitor your score each month.

Read our review for more information on the Discover it® Secured.

How to go from a secured card to unsecured card: Discover will automatically review your account starting at month eight to see if you can be transitioned to a card without a security deposit. If you qualify, you can receive an unsecured card and your security deposit will be refunded. Note that the reviews are based on various factors, including responsible credit management across all of your credit cards and loans.

APPLY NOW Secured

on Discover Bank’s secure website

Rates & Fees

$49, $99, or $200 minimum deposit: Capital One® Secured Mastercard®

Capital One® Secured Mastercard®

APPLY NOW Secured

on Capital One's website

Capital One® Secured Mastercard®

Annual fee
$0
Minimum Deposit
$49, $99, or $200
Regular Purchase APR
26.99% (Variable)

The Capital One® Secured Mastercard® offers a minimum deposit as low as $49, depending on credit worthiness. If you don’t receive the $49 minimum deposit, you may receive a deposit of $99 or $200. This may be a good option if you don’t have $200 to deposit, just remember that the $49 deposit is not guaranteed. If approved for the card, once you make your minimum required security deposit, you will receive a credit line of $200.

How to go from a secured card to unsecured card: Capital One has a new feature where they will automatically review your account for on time payments and will inform you if you’re eligible for an upgrade. If eligible, you will be refunded your security deposit and will receive an unsecured card. The catch is that there is no time frame for when your account will be reviewed. Capital One said that it depends on various credit activities.

$200 minimum deposit: Citi® Secured Mastercard®

Citi® Secured MasterCard®

The information related to Citi® Secured MasterCard® has been collected by MagnifyMoney and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of this card prior to publication.

Citi® Secured MasterCard®

Annual fee
$0
Minimum Deposit
$200
Regular Purchase APR
24.74%* (Variable)

The Citi® Secured Mastercard® is a no frills secured credit card. There is a $0 annual fee and a $200 minimum deposit requirement, like most cards on this list. Unfortunately, there are no rewards associated with this card — however that’s typical for a secured card. When coupled with responsible credit behavior, this card can help you build credit and work your way to an unsecured card.

How to go from a secured card to unsecured card: Citi will hold your security deposit in a Collateral Holding Account for 18 months. Prior to the 18-month term ending, Citi will send you a notification in the mail informing you if you will be transitioned to an unsecured card. If transitioned, you will receive an unsecured card and your deposit back. If not, you will still have your secured card. The status of your account at the end of the 18-month term and whether you get back your deposit depends on your account history and other credit factors.

$100 minimum deposit: Visa Classic Secured by Justice FCU

Visa Classic Secured Card from Justice FCU

APPLY NOW Secured

on Justice Federal Credit Union’s secure website

Visa Classic Secured Card from Justice FCU

Annual fee
$0
Minimum Deposit
$100
Regular Purchase APR
16.90% Variable

You can join Justice FCU if you are an employee, retiree, or family member of the Department of Justice, Department of Homeland Security, United States Courts or another qualifying group. If that doesn’t apply, don’t fret. Anyone can join JFCU by first becoming a member of an eligible JFCU association like the National Sheriff’s Association, charges a $41 membership fee for auxiliary or student members. It only costs $5 for eligible individuals to join JFCU, so that would raise the total cost of membership to $46. Credit limits range from $100 to 110% of pledged shares.

Note: Justice FCU makes it hard to find the Visa Classic Secured card on their site. When you’re on their credit cards webpage, scroll to the bottom then click on the ‘Apply Now’ directly below the VISA Classic card. That will take you to a new page where you need to click ‘Apply Online’ to land on a general application page. From there select ‘Credit Card’ and the ‘VISA Classic Secured’ will be displayed. You can call customer service to obtain more information on the card.

How to go from a secured card to unsecured card: Justice FCU doesn’t provide automatic reviews of your account or a simple way to transition to an unsecured card — you need to initiate the upgrade to an unsecured card. To do this, apply for one of their unsecured credit cards. Then, upon approval, your secured card will automatically be cancelled and you will receive your security deposit back. Note that your approval for an unsecured card depends on your creditworthiness.

Best Strategy for Rebuilding Credit

The strategy for building a strong credit score with a secured card is simple. Make one small purchase each month ($10 or less), wait for your statement to come in, pay your bill on time and in full and then repeat the next month. By making just small purchases, you’ll be using a very low amount of your overall credit limit (also called utilization), which helps drive your credit score up faster because it shows you’re responsible.

Keep an Eye on Your Credit Score and Credit Report

Once you’re in the process of building or rebuilding your credit, it helps to have a benchmark. Do a monthly check in with your credit score to see how it’s improving.

In addition, you should also keep tabs on your credit report by downloading the report from each of the three bureaus. By law, you’re entitled to one free report from each bureau per year. You can download them all at once or space them out throughout the year. Go to annualcreditreport.com to download your free reports. Monitoring your reports will ensure all the information there is accurate and alert you about anything that may be damaging to your score, like an item in collections or reported missed payments.

