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Review of the Discover it® Secured Credit Card

Updated Jul 17, 2020 | Published Feb 07, 20209 min read

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Discover it® Secured

Min Credit Level Bad
Annual Fee $0
Regular APR See Terms
At a glance

One of the best secured cards on the market, the Discover it Secured offers benefits and rewards while helping you rebuild or establish your credit history.

Credit Card Insider receives compensation from advertisers whose products may be mentioned on this page. Advertiser relationships do not affect card evaluations. Advertising partners do not edit or endorse our editorial content. Content is accurate to the best of our knowledge when it's published. Learn more in our Editorial Guidelines.

The information related to Discover it® Secured, Capital One® Secured Mastercard®, and Citi® Secured Mastercard® have been collected by Credit Card Insider and have not been reviewed or provided by the issuer or provider of these products.

This is a review of one of the best secured credit cards on the market, the Discover it® Secured.

Secured cards require a security deposit when you’re approved for the account. They’re meant for people with limited or bad credit, meaning a FICO Credit Score of around 660 or below. You’ll need to make a deposit to get this card, but there is no annual fee after that.

This card is designed to help you improve or rebuild your credit, and it reports to all three of the major credit bureaus. So as long as you use it responsibly, you’ll be adding more positive activity to your credit reports.

The Discover it Secured is one of the better offers because it provides a lot of cash back compared to other secured cards. That’s especially true because Discover will double what you earn in your first year. You’ll get a few handy benefits from Discover, including the ability to check one of your FICO credit scores.

Is this card right to help you improve your credit? Read our comprehensive review to find out.

Discover it® Secured

Our rating
Min. credit levelBad
Details
Annual Fee$0
Regular APRSee Terms

The information related to Discover it® Secured has been collected by Credit Card Insider and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer or provider of this product.

Our Rating: 5 Out of 5 Stars

We gave the Discover it Secured 5 out of 5 Stars because it has favorable terms and provides a surprising amount of cash back. When it comes to cards for people with poor credit, this is a rare find.

Why We Like It

  • 2% cash back at gas stations and restaurants (many secured cards offer no rewards at all)
  • Double cash back in your first year
  • Chance to earn your security deposit back through responsible credit use
  • Free FICO Score 8 from TransUnion
  • No foreign transaction fee
  • No annual fee
  • High-quality customer support from Discover

Why It Could Be Better

  • 2% cash back rewards are limited to the first $1,000 spent per quarter
  • Lackluster set of extra benefits

Insider Advice: Getting the Most Out of Your Card

  • Build your credit history: Use this card responsibly to add positive activity to your credit reports. Don’t charge more than you can pay for, pay your bills on time, and don’t go over your credit limit. We recommend you always pay off your balance in full, to avoid interest and improve your credit as quickly as possible.
  • Monitor your credit: Discover’s FICO Credit Scorecard can help you get a good understanding of your credit, and monitor it as it changes over time. Discover will provide specific tips to help you improve based on your account activity, so read through them carefully.
  • Make a large security deposit: The more you can put down for the security deposit, the larger your credit limit will be. A larger credit line can be better for your credit. It will also make spending easier because you won’t have to worry as much about hitting the limit.
  • Get your deposit back: Discover will review your account every eight months. If you’ve been managing your credit responsibly, they’ll consider returning your deposit and letting you continue to use the card. Discover will review your overall credit history, not just this card.
  • For gas and dining: Use this card to earn 2% cash back at gas stations and restaurants, unless you can earn more with a different card. This is a great deal compared to most secured credit cards. Discover will even double your rewards in the first year!
  • Redeem for gift cards, statement credits, or direct deposits: Redeem your cash back for gift cards whenever possible because you’ll get at least $5 added to the redemption. Or, redeem it for statement credits or as direct deposits.
  • Be wary of the balance transfer offer: Avoid the balance transfer offer with this card, of See Terms for See Terms. You could use this to transfer a balance away from an account with a higher balance if necessary. But it would be better to use a different balance transfer card, offering 0% APR for a longer period.

The Security Deposit

This is a secured credit card, which means you’re going to need to put down a refundable security deposit when you’re approved. Your credit limit will be equal to the amount of your deposit.

A minimum deposit of $200 is required. Your maximum credit limit will be determined by your credit history, along with your income and ability to pay. The maximum security deposit and credit limit possible is $2,500.

You’ll receive your security deposit back when or if you close out the card. Discover will also check your account and credit in general every eight months for responsible behavior. If they like what they see, they may refund your security deposit.

The Rewards

The Discover it Secured earns 2% cash back on gas and restaurants, and 1% everywhere else. That alone makes it pretty rewarding as far as secured cards go, but to make it even better, Discover offers its Cashback Match for your first year.

That means during those 12 months, you’ll actually earn 4% and 2% respectively, making this card that much more rewarding.

Earning

Spending Rewards
  • 2% cash back on up to $1,000 spent per quarter at:
    • Gas stations
    • Restaurants
  • 1% cash back on all other purchases
Introductory Bonus Offer
  • Cashback Match: New cardmembers get double cash back in the first year (awarded after the first year)

The cash back you earn won’t expire, and you can earn an unlimited amount.

