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? Nope! Unfortunately they’ve never offered a secured account option directly. However you can apply for one through a third-party bank… Continental Bank offers the “Matrix” secured card which operates over the Discover network (but it’s NOT issued or managed by Discover, so it’s not truly one of their cards). But I would advise against the Matrix because it has an outrageous $75 annual fee.
If you have bad/fair credit here are your 3 best alternatives:
Option A: Attention college students!
Even though Discover doesn’t have secured credit cards, they do have student accounts which are relatively easy to get approved for.
- 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
Even though you have to cross Discover off your list, there are still plenty of other reputable financial institutions which issue secured cards. You can check out a list of them here. Below is my favorite one:Of course you have to have realistic expectations when getting one. 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. I wouldn’t recommend them.
If you insist on going this route, check out the prepaid card from American Express. It is definitely the most logical choice for the prepaid niche.
Best Option: Try this tool to see what you pre-qualify for
This article was written or last updated October 17, 2013.