Secured and Catalog Credit Cards are ideal for customers trying to rebuild their credit file
Getting a secured or catalog credit card and using it responsibly is an excellent way to build creditors' trust in your ability to use new credit. Making on-time minimum payments with all of your creditors and keeping account balances low relative to the credit limit are key to receiving positive marks on your credit history.
STEP 1: Confirm your credit score is less than 600
The directions below are tailored for consumers who have a credit score of 600 or lower.
If you believe your credit score is higher, please click the link for Unsecured Cards found below.
If your current credit score is less than 600; you are on the right page. Proceed to the second step of the process.
Step 2: Understanding the types of Credit Card
Secured Credit Cards
Secured credit cards require cardholders to "secure" their credit purchases by making a deposit as collateral. These cards can be used the same way as an unsecured card, except your deposit secures the transactions.
Important Note: You can get your deposit back as long as the balance of your purchases have been paid in full.
Catalog Credit Cards
Catalog Cards are unsecured lines of credit for online merchants. You can use these cards to purchase goods and services at their store and they report positive trade lines to the major credit bureaus.
Step 3: FOLLOW a Plan to Minimize Costs
- Create positive account activity
- In order to maximize scores increases, charge between $20 and $30 a month on each account
- When payment is due, exceed the minimum payment but keep a balance of $5
- Credit bureaus will recognize the account has activity AND healthy balance ratios
- Select cards with lower fees verses lower interest rate
- Credit Cards usually have lower fees for higher interest rates
- If you are committed to paying the balance to $5 each month, it makes economic sense to choose the lower fee option
- We have done some of the homework for you - review our comments in each section below.
Step 4: Establish 3 Open Accounts
Three open and active accounts is the "magic" number for improving your credit score. Each card in good standing will report positive trade lines and represent a larger portion of your credit file. In doing so, historical credit blemishes become less of a factor when calculating your credit score.
If cash is tight, it may be difficult to make three deposits to open three secured card accounts.
Be sure to select the minimum deposit required.
Consider including a catalog cards in the mix of three. You can find the Catalog Card section at the bottom of this page.
Secured Credit Cards
secured CARD Recommendation #1
Capital Bank - OpenSky Card
Secured CARD recommendation #2
Primor Classic Card
Secured CARD RECOMMENDATION #3
First Progress - Platinum Card Elite
Other Secured Cards for your Consideration
If cash is tight, it may be difficult to make three deposits to open three secured card accounts. Consider including a catalog cards in the mix of three accounts.