Advertiser Disclosure

Comparing Secured Cards: Wells Fargo vs. OpenSky

Credit Cards, Credit Cards for Bad Credit
Comparing Secured Cards: Wells Fargo vs. OpenSky
At NerdWallet, we adhere to strict standards of editorial integrity to help you make decisions with confidence. Some of the products we feature are from our partners. Here’s how we make money.

Aw nerds! Looks like this page may be out of date. Head over to our Best Secured Credit Cards page for updated info.

The Wells Fargo Secured Visa Card and the OpenSky® Secured Visa® Credit Card are both decent credit cards for anyone looking to build a positive credit history. But several factors set them apart from other secured cards — and from each other.

The Wells Fargo Secured Visa Card’s biggest advantage is its high potential credit limit — as much as $10,000. The OpenSky® Secured Visa® Credit Card, on the other hand, doesn’t require a credit check, unlike most secured and unsecured cards. And you don’t need a bank account to be approved.

Let’s take a look at the basics:

Wells Fargo Secured Visa Card OpenSky® Secured Visa® Credit Card
Annual fee The $25. The $35.
APR  The ongoing APR is 19.99% Variable. The ongoing APR is 18.64% Variable APR.
Available credit limit The credit limit can be between $300 and $10,000, depending on your deposit. The credit limit can be between $200 and $3,000, depending on your deposit.

Going the secured card route

If you have bad credit, or no credit at all, getting a secured credit card is one of the best ways to improve your standing. They represent less risk for card issuers because they require you to put down a refundable security deposit, which is usually equal to your credit limit. If you’re able to make a large deposit, it can be tempting to go after a card with a high credit limit, such as the Wells Fargo Secured Visa Card. But there’s a risk in doing so.

You won’t automatically be approved for a secured card — especially if you have insufficient income or a past bankruptcy. And during the application process, most credit card issuers will check your credit, regardless of the size of your security deposit. That credit check, known as a “hard pull” or hard inquiry, lowers your score slightly. So being rejected for one secured card can make it even harder to get approved for a different one.

» MORE: ‘Hard’ vs. ‘soft’ credit inquiries

If you want to avoid a hard pull

A few secured credit cards, such as the OpenSky® Secured Visa® Credit Card, don’t check applicants’ credit. As long as you’re earning enough to cover your basic expenses, you have a very good chance of approval.

Because the OpenSky® Secured Visa® Credit Card reports your account activity to all three credit bureaus, responsible use of this card will improve your credit.

» MORE: How do secured credit cards work?

The OpenSky® Secured Visa® Credit Card has one other major advantage for people who are trying to improve their financial picture: You don’t need a bank account to be approved. The OpenSky® Secured Visa® Credit Card allows new cardholders to pay the security deposit with a personal check, but unlike most secured cards, this isn’t its only option. You can also fund your account with a wire transfer, debit card or money order.

Security deposits for the OpenSky® Secured Visa® Credit Card range from $200 to $3,000. Your credit limit will be equal to your deposit. The $35.

If you’re feeling ambitious

A credit limit of $3,000 might not be enough for some people. If you frequently make large purchases, such as plane tickets, or you have to put a lot of work expenses on your personal card, you might want a higher credit limit.

The Wells Fargo Secured Visa Card has one of the highest limits of any secured card we’ve seen. Your deposit can be as much as $10,000, and your credit limit will be the same as your deposit. Unlike the OpenSky® Secured Visa® Credit Card, however, its application does require a credit check.

» MORE: What to do if you’re denied a secured credit card

If you can make a sizable deposit, have a steady income and think your credit isn’t too bad, the Wells Fargo Secured Visa Card can be a good choice. It also reports to all three credit bureaus, so using it for day-to-day purchases and paying your bill on time will likely improve your score over time. The $25.

Other options

If you want a secured credit card that offers rewards: The Discover it® Secured Card - No Annual Fee pays 2% cash back on up to $1,000 worth of combined spending per quarter at restaurants and gas stations, and 1% on all other spending. Discover also makes it easy to upgrade to an unsecured card later on.

If you want a credit limit that’s higher than your security deposit: The Capital One® Secured Mastercard® offers a credit limit of $200 with a deposit of $49, $99 or $200, depending on your credit history. Because there’s the possibility of putting up less collateral, this card can be harder to qualify for than other secured cards.

» MORE: NerdWallet’s best secured credit cards

Virginia C. McGuire is a staff writer at NerdWallet, a personal finance website. Email: virginia@nerdwallet.com. Twitter: @vcmcguire.