Whether you need to build or rebuild your credit history, a credit card with a high limit can be a big help. Check out our top picks for high-limit, low-cost secured cards, along with some tips on building credit with a secured card.
If you don’t mind tying up a chunk of money in a security deposit, opting for a secured credit card that offers a high limit is a great credit-building strategy. Not only can a high limit make it easier to keep your credit utilization low (potentially boosting your credit score), but it can also be part of your larger savings plan.
Here we take a look at some of the best secured cards that offer a high limit, considering not only these cards’ maximum limits, but also their cost of ownership, long-term value and included credit-building tools.
U.S. Bank Secured Visa Card: $5,000 maximum limit
Not only does the U.S. Bank Secured Visa Card offer one of the highest credit limits currently available on a secured credit card, but it also comes with a manageable annual fee, relatively low APR and perks that can help keep your credit-building efforts on track.
You can put down anywhere from $300 to $5,000 as a refundable deposit and get a matching credit limit. Plus, you can pay your deposit online via a checking or savings account or send in a cashier’s check or money order – making it a great option if you don’t have a bank account or if someone else is taking care of the deposit for you.
The card is also notable for charging no penalty APR (many cards will hike your APR due to late payments) and carrying a regular APR of just 18.99% variable. While this is a bit higher than the national average APR, it’s quite low compared that of most credit cards for bad credit. The card charges an annual fee of $29, but this is also relatively low compared to that of many cards designed for building or rebuilding credit.
These features, along with included benefits like zero fraud liability, auto pay and a free monthly TransUnion credit score help the U.S. Bank Secured Visa stand out as a starter credit card.
Harley-Davidson Visa Secured Card: $5,000 maximum limit
Even if you couldn’t care less about motorcycles, the Harley-Davidson Visa Secured Card can be a great low-cost credit-building option. You can put down a deposit of up to $5,000 and get a matching credit limit, which should give you plenty of room to cover some bills and everyday expenses without stressing over your credit utilization.
Also issued by U.S. Bank, the card carries similar perks for credit-conscious cardholders, like a free VantageScore credit score and zero fraud liability. Additionally, your account is automatically reviewed for a potential upgrade to an unsecured card after 12 months of responsible use.
But unlike the U.S. Bank Secured Visa, the Harley-Davidson Visa Secured Card charges no annual fee. This is a huge plus, as many credit-building cards charge an annual fee of $40 or more.
The card also comes with a decent rewards program. You’ll earn 1 point per dollar on every purchase, and once you’ve earned 2,500 points you can redeem them for a $25 Harley-Davidson gift card. You’ll also be entered for a chance to win a new motorcycle every time you use your card.
While the Harley-Davidson Visa Secured Card charges all cardholders a high variable APR of 22.99%, regardless of credit history, its high limit, low cost of ownership, graduation potential and rewards program make it a solid choice for credit builders.
OpenSky Secured Visa: $3,000 maximum limit
If you’re worried about the credit impact of applying for a new card or if bad credit has you doubting your odds of approval, the OpenSky Secured Visa could be a great credit-building option for you. Not only can you put down as much as $3,000 and get a matching credit limit, but you won’t have to undergo a credit check to be approved for the card.
Indeed, all cardholders receive the same APR (17.39% variable) and are eligible for the same credit limit range ($200-$3,000), regardless of their credit history. This makes the OpenSky Secured Visa especially appealing if you have severely damaged credit due to late payments or bankruptcy.
On the downside, the card comes with no rewards program and a handful of pesky fees, including an annual fee of $35 and an inactive account fee of $10 per month after 12 months of no activity. While the annual fee is reasonable for a card designed for people with bad credit, you can find no-annual-fee secured cards with comparable credit limits (like the Discover it® Secured).
Still, the OpenSky Secured Visa’s $3,000 maximum credit limit, reasonable APR and no-credit-check application make it worth a look if you’re searching for a secured card with a high limit and a relatively low cost of ownership.
Discover it Secured: $2,500 maximum limit
The Discover it Secured is easily one of the best all-around secured credit cards on the market, and its potentially high credit limit is just one selling point. While the card’s $2,500 maximum credit limit (with a matching deposit) is not the highest available, it’s more than double that of many secured cards, including the Capital One® Secured Mastercard® and the Amazon Credit Builder, each of which carries a $1,000 maximum limit.
