Not all credit-builder or secured credit cards are created equally. Some will offer easy qualifying but also hit you with high rates and annual fees. I will go over the Discover it® Secured Credit Card and whether or not it will be a good fit for your particular credit needs.
The Discover it® Secured Credit with over 1800 reviews has a 4.8 out of 5 with customer satisfaction. It stands to reason that this card is popular because it offers a high reward rate of 2% cashback at restaurants and gas stations and 1% on everything else. Discover also has an unusual cashback matching feature at the end of the year that could add some serious cash to your pocket.
There are a lot of pros and a few cons that go with this card which I will go over in more detail before you make a decision. But first, you need to understand why you would want a secured credit card from Discover, to begin with.
Why Do I Need A Credit Builder or Secured Credit Card?
If you are just starting out building your credit file or if you are trying to rectify past mistakes on your credit report then the best place to start is with credit card utilization. Credit cards are the fastest and best way to start building a strong credit file. There are a few reasons for this.
- Credit Cards are easier to qualify for over auto loans and personal loans.
- Opening a new credit card account may boost your credit score within 30 days to 6 months depending on your current credit situation.
- You can control how much you spend on a credit card, your credit utilization rate, and credit limit.
Getting started with credit.
The tide has been turning though and more banks and credit card companies are seeing the win/win situation of offering a solid secured card. They know you can be turned into a long term customer who has proven their ability to use their credit responsibly.
Tip: Make sure when you are choosing credit cards that you think about the long term relationship. Is this a card you will want to keep when you have a good credit score?
One question to ask yourself is: Once you have established good credit history will you be able to obtain better terms without closing the account?
Many credit-builder or secured credit cards have high annual fees and interest rates to compensate for the risk the bank is taking by extending someone credit. These do not always go away after you have rebuilt your credit.
You do not want to close accounts with a good credit history but the annual fee is no longer justified because you have proven you can handle credit responsibly.
By closing a high fee credit account you are potentially going to lower your credit score because you will also lose the credit and payment history on an open credit card. After seven years that credit history will be completely wiped from your credit report.
This is why it is important to choose the right card from the beginning.
How a Secured Credit Card Works
When you open a secured credit card you are essentially putting up the cash that you want in a credit limit. If you deposit $200 with Discover, you will get a $200 credit line. You can also add more of a deposit to get a higher credit limit.
With Discover, you will get a credit review in 8 months to see if you qualify for an unsecured card at that point. Most credit card companies wait a year. Some creditors will do it automatically and others require that you make the request.
At that point, you will be refunded your deposit in full and the credit card will be considered unsecured. You may even be able to get a credit limit increase at this point.
They may look at the following credit factors and attributes when making this decision:
- Late payments, if any.
- Exceeding your credit limit.
- Credit utilization – How much of the credit line did you utilize.
Pros of the Discover it® Secured Card
With over 1800 reviews and a 4.8 rating, Discover is doing a great job at helping people to build or rebuild their credit.
- No annual fee.
- Refundable security deposit.
- 8-month credit reviews vs. 1 year with some other cards. Then monthly reviews after that.
- Reports to all 3 credit bureaus.
- Earn 1-2% cashback on certain purchases.
- Get an unlimited dollar for dollar match on your cashback at the end of the year. If you get $100 cashback … Discover will match and add another $100.
- Your Cashback never expires,
- Use your rewards at Amazon.com
- Free Dark Web and Credit monitoring
- Freeze your account immediately to stop new purchases if it is ever compromised.
- $0 Fraud Liability
- Free overnight shipping on card replacements.
- Paying late will not raise your APR
- No late fee on the first late payment.
- No over-limit fee.
- Never any foreign transaction fees.
- Get a free Credit Scorecard with your FICO® Credit Score and the number of recent inquiries.
- 100% US-based Customer Service Centers and Reps
- Pay your bill on time before midnight on the day it is due. Many companies have a cut off earlier in the day.
The Cons of Discover it® Secured Credit Card
There are really only a few cons I can think of when it comes to working with a Discover Secured Card.
- Discover is not as widely accepted as other cards like Visa and MasterCard, especially outside of the US.
- Lower Credit Limits – This can be a pro and a con. It is a pro because allowing you to only put $200 as a deposit should be obtainable for most customers. It is a con because in order to boost your score it is important that you do not use more than 30% of your credit limit. This can hinder your purchasing power. That means you can not charge more than $60.00 in any given cycle.
- This is probably across the board with many banks who do not have locations you can visit, but when it comes to getting your deposit back, don’t count on it quickly if you have an emergency. Once you pay your balance in full and close your credit card account, Discover will refund your security deposit which can take up to two billing cycles plus ten days.
- You must be 18 to apply. If your teen is under the age of 18 then they will have to go with another credit card company.
The solution to a lower credit limit is to have a bigger deposit or to add more to your deposit over time. Discover offers secured credit limits up to $2500. This is determined by your credit score and ability to repay.
Tip: Often people will use their tax refund as a way to rebuild their credit by taking a portion of the proceeds and putting it down to secure a credit card.
The Bottom Line
Discover is one of my favorite credit card companies. I have had a Discover card for over 6 years now. I was always a big fan of another company but decided to try Discover out and I have never regretted it. Their customer service is excellent and it is a solid card to have in your wallet.
This is what I found:
- When I call the customer service line, someone answers almost immediately once you are through security which is just entering the last 4 of your social. Other companies I have to put in the card number, my social, the name of my firstborn only to have been placed on hold, and then asked the same questions I already input on the phone. It is so annoying! Discover does not do that to you!
- I get regular credit line increases without actually asking for them.
- They are always so pleasant!
Discover is a great way to build or rebuild your credit file. They offer excellent customer service and it is a card you can keep for the long term with great rates, terms and cashback features.
Refer a Friend Link
You can use my personal Refer a Friend link and earn a $50 Statement Credit once you are approved and use the card and make a purchase in the first three months!