Not everyone has a perfectly spotless credit history, and there are also those who have yet to apply for their very first credit card. A bad history or lack their of can have a severely negative effect on your credit score. A low score makes it that much more difficult to get future loans and other forms of credit approved. Whether you are looking for a second chance or even your first shot at a good credit score, it's good to know how secured credit cards can come in handy.
Secured credit cards give cardholders the chance to practice good credit card habits with an extra safety net that regular credit cards don't have. The main difference with these cards is the fact that they require a cash deposit upfront in order for the applicant to be approved. The amount of credit that you are granted will depend on the deposit you provide. The bank does not use this money to pay your monthly bills. It remains tucked away as the bank's insurance that you will pay your bills. If you fail to meet your end of the bargain, the deposit will be used to cover the bank's expenses.
Another advantage of using these cards is the fact that the provider will usually issue reports regarding your repayments to several credit bureaus. Every time you pay at least the minimum of your monthly bill on time, you will be building a positive credit score. Of course, if you fail to make proper payments, it can seriously harm your credit score so cardholders must be more diligent than ever!
When applying for your secured credit card, it's important to understand that they are not all the same and different providers have different terms and conditions. For example, some providers might not report directly to credit bureaus which means that you won't be doing much for your credit score by choosing them. Look for a secured credit card provider that will help you build a higher credit score by filing regular reports with credit bureaus.
Fees can also differ from card to card which is why it's so important to understand the benefits and fees of each card before making your choice. Some cards might have fees that make them a poor choice for your budget. On the other hand, there are cards with somewhat higher fees but also great benefits that make it worthwhile. Shop around and remember that this decision can have a significant impact on your financial situation.
Apart from establishing maintenance fees, monthly fees, card issuing fees, and so on, you should also remember to ask the card provider(s) about their policy regarding your deposit. Make sure that the terms and conditions of the agreement include a time frame during which you can expect your deposit to be returned to you.
You might also want to specifically look for secured credit cards with payment grace periods. If the card does not offer this benefit, then you will end up paying interest on any and all purchases from the moment you swipe that card! If you pay your card in full within this grace period, then you can avoid paying interest altogether! It really is all about reading the terms and conditions thoroughly before signing up.
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