Is there an American Express secured credit card?

Q: My goal is to eventually get an AmEx Gold, but I have a long ways to go because my credit is awful. How can I get a secured credit card from them that I could use to get my foot in the door? I figure it could be beneficial to establish a relationship with them now so that when my credit score improves, I will have a better chance at getting the Gold.

A: On a somewhat regular basis, I will see someone ask on the forum “Does American Express have a secured credit card?” or “How can I get their card with bad credit?” Unfortunately the answer for both questions is the same… it’s not going to happen.

With the exception of a USAA American Express secured card (which you won’t qualify for unless you’ve served in the military or have an eligible family member who has), American Express, a CreditCardForum advertising partner, has never offered a secured credit card. And when it comes to their unsecured cards, as you can imagine their requirements are picky. You can’t have any recent history of major delinquencies/charge-offs AND you need to already have an established credit history.

If you have bad credit (or no credit), your best approach is this…

Step One: Open a secured card

So you can’t get an American Express secured credit card, but of course you can get one from another bank. Doing that is your first step to improving your credit.

Need some good recommendations? Check out this review.

Step Two: Manage your account respsonsibly

There’s no escaping the past (until it drops off your credit reports) but you can still think of today as Day 1 of doing things right. After your new card is open, make sure you do the following:

  • Always pay on time. Aim for a perfect payment history moving forward.
  • Keep your credit utilization low. Utilizing too much of your credit limit can actually harm your score. It’s ideal to never use more than 20 or 30 percent of your limit at any given time. For example if you have a $1,000 credit line, then never have more than a $300 balance on your card at any given time. If you can keep your utilization even lower than that (say, under 10 percent), even better.

Step Three: Try applying for an entry-level unsecured card

After you’ve had your secured card open for four to six months, I would recommend applying for a basic no-frills unsecured card. Go here to see my recommendations.

If approved, you will now have at least two active accounts on your file; the secured card and now the unsecured one.

Step Four: Apply for the right American Express (if you have OK credit)

After a 9 to 12 months of having two or more cards on file, try applying for an entry level American Express card. That does not mean the Platinum charge card, but rather something like the Delta SkyMiles Gold (which is rumored to be the easiest AmEx to qualify for, based on all the feedback I have received).

Step Five: Move up the ladder

After you’ve had your American Express account open for 6 – 12 months, you can try applying for a higher-level card, such as the Gold or Blue Cash. If they don’t approve you, call and ask for a reconsideration. Some on the forum have reported a favorable outcome when they do that.

List of available secured cards

IssuerSecured products available
Bank of AmericaBankAmericard Secured Card
Capital OneCapital One Secured MasterCard
CitiCiti Secured MasterCard
DiscoverDiscover it Secured Credit Card
PrimorPrimor Secured Visa Gold Card; Primor Secured Visa Classic Card
USAAUSAA Secured Card Platinum Visa; USAA Secured Card American Express

The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

My credit score is 657 and I was declined by American express because the score is too low. The blue one is not the easiest way to get a credit card from American express. I don’t know what your score is supposed to be.

Good afternoom everyone. Do you know wich banks offer secured credit card to people who dont have social security number or tax payer number, people who are only in a legal turist status in miami?
Many thanks


American Express does have a targeted secured card program for both Business and Personal accounts. You apply for a charge card product and if you are declined and fit into a certain crieteria, they may offer you a charge card product that would be secured by a CD with a minimum of $10K. The cards are like unsecured products, same benefits and bonus points but its secured by the CD and reviewed after one year for a unsecured card.

Correct! AMEX does have a “secured card” and it’s available to most… USAA offers one too!

SavingStar has an American Express secured card – another poster pointed that out I’m just affirming that especially since the blog here says ‘its not going to happen’.

It’s June 18, 2015… I was turned down by AMEX yesterday and they offered me a secured credit card option! That should settle it.

what was the secured amount and for what card?

I believe Amex’s secured charge card program has a 10K minimum and its only targeted offer.

I know that American Express had a secured card because I had one. It was back in 1992 but they did. It had its own phone number and no other customer service department knew about it. If you called the highly publicized number they would say no we don’t offer a secured card. But I don’t think they do any more. Since they have all these new prepaid cards.

You are correct I had it too and it was from Centurion Bank

Just talked to AMEX on the phone and they indicated they have a CD/Secured card.

You would put say $100 down in a CD that would earn interest and that secured CD would be your credit line.

can you give us the contact information? every time I ask for that they say no!

Blake. Can you please give us more info on this?

Savingstar now offers 2 amex’s, one of which is secured.

I have verified, there is no secured amex card, and USAA secured card is only open to military. But I found a good news. Discover which is an equally good card is offering a secured card, which earns rewards and has no AF. This is very rare in secured cards. And as a bonus, they report it as unsecured on the credit file. The only downside is that you have to apply and get denied for one of their other products, then you get an offer for secured. I highly recommend it you check it out instead of taking my word for it.


Unfortunately, they do not offer everyone the secured credit card. If you have good to great credit, you will get the unsecured card. If you have “almost” good credit, they may offer you the secured card, based on other factors most likely. But you still need “amost” good credit.

I applied for Discover’s secured card through Credit Karma and I got approved right away. This is the second secured card I got approved for (WF Visa was the first).

The comment made above is false. There is a such thing as a secured AMEX card through USAA. I personally qualify for it because i’m a soldier but i don’t know about civilians though. I imagine they would more more than happy to at least try.

