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Understanding Credit and Credit Score
A good credit score is like having good health. Both are essential if you are to live a fulfilling life. If you are ill, then you can’t live the best life. The same happens with poor credit scores and ratings. To better understand your finances, start by mastering the concept of credit score. A credit score is assigned to every person with any credit history. With this score, a lender can determine your creditworthiness. Anyone with poor credit must take certain steps to repair it.
You realize just how crucial your credit score and history are when you apply for a loan. Lenders check on both especially when you request a personal loan that is not secured by any collateral. The same applies when applying for a credit card. Understanding how credit scores and rating work makes your life much easier. You must do all you can to maintain a good rating and score at all times.
Credit scores range from 350 to 850. A score of 850 is the best and can open many financial doors for you. A score of 350 is the lowest and is considered the poorest score one can have. With such a score it is hard to even apply successfully for a credit card. A poor credit score can cause problems with your employer or cost you that job you had applied for. Some landlords won’t rent to anyone with a poor score. You notice that the score even affects your application for certain utilities.
The Fair Isaac Corporation (FICO) is the company that first came up with the credit score system. Soon after, many financial institutions including banks adopted it. It’s now important to have and maintain a good credit score at all times because it opens more doors and opportunities. At times you find yourself with a bad credit score that needs mending. One of the best ways to repair this is by using secured credit cards.
A secured credit card is one that you provide a security deposit upfront. This amount acts as collateral and guards the credit card company in case you miss making payment on the card. Secured cards are easy to get for the deposit minimizes the risk involved. Any card company won’t find any reason not to issue the card provided the deposit is provided in full.
Still, not all applicants can get secured credit cards. Even with the deposit, you must prove you are gainfully employed or have a source of income. The issuer of the card will check your credit report to identify the reason why you have poor credit in the first place.
The Best Credit Builder Credit Cards
|Name of the Card||Recommended Credit Score||Intro APR on Balance Transfers||Regular APR Variable||Annual Fee||Least Security Deposit Required|
|Discover it Secured||300-629||10.99% up to 6 months||22.99%||$0||$200|
|Open Sky Visa Secured||300-689||N/A||18.89%||$35||$200|
|Capital One Secured Master Card||300-629||N/A||26.99%||$0||$49|
|Green Dot Visa Secured||300-629||N/A||19.99%||$39||$200|
|Self-Credit Builder Secured||No credit Check Done||N/A||15.92%||$0||N/A|
|Indigo Platinum MasterCard||<600||N/A||24.90%||$99||$300|
|Citi Secured MasterCard||300=629||N/A||22.49%||$0||$200|
Discover It Secured Card
With a secured card, you can start the journey to repairing your damaged credit. The Discover it Secured credit card is one of the best to use for credit repair.
To start, it’s one of the few secured cards that come with rewards even if you are repairing bad credit. You get 2% cashback each quarter when you spend $1000. This is at places such as restaurants and gas stations. Also, all purchases made with this card earn you 1% cashback.
The card is fairly easy to apply for because it is designed for users with poor credit looking to make amends. Anyone with credit from 629 up to 300 qualifies to get the card. You can use it for balance transfer and get an APR percentage of 10.99% for the first 6 months. After that, you must pay a variable APR of 22.99%. The good news is that there is no annual fee charged on this secured card. The card requires you to pay an upfront security deposit of $200 after your application is successful.
Once you have gained better credit scores, you qualify for an upgrade to an unsecured card. You can talk with the issuer after about 8 months of consistent payments. In case you make a late payment, it gets waived if it’s the first one of such nature.
- No annual fee charged
- Get an intro APR of up to 6 months
- Recommended for poor credit of up to 320
- Can be upgraded with improved credit scores
- Has rewards
- Low credit limit
- High variable APR of up to 22.99%
Open Sky Visa Secured Credit Card
It can be tough to secure a credit card without any credit history. This secured card is designed for you if you lack any credit history or have poor credit scores. The card doesn’t have many restrictions and you qualify even with a score as poor as 300. A security deposit is required by the issuer of $200 as the least amount and $3000 as the maximum amount.
Unlike other secured cards that offer their clients rewards such as cashback, no such benefits are presented here. The only advantage is the card is not restrictive and many people with poor or non-existent credit history qualify. The card has no balance transfer intro APR but charges a variable APR of 18.89%. On top of that, you must pay an annual fee of $35.
If you intend to use the card overseas know it will incur a foreign transaction fee of 3%. Also, any cash advanced from it bears a charge of 5% of the amount received. The minimum advance fee is set at $6. The card reports to all major credit bureaus so it’s one of the best to help you improve your credit scores.
- Can qualify even without credit history
- A minimum security deposit of $200
- Low credit score required 300
- Helps you build good credit report with good payments made on time
- Charges an annual fee
- Doesn’t have rewards
- Charges foreign transaction fee of 3%
- Charges cash advance fee of 5%
- No account upgrading to an unsecured credit card
Capital One Secured Master Card
A secured card is one of the best tools you can use to rebuild your poor credit scores. The Capital One secured Master Card comes in handy for such a task. The good news with this card is the security deposit required is flexible reducing the strain placed on you by the issuer. You can get a credit line of $200 with a deposit of as little as $49. You can follow this up with deposits of $99 or $200 but not all qualify for this card.
An advantage that this card offers is you get your security deposit back when you decide to close the account. This is one option although the best is to upgrade it so that it doesn’t affect your repaired credit score. There is no annual fee charged, unlike other secured cards that are used mainly to repair poor credit scores. Another benefit is there are no foreign transaction fees charged when you use the card in another country.
