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Bad credit? No credit history? Before I begin to sound like a used car commercial, let me say that a variety of credit cards exist designed to help people build (or re-build) their credit.
If you are a student, cards like the Discover it for Students Card can help you build your credit while giving cash back bonuses and many benefits. If you are a student, we highly recommend any number of student cards to begin building your credit and start getting a firm financial footing in life. Some even reward you for good grades and good credit habits.
But, for adults who are beyond their college years, the credit cards available to build your credit, unfortunately, don’t carry as many perks and benefits. But there are some very good secured credit cards available.
What To Look For In a Secured Credit Card
When you’re looking for a secured credit card, you ideally want a card that offers the following:
- Your credit card issuer reports your on-time payments to all three major credit bureaus: Experian, TransUnion and Equifax
- The card does not have fees that total more than 50% of your available credit; 30% or less is better
- You do not need a lot of money to open the card — ideally, you can open your card with as little as $200
- On-time payments will result in your card being converted into an unsecured card eventually
Looking at these traits, CreditShout.com has recommended — and continues to recommend — the Orchard Bank Secured Mastercard.
This is one of the few secured credit cards with no annual fee for the first year. After that, the annual fee is a very reasonable $35, a small percentage of the $200 minimum security deposit. Unlike many other secured cards, most of your deposit will be available to spend, and not tied up in fees.
The Orchard Bank Secured MasterCard comes with a low 7.90% variable purchase APR — again, extremely low for a secured credit card. The default interest rate — if you make a late payment or go over your secured credit limit — is 29.9%, which is even greater incentive to make on-time payments and build your credit history.
Orchard Bank reports all your payments to all three major credit reporting agencies, which means you can build up your credit with on-time payments very quickly.
The Orchard Bank Secured credit card also offers some benefits common to unsecured credit cards, including:
- Free Online Bill Pay
- 100% automatic fraud liability protection
Unique Application Process
Orchard Bank has a unique application process for their credit cards. First, the company pre-qualifies you for the card or cards you’re interested in, which is a soft pull on your credit file and doesn’t count against your credit score. You’ll then see which cards you have the best chance of being approved for, so you can apply for that card.
This reduces the chance of credit rejections, which negatively affect your credit score. You also might be surprised that your credit isn’t as bad as you think,and you pre-qualify for an unsecured card, instead.
Check out our Orchard Bank Classic Mastercard Review here, but please check the Orchard Bank website for the most current information regarding APRs, fees and policies.