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Secured vs. Unsecured. Which is better for repairing credit?

New Visitor

Secured vs. Unsecured. Which is better for repairing credit?

So here's my situation. 


When I was 18 I got a credit card. Paid it down every month. Never had a balance. After a few months I misplaced it after doing some shopping online. Didn't think much of it, because I was only using it to build my credit, I didn't use the card for anything in particular. 


Well then I moved and changed phones all in the same month. I didn't do a mail forward (remember I was 18). I completely forgot about the purchases I had made. 


Almost 7 years later, my phone rings. It's a collection agency. Calling about my Capital 1 debt. I told her she had the wrong person. A few days later, they call again. Sure enough, they had tracked me down and I did actually owe them money. I paid off the balance in two quick payments and moved on. 


That is literally the only thing that has ever been on my credit. I've never had a loan, or utility in my name. I always pay cash for everything.


My score is 601. It was 620, but I've had 5 hard inquires in the last 6 months and I think that lowered it. I've also started a business so the hard inquiries were a result of that. 


So obviously I need to rebuild it. It's a little embarassing to go to you business partners and need their credit for everything. If I weren't making them $, they would probably hate me. 


I've been researching my options. It seems like with my credit, I either have to get a terrible unsecured card like the Credit One Platinum card, or a secured card. I won't be carrying a blanance, so the inerest rate isn't as important to me. I just want what's best for my credit and something with decent fees. 


Which would be better for my credit, the secured card or the unsecured, pre approved card from hell?


Also, the previous credit card that is on my credit report began reporting 6.6 years ago. Does that mean it will be off my credit report in 3 months, or does it come off your credit report 7 years from when you pay it off? If it does come off my credit in 3 months, should I wait and apply after it leaves my credit report?


Thanks for you help. 


Kind regards,



Message 1 of 5
Valued Member

Re: Secured vs. Unsecured. Which is better for repairing credit?

With the hard inquiries only a month old I would recommend going for an secured card as more of a guarantee. You could try going unsecured but that risks adding an additional hard inquiry if you are denied and end up going for the secured card right after. 


Negative payments on your card will drop after 7 years and positive activity will stay for 10. I'm not sure exactly how that appears in report but someone else could chime in and confirm/deny. 

Starting Scores: 639 EX | 625 EQ | 664 TU (9/1/13)
Current Scores: 640 EX (11/10/13) | 627 EQ (10/18/13) | 658 TU (12/16/13)
CL Timeline: CapOne Secured: $1200 | Amazon Store Card: $800 • In the Garden until 01/2015 (for auto re-fi)

*Score dropped 10 points on 12/09/13 for auto loan inquiries and high christmas utilization.
Message 2 of 5
Regular Contributor

Re: Secured vs. Unsecured. Which is better for repairing credit?

For you... hands down get a secured card.

You really can't afford any more HP's (inquires) on your report. 


SDFCU has a really good secured card with low apr (which you don't care about) but it's a really good secured card. Lowest balance to secure is $250. 

You can apply at 


OpenSky doesn't pull credit either. You can get secure card with them for $200. 



Starting Score: (FICO)(August 29, 2013) 502(EQ) 568(EX) 549(TU)
Current Score: (FICO) (January 28, 2017) 712(EQ) 720(EX) 720(TU)
Goal Score: 720(EQ) 720(EX) 720(TU)

Amex Business Platinum NPSL | Chase Sapphire Preferred $15,000 | Chase Freedom $9000 | Amex ED $1,000 | BofACash Rewards $3100 | Amazon Store Card $4000
Message 3 of 5
New Contributor

Re: Secured vs. Unsecured. Which is better for repairing credit?

I also say secured...with a secured you can continually add money to it, raising your credit limit....which also looks good on your report.

Message 4 of 5
Frequent Contributor

Re: Secured vs. Unsecured. Which is better for repairing credit?

Secured cards would be better for rebuilding and will help you get approved for unsecured cards in the future.
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Message 5 of 5