A Word to the Wise

Never carry a balance on your secured card. The point of a secured card is to be building (or rebuilding) your credit history. Make one small purchase a month and pay it off on time and in full. Follow those two steps and you’ll see your credit score start to raise quickly.

Find other secured card options on our secured card comparison table.

Advertiser Disclosure: The products that appear on this site may be from companies from which MagnifyMoney receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). MagnifyMoney does not include all financial institutions or all products offered available in the marketplace.

MagnifyMoney
MagnifyMoney |

Have a question to ask or a story to share? Contact the MagnifyMoney team at [email protected]

TAGS: ,

Advertiser Disclosure

Best of

Best Savings Account Bonus Offers

Editorial Note: The editorial content on this page is not provided or commissioned by any financial institution. Any opinions, analyses, reviews, statements or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and may not have been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities prior to publication.

There’s no shortage of checking account bonus offers, with everyone from small local banks to the big household names offering hundreds of dollars to new customers. Banks know it’s hard to get you to leave your old bank, especially when you’re comfortable with the accounts you have. But what better way to entice you than with a big cash bonus?

You’ll find these bonus offers attached to more checking accounts than savings accounts. After all, checking accounts are a crucial part to banking, as they allow you to easily access your money for purchases and transfers.

That’s not to say there aren’t any opportunities to earn money with a new savings account. We’ve found five of the best savings account bonus offers as of the date of publishing. It’s easy to go straight for the highest amount, but pay attention to the bank and the account you’re getting ready to open. Make sure it’s a bank you actually want to do business with.

Further, double check that you’ll be happy with the new account for months to come. It can take months to meet the offer requirements and even longer to actually receive the bonus. If there’s a monthly fee on the account, you could be stuck paying that unnecessary fee, especially if you can’t meet the balance requirements to waive it. You may not even be happy with the interest rate on the account, which might make the savings account bonus offer not entirely worth it.

The 5 best savings account bonus offers in 2019

Methodology

To find the best savings account bonus offers, we looked for the highest bonus amounts offered. Below, you’ll find the five biggest bonus offers on savings accounts being offered. Offers are current as of this publication date and we will update the article periodically to show the freshest ranking.

Citi — $500 bonus with $15,000 minimum deposit

Offer ends 6/30/2019

Offer rules: You must be a new Citibank customer and open a Citibank Account Package, which includes a checking and savings account. Within 30 days of opening these accounts, you must deposit at least $15,000 in either of these two accounts with money new to Citibank, and maintain a minimum balance across both accounts of $15,000 for 60 days.

After meeting the above requirements, you’ll get $400 in bonus money deposited into your checking account (or savings account if you’ve closed the checking account). If you make at least two ACH deposits into the checking account portion of the Account Package within 60 days of opening the account, you’ll receive an additional $100.

Who’s eligible: You must be a new customer to Citibank and enroll in the bank’s “$400/$500 Checking and Savings Offer” either in person, over the phone, or online.

Account details: There’s a $25 monthly maintenance fee, which you can avoid be keeping a minimum of $10,00 deposited across both accounts (which you’ll want to do anyone in order to qualify for the bonus, which requires a minimum of $15,000). You may not want a checking account and are free to close it, but keep in mind in order to get the $100 bonus (to bring the total amount to $500) you need to make the ACH deposits into a checking account, not a savings account.

LEARN MORE Secured

on Citi’s secure website

Discover — $200 bonus with $25,000 minimum deposit

Offer ends 8/5/2019

Offer rules: Discover customers can benefit from a $200 bonus by opening a Discover Online Savings account for the first time by August 5, 2019, which is the same date this offer ends. You’ll then need to deposit at least $25,000 into the account by August 19, 2019.

If you can’t meet that minimum amount, you can earn a $150 bonus instead by depositing at least $15,000 into the new account by August 19, 2019.

The bonus will be credited to your account by September 2, 2019.

Who’s eligible: You must be a new Discover savings customer to qualify for this savings account bonus offer. You must not have had a savings account that was co-branded or an affinity account provided by Discover either.

You can apply for the offer with the code “MM719” either online or by phone.

Account details: Discover’s Online Savings Account earns at a competitive interest rate of 2.10% on all balances. There are no fees associated with this account. Keep in mind that the bonus is considered interest and will be reported on a 1099-INT form.

Advertiser Website for Full Details

Learn More Secured

on Discover Bank’s secure website

Member FDIC

Chase — $150/$350 bonus with $10,000 minimum deposit

Offer ends 7/15/2019

Offer rules: In another bonus offer from Chase, you can get $150 when you open a new Chase Savings account. You’ll need to deposit at least $10,000 in new money (not previously held with Chase or its affiliates) within 20 business days and maintain at least that minimum balance for 90 days.

Want to do more banking with Chase and open a Chase Total Checking account, too? Opening both a new checking and savings account can get you a $350 bonus, as long as you follow the above savings account rules and set up direct deposit on your new checking account.

Who’s eligible: You’re eligible for the Chase Savings account bonus offer if you are not already a Chase savings customer. You also cannot have had an account that was closed within 90 days or with a negative balance.