Keep in mind that the issuer of the card charges you for late payment. A fee of $39 applies for any payment past the agreed due date. The secured card charges a variable APR of 26.99%. The card doesn’t provide any intro APR for balance transfers. Once you attain a good credit score, you can request the issuer to review your account and upgrade your card to an unsecured one.
- Good card to build a credit score
- Can qualify with low scores of 300
- Requires low-security deposit of $49
- Can upgrade to an unsecured card
- No foreign transaction fees
- Charges $39 for late payments
- Has no intro APR for balance transfers
- Charges high variable APR
Green Dot Visa Secured Credit Card
Greed Dot has made it easy to pay the security deposit and monthly payments online which is convenient for many people. It’s one of the best secured cards to use to rebuild card credit. You qualify for one with a credit score as low as 300 but it’s not a guarantee you’ll get it once you apply. The card provides reports to 3 of the most major bureaus. If you keep up with your payments, the positive reports result in an improved credit score.
This is one card that you don’t require a bank account to apply for. The least amount you can deposit for this secured card is $200 and the maximum is set at $5000. The amount you deposit is what determines your credit card limit. By issuing a security deposit, you are more likely to qualify for the card.
The card charges an annual fee of $39 which is charged to your account automatically. This means the amount is deducted from the security deposit made. The application process for this particular secured card is done online. Payments can be made online as well at no extra cost. A major disadvantage of this card is there is no upgrade to an unsecured card even with improved credit scores.
With a cash advance, you are charged a fee of 5% of the advanced amount. The least amount charged is $5. Any late payment incurs a fee of $27. All foreign transactions are charged 3%.
- Easy to qualify for with security deposit
- Application is done online
- Can opt to make payments online
- Least security deposit is $200
- Can’t upgrade the card to unsecured
- Charges annual fee of $39
- Charges late fee of $27
- Cash advance charged 5% of the amount
- A foreign transaction fee of 3%
Self-Credit Builder Secured Credit Card
To qualify for a secured card, you must have the minimum required credit score and provide an upfront security deposit. The rules change with this card from Self that only requires you to open an account. The account is in the form of an installment loan that is secured. By doing this, you are deemed eligible for this type of card.
No credit check to view your current score is done once you settle on this type of card and open the account. You shall be charged a fee of $15. It’s an administrative fee charged once. The credit card company has partner banks that provide you with a small loan. The rule is you must pay off the loan first before you can access it. Payments are done monthly with $25 being the least amount paid.
The amount you get is determined by how much you pay and for what duration. For example, to get $526, you must pay a total of $600. This is achieved by paying $25 per month with an APR of 15.92% for 24 months. There is no intro APR applicable here for balance transfers. The card is good when you seek to create a credit history or rebuild it.
- No credit score check required
- Easy to apply for
- Doesn’t require a security deposit
- Ideal for repairing credit score
- Charges administrative fee
- Requires payment before issuing the card
- No intro APR
- Indigo Platinum MasterCard
The Indigo Platinum MasterCard is available for anyone with bad credit and needs to rebuild it. Having good credit is a great requirement. Bad credit can be a great hindrance. The card requires a credit score of less than 600 to qualify for it. If you have a score higher than that it’s best to seek an unsecured card. Expect no rewards when you opt for this card. This is the case for many other secured credit cards even though there are a few cards that are the exception.
Once you improve your credit score then move on to a card with better terms. The card charges an annual fee of up to $99 which is high as compared to other secured cards in the market. When you get it after a successful application the APR variable charged is 24.90%. There is no intro balance APR charged in balance transfers.
In case you use the card overseas, there are no foreign transaction fees to worry about. Late payments, on the other hand, incur a fee of $40. The card gives you a credit limit of $300.
- Requires low credit score
- No foreign transaction fees
- Good for rebuilding credit scores
- High annual fee charged
- Late payments charged $40
- No intro APR on balance transfers
Citi Secured MasterCard
The card can be used to create a fresh credit history or repair one that is damaged. Different factors lead to a poor credit score that needs to be rebuilt. The card doesn’t offer customers any special rewards such as cashback. You must provide the issuer with a security deposit that might be refunded later on once the credit scores improve.
The applicable variable APR, once you qualify for the card, is set at 29.99%. You won’t be charged an annual fee when you opt to apply for this secured card. It means fewer fees incurred as you strive to repair your damaged credit scores. The issuer reports to the 3 major credit bureaus meaning you can improve your scores by making on-time payments. Any late payment is charged $40 by the credit card issuer.
The minimum amount of security deposit accepted is $200 and the maximum the $2500. This amount is equal to the credit limit you are eligible for after successfully applying for the card. The card payments are flexible and you can select a day to pay, be it at the start, middle, or end of the month.
- Good card for fresh credit history or credit score repair
- No annual fee charged
- Least security deposit set at $200
- Flexible payments
- Charges $40 for late payments
- No rewards for customers
Another option is CreditBuilderCard. No credit score requirements, only a $200 minimum deposit, $29 annual fee and 19.99% interest rate. Click here to sign up
Credit scores play an important role in your finances. It’s important to take the initiative and repair them as soon as possible if poor. A poor credit score limits you immensely. You don’t qualify for most unsecured credit cards and lenders won’t loan you money. With the right secured card, you can work to repair your poor scores. You can even get one that offers an upgrade once your scores improve.
Bad credit should not define you. Start taking the right action today to get better credit scores. Watch that poor score improve by getting one of the listed secured cards. Apply, pay the security amount requested, and make timely payments as agreed with the issuer. The credit card company reports to the major credit bureaus which improve your credit scores. Get in touch with us to see your credit score improve.