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Best Secured Cards that Graduate

Federalist
Regular Contributor

Best Secured Cards that Graduate

The concept of getting a secured credit card is to help rebuilders establish revolving credit history with reputable cards. Many of us want to know that we will be rewarded for our responsible actions be having our security deposits returned and our cards converted to regular cards after a certain period of time.

 

This is an ongoing list of secured cards that graduate to unsecured after certain criteria are met (with the exception of SDFCU which does not graduate but may be worth it to you nonetheless based upon its other qualities). The methodology behind this stack rank is based upon consistency of reviews on this forum and other sources. We look at speed and ease of graduation as well as post-graduation benefits.

 

Here's what we've learned so far:

 

Best

1) Discover: (may graduate at 7 months - highly recommended by many MyFICO members - rewards card - limit up to $2500)

2) NFCU nRewards: (may graduate at 5 months,plus gets you in the door with NFCU - rewards card - limit up to $50,000)

3) BOA: (may graduate at 12 months or as early as 5 months with a hard pull and 7 months with soft pull - limit up to $4900)

4) Capital One: (new secured cards may graduate at 11 months and have CLIs)

5) AHCU: (anyone can join with a donation to the Kids-N-Hope Foundation through the application, or as a member of the foundation - rewards card)

6) FNBO Kickstart: (may graduate at 11 months and can start getting unsecured CLIs at 7 months)

7) FTDCU: (anyone can join through membership at the Financial Fitness Association OR the Computer History Museum)

 

Good

1) SDFCU: (anyone can join through membership to American Consumer Council for $15 - card does NOT graduate but is noted for other nice benefits)

2) US Bank Harley-Davidson Visa: (must call to get unsecured and take a hard pull)

3) Citi: (Unsecured after 18 months - limit up to $2500)

4) Wells Fargo: (mixed results unsecuring - limit up to $10,000)

5) USAA AMEX: (2-year CD means potentially long wait to unsecure but reports say they will offer separate unsecured cards during this time)

 

Avoid

1) First Premier Bank: (generally considered awful)

2) Open Sky: (no credit check but never graduates)

3) Primor Visa Classic: ("guaranteed" approval if income exceeds debt)

4) Credit One: (not recommended for the unsecured card, let alone the secured version)

 

Please help me with more data. I'd like to stackrank them based upon quality, graduation time, and needs. Comment and I'll update the list.

1 Timothy 6:10
Message 1 of 56
55 REPLIES 55
SecretAzure
Valued Contributor

Re: Best Secured Cards that Graduate

Capital One Secured...avoid. It can graduate...some really miniscule percentage of the populations' cards actually does. Most people end up just cancelling and closing.

"Show your thanks with action! Hit the "Kudos" button (the stripe with the star) for every post you find helpful to show your appreciation to the community of great individuals who help you on these forums" -Me

Active Cards: Chevron Texaco, Amex BCE, Barclays Ring, Chase Freedom, Chase Freedom Unlimited, Best Buy Visa, Marvel MCMust garden until 2/1/2022 to hit my goal AAOA. Smiley Indifferent
Message 2 of 56
baller4life
Super Contributor

Re: Best Secured Cards that Graduate

BOA can graduate as early as 5 months with a hp.
Message 3 of 56
newhis
Valued Contributor

Re: Best Secured Cards that Graduate


@baller4life wrote:
BOA can graduate as early as 5 months with a hp.

Hey baller, I read some reports that say that early graduation at around 7 months is sp now. If you ask for CLI then there is hp.

It was hp when I asked a couple of years ago, even without a CLI.

Message 4 of 56
ID38
New Member

Re: Best Secured Cards that Graduate

US BANK Harley-Davidson Visa Secured Card

 

It graduates, but you have to call them and ask.
I called after 28 months. Got all of my money back. They did hard pull when I requested to unsecure the card. 

 

Also the card does not have an annual fee...

