November 14, 2013 by Gerri Detweiler
If your credit is damaged, or if you never established credit at all. a secured credit card might be the thing for you. With a secured card, you put down a deposit, usually $200 to $500, which becomes your collateral. Manage the card responsibly and you’ll get the deposit back.
First: Learn Your Options
Before you shop for a secured card, find out your credit score to learn what you qualify for. Why? Well, rejection stings, for one thing.
But more importantly, knowing your credit score helps you determine which cards you’re more likely to qualify for. The better your credit, the more options you’ll have, including money-saving choices not available to those with credit scores lower than yours.
Not sure if your credit is good, bad or fair? That’s not unusual. Here are some tools to help you find out:
- Free. Credit.com’s Credit Report Card gives you a free credit score from Experian, one of the three major credit reporting agencies. You’ll also get your VantageScore 3.0 credit score, developed by the three major credit reporting agencies to include credit data on millions of people often ignored by traditional credit scoring models. You can check back once a month for an update, which helps you view your progress.
- Subscribe. Numerous banks and other companies sell credit scores as part of a subscription to a monitoring service sold to help guard against identity theft. Or you can shop for a credit monitoring service. This may be helpful if you want to monitor your progress with more than one credit reporting agency.
Now, Go Shopping for a Secured Card
You’ll find a variety of secured cards at Credit.com, and some credit unions and banks may also offer them.
Credit.com’s credit card search tool lets you select the type of card you want – a secured card, for example – and compare offers. This is where knowing your credit score comes in handy. Filter your offers by checking the features you’re looking for, including fee and reward preferences, as well as your own credit score range .
Compare Secured Cards
Just as if you’re buying a car, compare the features and costs of each card. Look at the fine print on each card, including:
- Credit reporting. Get a card that builds your credit by reporting to not one or two but all three of the major credit reporting agencies – Experian, Equifax and TransUnion.
Free Credit Score Get your FREE credit score and more in less than 90 seconds. FREE and updated every 30 days. Checking your score won't hurt your credit.
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