BEST OF

Secured Business Credit Cards of August 2021

Tina OremJul 2, 2021
Many or all of the products featured here are from our partners who compensate us. This may influence which products we write about and where and how the product appears on a page. However, this does not influence our evaluations. Our opinions are our own. Here is a list of our partners and here's how we make money.

Secured credit cards can help small-business owners build or rebuild credit. They require a cash security deposit that the issuer can seize for nonpayment, and the amount of the deposit usually dictates the size of the credit line. Small-business credit cards typically look at personal credit history when deciding whether to approve an application, which is why secured business credit cards can be an option for people with thin credit or low credit scores (below 630).

Many issuers report secured card activity to the credit bureaus, which is how you can strengthen your credit. That can make a secured business credit card a good steppingstone to a more traditional unsecured card while paying your business expenses. In fact, some secured cards may upgrade you to an unsecured card.

Some of our selections for secured business cards can be applied for through NerdWallet, and some cannot. Below, you'll find application links for the credit cards from our partners that are available through NerdWallet, followed by the full list of our picks.

NerdWallet's Secured Business Credit Cards of August 2021

Secured Business Credit Cards From Our Partners

Our pick for

Personal credit card for sole proprietors

Capital Bank Open Sky Secured Credit Card

on Capital Bank's website

4.6

NerdWallet rating 

on Capital Bank's website

Annual Fee

$35

Regular APR

17.39% Variable APR

Intro APR

N/A

Recommended Credit Score

Pros

  • No credit check required
  • Doesn't require a bank account
  • Reports to the three major credit bureaus

Cons

  • Has annual fee
  • High ongoing APR
  • Requires $200 mininum deposit
  • No credit check necessary to apply. OpenSky believes in giving an opportunity to everyone.
  • The refundable* deposit you provide becomes your credit line limit on your Visa card. Choose it yourself, from as low as $200.
  • Build credit quickly. OpenSky reports to all 3 major credit bureaus.
  • 99% of our customers who started without a credit score earned a credit score record with the credit bureaus in as little as 6 months.
  • We have a Facebook community of people just like you; there is a forum for shared experiences, and insights from others on our Facebook Fan page. (Search “OpenSky Card” in Facebook.)
  • OpenSky provides credit tips and a dedicated credit education page on our website to support you along the way.
  • *View our Cardholder Agreement located at the bottom of the application page for details of the card

Our pick for

Prequalifying with bad credit

First National Bank of Omaha Business Edition Secured Visa® Card
Annual Fee

$39

Regular APR

20.24% Variable

Intro APR

N/A

Recommended Credit Score

Pros

  • Qualify with limited / bad credit

Cons

  • Has annual fee
  • No rewards
  • High APR
  • Request your own credit limit between $2,000 and $100,000 (multiples of $50), when you apply, subject to credit approval.
  • Earn interest on your security deposit.
  • Variable 20.24% APR on purchases and balance transfers based on the Prime Rate.

FULL LIST OF EDITORIAL PICKS: BEST SECURED BUSINESS CREDIT CARDS

Click the card name to read our review. Before applying, confirm details on the issuer’s website.

Wells Fargo Business Secured Credit Card

Our pick for: Cash back rewards

The Wells Fargo Business Secured Credit Card gets you 1.5% cash back for every $1 spent with no maximum. You can opt for points-based rewards instead; each dollar is worth a point. And you can qualify to earn up to 1,000 bonus points per company per month. There’s no annual fee for this card.

The information related to the Wells Fargo Business Secured Credit Card has been collected by NerdWallet and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer or provider of this product or service.

Our pick for: Prequalifying with bad credit

The First National Bank Business Edition® Secured® Visa Card requires a credit check, but you may pre-qualify without affecting your credit score to see if you’re eligible. Your security deposit earns interest, and you can choose a credit limit from $2,000 to $100,000 (in multiples of $50) when you apply. This card charges a $39 annual fee. Read our review.

Our pick for: No credit check or no bank account

The OpenSky® Secured Visa® Credit Card charges a $35 annual fee, but there's no credit check required, and you don't need a traditional bank account. This is a consumer secured card rather than a business one, but still a potential option. You can fund the deposit or pay your bill with a money order or Western Union payment. Read our review.

Our pick for: Business owners with fair or average credit

Although the Capital One® Spark® Classic for Business isn't actually a secured card and comes with a high APR, this card is available to business operators with fair or "average" credit, who typically don't have a lot of options in business credit cards. That’s a plus, especially with a $0 annual fee. Read our review. 

How to use a secured business credit card effectively

Here are a few ways to make the most of a secured business credit card:

  1. Use the card once in a while, making one or two small purchases every month.

  2. Pay your balance in full every month before the due date. That way, you won't be charged interest. Interest rates on secured cards are generally higher than on unsecured cards.

  3. Watch your credit score. When it has improved, see if your issuer can upgrade you to an unsecured card.

How fast can a secured business credit card build credit?

Typically, it takes about a year of using a secured credit card to change a credit score enough to qualify for an unsecured card. Sometimes you can simply move your secured line to an unsecured line, which can be better for your credit score because it doesn't require opening a new account. However, if you do end up opening a new account to get an unsecured line, there are still a lot of benefits: lower interest rates and fees, better rewards and proof that you have good credit.

Other options

If you have a credit score of 630 or above, you may want to skip applying for a secured business credit card and opt for something with more options or lower interest rates and fees. And even if you have a thin credit history or don’t have a great credit score, there are other types of business cards out there for you, too.

Business debit cards. Debit cards aren’t credit cards, as spending is tied to the cash balance in a linked business checking account. But business debit cards typically don’t require a credit check and may make sense for business owners who want to use plastic to better keep track of their own transactions or their employees’ spending.

Nonbusiness credit cards. You don’t necessarily need a business credit card for business finances. If you’re a sole proprietor with bad or thin credit, you could get a separate personal secured credit card. These cards may help your personal credit — a must for future financing — but they’ll lack features like employee cards and often come with lower limits than business credit cards. Just be sure to keep your business and personal spending separate.

If you’re unsure whether you’ll pass a credit check, some business credit card issuers will let you pre-qualify. This process tells you whether you’ll likely be approved without affecting your personal credit score. It can also make sense to get a free credit score before applying. That way, you can find cards you may be eligible for and reduce the risk of failing a credit check.

Last updated on July 2, 2021

Methodology

NerdWallet's Credit Cards team selects the best credit cards for small business based on overall consumer value, as evidenced by star ratings, as well as their suitability for specific kinds of small-business operators. Factors in our evaluation include annual and other fees, rewards rates, the earning structure (for example, flat-rate rewards versus bonus categories), redemption options, bonus offers for new cardholders, introductory and ongoing APRs, and other noteworthy features such as special financing arrangements, free cards for employees or tools for managing business expenses.