Message 5 of 56
Vizion
Regular Contributor

Re: Best Secured Cards that Graduate

Citi have a secured card that Unsecures after 18 months.
Message 6 of 56
lowkeyorca
Valued Contributor

Re: Best Secured Cards that Graduate


@Federalist wrote:

Is there an updated list? There are so many threads for "secured" that I couldn't find one. If not, I'll edit this one as data comes in. Here's what I've learned so far:

 

Best

1) Discover: May graduate at 7 months - (highly recommended)

2) NFCU nRewards: May graduate at 5 months - (plus gets you in the door with NFCU)

3) BOA: May graduate at 12 months (as early as 5 months with a hard pull)

 

Good

1) US BANK Harley-Davidson Visa (Must call to get unsecured and take a hard pull)

2) Citi (Unsecured after 18 months)

3) Wells Fargo (mixed results unsecuring)

 

Avoid

1) First Premier Bank

2) Capital One (though they are working on graduating, it seems to be few and far between)

 

Good for Really Bad Credit

1) Open Sky (no credit check but never graduates)

2) Primor Visa Classic ("guaranteed" approval if income exceeds debt)

 

Please help me with more data. I'd like to stackrank them based upon quality, graduation time, and needs. Comment and I'll update the list.


 Capital One should be in the best category. At 5th statement cut with 100% on time payments, you receive an automatic CLI, usually for $300. 

 

New Capital One secured accounts ALL GRADUATE at 11th statement cut with 100% on time payments. Deposit is returned as a statement credit, but if that gives you a positive balance, you can write a request for a refund and it will be returned within 7-10 days.

 

BoA will graduate as early as 5 months with HP, 7 months with a SP.

 

I'm not sure I'd have 'good for really bad credit' as a listing. To me, those should be in the avoid category. Most people who can only get approved for those cards are currently in a lot of debt (util, collections, charge offs) and should be working first on those, and then get a secured card from the good/best categories once they have managed their debt. 

 

The only type of credit I recommend for people who have bad credit is a self-lender loan, as it also teaches those people to save money, and they can send a small amount per month, that wouldn't really take away from paying down their debts.


EX08 659 EQ08 660 TU08 695 Starting: mid 300'sGoal: 700
Message 7 of 56
doinit1
Valued Contributor

Re: Best Secured Cards that Graduate

My experience is with Bank of America and Capital One.... the info still seems to be correct..

American Express Business Gold(NPSL 10k) Chase CSP (25k) BofA CR Siggy (20.8k) BofA BBR (22.1k) Amex BCP(4.1k) Overstock (21.1K) Lowes (17K) NFCU CLOC (15K) NFCU VS Cash (15K) Care Credit (15k) J Crew( 11.9k)Venture WMC (10.25k) Amex Everyday (1k) Chase Slate (10k) Walmart MC(10k) BB Visa (10k) Discover(4.5k☝️) PayPal Cashback Mastercard (8k) Chase FU (7.4k) Citi AAdvantage Gold World Elite (9.5K) Citi Double Cash (8.5k) Fidelity® Rewards Visa Signature® Card (6.5K) PenFed PCR (5K) PayPal Credit (4550)Discover (500✌️) Kohls (3k) Chase Freedom (1500)

Mortgage May 2017 - 2 auto loans (1 PenFed and 1 Navy) Aug 2018=98K
Gardening until June 2021

FICO 8 Scores EX 700 EQ 696 TU 703
AAOA 5.2yrs TCL=268,700
Message 8 of 56
lowkeyorca
Valued Contributor

Re: Best Secured Cards that Graduate

 

State Department Federal Credit Union (SDFCU) (anyone can join through membership to American Consumer Council for $15) --- best

 

First Tech Digital Credit Union (anyone can join through membership at the Financial Fitness Association OR the Computer History Museum) -- Best

 

American Heritage Credit Union (anyone can join with a donation to the Kids-N-Hope Foundation through the application, or as a member of the foundation) -- BEST. This is a REWARDS card.

 

Need feedback for:

USAA 

Wells Fargo

SunTrust Bank

5/3 Bank

Digital Credit Union (DCU)

NASA Federal Credit Union (anyone can join through membership to National Space Society)

Connexus Credit Union (anyone can join)

 


EX08 659 EQ08 660 TU08 695 Starting: mid 300'sGoal: 700
Message 9 of 56
sweetdreams
Regular Contributor

Re: Best Secured Cards that Graduate

Pretty sure SDFCU doesn't graduate their secured card unfortunately... otherwise great card
Message 10 of 56
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