Once you've concluded that you need a secured credit card (or perhaps a secured credit card is the only option open to you), use the following guidelines when shopping for a card. Get answers to the following questions:
What is the amount you must put up as collateral to open the account?
When is the bank or credit card issuer permitted to draw upon the collateral?
First confirm that the collateral can be returned to you and under what conditions, if any, the bank or credit card issuer can keep the collateral. Next, how soon would the collateral be returned to you in the event you close your account?
What is the rate of interest on the card?
What is the rate of interest you will earn on the collateral?
What is the maximum credit limit permitted on the account?
Can the limit on the account be increased? And if so how soon can an increase be requested? Will an additional commensurate amount of collateral be required along with any authorized increases in the limit?
What other fees are associated with the card if any?
Is there a fee associated with completing an application for a card? If so, is the application fee refundable in the event your application is turned down?
Are there any fees required on your part if the bank or credit card issuer closes the account?
Is it possible to convert the secured card to an unsecured card and if so what are the terms and conditions required in doing so?
Does the card have a grace period and if so what is it?
You and Your Credit;
Make it a Happy Ongoing Relationship
Nancy Osborne has had experience in the mortgage business for over 20 years and is a founder of both ERATE, where she is currently the COO and Progressive Capital Funding, where she served as President. She has held real estate licenses in several states and has received both the national Certified Mortgage Consultant and Certified Residential Mortgage Specialist designations. Ms. Osborne is also a primary contributing writer and content developer for ERATE.