Q: I’m in the process of rebuilding my credit and was wondering if Discover has a secured card offer available?
A: I find that a lot of people are shocked to learn just how difficult it can be to qualify for a Discover. On average, their credit qualifications are probably stricter than any other card issuer.
In fact, based on all the forum feedback I have gathered over the years, I believe it’s much easier to get approved for an entry-level American Express card like the Gold Delta SkyMiles card versus the Discover It (their most popular card). At the very minimum, you typically need a FICO score of at least 700 to maybe qualify.
So if your credit history isn’t up to par, can you apply for a secured Discover credit card? While Discover does offer secured cards, you can’t apply for one directly. You need to fill out an application for one of its consumer cards (the Discover it, or the Discover it chrome). Then, if you don’t qualify, you may be given an offer for a secured card.
If you have bad/fair credit here are your 3 best alternatives:
Option A: Attention college students!
If you are looking for secured cards because you worry that your status as a student will prevent you from getting a regular card, consider a different route: applying for a student card.
- Discover It card for students – Same rewards as the regular It card w/ 5% cash back on categories and a full 1% on everything else.
If you’re in college, your best bet is to try this one.
Option B: Get a secured card from another bank
There are plenty of other reputable financial institutions that issue secured cards that you can apply for directly. You can check out a list of them here. One of my favorites is the Capital One Secured MasterCard.
Of course you have to have realistic expectations when getting a secured card. You probably aren’t going to get rewards nor any benefits that will make you jump for joy. Really this category of cards should just be viewed as a stepping stone to building your credit… so you can get something better.
Option C: Prepaid cards (drawback = they don’t build credit)
Yep, there are third-party Discover prepaid cards but the fees are up there and the benefits are bareboned.
Also check out the prepaid card from American Express, a CreditCardForum advertising partner. It has a straight-forward fee system.
This article was last updated August 29, 2014.