This is only for military folks. Not for civilians.

Wrong. Wrong. Well just a little wrong. (spouses and children aren’t soldiers they are civilians with benefits) USAA’s secured AMEX and MasterCard (yes they have both) are for those who qualify. Those qualifications are:

If YOU are honorably Serving or have served in the U.S. Military (Includes the Guard or Reserves)
If YOU are joining the U.S. Military (Includes signing an enlistment contract or participating in a commissioning program.)
If YOUR PARENT has insurance with USAA.
If YOUR SPOUSE has insurance with USAA.
If YOUR SPOUSE has honorably served in the U.S. military.

**To read this information for yourself go to:
Select – Products
Select – Credit Cards
Select – Secured Cards – [there you will see the awe sweet AMEX you inquire about as well as the MasterCard]
Select – Apply – [When it asks you if you are already a member of USAA select NO ((you’ll do this undoubtedly because if you were already a member, you would already know about the secured AMEX))]
Once you select NO, the eligibility requirements will appear.

Here is the actual link directly to the qualifications screen-


NEVER listen to someone tell you it’s not going to happen. A many of people have been made out of liars telling someone something is not going to happen, telling them what never to do and labeling them as this is all you’re cut out for. I was told I wasn’t ever going to get a vehicle staying in my current location and was even told not to try. I have had my vehicle for 2 years got it at CarMax with an excellent financial company! This is why it is so important to THINK FOR YOURSELF!!

Hello everyone.. I work for AMEX we do or I should say did have the optimum we have done away with that card and if you see above Jada’s comments she is correct it’s USAA card is just like Macys card is Amex just not “financed” by Amex… There are a couple of Amex cards that are easier to get approved for such as the Blue Cash Everyday card and Delta Gold Card 🙂

My friend was offered an American Express Gold Card secured by a CD (10K minimum.) He was offered the secured card after his application was denied for a gold card. It seems to be a targeted offer.

American Express did offer a secured card as for I had one. It was an Optimal card and it was an excellent card!!! So get your facts straight and listen to the people on this post that had one! Now USAA has a secured AMEX card because I have one too!!! FACTS!!!

Anthony, USAA does have the secured card, however, when I attempted to apply for it they advised that one must be military to have practically any service with them. This including insurance and especially AMEX secured card. Thus, if you’ve got an AMEX with USSA, kindly do advise me of how this came about if you’re not in the military.

Otherwise, I don’t see how USAA will accept my application. Your feedback is greatly appreciated.

Cheers – Mary

“facts straight” Yes, you can apply for an AX card through USAA, BUT you must be a military member. I am a account holder at USAA (IRA-Savings-Checking) but not a miitary member, and I CANNOT apply for the secured AX card. Try the advice on this forum and go with Capital One, US Bank, Wells Fargo (in person), or B of A. Then establish your credit worthiness for 6-12 months and apply directly with AX. Good luck!!

So what your saying is if your not in Military we can not get one of these secured cards thru AMEX? is that correct?

Yes Ernesto american express do offer the secured card through USAA but to get accepted for the card. There are military terms. Is there a way to get approved for the card without having a military background?

Everything I’ve read here seems to be correct except for the fact that Amex never offered a secured card. They did, but it was about 10 years ago and they had me close the acccount, once I was approved for their regular card and have worked hard to stay on top of things and now I have an Amex Platinum card. It took 4 years and lot of discipline, hard work and money.

Amex has been piloting a program where they have been offering charge cards secured by a cd. The minimum is $10K credit line. Generally they were offered to folks who applied for the card and declined. Then they would make a counter offer for the secured card.

Hi Steve T!

Do you happen to know the name of the program? I called AMEX and the rep didn’t have a clue.

I dont believe they have a name for the program, but it seems to be a targeted offer.

I had one too. It was a Secured Optima card

“They’ve never offered a secured credit card before.” As others have said, this is not true. They offered the Optima secured (personal) card for a period of time, and I had one from 2000 – 2002 at which time it was discontinued.

Thank you for your guidance MEOW…Which cards do you
recommend? Thank you in advance for your guidance 🙂

Kelly & William are both correct. Sorry Michael you have incorrect info Amex did offer a secured credit card. I also had one got it right after I got my military Commission.

It is NOT true that Amex has NEVER offered a secured credit card! They used to offer a secured optimum credit card, but discontinued it in 2002.


I just wanted to let you all know that I have a AMEX Secured Card. It is through USAA, and the interesting thing is that my deposit was placed into a CD ($250) minimum. So I earn interest on my deposit. The fee is under $40, and the interest rate is under 10%, but is variable.

Hope that helps!


Hi Ernesto, that card is actually not a true American Express. It operates over the AmEx payment network, but the card itself is owned and operated by USAA.

The usaa amex cards are backed by usaa bank and not by amex bank. Usaa has an agreement with amex to use their logo. the same is true of the dillards amex card the dillards amex card is actually ge bank and not amex bank. If you want an an actual amex card that is backed by amex bank…..go to amex website and apply try to start off with a credit card like blue they are a little easier to get than the charge cards that require balance in full paid every month. I know I used to work for amex

Actually they have offered a secured AMEX. I had one in the late 90’s to early 2000s. If I remember correctly, they gave me like a year notice that they were discontinuing it (2002ish I think). I love it and got it because I was in Europe a lot and did not have credit to get a good card at the time, being a junior soldier and all.