Capital One Secured Review: Great Choice for Bad Credit

Unlike with most cards that require a cash security deposit, applicants may be able to qualify for a credit limit larger than their deposit.
Sara RathnerSep 24, 2021

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Our Take

4.9

NerdWallet rating 

The bottom line: Flexible security deposit requirements and a $0 annual fee make this an excellent option for people building or rebuilding credit.

Capital One Platinum Secured Credit Card

on Capital One's website

Annual fee

$0

Regular APR

26.99% Variable APR

Intro APR

N/A

Recommended Credit Score

Quick Facts

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • No annual fee
  • Qualify with limited/bad credit
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Report to three major credit bureaus

Cons

  • Requires minimum deposit
  • No rewards
  • High APR

Alternate Pick: No credit check

Capital Bank Open Sky Secured Credit Card
NerdWallet rating 

OpenSky® Secured Visa® Credit Card

No credit check, no bank account required

This card removes two major barriers for people with bad credit. It doesn't require a credit check, and you don't need a bank account. There's a $35 annual fee and a $200 minimum deposit, though.

Read our review

Compare to Other Cards

NerdWallet rating 
NerdWallet rating 
NerdWallet rating 
Annual fee

$0

Annual fee

$0

Annual fee

$35

Regular APR

26.99% Variable APR

Regular APR

22.99% Variable APR

Rates & Fees

Regular APR

17.39% Variable APR

Intro APR

N/A

Intro APR

10.99% intro APR on Balance Transfers for 6 months

Intro APR

N/A

Recommended Credit Score
Recommended Credit Score
Recommended Credit Score

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Full Review

Pulling together the money for a security deposit can be a major hurdle in getting a secured credit card, one of the best tools for building or rebuilding your credit. The  makes deposits a little less daunting, and that's a big reason why it's one of NerdWallet's favorite secured cards.

With an annual fee of  and a handful of features of special interest to people working on improving their , the  is a solid option for building credit.

Card type: .

Annual fee: .

Interest rate: .

Deposit requirement: Get a $200 credit line with an initial deposit of $49, $99 or $200, for those who qualify. You can deposit more money before your account opens to increase your credit limit up to a maximum of $1,000.

Rewards: None.

Foreign transaction fees: None.

Like all secured credit cards, the requires a refundable security deposit. With most secured cards, your credit limit will be equal to your deposit, but the allows for a lower deposit for those who qualify. Your deposit may be $49, $99 or $200 for a starter credit line of $200. You can increase your limit up to $1,000 by making more than the minimum deposit before activating your account.

Best of all, if you can’t pay your security deposit upfront, Capital One will let you pay it in installments of at least $20, as long as you provide the full amount within 35 days of approval. This is a great benefit for those on a fixed income.

Make your monthly payments on time, and you could get access to a higher credit limit in as little as six months without having to deposit more money. A higher credit limit gives you increased flexibility, but more important, it can help your credit by reducing your , a key factor in your credit score. The lower your utilization, the better. If you have a $200 credit limit and a balance of $60, your credit utilization is 30%, which is about as high as you want it to go. If your credit line gets bumped up to, say, $500, your utilization drops to 12%.

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Credit cards for people with bad credit or no credit are . That's one of the reasons NerdWallet recommends secured credit cards for building credit: You have to put down a security deposit, but you get that money back when you close the account in good standing or upgrade to a regular unsecured card. The best secured cards charge reasonable fees. The  keeps things light with an annual fee of . Like all Capital One cards, it doesn't charge foreign transaction fees, so you can take it with you if you're traveling abroad. The card does charge a late fee of up to $40 if you don't pay your bill by the due date, but such fees are easily avoidable.

Capital One is one of the few major issuers offering credit cards for people in all credit score ranges. Its secured card is for people who are building credit. Its popular rewards cards, like the  and the , are for people with good or excellent credit. But it also has excellent products for people in the middle, with fair or "average" credit. These include the  and the . As you use your card to establish a good payment history and build your credit, you may be able to upgrade your account.

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Like most secured cards, the charges a high interest rate. . However, that doesn't have to affect you: Pay off your balance every month, on time and in full, and no interest will accrue. There's no introductory 0% APR period, but most  don’t offer one anyway, so you're not missing anything.

Like most secured cards, the doesn't offer rewards.

There are a few secured cards that do offer rewards, though, like the . This card pays 2% cash back on up to $1,000 spent per quarter on dining and gas, and 1% back on all other purchases. It has an annual fee of . There's even a bonus for new cardholders:

However, there's a minimum security deposit of $200 for the , much higher than the 's $49 or $99 options for those who qualify. Unlike the , the provides a credit limit equal to your security deposit in all cases — and not a penny more.

To see more potential card options for building or rebuilding your credit, take a look at our .

To qualify for the , you must have a checking or savings account and Capital One could check your credit and employment history. That can present a hardship for applicants without a bank account or a credit history.

The  doesn't perform a credit check when you apply, and you can pay your security deposit via a money order or Western Union if you don’t have a bank account. There is a annual fee, however.

The  doesn’t require a good credit or a bank account, either. You can make cash deposits at participating retailers, including 7-Eleven, CVS, Dollar General, Rite Aid, Walgreens and Walmart, for a fee. You can also mail in a check for free. This card also has an annual fee.

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If you’re working to build your credit, the is one of the better choices available. Its flexible security deposit requirements, low fees and upgrade potential make it a solid starter card.

No matter which card you choose, using a secured credit card responsibly can help you build your credit score. Keep it up, and you should be able to graduate to a card with lower fees and interest, greater rewards — and no security deposit at all.

Frequently asked questions