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Secured Credit Cards
Secured credit cards are ones with an associated deposit account. The card holder deposits, usually, between 100% and 200% of the credit line. So if the card holder deposits $1,000, they will be given a credit limit of between $500 and $1,000, depending on the terms. These cards can be useful for someone with no credit history or poor credit. If you make payments on time, it is a good way to improve your credit score.
Watch for the best deal. Some credit card offers require much less money to be deposited, even as low as 10%. The money is held in a savings account. These offers are made because the credit card companies learned that there were far fewer delinquencies when the card holder perceived that they had something to lose.
Some secured credit cards offers will allow you to use the equity in your home as the deposit.
You are still expected to make regular payments. But if you default on payments, the credit card company can take money out of your deposit to recover the cost of the purchases it paid to merchants for you. Usually the deposit money will be used when the account is closed or if it is delinquent 150 to 180 days. Your account will continue to accrue interest and fees if you are delinquent. That could result in a balance which is higher than the amount of your deposit. Then you would not only lose your deposit, you would also have additional debt.
Note that the service charges and fees for these secured credit cards may be higher than those of regular, non-secured cards.
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What the Government Has To Say About Credit Cards
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