Secure credit cards, sometimes referred to as pre paid credit cards, are a wonderful way to improve your credit whether you have very poor credit or very good credit. Please note in advance that secured credit cards are different than pre paid debit cards, and if you have some money you wish to use to receive a Visa or Mastercard, you should always opt to use a secure credit card.
How Prepaid Credit Cards Work
Secure credit cards are fully functional credit cards that are backed up by a deposit with the issuing company. A company offering a secured credit card will not check your credit when you apply, and you should never allow a company to perform a credit check in the application process. This is because a credit check will lower your credit score for a few months, and your main goal in getting a secure credit card in most cases is to improve your credit.
How Secure Credit Cards Work
You have a deposit amount, generally a minimum of $250. You take the deposit to a bank (or apply online) and you will be issued a credit card with a limit that is equal to the size of your deposit. This credit card will operate like any other card; you will have the ability to take out cash advances, buy goods online, and use it anywhere that accepts credit cards. You are required to pay interest on the purchases you make, and you generally cannot access your deposit. You are able to close the credit account at any time, and your deposit will be used to pay any remaining balance on your card. If you do not have a balance, you will receive your deposit in full.
Why Use A Secure Credit Card?
Because pre paid credit cards do not require credit checks, they are the ideal credit building tool for those with poor credit. Every month that you have a secure credit card, the issuing bank will report to all three credit reporting bureaus that you have a credit account in good standing. The credit agencies do not differentiate between a “real” credit card and secured credit cards, so your credit rating will go up even in the first few months after receiving your card. Additionally, for those who do not have a credit or debit card, a secure credit card gives you the ability to make purchases online, sign up for magazine subscriptions easily, and pay at restaurants without using cash. A secure credit card is just like any other credit card in offering you full protection against theft and fraud.
Even better, using a pre paid credit card allows you to build a relationship with a financial services company. Many people who use a secure credit card are offered credit increases on the card, offers for real credit cards, and easier access to different types of loans like personal and auto loans.
If you have poor credit, a secure credit card is a wonderful way to begin digging yourself out of the hole. Starter credit cards often have very high interest rates and punitive fee structures, whereas secure credit cards offer terms that match the very best lines of credit.