Secured Cards Vs. Credit Building Programs: Which Is Better? | Refresh Financial

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Secured Cards Vs. Credit Building Programs: Which Is Better?

If you’ve struggled with credit for any amount of time, you’ve probably heard, more often than not, that getting yourself a secured card is the best way to build credit fast. Being as you’re here, on the Refresh Financial site, you’ve probably also heard about the quick credit boosting power of credit building programs like secured savings programs. So, which method is better and how do you decide which to use?

Credit Building Program

A credit building program, like that which is offered by Refresh Financial, is an extremely low-risk method of rebuilding your credit that requires no up-front cash and will report your on-time payments to the credit bureau just like an installment loan. As you pay interest, the credit bureaus see it as an installment loan trade line. And, after you've paid off your initial commitment fee, you begin to build your savings. So, not only do you get to boost your credit significantly, but you also get to kick start your savings or use the money to pay down your other debts as well. The pluses that a credit building program has over a secured card are: 1. No up-front money and 2. You end up with some cash at the end.

Secured Card

A secured card is when you put money down to act as collateral for the credit you’ll be given on your card. Should you default on your payments, the lender can then keep your security funds. It lowers the risk for the lender and enables people who have poor credit to begin to build their credit again. Just like a non-secured card, all your usage and payment habits are going to be reported to the credit bureaus and your credit will be affected, although not quite as much as an unsecured card, due to the lower risk involved. The upside to a secured card is that you have access to revolving credit and increased spending power, though you need to be careful about that, ensuring you don’t accumulate any more debt that you can handle.

Which is best for me?

It’s clear that both of these methods have their upsides, and depending on your personal financial needs, one might sound more inviting that the other. And they both will improve your credit score if you keep up with your payments. However, a secured card, due to the low risk involved, will not boost your credit score as much as a credit building program, which reports as an installment loan to the bureaus. And it's important to remember that if you miss payments and accumulate debt quickly with either of them, you’re going to see your score drop. So, the conclusion here is to use what works best for you and remember to keep up with your timely payments.

There is one way to get more from each of them, though: Use them together. Together, these two methods of boosting your credit score are going to be even more speedy than if you choose just one. You’re going to diversify the types of credit you have by having one revolving credit account and one installment credit account. You’ll also have double the amount of on-time payments to report to the credit bureau. As long as you keep any other bills and borrowed funds in good standing, your credit score won’t stay low for long.


Refresh financial offers custom credit building solutions to help you build your credit score FAST.

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    I would like to thank Refresh Financial for helping me get out of a bad spot. I never thought it was possible and almost gave up on things and then I saw Refresh Financial and and gave it a try. At first I was unsure of things but to see my credit score now makes me a believer in this program.

    – Aaron A

    “It hasn’t even been a year yet, possibly only 6-7 months, and my TransUnion score has gone up over 100 points. That was only the tip of the iceberg as recently I was able to get a consolidation loan from my bank that allowed me to move forward and make things easier for me. Talk about second chances!”

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    “I am now in a position where I am able to obtain credit (just bought a brand-new car and refinanced my mortgage for a fantastic rate) and it took little to no time at all. I would 100% recommend Refresh to anyone looking to rebuild credit with as little hassle as possible.”

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    “I had not heard of a company doing such a thing before someone suggested it to me and it made sense. I am not very good at saving money and Refresh Financial helped me. I have dealt with them for years now and never had a problem. The customer service is excellent and fast.”

    – Chris C

    Refresh helped me regain credit following a nasty divorce, which left me with a very poor rating. They were able to remarkably help me go from a 480 to a 600 score, in just over a year. Thank you Refresh!”

    – Deb K

    I have watched my credit score jump since being with Refresh and I have already recommended it to friends and family. Thank you for helping me build my credit faster for my future and my children’s future :)”

    – Heather T

    At first I was skeptical because I wasn’t getting funds upfront and had to make payments when I really needed the money. I’ve been in the program a year now and have noticed my credit has improved drastically!”

    – Irene L

    I have been a client of Refresh Financial for approximately 3 years. Since being a client they have improved my credit immensely. Definitely recommend this company to anybody that needs help re-establishing credit.”

    – Jason I

    “I recommend this program to anyone having credit issues. At the end of the agreement, your money is refunded to you. There were times I found myself short on cash and Refresh, with permission, used a portion of my money to clear up my arrears.”

    – Margaret L

    “I would like to thank Refresh Financial for their professionalism, great customer service and for helping get back to a better financial situation. I have always been treated with the utmost respect.”

    – Martine B

    Refresh Financial is an amazing program to help people get back on their feet. I was rock bottom with nowhere to turn. My credit was beyond poor. I would recommend them to anyone. If I can do it surely anyone else can.”

    – Matthew S

    “Great company to deal with for rebuilding credit, very simple process to get started. Good service if you ever have questions.”

    – Mike L

    This business truly cares about its clients. The customer service is always quick to return calls or emails. Their online portal functions very well so as a customer you are always updated as you progress with your loan.

    – Phil J

    “Refresh Financial has made us more aware of how to take care of our financial situation and be more responsible, and making payments on time is rewarding in the end for credit. Thank You sincerely.”

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    “Refresh financial is great!!! They boosted my credit score, helped me save money and helped my husband and I buy our house;) I was not only a number to them, they stayed in touch and helped me out along the way. Answered all my questions and concerns.”

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    This company has been nothing but fantastic. They have gone above and beyond to help me. This program has given me the relief and peace of mind I need. I would certainly go back to them and give them names of people who could use this.”

    – Shirley K

    The financial services products are excellent for new immigrants, low-income earners and small business owners. Loans, savings and credit building all in one solution is a perfect fit to help with financial goals and stability.”

    – Soraya H

    “After successfully going through a credit rebuilding loan, I was able to use my built-up equity to purchase a newer vehicle and I have since been approved through a financial institution for a loan.”

    – Tanya W

    “I made some poor credit choices when I turned 18 and have always had this lingering thought of how am I ever going to better my score. Since being with Refresh I have realized that I took the right step towards bettering my future.”

    – Taylor B

    “Thank you Refresh, and my relationship manager for giving me the tools for a better score with a secured card and two credit builder loans. I feel absolutely confident I’m on a better path to financial success. I am happy to be a long term client.”

    – Trevor P

    I’m so excited I’ve joined refresh! I’ve already seen a huge increase on my credit after the first month! The staff are a delight and make this so easy to understand. I strongly recommend Refresh Financial even if you have good credit this will give you a boost and you’re saving money with the reverse loan!”

    – Wayne B