If you close this new savings account within six months after opening, Chase will deduct the bonus amount from the account at closing.

Account details: The Chase Savings account earns interest at a nominal rate of 0.01% APY, which isn’t ideal for savings growth. There is a $5 monthly fee on the account. You can waive the fee with one of the following, each statement period:

  • A daily balance of at least $300
  • At least one repeating automatic transfer of $25 or more from your personal Chase checking account or Chase Liquid® Card
  • An account owner who is younger than 18
  • Linking this account to a Chase Premier Plus Checking, Chase Sapphire Checking or Chase Private Client Checking account

You could also face a $5 fee for each excessive transaction you make over the six-transfer limit per statement cycle.

LEARN MORE Secured

on Chase Bank’s secure website

BBVA — $100 bonus with $10,000 minimum deposit

Offer ends 8/31/2019

Offer rules: You can earn the $100 bonus by opening a new BBVA Money Market Account and bringing the balance to at least $10,000 by August 31 and maintaining that so you have at least that much in the account on November 30.

Who’s eligible: This bonus offer is available to residents of all states except Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Hawaii and Texas.

Further, you must be a new BBVA consumer money market account customer who has not had a BBVA money market account or received a money market account cash bonus in the past 12 months.

Account details: The BBVA Money Market Account earns interest at a competitive rate of 2.50% APY on balances $10,000 and over. Any balances below that will still earn at the solid rate of 2.00% APY.

There is a $15 monthly Service Charge that you can waive by maintaining an account balance of at least $10,000 or with an automatic recurring $25 monthly transfer from a BBVA checking account.

LEARN MORE Secured

on BBVA’s secure website

Member FDIC

Associated Bank — $100 bonus with $10,000 minimum deposit

Offer ends 12/31/2019

Offer rules: Opening a new Associated Bank Money Market account can get you a $100 bonus. You’ll need to deposit at least $10,000 in new money (held outside Associated Bank) at opening and maintain at least that much in the account for 90 days to receive the bonus.

The bonus will be paid within 120 days of account opening if you meet the requirements. The account must be open at that time. You must also keep the account open for at least 12 months.

Who’s eligible: You can redeem this offer online or by taking a coupon sent via email to an Associated Bank branch. This offer is limited to one per household. Households who have or have had an Associated Bank Money Market account within the last six months do not qualify. You must be 18 years or older to apply for the bonus. If you close the new account within 12 months of opening, Associated Bank can deduct the bonus amount from your funds at closing.

Account details: The Associated Bank Money Market account is a true money market account, with the ability to write convenience checks and access Associated Bank and MoneyPass ATMs. It earns interest, too, between 0.03% and 0.10% APY. You can earn at higher rates by having a higher balance and a qualifying Associated checking account.

The money market account does charge a $16 fee, which you can waive by maintaining a $1,000 minimum balance.

LEARN MORE Secured

on Associated Bank, NA’s secure website

Member FDIC

How do these accounts compare to the best online savings accounts?

When looking for the best online savings accounts, you won’t find much overlap here. Bonus offers tend to come from brick-and-mortar banks, as incentives for you to place your deposits with them.

Online banks still win by and large. But don’t let these financial carrots mislead you into thinking they are the best on the market — many of the best accounts are being offered by online banks these days. Online accounts tend to have the highest interest rates and the lowest fees — what more could you want? That’s why you’ll find most sign-up bonuses being offered by brick-and-mortar banks.

Know the pros and cons. You should figure out whether it’s worth it for you to open a new account with a traditional bank just for a bonus offer. Don’t forget, you can’t open a new account for a bonus offer and close it immediately. Qualifying for and receiving the bonus takes months. You could even lose your bonus offer if you close the account too soon. Plus, a savings account bonus offer is a short-term boost in savings, rather than the ongoing growth of a high-yield account. It won’t help your savings situation if your new account charges a monthly fee that you can’t waive, either.

Factor in fees. If you do desperately want to snag a couple hundred dollars by opening a new account, make sure you won’t be paying a monthly fee for the months you have the account. That way, you won’t lose any of that bonus right off the bat. Again, double check the account’s closing terms to ensure you won’t lose the bonus at closing, either. It’s also important to be able to meet the account’s minimum balance requirements. It may not make sense for you to keep $10,000 in a low-earning account just to earn a $200 bonus, for example.

Do the math. Let’s say you do deposit and maintain $10,000 in a new savings account that has an interest rate of 0.01%, which is typical of brick-and-mortar savings accounts. After a year, you’ll have earned $1 in interest. Add that to your $200 bonus and you can add a whopping $201 to your savings. Now, if you were to forgo the bonus offer and deposit your $10,000 into a high-yield savings account with a 2.25% APY, you’ll earn just over $227 after a year (with monthly compounding) — a better savings boost than the savings account bonus offer.

Advertiser Disclosure: The products that appear on this site may be from companies from which MagnifyMoney receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). MagnifyMoney does not include all financial institutions or all products offered available in the marketplace.

Lauren Perez
Lauren Perez |

Lauren Perez is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email Lauren here

TAGS: