Many consumers have a bit of confusion when it comes to distinguishing a secured credit card from an unsecured credit card. They both carry a brand logo from one of the major credit card companies and they both can be used anywhere that major credit cards are accepted. It is the behind the scene financial activity that determines the difference between a secured and an unsecured credit card.
A secured credit card is a guaranteed VISA or MasterCard that has been secured by a deposit to the issuer’s bank. Generally, you must deposit an amount, ranging from $300 to $5000, in a low-interest saving account or CD to secure the credit card.
You then receive a credit line for up to 100 percent of your account balance. Each creditor has its own requirements for how much you can deposit for your credit line. The creditor issues you a credit card by using your deposit as security.
On the other hand, an unsecured credit cards offer just that -credit. When you make a purchase or withdraw cash (usually called a cash advance), funds are drawn from your “line of credit.” You pay back the amount you borrowed or “charged” each month, or carry over to the next month (revolve) a certain amount that was borrowed and you are assessed an interest charge.
You are then responsible to pay the interest charge as well. Credit cards carry a brand logo (e.g., Visa, MasterCard, American Express, etc.) and are accepted by participating merchants. When you use your credit card, the transaction requires a signature.
More details about secured and unsecured credit cards can be found at