The Discover it Secured also charges no annual fee and comes with a very forgiving fee and penalty policy. You won’t be charged a late fee the first time you pay late, and you’ll never be assessed a penalty APR due to late payments. While you should always pay on time if you want to protect your credit score, having a bit of wiggle room could come in handy if you run short on cash or accidentally miss a payment due date.
The card’s most compelling feature, though, is its cash back rewards program – a rare sight among credit-building cards. You’ll earn 2% cash back at gas stations and restaurants on up to $1,000 in purchases each quarter and 1% cash back on all other purchases. Plus, Discover will match all the cash back you earn at the end of your first year. Since the card charges no annual fee, you could actually earn money just by using it for some of your everyday expenses.
You also enjoy a free monthly FICO score and may be able to graduate to an unsecured card after eight months of on-time payments.
Other high limit secured cards to consider
Like the cards profiled, these secured cards offer notably high credit limits, usually matching your security deposit. Some fall short in other areas – such as charging higher fees or APRs or offering limited rewards and credit monitoring tools – but if a high limit is one of your top priorities, these cards should fit the bill.
|Credit card||Minimum deposit||Maximum credit limit||Annual fee||APR|
|Unity Visa Secured Credit Card*||$250||$10,000||$39||17.99% (fixed)|
|Merrick Bank Secured Visa®||$200||$3,000||$36||17.45% (variable)|
|Citi® Secured Mastercard®*||$200||$2,500||$0||22.49% (variable)|
|First Progress Platinum Elite Mastercard® Secured Credit Card||$200||$2,000||$29||19.99% (variable)|
|Capital One® Secured Mastercard®||$49||$1,000||$0||26.99% (variable)|
How to build credit with a secured card
Unlike debit and prepaid cards, secured credit cards function just like traditional credit cards from a credit-building perspective. Your account standing and payment history are reported to the three major credit bureaus, allowing you to prove your creditworthiness through responsible card use. And since secured cards are typically easier to qualify for than unsecured cards, they’re a great option if you have a limited or damaged credit history and want to build good credit.
Secured cards also offer a unique advantage when it comes to credit utilization: Since they require you to put down a deposit to secure your line of credit, you have a bit more control over the size of your credit limit. While unsecured credit cards assign you a credit limit based on your credit history, secured cards generally let you determine your own limit within a specified range based on the size of your deposit.
Putting down a large deposit on a secured card will give you more room to make purchases while keeping your credit utilization low. For example, if you were to put down a $2,500 deposit and get a matching limit, you could build up a balance of $750 before reaching a 30% utilization ratio.
Other factors to consider when choosing a secured card
A high-limit secured card can certainly help your credit utilization, but that doesn’t mean the card with the highest limit will be the best option overall. Be sure to also consider these important factors when evaluating secured cards:
- Fees – Many cards designed for people with bad credit or a limited credit history carry exorbitant fees, with some charging close to $100 per year in annual fees. While this could simply be the cost of building credit, you should try for a card with as low a cost of ownership as possible.
- APR – Don’t be surprised by the high APRs you’ll see on most secured cards. Though a high APR is somewhat unavoidable without good credit, some cards charge a particularly egregious rate.
- Prequalification – When you apply for a credit card, you’ll almost always face a hard pull of your credit report, so it’s best to only apply for cards that offer decent approval odds. Look for cards that offer preapproval or prequalification and try the CreditCards.com CardMatch tool to get a better sense of your chances before you apply.
- Secured card “graduation” – Many secured cards make it possible for you to get your deposit back and upgrade or “graduate” to an unsecured version of your card or a similar unsecured product from the same issuer when you demonstrate responsible use.
- Cardholder benefits – Keep an eye out in particular for perks like free credit monitoring, access to your FICO score, custom account alerts, auto pay and any other features that will help you keep your credit on track and save you money.
- Ongoing rewards – While cash back or other rewards programs are not a common feature of secured cards, they do pop up on some cards. These programs can help you save on purchases and offset any card fees.
Whether you’re brand-new to credit cards or looking to rebuild your credit score after a few missteps, a secured credit card is a great place to start. Choosing a card that lets you put down a large deposit and get a matching high credit limit may make it easier to keep your credit utilization low, but be sure to weigh the benefit of a high limit against more immediate downsides like high fees and APRs.
* Information about the Unity Visa Secured Credit Card and the Citi Secured Mastercard has been collected independently by CreditCards.com and has not been reviewed by the issuers. The Unity Visa Secured Credit Card and the Citi Secured Mastercard are no longer available through CreditCards.com