Small business cards that are secured with a cash deposit minimizes a bank’s risk in lending you money, while also providing you with a credit line you need for your venture.
If your credit scores are low or you haven’t established a strong credit history, unsecured business credit cards may be out of reach. Secured business cards, however, are available. In lieu of a good-to-excellent credit rating, the issuer accepts a cash deposit as collateral. The money is held in a separate, interest-bearing account so that if you default on the debt, the issuer can claim what is owed from the deposit.
On the other hand, if you use the card responsibly, you can rebuild or build your credit so the wide world of business cards will be open to you. The deposit will be refunded to you when you close the card with no money owed or its converted into an unsecured card.
We developed a list of the best secured business cards on the market today, as well as the attributes of each.
Best secured business credit cards
Brex 30 Card: Best for unestablished credit
Why we picked it: The Brex 30 Card is a corporate card developed for businesses, and there is no credit check to determine qualification and set the credit line. Instead, Brex evaluates your company’s spending habits and assets. To qualify, you would need at least $100,000 in your corporate account or $50,000 if the funds are professionally managed.
You’ll get 50,000 welcome points after you meet the $9,000 minimum spend within 30 days of opening the account. You’ll also earn 7X points on ride shares, 4X on travel (when booked through the Brex portal) and 3X on restaurants and 1x on all other purchases. You can redeem the rewards for statement credits, travel (booked through the Brex Travel portal or by transferring the points to Brex’s airline partners) and for Bitcoin or Ethereum cryptocurrencies. Other perks include discounts for common business expenses such as Quickbooks and Google Ads. Keep in mind that this is a charge card, so you have to pay the bill in full.
- Access to a high credit limit
- Excellent rewards and perks
- No annual fee, account fees or personal guarantee
- Asset requirement will be too large for all business owners
- Doesn’t allow you to pay in installments
Who should apply? The Brex 30 Card is appropriate for well-funded startups and companies that will make the most of the elevated rewards. If you want to start your business credit history, this is a great option because the company reports on-time card payments to Dun & Bradstreet and Experian.
Who should skip? If you don’t have substantial assets, this card won’t make sense for you. And since it’s a charge card, you won’t be able to carry a balance over from month to month, so that flexibility is lost.
OpenSky Secured Visa Credit Card: Best for bad credit
Why we picked it: The OpenSky® Secured Visa® Credit Card doesn’t require a credit score to qualify. As a business owner, you’ll want to have a credit card with a credit line that can satisfy at least some of your purchases, and this could fit the bill. You start out with a low required deposit of $200, but you can deposit up to $3,000. The amount you offer as security will be your credit limit. Your deposit will be safe as long as you keep the account in good standing. This card has an annual fee of $35 and a relatively low APR of 18.99% (variable), making it an inexpensive tool for business transactions and credit building.
- Low annual fee of $35
- Easy qualification
- Opportunity for a large initial credit line
- No rewards program
- Will not transition into an unsecured card after responsible use
Who should apply? The OpenSky Secured Visa Credit Card is a good option if you want to have access to a credit line in denominations anywhere between $200 and $3,000. Outside of having to put the security deposit down, there are no other barriers to qualification. The fees are low and the interest rate is very reasonable compared to other credit cards that are designed for people with bad credit.
Who should skip? If you’re looking for a business credit card that offers at least some rewards for use, this card is not for you. In addition, some secured credit cards will convert to unsecured cards after you have made a certain number of on-time payments, and the deposit will be released back to you, but this one doesn’t offer that benefit.
Wells Fargo Business Secured Credit Card: Best for rewards
Why we picked it: The Wells Fargo Business Secured Credit Card gives account holders the ability to earn rewards as they charge. You can choose cash back or points: Earn 1.5% cash back for every dollar you spend on qualifying purchases or earn 1 point for every dollar to get 1,000 bonus points after you charge at least $1,000 on business expenses in any monthly billing period. The credit line ranges from $500 to $25,000, secured by your deposit.
You may be eligible to have the account converted to an unsecured card after you manage it responsibly. In addition, you can give up to 10 employees cards at no cost, and if you’ll be traveling internationally you won’t be charged foreign transaction fees.
