How much will a secured credit card raise my score?

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A common piece of advice for raising your credit score is to get a credit card. But what if you can’t get approved for a standard credit card?

That’s where secured credit cards come in handy. Secured credit cards require a deposit as collateral, are easier to qualify for than unsecured credit cards and can help you build or repair your credit.

Your deposit amount is your credit limit, so the lender isn’t taking on any risk. If you default on your balance, the lender keeps your deposit.

We’re going to cover the ins and outs of secured credit cards here, so if you’re wondering “how much will a secured credit card raise my score,” keep reading!

Table of contents:

  • How much will a secured credit card raise my score?
  • Will a secured card build credit?
  • How long does it take to build credit with a secured credit card?
  • How to build credit with a secured credit card
  • Considerations when choosing a secured credit card
  • Secured credit card FAQ

How much will a secured credit card raise my score?

There isn’t an exact number for how much a secured credit card may raise your credit score. The improvement of your score depends on how you use your card, how long you use it and the starting point of your credit.

Being approved for a secured credit card won’t improve your score automatically. In order to build your credit with a secured card, you need to use the card responsibly by making payments on time and keeping your credit utilization ratio low.

Responsible secured credit card use combined with other credit management techniques could improve your score by a few points over the course of several months. You may see a larger impact on your score in a year, although this also depends on the state of your credit when you open the secured card.

Will a secured card build credit?

A secured credit card can help those with no credit or poor credit improve their credit, as long as the card is used responsibly. Here are some pros and cons of using a secured credit card to build your credit.

Pros of a secured card:

  • It can help build your credit if you have no credit or poor credit.
  • It’s easier to qualify for than an unsecured credit card.
  • You have the potential to upgrade to an unsecured credit card.
  • It can be used like a normal credit card.

Cons of a secured card:

  • You must put down a security deposit.
  • It is likely to have a low credit limit, which may not fit your spending needs.
  • You may have to pay annual fees.
  • It is likely to have a high interest rate.

If you can part with some cash, secured cards can be a low-risk option for building or repairing your credit. It’s also a great way to practice credit card responsibility since you’re only working with a small credit limit.

However, secured credit cards function the same way as normal credit cards and typically have higher interest rates, so you can still rack up credit card debt if you don’t use it wisely.

How long does it take to build credit with a secured credit card?

If you have no credit, a secured card may help you achieve a fair score in about six months, as credit bureaus usually gather three to six months of activity before creating a new credit score. After you’ve established a score, you can expect it to be updated monthly.

If you currently have poor credit, it may take longer to increase your score, but you can generally expect to see small improvements in a month or two. This is because gaining a secured card doesn’t erase the negative items on your credit report, unfortunately. You need to prove you can responsibly use a credit card for a long period of time.

Opening a secured card won’t improve your credit overnight, but it can help you make improvements gradually. The amount of time it takes to build your credit will depend on how you use your card and the current state of your credit.

How to build credit with a secured credit card

Like we mentioned, the key to improving your score with a secured card is to use it appropriately over a long period of time. Here are a few tips for using your card responsibly:

  • Pay bills on time: Your payment history is the most important part of your FICO score, making up 35 percent.
  • Keep your credit utilization ratio low: The balance you owe compared to your credit limit is your credit utilization ratio, and this makes up 30 percent of your FICO score. Keep what you owe below 30 percent of your limit or less.
  • Only apply for one card at a time: New credit applications make up 10 percent of your FICO score, so your credit score takes a small hit every time you apply for a new card. It’s usually a good idea to wait six months before applying for another card.

Considerations when choosing a secured credit card

It’s essential to pick a secured card that fits your spending needs and habits. Each card offers different features, so you’ll want to compare them to find the best option for you. Here are a few factors to consider:

  • Annual fees: Some cards may have annual fees, which you may not want to pay on top of a deposit.
  • APR: Secured cards generally have higher APRs, or annual percentage rates, so keep this in mind if you think you may carry a balance between billing cycles.
  • Minimum deposit: The standard required deposit is $200, but it may be higher depending on the card.
  • Rewards: Some secured cards may offer rewards or cashback on certain purchases. Check if the rewards apply to your spending needs and weigh the potential earnings against any annual fees.
  • Foreign transaction fees: If you think you might use the card outside of the U.S., see if foreign transaction fees will apply.
  • Reporting to credit bureaus: Ideally, the card should report to all the major credit bureaus (Equifax®, Experian® and TransUnion®) to impact your credit.

Every person’s spending situation is different, so make sure to take the time and choose the card that suits your needs best. You may also want to upgrade this card in the future, so choose carefully.

Secured credit card FAQ

Still debating if a secured card is right for you? Here are answers to other common questions concerning secured credit cards.

Will a secured credit card boost my score?

A secured credit card can boost your credit score over time, given you’re using it responsibly. Pay your balance on time and keep your credit utilization ratio low to improve your credit.

Does opening a secured credit card hurt your credit?

Opening any new credit card, including secured credit cards, causes a hard inquiry that lowers your credit score slightly. However, this drop is usually temporary, since hard inquiries are only on credit reports for two years and you can work to boost your credit in the meantime with responsible card usage.

How many secured cards should I have?

You should generally only open one card initially to avoid multiple hard inquiries on your report. Eventually opening another card might be a good idea if you’re making improvements to your credit.

How much should I deposit on a secured credit card?

Secured credit cards typically require a minimum deposit of $200. Keep in mind that your credit limit will be the size of your deposit, but you should only deposit what you can afford. You can still make improvements to your credit without tying up more money in your deposit. Getting a secured card isn’t the only way to repair bad credit. If you have poor credit, offers professional solutions to fixing your credit, so you don’t have to figure it out all on your own. We’ll put you on a path to success by analyzing your credit reports and disputing any negative items.

Note: The information provided on does not, and is not intended to, act as legal, financial or credit advice; instead, it is for general informational purposes only.

Written by Upuia Sagapolu

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Upuia Sagapolu has worked in credit repair for over 17 years. She has a great wealth of knowledge and wisdom concerning the credit repair process. Upuia champions herself as a strong advocate assisting all hard-working Americans towards increasing their credit scores and achieving their financial goals. She is a firm believer that having great credit is essential to a person’s credit journey, which is their financial power that leads to their financial freedom.

Posted in Credit 101
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