Sun. Jan 29th, 2023
Discover it Secured Credit Card review

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The Discover it® Secured is worth considering if you’re new to credit or are working on rebuilding your score, since it’s unlikely you’ll be approved for any of the best credit cards on the market. It’s unique because it earns strong rewards when most other secured credit cards do not.

Review: Is the Discover it Secured the best credit card for you?

Building a positive credit history and score takes time and diligence. If you’re opening your first credit card or want to rebuild a tarnished credit history, the Discover it® Secured is an attractive option if a regular credit card isn’t available to you. 

Like other secured credit cards, Discover requires a security deposit equivalent to the credit line you want. So if you pay a $500 deposit, you’ll get a $500 credit line. The deposit is refundable (more on that below). 

Unlike most other secured credit cards — which typically don’t earn rewards — the Discover it® Secured offers up to 2% cash back and other benefits like no foreign transaction fees.

We’re focused here on the rewards and perks that come with each card. These cards won’t be worth it if you’re paying interest or late fees. When using a credit card, it’s important to pay your balance in full each month, make payments on time, and only spend what you can afford to pay.

Who should consider the Discover it Secured credit card?

The Discover it® Secured is a good option for those with little to no credit history, like new US residents or students. Those with poor credit history who want to increase their credit score can also benefit from using a credit card and making all payments on time.

All three credit bureaus receive payment reports from Discover, and on-time payments with the Discover it® Secured will help build a positive credit history.

Even if you don’t have a credit history or have a low credit score, you might qualify for a non-secured starter credit card. Students may also qualify for cards targeted to them, so you should see if you can qualify for a non-secured credit card before looking at the Discover it® Secured. 

Opening a new credit card isn’t the only way to develop a positive credit history. If you have a parent with a good credit history they can help by adding you as an authorized user

How to apply for the Discover it Secured card

When you apply for the Discover it® Secured, your credit report will be reviewed. If approved, you will immediately provide your banking information to pay the security deposit, which will be automatically withdrawn from your bank account. 

Your credit line is equal to your security deposit — so if you deposit $500, your credit line will be $500. The minimum amount is $200, and the maximum is $2,500, and you can pay in $100 increments. 

The security deposit is refundable. After seven months, Discover will evaluate your account monthly to determine whether to “graduate” your card away from secured status and refund your security deposit. Your security deposit is also refunded if you close the card and pay the balance in full. If the balance is not paid in full, your security deposit will be used to pay the balance, and the remainder refunded. 

How to use rewards from the Discover it Secured card

With the Discover it® Secured you can earn 2% cash back on the first $1,000 spent in combined purchases at gas stations and restaurants each quarter (then 1%). All other purchases earn 1% cash back with no limit. 

At the end of your first year, Discover will match all the cash back you earned in the first year. So if you earned $200 in your first year, Discover would deposit an additional $200 within two billing cycles after your 12th bill. 

You can redeem cash-back rewards any time for a statement credit, or use them instantly at checkout at Amazon or through PayPal. Rewards never expire and are automatically redeemed as a statement credit if you close your card or if you don’t use your card for 18 months. 

If you’re looking for a card that earns cash-back rewards and you have a good credit score, check out our guide to the best cash-back credit cards for more options.

Discover it Secured card benefits and features

For a secured credit card, the Discover it® Secured has a decent list of benefits.

Complimentary credit score and security monitoring

When you’re building your credit history, it’s useful to keep track of how your score changes. The Discover it® Secured gives you complimentary access to your FICO credit score and reports information with TransUnion. 

Discover also searches for unauthorized uses of your Social Security Number and will alert you to suspicious activity. Further, they will alert you if any new account, such as a credit card, mortgage, or car loan shows up on your credit report. These tools will help protect you against identity theft. 

Several credit card issuers offer identity theft protection programs — some are free, and others charge a monthly fee. To learn about all your options, read our guides to the best credit monitoring services and best identity theft protection programs.

Freeze your card instantly 

You can temporarily freeze/unfreeze your credit card using the Discover mobile app or on their website. This is helpful if you misplaced your credit card somewhere in your home.

Pay your bill up to midnight on the due date

Most credit cards need to be paid a day or two before the due date to make sure the payment posts in time. With Discover, you can pay your bill by phone or online up to midnight (Eastern Time) on the due date.

Late payment protection

If you pay your bill late, your APR won’t increase and one late fee is also waived for your first late payment — but you should always pay your bill on time to help build a positive credit history. 

Additional late payments will incur up to a $41 fee.

Complimentary overnight shipping for card replacements in the US

If you lose your card, Discover will ship a new card overnight to anywhere in the US for free. 

No foreign transaction fees

You won’t pay foreign transaction fees when making purchases outside the US with the Discover it® Secured, so it’s a good card to take along on international trips.

Zero fraud liability

You will not be liable for unauthorized transactions made to your Discover it® Secured if you immediately contact Discover if your card is lost or stolen, if your credentials are compromised, or if your account has been accessed without your permission. 

Discover it Secured card fees and costs

The Discover it® Secured has no annual fee and no foreign transaction fees, and the late fee is waived for your first late payment (up to $41 per occurrence thereafter).

Like most other cards, there are also fees for returned payments, balance transfers, and cash advances.

