If you’re looking to build up your credit history and score — whether you’re starting from scratch or looking to rebuild — a secured credit card is one of the best tools to help you do that. You’ll have to submit a security deposit in the amount of your desired credit limit; this protects the issuer should you default on what you charge to the card.
However, many secured cards have high APRs, often to the tune of 20% or higher. If you need a secured card that can help you improve your credit score while also offering a lower APR, you should consider the DCU Visa® Platinum Secured Credit Card — it charges a very reasonable 15.75% Variable APR.
However, you will need to join a credit union to get the card. The membership requirements are easy to meet, but for some consumers, having to join might be a drawback. In addition, the DCU Visa® Platinum Secured Credit Card requires a $500 minimum deposit, while many competing secured cards start around $200.
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Accessible even if your credit isn't great
Digital Federal Credit Union designed the DCU Visa® Platinum Secured Credit Card for consumers looking to establish or improve credit. Whether you’ve never had credit before or your credit has been damaged by some past mistakes, the DCU Visa® Platinum Secured Credit Card offers a chance to work toward building a good credit score.
Because this is a secured credit card, you’ll need to submit a minimum $500 security deposit, which will serve as your credit limit. In other respects, it functions just like any other credit card.
Reports to the three major consumer credit bureaus
A key consideration when choosing a card to help build credit with is that it should report to the three major consumer credit bureaus: Equifax, Experian and TransUnion.
The DCU Visa® Platinum Secured Credit Card does that, meaning your account, payment history and balances will show up on your credit reports.
This is important because when you apply for future loan or credit products, lenders will typically pull one or more of your credit reports to determine if you’re a responsible borrower. Showing you can responsibly manage a credit card can increase your chances of getting the best rates on auto loans, mortgages and more.
Exceptionally low interest rate
It’s not unusual for credit cards aimed at consumers with poor or fair credit to have APRs above 20% or even above 25%. But the DCU Visa® Platinum Secured Credit Card comes with a 15.75% Variable APR — meaning if you have to roll over a balance once in a while, your interest charges should be reasonable. Know that you can avoid interest charges entirely if you pay your balance in full every billing period.
No annual fee
Some credit cards for people with less-than-stellar credit charge an annual fee, but not the DCU Visa® Platinum Secured Credit Card. Its annual fee is $0.
No foreign transaction fee
If you travel outside the United States, you don’t have to worry about a foreign transaction fee being added to every purchase you make; this card charges $0.
You must be a DCU member
To get this card, you’ll need to join DCU and open a savings account. DCU makes it easy to join — membership eligibility is based on where you live, work or worship, or if you work for any of a long list of employers. It’s also possible to join through a family relationship with a current DCU member.
If you can’t qualify through one of those routes, you can join a partner organization, such as Reach Out for Schools (for which memberships start at $10). However, for consumers who don’t want to deal with the steps to join a credit union, this could be a drawback.
The minimum security deposit is high
A typical minimum security deposit amount for a secured card is around $200. It’s even possible to get a lower deposit than that — for example, the Capital One Platinum Secured Credit Card requires a minimum deposit of $49, $99 or $200, which is determined after Capital One reviews your application (note that the lower deposit amounts are not guaranteed), but no matter the deposit amount, you’ll get a $200 starting credit limit on the card.
By contrast, the DCU Visa® Platinum Secured Credit Card requires a $500 minimum deposit. That could be a barrier if $500 is too much for your budget to handle.
Doesn't earn any rewards
The DCU Visa® Platinum Secured Credit Card doesn’t earn rewards. But that’s not necessarily a bad thing — your focus with a secured card should be on using the card responsibly and building credit history. However, there are competing secured cards on the market that earn cash back or points.
The Discover it® Secured Credit Card is consistently one of LendingTree’s top recommendations for people with poor/limited credit. It reports to all three credit bureaus, charges a $0 annual fee and comes with a transparent timeline on when Discover will consider your account for an upgrade to an unsecured card.
After you’ve had the Discover it® Secured Credit Card for seven months, Discover will begin conducting monthly reviews of your account to see if you’re eligible to graduate to an unsecured card and get your deposit back. Note, however, that graduating is not guaranteed. Plus, be aware that Discover will take into account behavior on other financial products with other issuers, not just Discover. Still, it’s a valuable feature for consumers working to improve their credit.
For another benefit, cardholders earn 2% cash back at gas stations and restaurants on up to $1,000 in combined purchases each quarter. 1% unlimited cash back on all other purchases - automatically.
There’s also a unique sign-up bonus for new cardholders: Discover will match all the cash back you’ve earned at the end of your first year.
The Discover it® Secured Credit Card has a 27.49% Variable APR. And while that’s typical for people with poor/limited credit, it’s much higher than the DCU Visa® Platinum Secured Credit Card‘s 15.75% Variable APR. If you think you might need to carry a balance once in a while, the DCU Visa® Platinum Secured Credit Card is more likely to help you save money on interest charges.
But at $200, the Discover it® Secured Credit Card‘s minimum security deposit is more affordable than the $500 required for the DCU Visa® Platinum Secured Credit Card.
|DCU Visa® Platinum Secured Credit Card||Discover it® Secured Credit Card||Capital One Platinum Secured Credit Card||U.S. Bank Altitude Go Visa Secured Card|
on Discover's secure site
on Capital One's secure site
|Review Coming Soon|
|15.75% Variable||27.49% Variable APR||29.99% (Variable)||29.49%|
|N/A||2% cash back at Gas Stations and Restaurants on up to $1,000 in combined purchases each quarter. 1% unlimited cash back on all other purchases - automatically||Non-rewards Card||4X points on dining and takeout, 2X at grocery stores, gas stations and on streaming services, 1X on all other purchases|
|DCU Visa® Platinum Secured Credit Card||Discover it® Secured Credit Card||Capital One Platinum Secured Credit Card||Additional card details unavailable|
If you’re looking to build your credit history, but you want a credit card with a low interest rate and are willing to join a credit union, the DCU Visa® Platinum Secured Credit Card is an excellent option.
While it’s best to pay off your card in full every month to avoid incurring interest, if you do have to roll over a balance once in a while, this card’s 15.75% Variable APR is very reasonable for a credit-building card. Do note that it requires a $500 minimum security deposit to open, which is higher than some other secured cards ask for.
The information related to the U.S. Bank Altitude Go Visa Secured Card has been independently collected by LendingTree and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of this card prior to publication.
The information related to the DCU Visa® Platinum Secured Credit Card has been independently collected by LendingTree and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of this card prior to publication.