Secured vs unsecured credit card: What's the difference, and which is better for you?

What is a secured credit card?

To get a secured credit card, you need to deposit a specific amount of money with the bank, and that amount usually becomes your credit limit. Your deposit is the bank’s “security” that you will cover the expenses made on the credit card.

Who uses secured credit cards?

People who don’t have an established credit history often find it difficult to qualify for a premium, unsecured credit card, so they opt for a secured credit card instead. The credit limit on a secured credit card is usually pretty low. 

What is an unsecured credit card?

An unsecured credit card is a card that requires no collateral or deposit. With an unsecured card, your credit limit is not based on a security deposit, but rather, on the credit card company’s assessment of your ability to pay. Often, this assessment is largely based on your credit score at the time you apply for the card.

If you observe good credit building practices, such as always paying your credit card bill by the due date, your credit score will improve and you may qualify for an increased credit limit.

What does the word “secure” mean in this context? Does it mean a secured credit card is safer than an unsecured card?

In this context, “secured” isn’t referring to the security features some credit cards have, that are designed to benefit the cardholder (for example, price protection or ID theft protection). In this context, “secured” is referring to the deposit you give the bank to create the “secured” credit card account. It’s similar to the security deposit you give to your landlord when you rent a home.

Which is better, a secured or an unsecured credit card?

Banks prefer to issue “secured” credit cards to people who don’t have an established credit history, or who don’t have a good credit score. However, a secured credit card is rarely a customer’s first choice. Most of us would rather have an “unsecured” credit card because: 

  • No security deposit is required.

  • You aren’t limited to the (usually low) credit limit that is associated with a deposit. 

  • With the higher credit limit that usually comes with an unsecured card, you have more freedom and convenience to make the purchases you want. And as long as you pay all your bills on time and in full, this freedom usually means you’ll be able to build credit more efficiently.

Is Jasper a secured or an unsecured credit card?

Jasper is an unsecured credit card. It requires no collateral or deposit. With Jasper, approved cardholders receive a premium Mastercard with low fees, high credit limits, and a rich range of benefits.

Although it is an unsecured credit card, Jasper may be a good option for customers who have a limited credit history. That’s because instead of focusing just on your credit score, Jasper uses a holistic approach when it assesses applicants. This enables Jasper to offer a premium Jasper Mastercard to qualified applicants who are just starting their credit journey.

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