Discover it® Secured Review: A Standout Among Secured Credit Cards

Lyle is a writer specializing in credit cards, travel rewards programs, and banking. His work has also appeared on MSN Money, USA Today, and Yahoo! Finance.

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Packed with features that are rare among secured credit cards, the Discover it® Secured is an undisputed leader in this category. With no annual fee and high approval odds, this card is one to check out if you need to improve your credit. In the Discover it® Secured review below, we'll go over the card's many benefits and discuss other key points to consider before applying.

Ratings Methodology
Discover it® Secured

Apply Now

Apply Now

On Discover's Secure Website.

Discover it® Secured

Discover it® Secured

Apply Now

On Discover's Secure Website.

Apply Now

On Discover's Secure Website.

Rewards

2% cash back at Gas Stations and Restaurants on up to $1,000 in purchases each quarter, 1% cash back on all else

Annual Fee

$0

Intro APR

Purchases: N/A
Balance Transfers: 10.99%, 6 months

Ongoing APR

22.99% Variable

Bonuses & Perks

Double cash back in the first year, FICO score for free

Highlights
  • No Annual Fee, earn cash back, and build your credit with responsible use.
  • It's a real credit card. You can build a credit history with the three major credit bureaus. Generally, debit and prepaid cards can't help you build a credit history.
  • Establish your credit line with your tax return by providing a refundable security deposit of at least $200 after being approved. Bank information must be provided when submitting your deposit.
  • Automatic reviews starting at 8 months to see if we can transition you to an unsecured line of credit and return your deposit.
  • Earn 2% cash back at Gas Stations and Restaurants on up to $1,000 in combined purchases each quarter. Plus, earn unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases – automatically.
  • Get 100% U.S. based customer service & get your free Credit Scorecard with your FICO® Credit Score
  • INTRO OFFER: We automatically match all the cash back you've earned at the end of your first year.
  • Get an alert if we find your Social Security number on any of thousands of Dark Web sites.* Activate for free.

Top perks

No annual fee: The vast majority of secured credit cards carry annual fees that can range from as low as $29 all the way to $200 or more. Discover it® Secured doesn't have any annual fee.

Up to 2% back: It's almost unheard of to get cash back from a secured credit card, but Discover it® Secured offers 2% cash back on the first $1,000 of spending at gas stations and restaurants each quarter. In addition, the card offers 1% cash back on all other spending. Discover also doubles your rewards in the first year (with no limit!).

Cashback Match after the first year: Sign-up bonuses are another one of those perks that secured credit cards practically never have. Discover breaks the mold again here by doubling the cash back you earn in your first year using this card. If you earned $250 back, Discover will kick in another $250 and make it $500.

Pick your own credit limit: You can make a larger deposit if you want a higher credit limit, with the maximum being $2,500. Although this costs you more up front, it also helps you keep your credit utilization down, which is an important factor used to calculate your credit score.

Payments reported to all three credit bureaus: Discover it® Secured reports your payment activity to all three major credit bureaus, which means you can improve your score with each of them.

FICO® Score for free: Discover provides you with an up-to-date FICO® Score every month. You can view your score in your online account, through Discover’s mobile app, and on your statement. By having this credit score available, you can monitor your progress in building your credit.

Graduate to an unsecured card: One of the biggest perks of the Discover it® Secured is that it can convert into a traditional unsecured Discover credit card. After as few as eight months of on-time payments, you may be eligible to have your security deposit returned, thus turning your secured card into an unsecured credit card.

No foreign transaction fee: Quite a few cards tack on a 3% foreign transaction fee for international purchases, but the Discover it® Secured isn't one of them.

What could be improved

High deposit requirement: The Discover it® Secured sets your credit limit equal to your initial deposit, and the minimum required amount is $200. Even though this is a minor quibble, there are secured cards where you could potentially pay a smaller deposit.

Suggested credit score

Since this is a secured credit card, there's no minimum credit score to get it. You can qualify for this card whether you have no credit history or you have bad credit because of an issue on your credit file.

Still, there are requirements you should know about to apply for the Discover it® Secured. You must:

  • Be at least 18 years old
  • Have a Social Security number
  • Have a U.S. address
  • Have a U.S. bank account
  • Pay a security deposit of at least $200

Keep in mind that having all of the above doesn't guarantee you'll be approved for the card. Discover will evaluate your current financial situation and your credit history. If it declines your application, it won't charge you a security deposit.

Alternative to consider

If your issue is a lack of credit history, rather than bad credit, another great credit card that can save you money is the Petal Visa® Credit Card. It's unsecured, which means it doesn't require a security deposit, it earns cash back, and it doesn't charge any fees. However, this card isn't intended for consumers who are rebuilding credit after previous missteps.

Ratings Methodology
Petal Visa® Credit Card
Rewards

1.5% cash back after making 12 on-time monthly payments. 1% cash back on purchases right away

Annual Fee

$0

Intro APR

Purchases: N/A
Balance Transfers: N/A

Ongoing APR

14.49% - 25.49%

Bonuses & Perks

$500 to $10,000 credit limits, pre-approval decisions without impacting your credit score

Highlights
  • Up to 1.5% cash back after making 12 on-time monthly payments. 1% cash back on purchases right away
  • No fees whatsoever. No late fee, international fee, annual fee, or any-other-kind-of-fee, fee
  • Build credit alongside tens of thousands of Petal Card members
  • Cash flow technology can help applicants without credit history get approved
  • $500 - $10,000 credit limits
  • Petal's mobile app makes it easy to manage your money, track your spending, and automate payments
  • See if you're pre-approved within minutes without impacting your credit score
  • Petal reports to all 3 major credit bureaus
  • No deposits required.

This credit card is right for you if:

If you have either bad credit or no credit history at all, the Discover it® Secured is one of the best credit cards you'll find. Most credit cards that target consumers with bad credit don't offer many perks, and some even take advantage of cardholders by charging exorbitant fees.

The Discover it® Secured is a welcome change from all that. Consumers who need to improve their credit and who can afford the $200 deposit should strongly consider applying.

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