The fact that Discover will double what you earn is a great deal, meaning you’ll get 4% cash back at restaurants and on gas, and 2% cash back on all other purchases for that first year. The amount of cash back you can earn makes this one of the most rewarding secured credit cards available. Your bonus cash back will be awarded after the end of your first year with the card.

These are some of the better rewards you’ll find on any secured credit card. To see some other options without rewards, check out some alternative cards below.

Redeeming

Discover will always provide at least $1 for every $1 in cash back that you’ve earned, no matter how you redeem your rewards. Other card issuers have some options that are less rewarding than others, so this is a nice feature.

You’ll have five different options for redeeming your cash back:

  1. As a statement credit to reduce your balance
  2. Directly into a bank account of your choice
  3. For gift cards
  4. As a charitable donation
  5. Pay with rewards at select retailers, like Amazon.com

The gift card option will offer a bonus on your redemptions of at least $5, so use it first whenever possible.

Statement credits and direct deposits are both easy ways to redeem your cash back. A statement credit will lower your card’s account balance, while a direct deposit will be sent to your bank account.

We recommend always using one of the first four options above, and avoiding number five. If you use your cash back for Amazon purchases you won’t earn any rewards, so it’s better to just pay with your card as usual.

The Benefits

  • FICO Credit Scorecard: Access your FICO Score 8 whenever you’d like for free, based on your TransUnion credit report.
  • Cash at Checkout: At eligible retailers you can get cash at checkout, a handy way to get some money without going to an ATM. The extra cash will be counted as part of your purchase.
  • Refer a Friend bonus: Earn a $50 statement credit bonus for every friend you refer who’s approved, up to 10 friends per year. If your friend makes a purchase within three months of opening the account, he or she will earn a $50 bonus too.
  • $0 Fraud Liability Guarantee: If your card is lost or stolen, you are not liable for any fraudulent charges made to your account. Contact customer support immediately if you suspect fraud.
  • Fraud Protection: Discover monitors your account around the clock for suspicious or unusual activity.
  • Free Social Security number alerts: Discover searches for your Social Security number on thousands of risky sites and will alert you if your information was compromised.
  • New account alerts: Get notified of credit inquiries and new accounts on your Experian credit report

The Terms & Fees

Purchase APR Balance Transfer APR Cash Advance APR Minimum Security Deposit Maximum Security Deposit
See Terms See Terms for See Terms, then See Terms See Terms $200 $2,500
Annual Fee Foreign Transaction Fee Balance Transfer Fee Cash Advance Fee
$0  None See Terms See Terms
Penalty APR Late Fee Returned Payment Fee
None See Terms See Terms

There’s no annual fee to pay, just the security deposit as described above. You’ll get a balance transfer offer with this card, but we don’t recommend using it. Check out our picks for the best balance transfer credit cards if you’re looking to move a balance away from an account with high interest.

This card is pretty forgiving — there’s no penalty APR for paying late, and no fee for the first late payment. These are surprisingly good features to find on a secured card.

The Bottom Line

The Discover it® Secured is one of the best secured cards available today. While most secured cards tend to come with penalties for having poor credit, this card actually has a number of benefits with no real penalties.

The cash back program is actually very good, even compared to many non-secured cards. The fact that Discover will double the cash back you earn after a year really puts this card over the top when it comes to the rewards. But you won’t get much in the way of extra perks.

The regular purchase APR may seem high, but this is expected for secured credit cards. And, you can avoid paying interest if you simply pay off your entire balance every month by the due date. So the interest rate shouldn’t worry you too much.

Insider tip

As long as you use this card responsibly, you’ll be adding a positive account to your credit reports, improving your credit score. Eventually you’ll be able to qualify for an even better reward card.

This is one of the cards in its class, but there are many other options out there. Check out some alternatives to the Discover it Secured below.

How to Apply for the Discover it Secured Card

You can apply for the Discover it Secured Card securely on Discover’s website. Discover will check your credit reports from the major bureaus, along with other financial information.

You’ll need to provide your bank account number and your bank’s routing number to finish the application. If approved, you’ll need to pay the required security deposit. If you don’t have a bank account, take a look at the OpenSky Secured Visa below.

Discover it® Secured

Our rating
Min. credit levelBad
Details
Annual Fee$0
Regular APRSee Terms

The information related to Discover it® Secured has been collected by Credit Card Insider and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer or provider of this product.

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Alternatives to the Discover it Secured Card

If the Discover it Secured Card doesn’t seem like the best option for you, or if you just want to know about other secured cards out there, take a look at these alternatives we’ve compiled below.

Capital One® Secured Mastercard®

  • Min. credit levelBad
  • Annual Fee$0
  • Regular APR26.99% (Variable)

The Capital One® Secured Mastercard® (Review) has no annual fee and offers no rewards for spending. Instead of earning rewards, this card is solely focused on helping you improve your credit.

