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Secured credit cards list

Add accounts, build your credit report history, and improve your credit score (increase your savings, too)

| By Greg Fisher

If you were turned down for an unsecured credit card, try a secured one.

Part of this exercise is forced savings. Savings ("reserves"), the conspicuously absent component in the the media's ridiculous mortgage loan qualification discourse, counts heavily (the more multiples of your mortgage loan PITI payment, the better). So, don't look at this as throwing money down the tubes-- the deposit is yours forever (it's in a real savings account), and you're doing two things at once: Saving and building a credit history. The savings account balance is your credit card limit. The applications require sending a check or money order for the savings deposit. Better to get three cards at $300 each than one at $900.

Yes, all have an annual fee. No, there is no way to avoid the fees. Yes, bad credit makes things expensive. No, you don't have to keep the accounts forever. Yes, you can cancel and get your deposit back. No, there are no free silver bullets. Yes, this is a silver bullet, but silver costs money. Yes, politicians want you to spend, spend, spend. No, they don't care about savings. Yes, the economy will be fine if you save $1,000 rather than buying something with it.

Find out what effect getting one credit card will have on your score by using the myFICO.com score simulators (Equifax and TransUnion only). If you are concerned that getting three at once will lower your score (or won't increase it as much) in the short term, then get one at a time and check your score after they show up on your credit report. If you're trying to increase your credit score to buy a house, and you want it to go up immediately, get real. You can't buy a real credit history (and buying a fake one is getting harder). It takes time. That's why they call it a history.

WARNING

DO NOT run your new toy up to the limit and BLOW your PROPORTION OF BALANCES TO CREDIT LIMITS ON BANK REVOLVING ACCOUNTS.

"For FICO High Achievers the ratio of revolving balances to credit limits is 7%, on average."

It is a statistical fact that 1/2 of all Americans have a below average credit score. Just as sure as that, some of you will not succeed. Some of you will run the thing up to the hilt, some of you will fail to pay on time, and some will do both.

In order to succeed, change your bad habits. In addition to the secured card savings accounts, save some more in a normal savings account. Stop teetering on the edge of financial peril by having no savings. Keep saving. Don't keep your savings in your checking account. Do not withdraw your savings. That's why they call it savings.

Go, and be insolvent no more.

YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED.

And you know who you are.

But, don't just sit there and do nothing. The sooner you put some positives in your file, the sooner the score will improve. Just be cool and don't blow it. The reason you're reading this is because you blew it and now you're trying to un-blow it. Be cool.

Watch the effect of more and more credit cards (without balances) at StopBuyingCrap.com.

FTC: Secured Credit Card Marketing Scams

Bankrate: "10 questions before getting a secured credit card"

Kiplinger: "Your first credit card"

Some cards available:

Stop wringing your hands and do it. They're all about the same. It's this, or pay cash for the house.

And, don't make a late payment. Don't even get close to it. Keep saving, too. It's common sense.

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