“I’ll just put it on my card.” It’s a phrase often heard coming from young people or big spenders who either do not understand the repercussions of “just putting it on a card” or have the money to back up their words. The most popular form of payment by consumers this day and age is the simple swiping of that little plastic card. In the past cards were used “only in emergencies” and were issued only to those who were responsible enough to use them. However, now it seems like anyone, despite their age, financial status or credit history can apply for not just one, but any type of credit card available.
If you are new to the world of credit cards there are probably lots of terms, numbers and jargon that are confusing for you. Which card is the best? You mean there’s more to be had than just Visa or Mastercard? What is an APR? These are all things that might be running through you head. The best advice is to start with the basics. What type of card is right for you? Another baffling question for a new credit card user since you probably didn’t realize that there are two types of cards available, secured and unsecured credit cards. And if you did know this little fact, you may not know what the differences are.
On the surface the difference between a secured and unsecured credit card is simple. One holds some type of security while the other does not. You might be thinking that a secured card would be the way to go because it sounds like it might be more secure for the consumer. However, the security is actually for the credit card company.
When using a secured card the consumer is required to deposit a certain amount of money into the company’s bank via a savings account or CD. The available credit limit is then based on the amount deposited. These amounts vary depending on the creditor. After the consumer is issued a card, which works just like any other secured or unsecured card, the company uses the deposit as a security for payment on purchases made using the card.
Generally, secured cards are applied for when someone has a low credit score, has filed bankruptcy or does not have any credit history. Secured credit cards are easier to get approved for but also come with more strings attached such as higher interest rate, membership fees, and application fees.
If you don’t fall into the category of having bad or no credit it would be in your best interest to start with an unsecured credit card. An unsecured card simply gives you spending power with no former deposits or collateral to back up your spending. The consumer simply charges the amount to the card with the intention of paying back the borrowed money each month. There are still fees for charges that are not paid on time or if the consumer goes over their credit limit.
Unsecured credit cards still require a check of your credit score and financial history; however the credit limit is not based on a certain amount that you deposit in a bank. These cards also come with lower interest rates and fewer fees. If you’re new to the world of credit cards and have no negative credit history, applying for an unsecured card is the place to start.