Our pick for

Low deposit

Capital One® Secured Mastercard®

Apply Now

on Capital One's secure website

Annual fee
$0
Ongoing APR
24.99%
APR, Variable
Recommended credit score
350
629
Poor
We like it for
No annual fee Flexible deposit requirement Chance of higher credit line

Benefits

With most secured cards, your deposit must be equal to your credit limit. But with the Capital One® Secured Mastercard® , you can get a limit of $200 for a deposit of $49, $99 or $200, depending on your credit. If you can’t come up with your whole deposit upfront, you can pay it in installments before activating your card. If you make your first five payments on time, you may gain access to a higher credit limit.

Drawbacks

Bottom line

Our pick for

Rewards and upgrading

Discover it® Secured Card – No Annual Fee

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on Discover's secure website

Annual fee
$0
Ongoing APR
23.74%
APR, Variable
Recommended credit score
350
689
Poor - Average
We like it for
No annual fee Cash-back rewards Clear upgrade process

Benefits

The Discover it® Secured Card – No Annual Fee rewards — 2% cash back on up to $1,000 worth of spending per quarter on restaurants and gas, 1% on all other spending — would be pretty decent on a regular card. For a secured credit card, they’re unheard of. After seven months, Discover automatically evaluates your account for possible upgrade to an unsecured card. And the annual fee is $0.

Drawbacks

Bottom line

Our pick for

Bad credit or no bank account

Open Sky Secured

Apply Now

on Capital Bank's secure website

Annual fee
$35
Ongoing APR
18.14%
APR
Recommended credit score
350
689
Poor - Average
We like it for
Easier approval No credit check Unbanked consumers

Benefits

The bank doesn’t run a credit check on Open Sky Secured applicants, making this an attainable option for people with severely damaged credit. You can make your deposit — minimum $200, maximum $3,000 — and pay your bills with a debit card, wire transfer, check or money order, making it one of the few secured cards that doesn’t require a traditional bank account.

Drawbacks

Bottom line

Our pick for

Low interest and fees

Digital Federal Credit Union Visa Platinum Secured Credit Card

Apply Now

on Digital Federal Credit Union's secure website

Annual fee
$0
Ongoing APR
12.00%
APR, Variable
Recommended credit score
350
850
Poor - Excellent
We like it for
Lower ongoing APR No annual fee No balance transfer fee No cash advance fee High credit limit

Benefits

The ongoing APR is 12.00% Variable. That’s roughly half the rate of many popular secured cards — and better than what you can get on many unsecured cards. The annual fee is $0, and there are no balance transfer or cash advance fees. As with most secured cards, you have to make a security deposit equal to your credit limit, but this one doesn’t put a cap on how much you can deposit, and therefore how high your limit can be.

Drawbacks

Bottom line

Methodology

NerdWallet’s credit cards team selects the best cards in each category based on overall consumer value. Factors in our evaluation include fees, promotional and ongoing APRs, and sign-up bonuses; for rewards cards, we consider earning and redemption rates, redemption options and redemption difficulty. A single card is eligible to be chosen in multiple categories.

Updated Jan. 27, 2017.

NerdWallet staff writers Virginia C. McGuire and Paul Soucy contributed to this article. Claire Tsosie is a staff writer at NerdWallet, a personal finance website. Email: claire@nerdwallet.com. Twitter: @ideclaire7.