When it comes to secured credit cards, many myths abound. From “they’re only for people with bad credit” to “they’re more expensive than unsecured cards”, you can’t always distinguish the truth from the lie. Worry not. I’m debunking the most common secured credit card myths.
1. Secured Cards are a Bad Credit Stigma
Think a secured card announces to the world that you have bad credit? Guess again. Most secured cards are indistinguishable from unsecured cards. Your card itself won’t say anything and your credit report won’t show the fact that your account is secured.
2. Secured Credit Cards Have High Interest Rates
Many people assume that secured cards are for people with bad credit, and as such they have a higher interest rate attached to them. This isn’t the case. A secured credit card is less of a risk to creditors because the credit line is backed by a bank account. Because of this, secured cards often have lower interest rates than many of the bad credit unsecured cards.
3. They’re For People with Bad Credit
If you think a secured credit card is only for people with bad credit, you can rethink that logic. Secured credit cards are for people from all walks of life. You don’t have to have bad credit to carry one. Many people with decent credit qualify for unsecured cards, but not the best ones. In these cases, a secured credit card can offer better terms and higher credit limits.
4. They’re Issued by Predatory Lenders
Secured credit cards, more often than not, are not issued by predatory lenders. The cards issued by predatory lenders have high interest rates and high annual fees and processing charges attached to them. While a secured credit card is likely to have an annual fee it will usually be reasonable (in the $50 range), as will the interest rate.
5. A Secured Card Is Like a Debit Card
This one couldn’t be further from the truth. Secured cards are connected indirectly to a bank account, but they work nothing like debit cards. Your secured credit card account will be reported to the three credit bureaus, helping you improve your credit rating. Debit cards don’t do this. And like unsecured cards, you must pay your secured credit card statements when they come in each month even though your security deposit is securing that line of credit.
So are secured cards the black sheep of the credit card family? Absolutely not. A secured credit card can be a valuable financial tool — it’s just a matter of differentiating the myths from the reality.