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Should I get a secured credit card?

Secured credit cards are similar to prepaid cards except that they actually build credit history. A security deposit, which is usually between $250 - 5,000 is required to open a line of credit. The amount of the security deposit is usually the amount of the credit line that is extended to you. Secured credit cards are ideal for those that need to repair their credit history or have never had a chance to establish one. In addition to the required security deposit, secured credit cards usually have an annual fee and additional fees may apply.

Those considering getting a secured credit card need to consider if it is feasible to

spend a large amount of money for the security deposit. Although the security deposit is refundable, unless you close your account, it might not get returned for a year or two, and only once the issuer has seen enough evidence that the cardholder is trustworthy, responsible and reliable. This is done by making at least the minimum payment each month. Those who struggle with finances might be better off with a prepaid card instead to avoid fees and damaging credit history.

What is your credit rating?
Do you have at least $250 available for a security deposit?
Do you have a monthly source of income?
Can you responsibly and reliably pay the minimum payment due each month?
Do you have a problem controlling your spending habits?
Have you tried to get a regular unsecured credit card first?