Finding A Partially Secured Credit Card

Posted by CreditCardGuru

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).

Compare the top-rated secured credit cards to rebuild credit


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15 comments... read them below or add your own

  1. Sonic98 January 31, 2014 at 10:23AM

    I opened a fully secured card with Wells Fargo. After a while, you have the option of asking for it to be unsecured. I was planning on increasing my limit by another $100, then seeing if they would be willing to make it unsecured. To my surprise, my limit is not 150% of my current deposited amount instead of 100%.

  2. Cassie January 28, 2014 at 8:15PM

    I was offered the $99/500 card 01/24/2014. I am a BOA customer since 2012. I have average credit. I was offered the card at a local branch. 15 months 0% interest and $39 annual Fee. BankofAmericacard Visa.

    • Alex August 19, 2014 at 8:57AM

      Do you happen to know what your credit score was ? I looking into applying but I’m worried I might get denied and get another inquiry on my credit score.

  3. Erik September 26, 2012 at 11:56AM

    I was offered a partially secured $99/$500 from BofA last month. I sent in a deposit and was approved. The program is still alive and kicking.

    • john September 29, 2012 at 9:55AM

      can someone please send me a copy of that bank of america offer 99/500 any kind of scan i can read PLEASE. I got that offer in the mail and they RIPPED ME OFF now my lawyer wants to see a copy of that letter and i don’t have it. if anyone can help please email it to me at johnhanly[AT]aol[DOT]com

  4. b February 6, 2012 at 1:33PM

    Just an update, on 2/1/2012, i got a BoA partially secured card, $99 deposit (refundable in 9 mos when you can ask for a regular card) with a limit of $500, limit can be increased but you have to match the deposit for each increase marginal dollar beyond the $500. $39 fee on the partially secured, $0 on the regular.

  5. ZeeZee February 5, 2012 at 9:07PM

    I just got approved for a partially secured credit card from Bank Of America for 99 down with a $500 credit limit and $39 annual fee. I Bank with bank of America so I’m not sure if it’s for Bofa customers only or open to all.

    • JW January 11, 2013 at 2:12AM

      Most likely only BofA customers are granted this offer…

  6. Kasper November 27, 2011 at 7:18AM

    I have had the capital one partially secured (which should be more like FULLY secured considering out of $500 only $150 is actually “credit”) I’ve had the account 6 months now and haven’t been able to qualify for even store cards because I only have 1 credit reference. I applied for a BOA account and was offered a fully secured card, which I’m not interested in. I pay my balances in full each month… any ideas? I get the feeling that waiting another 6 months isn’t going to do a whole lot since I will still only have 1 credit reference.

    • CreditCardGuru November 27, 2011 at 8:53PM

      You will may need up to 12 or even 18 months in order to qualify for an unsecured- it all depends upon your circumstances. As for what you can do now, I would recommend adding a second secured account so you have 2 credit references. Secured loans are also an option through some banks if you are interested (where you are basically borrowing money from yourself).

  7. Thaddeus November 20, 2011 at 6:33AM

    Here’s a “crazy” idea. Why the heck do banks offer unsecured credit cards to begin with?! Lets say I have $1000 unsecured and now I want $2000. Why cant I put 500 down and increase from 1000 to 2000? Wouldn’t the banks have more money if they required that they keep the down pmt (for say a year)? They could easily use it for loans somewhere else? Sheesh!

  8. Kolala October 29, 2011 at 1:37PM

    I had a bankruptcy about 3 years ago. I applied for a regular BoA Cash Rewards Visa and was denied the full card, but offered the Partially Secured card you mention above.

    It’s not mentioned online, but I went to the bank directly to apply for it.

    • ZeeZee February 5, 2012 at 9:10PM

      Yeah I got the same thing.

  9. Larry July 1, 2011 at 3:11PM

    Capital One has a partially secured master card.Minimum security deposit of $49 gets you a $200 line.

    • Marly September 11, 2013 at 5:39PM

      The Capital One card is still available here and the security deposits range from $49, $99 or $200 and you get a $200 credit line.

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