Depending on your creditworthiness, you’ll be required to make a deposit of either $49, $99, or $200, which will fund your credit limit. You’ll need a bank account in order to make the deposit. Uniquely, however, no matter what you’re required to pay, your starting line of credit will be $200. You could also pay more than that to increase your credit limit, up to $1,000.

You may be automatically considered for a higher credit line after six months. You won’t need to make any extra deposit for this. This is a great feature for secured cards, which tend to have very low credit limits.

The Capital One Secured wins when it comes to extra benefits, which include an Extended Warranty, Price Protection, Auto Rental Insurance, and others; these can be pretty useful. However, you won’t earn any rewards like you would with the Discover it Secured. So in that sense the Discover card is the more valuable option, but the Capital One card can still be a good way to improve your credit.

  • Capital One CreditWise: Monitor your VantageScore 3.0 credit score, based on your TransUnion credit report.
  • Access a higher credit line: You may be automatically considered for a higher credit line after six months.
  • Travel protections: Get access to travel assistance services, and get covered by rental car insurance and travel accident assurance.
  • Shopping protections: Receive extended warranties on your eligible purchases and price protection, which reimburses you for the difference of price in products.
  • Purchase and Balance Transfer APR: 26.99% (Variable)
  • Annual fee: $0

DCU Visa® Platinum Secured Credit Card

Apply Now

securely on the issuer's website

Apply Now

securely on the issuer's website

  • Min. credit levelBad
  • Annual Fee$0
  • Regular APR13.75% Variable

The DCU Visa® Platinum Secured Credit Card (Review) has no annual fee and offers no rewards for purchases. It’s designed only to help you build or repair your credit.

The most notable features here are the terms, which are much better than most secured cards. The APR for purchases, balance transfers, and cash advances is very low. There are also no fees for balance transfers or cash advances.

However, one thing it seems to lack is the ability to monitor your credit score. This is a very useful feature to have on secured cards, which are meant to help people build their credit. The DCU card won’t help you do that. But you could still use Discover’s FICO Scorecard to check your credit, even if you don’t have a card through Discover.

This is a very simple card, without any bells and whistles. But for people with poor or no credit, it can be a good way to establish a positive credit history. You’ll need to open a bank account with DCU when you’re approved, but this can be done with as little as $5. If you can’t get the Discover it Secured, DCU provides another decent option.

  • Travel protections: Get covered by rental car insurance, travel accident assurance, and hotel/motel room coverage.
  • Shopping protection: Receive extended warranties on your eligible purchases.
  • Purchase and Balance Transfer APR: 13.75% Variable
  • Annual fee: $0
  • Extended Warranty
  • Travel Insurance
  • Build credit with this card and graduate to a better one
  • No cash advance fee
  • No annual fee

Citi® Secured Mastercard®

Apply Now

securely on the issuer's website

Apply Now

securely on the issuer's website

  • Min. credit levelBad
  • Annual Fee$0
  • Regular APR22.49% (Variable)

The Citi® Secured Mastercard® (Review) is a simple and inexpensive secured card that can help you build credit like any other. But it does have one rare feature: You can apply for it and fund the deposit even if you don’t have a bank account, but only if you visit a Citibank location.

This card requires a security deposit of $200 to $2,500, and your credit line will be equal to your deposit. There’s no annual fee, but there are no rewards either.

With responsible credit behavior, Citi may return your deposit and upgrade you to a different unsecured card.

  • Free FICO credit score: See your Equifax-based FICO Bankcard Score 8 on statements, online, and by mobile app.
  • Purchase Protection: If an eligible item you buy with your Citi card is damaged or stolen, Citi will repair the item or reimburse you for the loss.
  • Citi Identity Theft Solutions: Citi will help should you become a victim of identity theft.
  • Purchase and Balance Transfer APR: 22.49% (Variable)
  • Annual fee: $0
  • The Citi® Secured Mastercard® is a no annual fee credit card that helps you build your credit when used responsibly.
  • Unlike a debit card, it helps build your credit history with monthly reporting to all 3 major credit bureaus. Once available, you will also have free access to your FICO score online.
  • Use your card anywhere Mastercard® is accepted — worldwide.
  • A security deposit is required. Once approved, your credit limit will be equal to your security deposit (minimum of $200).
  • Get help staying on track with Auto Pay and account alerts.
  • With Flexible Payment Due Dates, you can choose any available due date in the beginning, middle or end of the month.
  • Manage your account 24/7 online, by phone, or in our mobile app.
  • The standard variable APR for Citi Flex Plan is 22.49%. Citi Flex Plan offers are made available at Citi’s discretion.

Do you use this card? How do you like it? Leave your own review of the Discover it Secured Credit Card below, we’d love to hear from you!

Looking for other secured credit cards? Check out our picks for the Best Secured Credit Cards!
Brendan Harkness
Written by

Brendan Harkness

Brendan has been writing about personal finance for over eight years, and is now taking on the challenge of bringing high quality credit education to the masses. He makes sure that Credit Card Insider is covering the most important credit topics transparently and precisely, and that we have up-to-date reviews of credit cards so you can find cards that are right for you.

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