What are they?

Secured credit cards and prepaid debit cards are like plastic bank accounts. You "load" each card with money in the form of a cash payment, which defines the limit on what you can spend.

When are they a good idea?

If you’re trying to establish credit or repair bad credit, a secured credit card is a good option. Prepaid debit cards, also known as pay-as-you-go cards, can be a good choice if you don't have a bank account, want to stick to a strict budget, or want your teen to have a card.

Fast Facts

6  months of responsible secured credit card use may be enough to establish credit for the first time

12-18  months of timely payments on a secured credit card can repair a bad credit rating

11,000,000  Americans don't have bank accounts and could benefit from a prepaid debit card

Sources: NerdWallet, NerdWallet

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