The Discover Secured Card is an ideal option for people looking to build their credit from scratch or rebuild it after making some credit mistakes. The Discover Secured Card is one of the few secured cards that offer rewards, too. You’ll also have the opportunity to convert to an unsecured card and get your deposit back without closing your account. If you can’t afford the deposit or you’re a student, though, some other credit cards may be a better fit.
Discover it® Secured Quick Review
Annual Fee: $0
APR: 25.24% variable APR; introductory balance transfer APR of 10.99% for six months from the date of the first transfer.
Sign-Up Bonus: 100% match on cash back your first year
- Earn 2% cash back on up to $1,000 spent in combined purchases at restaurants on gas stations each quarter.
- Earn 1% cash back on all other purchases.
- Security deposit as low as $200; get your deposit back as soon as eight months after you open the account.
- Identity theft monitoring alerts.
- Free access to your FICO credit score.
- No penalty APR.
- Zero-liability fraud protection.
- No foreign transaction fees.
- 24/7 customer service.
Minimum Payment: The greater of $35, 2% of the full balance, or $20 plus interest and fees.
- 5% cash advance fee ($10 minimum).
- 3% balance transfer fee.
- Up to $37 for late payments; the first fee is waived.
- Up to $37 for returned payments.
Why Apply for the Discover it® Secured
Here are a few reasons to consider the Discover Secured Card to build your credit:
You can rack up rewards quickly
The card offers 2% cash back on up to $1,000 spent in combined purchases at restaurants on gas stations each quarter, plus 1% back on everything else. But what makes it particularly valuable is that Discover will match all the cash back you earn during your first year with the card, giving you an effective base rewards rate of 2%.
It’s light on fees
Credit cards designed for bad credit often come with a slew of fees. While the card does require a security deposit, there’s no annual or foreign transaction fee, and your first late fee is waived.
Discover actively works to help you
We’re not just talking about the 24/7 access to customer service. The card issuer also offers free access to your FICO credit score, making it easy to track your progress. Also, you can get your deposit back as early as eight months after opening your account.
Discover it® Secured: Drawbacks and Downsides
While the Discover Secured Card is one of the best credit cards for bad credit on the market, there are a few things to consider before you pull the trigger:
It requires a security deposit
You’ll need to part with at least $200 for eight months or more to get approved for the card. If you don’t have that kind of cash, consider an unsecured credit card instead.
Discover isn’t widely accepted overseas
The card doesn’t charge a foreign transaction fee, but that doesn’t mean you’ll be able to use it while you’re abroad. Discover isn’t as broadly accepted as Visa or Mastercard, so it’s a good idea to have a backup payment method if you’re traveling internationally.
It has a high APR
The card’s APR is steep, which can be expensive if you carry a balance from month to month. But if you pay your bill in full each month, you can avoid interest entirely.
Discover it® Secured Alternatives
If you’re considering using a credit card to build or rebuild credit, but aren’t sure about the Discover Secured Card, here are a few options to consider:
Indigo® Platinum Mastercard®
If you can’t afford a security deposit, the Indigo® Platinum Mastercard® is a worthy alternative. The card is unsecured and allows you to get pre-qualified without a hard credit check. The only drawback is that the annual fee can be $0 or $59, or $75 the first year then $99 after that, based on your creditworthiness.
Capital One® Secured Mastercard®
If you can afford a security deposit, but don’t want to fork over so much cash, consider the Capital One® Secured Mastercard®. Depending on your creditworthiness, you could get an initial credit limit of $200 with a deposit of $49, $99, or $200. Also, Capital One may offer you a higher credit line after you make your first five payments on time.
Journey® Student Rewards from Capital One®
If you’re a college student looking to build credit from scratch, the Journey® Student Rewards from Capital One® is one of the best options available. The card offers 1% cash back on every purchase you make, plus an extra 0.25% cash back when you pay your bill on time every month. You’ll get access to a higher credit line after you make your first five payments on time, and you won’t pay any annual fee or foreign transaction fees.
Discover it® Secured Credit Card FAQs
Here are some answers to some common questions about the Discover Secured Card:
Can I add more money to my Discover it® Secured?
After you make your initial deposit, you can request a credit line increase by calling Discover and making an additional deposit equal to the amount you’d like added to your credit line.
Is approval guaranteed?
Like most other secured cards, this one requires a credit check. You may be denied if you have major negative items on your credit report.
Bottom Line: Should You Apply for the Discover it® Secured?
If you need a secured credit card, you can’t beat rewards, low fees, and a clear path to an unsecured account. If, however, you’re a college student or can’t afford a security deposit, check out some of the other cards we covered for a better experience.