Compare Discover it Secured vs other secured credit cards

 

Discover it® Secured

Capital One Platinum Secured Credit Card – Product Name Only

Capital One Quicksilver Secured Cash Rewards Credit Card – Product Name Only

 

Annual fee

Discover it® Secured

Capital One Platinum Secured Credit Card – Annual Fee

Capital One Quicksilver Secured Cash Rewards Credit Card – Annual Fee

 

Approval process

Your credit report is reviewed and a refundable deposit equivalent to the credit line amount is collected

The minimum credit line is $200

Your credit report is reviewed and a refundable deposit is collected

The credit line may exceed your deposit

The minimum credit line is $200

Your credit report is reviewed and a refundable deposit is equivalent to the credit line amount is collected

The minimum credit line is $200

Minimum deposit

$200

$49, $99, or $200

$200

Deposit refund

After seven months, Discover will review your account and credit history monthly and may refund your security deposit

Deposit is refunded when the account is closed and paid

Automatically considered for a higher credit line in as little as six months

Security deposit may be earned back as a statement credit and is refundable if you close your account and pay your balance in full

Automatically considered for a higher credit line in as little as six months

Security deposit may be earned back as a statement credit and is refundable if you close your account and pay your balance in full

Rewards rate

2% cash back at gas stations and restaurants on up to $1,000 in combined purchases each quarter (then 1%)

1% cash back on all other purchases with no limit

N/A

5% cash back on hotels and car rentals booked through Capital One Travel

1.5% cash back on all other eligible purchases

Welcome bonus offer

None, but Discover will dollar-for-dollar match all the cash back you earned after the first 12 months

Capital One Platinum Secured Credit Card

N/A

Card benefits

 

No foreign transaction fees

Automatic consideration for credit line increases

Refundable security deposit

No foreign transaction fees

Automatic consideration for credit line increases

Refundable security deposit

No foreign transaction fees

Automatic consideration for credit line increases

Refundable security deposit

Review

 

 

Capital One Quicksilver Secured review

Discover it Secured vs other starter credit cards

 

Discover it® Secured

Petal Visa

Capital One Platinum Card

Annual fee

Discover it® Secured

$0

Capital One® Platinum Credit Card

Approval process

Your credit report is reviewed and a refundable deposit equivalent to the credit line amount is collected

The minimum credit line is $200

Credit report and banking history is reviewed, helping those with little credit history

No security deposit

Credit report is reviewed

No security deposit

Minimum deposit

$200

N/A

N/A

Deposit refund

After seven months, Discover will review your account and credit history monthly and may refund your security deposit

Deposit is refunded when the account is closed and paid

N/A

N/A

Rewards rate

2% cash back at standalone gas stations and restaurants on up to $1,000 in combined purchases each quarter (then 1%)

1% cash back on all other purchases with no limit

Earn 1% cash back on all eligible purchases

Earn 1.25% cash back on all eligible purchases after six on-time monthly payments

Earn 1.5% cash back on all eligible purchases after 12 on-time monthly payments

2 to 10% cash back at select merchants

N/A

Welcome bonus

None, but Discover will dollar-for-dollar match all the cash back you earned after the first 12 months

N/A

Capital One Platinum Credit Card

Card benefits

No foreign transaction fees

Automatic consideration for credit line increases

Refundable security deposit

Petal mobile app

Qualify for credit line increase after the first six months (terms and restrictions apply)

Card freeze

No foreign transaction fees, late fees, or returned payment fees

No foreign transaction fees

Automatic credit line reviews after the first six months

Free credit monitoring with CreditWise from Capital One

Review

 

Petal 2 Visa card review

Capital One Platinum card review

Discover it Secured frequently asked questions (FAQ)

What credit score is needed for the Discover it Secured card?

There’s no minimum credit score requirement to be considered for the Discover it® Secured. In fact, the application page for the card says you don’t even need a credit score to apply.

What is the credit limit for the Discover it Secured card?

Your credit limit on the Discover it® Secured card will be equal to the amount of the security deposit you put down. The bigger your security deposit, the higher your credit line will be. The minimum deposit is $200 (so you’d receive a $200 credit limit), but it can be as much as $2,500 (for a $2,500 credit limit).

Does the Discover it Secured do a credit check?

Yes, Discover will do a credit check when deciding whether or not to approve you for the Discover it® Secured. 

Can you be denied for the Discover it Secured?

Even though the Discover it® Secured is easier to get because it requires a security deposit, there’s no guarantee you’ll be approved. Discover will look at your credit history, income, and existing debt when it considers your application. According to Discover, you may be denied if your income is too low or if you’ve filed for bankruptcy in the past.

How can the Discover it Secured help me improve my credit score?

The Discover it® Secured can help you boost your credit score if you use it responsibly. That means paying your bill on time (and in full, if possible) to develop a positive credit history. Because your payment history is the biggest factor affecting your credit score, this is the most important rule to follow if your goal is to increase your score.

Also, by opening a new credit line, you’ll increase the total amount of credit you have available. This improves your credit utilization ratio (the amount of credit you’re currently using relative to the total amount available to you). A lower credit utilization ratio (typically below 30%) has a positive effect on your credit score.

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