- 1.5% cash back or 1 point for every dollar for 1,000 bonus points
- No annual fee
- Secured card may convert to an unsecured card
- Must set aside at least $500
- Wells Fargo business checking or savings account is required
Who should apply? If you have or want your business accounts with Wells Fargo, this card makes a lot of sense. It’s great for business owners with damaged credit but who also want the benefits of a creative rewards card.
Who should skip? If you can’t afford to tie up even $500, this card won’t be right for you. As a small business owner, cash can be very tight. You also may have your business account at a different bank or credit union so you might not want to switch over to Wells Fargo just for the credit card.
First Progress Platinum Select Mastercard® Secured Credit Card: Best for low interest
Why we picked it: The First Progress Platinum Select Mastercard® Secured Credit Card has a regular APR of just 16.24% (variable), so it will keep costs low when you want to charge business expenses and divide the payments into installments. The credit line ranges from $200 to $2,000, and you can use it anywhere Mastercard is accepted. It also comes with free, real-time access to your credit score and ongoing credit monitoring powered by Experian, which will make tracking your credit establishment process easy.
- APR of 16.24% (variable)
- Can start with just $200
- Free Experian credit score and monitoring
- $39 annual fee
- No rewards
Who should apply? If you know that you’ll want the option to pay in installments, the low APR on this card will make this card an attractive option. As a business owner looking to improve your credit score, you’ll have the ability to closely monitor it for free, so when you are ready to apply for an unsecured card there won’t be a delay.
Who should skip? This won’t be the right card for you if you’re looking for an account that offers rewards or the ability to transition into an unsecured card with excellent use.
Compare the best secured business credit cards
|Brex 30 Card||0||0|
|OpenSky® Secured Visa® Credit Card||$35||18.99% (variable)||0|
|Wells Fargo Business Secured Credit Card||$0|
|First Progress Platinum Select Mastercard® Secured Credit Card||$39||16.24% (variable)||0|
How to choose a secured business card
When you’re evaluating which secured business card to get, look at certain factors to decide what is most important to you:
- A security deposit that you can afford to keep locked away during the time that you have the card
- Enough of a credit line to make the purchases you need for your business
- Whether a charge card or a credit card is better for your needs
- The ability to transition into an unsecured credit card and have the deposit released
- Being able to earn rewards as you charge
- Fees that won’t be problematic
- Other benefits such as credit monitoring, discounts and credits on certain charges and employee cards
- Low APR if you’ll be carrying a balance
How to apply and get approved for a secured business card
The major benefit of a secured business card is that your credit reports and scores won’t be a qualification factor. What you do need to show is that you have money to collateralize the credit line and are ready to put it down when you are accepted.
To apply for a credit card in your name only, you will need to be at least 18 years old. You will need to complete the credit application and provide your personal identification information, as well as your income and household expenses. For a business card, you may also need to provide details about your business, such as the industry you are in, when you started the business, what your spending needs are and what the legal structure is. Each card has different requirements, though, so read the fine print carefully.
Pros and cons of using secured business cards
There are a number of pros and cons when using a secured business card:
- You have access to a credit line when your credit is unestablished or damaged.
- You will build your credit history with positive use, enabling you to qualify for an unsecured card when your credit is better.
- You can charge business expenses safely and securely.
- The deposit you put down will be fully refunded when you close the account or it is transitioned into an unsecured account.
- Depending on the card, you can earn rewards.
- The money held as a deposit may be funds you need for other things.
- Most secured business cards do not offer robust rewards, and some do not offer any.
- The credit limits can be very low, in which case you may not be able to charge enough to meet your business spending needs.
- If you default on the payments, the credit card issuer has the right to take what you owe from your deposit.
Secured business cards are meant to be either starter cards that enable you to charge when you have not established a credit history, or cards that you can use to repair a damaged credit history. It’s imperative that you use the card responsibly. Whether the account is a charge card or a credit card, paying the balance in full by the due date is usually the best strategy. And always get your payments in on time since it is the most important factor in both consumer and business credit scoring systems.
*All information about the Wells Fargo Business Secured Credit Card has been collected independently by CreditCards.com and has not been reviewed or approved by the issuer.