Q: Where can I apply for a credit card that’s partially secured? There are plenty that are fully secured but so far I have yet to see any that are just partially. Do you have any recommendations for 2013?
A: There are tons of banks that offer secured credit cards, but only a small handful which are partially secured. Before we discuss where you might find them, here are a couple things you need to know when it comes to secured vs. partially secured credit cards:
- Originally the partially secured card was created for those who don’t have horrendous credit, but don’t have good credit either. After the credit crisis and great recession, banks got much more conservative. Nowadays, those with not-so-good credit and horrendous credit are more or less bunched into the same category.
- Both fully secured and partially secured credit cards involve fees. You would think a partially secured card would have significantly lower fees, but unfortunately, their cost structures have often been similar.
Where to find partially secured cards?
As mentioned, this type of card was very rare to begin with, but today it seems they have almost disappeared.
- A few years ago there used to be a popular Bank of America partially secured credit card that offered a $500 limit for $99. This card has had mixed reviews. It’s still around but you rarely hear about it and have to go to the branch to ask for it. Not everyone will qualify.
- If you’ve been Googling around in frustration trying to find a credit card that’s partially secured but have had no luck, you’re not alone. At the time of this review I am unable to find a single partially secured card currently available other than the BofA offer. One place to check would be the bank or credit union you have a checking account with, but even that appears to be unlikely at this time.
What should you do?
At this time, it appears the partially secured credit card is extinct. Maybe it will come back one day, but then again there’s a chance it won’t. With banks being so much more strict these days, they may just stick with the secured and unsecured types of cards.
Therefore your best bet is to get going with a good secured credit card. Even if you can’t afford a high security deposit right now, you can always add more to the account in the future to increase the credit limit. After you have one of those cards for a year or so, hopefully you will be able to qualify for an entry level unsecured card.
Best of all, after you’ve had the card awhile some specific cards might give you credit limit increases without the need to increase your deposit (which means some secured cards might be able to become partially secured if you manage your account responsibly).