American Express Secured Card, Summarized
There is no secured business credit card from American Express, but there is an American Express secured card meant for consumer use—the USAA Secured American Express credit card. The secured AMEX comes with the following features:
- $35 annual fee
- Interest-earning security deposit
- Ideal for building credit
So, you want to know if there is a secured business credit card from American Express. The short answer?
However, even though American Express doesn’t offer a secured credit card that’s specific to business spending, they do offer an American Express secured credit card for consumer use—the USAA Secured Card from American Express.
We’ll define what a secured credit card is and review the details of the American Express secured card. Plus, we’ll explain why a secured consumer card can actually be the best choice for qualifying for a better, unsecured business credit card in the future.
Plus, we’ll offer up some other consumer secured credit card options that can get you and your business to improve your credit score.
And for those who are really set on a secured business credit card, we’ll go over your top choice for non-consumer secured cards, as well.
Let’s take a look at everything there is to know about your top secured credit card options:
There Isn’t a Secured Business Credit Card From American Express
There is no secured business credit card from American Express, but you do have options.
Because improving your personal credit will improve your business’s financing options, we suggest looking into a secured consumer credit card. While there is an American Express secured card for consumer use—the USAA Secured Credit Card—the Capital One Secured Mastercard is a more flexible option that’s also lighter on fees than the secured AMEX.
If you’re adamant about finding a secured business credit card, you should consider the Wells Fargo Business Secured Credit Card. However, we’ve found that secured personal credit cards are often the way to go for business owners looking to improve their business’s funding options.
First Off, What’s a Secured Credit Card?
Before we dive into the details on the American Express secured card, we need to solidify what a secured credit card is exactly.
A secured credit card is different from your average credit card—which is technically an unsecured credit card—because it’s secured by a security deposit provided by the cardholder.
This security deposit will mitigate a lot of the risk that a card issuer has to take on by extending a line of credit to a cardholder. Because this security deposit mitigates this risk, secured credit cards are much easier for less-qualified business owners to get their hands on.
Tying up your cash in a security deposit in order to access a credit line might seem counterintuitive—you’re probably asking yourself, “Why wouldn’t I just spend with my debit card instead?”
It’s a valid point, but there’s one fundamental thing you’ll need to understand about secured credit cards in order to answer this question—they’re meant primarily to build credit. While spending with a debit card might be more straightforward, it won’t help you build credit at all.
If you spend responsibly with a secured credit card, you’ll improve your personal credit and you can eventually graduate to an unsecured credit card or other types of business financing.
The American Express Secured Card
Though it’s not a secured business credit card, there is an American Express secured card for consumer use—the USAA Secured Credit Card—for individuals who are looking to improve their credit.
Though all secured credit cards come with the same basic features, a line of credit secured by a security deposit, they do all vary significantly within these fundamental features.
Let’s review all the peculiarities of the AMEX secured credit card:
Your Security Deposit Will Earn Interest
One unique feature that the secure AMEX offers is its interest-earning security deposit. Instead of just going into a bank account as it would with any other secured card, your security deposit for this secured card will take the form of a two-year USAA Certificate of Deposit.
What does this mean, exactly? Well, a certificate of deposit is a savings account option that earns your money interest at a high rate. Because CDs are less liquid than savings accounts, they often earn higher annual percentage yields than your average savings account.
However, CDs are also harder to access—you’ll be charged a hefty early withdrawal fee if you have to access your CD worth before its predetermined term is up.
But with the American Express secured card, you’ll be able to spend your CD’s worth without being saddled with withdrawal fees, even as it accumulates interest.
Variable APYs Allow for Flexible Security Deposits and Credit Limits
If you choose this secured credit card option, your security deposit will earn interest at a varying APY throughout its two-year term. Because this APY will vary, you’ll also be able to add to your security deposit in increments at any time throughout its life.
Even more, because your secured credit card’s credit limit derives from your security deposit amount, as you add to your security deposit, you’ll be able to request a corresponding credit increase.
Rates and Fees for the USAA Secured Card from American Express
Those perks all sound pretty nice, right? Well, those are all the features that American Express will put at the top of the page in bold. There is also some fine print that you’ll need to consider before you choose this card to build credit with.
With the USAA Secured Credit Card from American Express, you’ll have to pay the following rates and fees:
- $35 annual fee
- 3% balance transfer fee
- 3% cash advance fee
- $35 penalty fee or late or returned payments
- Variable APR on any balance you carry from month to month
Be sure to note that, no matter how you spend, you’ll have to pay the $35 annual fee to access this secured credit card. Plus, if you have a pre-existing balance to transfer onto the card, or you have to carry a balance from month to month, then the fees and interest could really stack up. If you’re not careful, then these charges could overshadow the APY on your security deposit for this secured credit card.
If you don’t think the interest you earn with the CD security deposit for the USAA Secured Card from American Express will compensate for its fees, then look into a secured card that comes with fewer fees.
The Capital One Secured Mastercard
Thinking the American Express secured card’s interest-bearing deposit isn’t worth its fees?
Your next option is a no-fee secured card that doesn’t come with an interest-bearing security deposit. The best of these is the Capital One Secured Mastercard.
What’s so great about this secured credit card option?
Let’s take a look at its top selling points:
You Won’t Have to Pay an Annual Fee
First and foremost, unlike with most secured credit cards, with the Capital One Secured Mastercard, you won’t have to pay an annual lump sum fee. In fact, the Capital One Secured Mastercard comes with minimal fine print fees. The only fee you’ll have to pay is for a cash advance and for a late payment, the details of which we’ll cover in the next section.
Capital One knows that, at the end of the, a secured credit card isn’t an ideal option because it can seriously tie up your cash flow. As a result, they offer you this credit-building secured card option with very few fees tacked on.
You Might be Able to Access a Smaller Security Deposit to Credit Limit Ratio
Now, this is where the Capital One Secured Credit Card really stands out.
Most secured credit cards will require that you put down a security deposit that’s equal to your credit limit. At the very least, your average secured credit card will allow a security deposit that’s 90% or more of your credit limit.
However, this secured credit card allows for a little wiggle room. If you qualify for it, the Capital One Secured Mastercard will allow you to put down a security deposit of as little as 25% of your credit limit.
Not only will you be able to avoid fine print fees, you’ll also be able to free up some of your precious cash flow by qualifying for this rare semi-secured credit-building opportunity.
Rates and Fees for the Capital One Secured Mastercard
As you’ve probably gathered, the Capital One Secured Mastercard is a pretty sweet credit-building option. However, as always, the Capital One Secured Mastercard does some fine print details that you need to consider before signing on.
Though they’re pretty minimal, you’ll have to pay the following rates and fees when you spend on the Capital One Secured Mastercard:
- Cash advance fee of 10% or $3, whichever is greater
- Late payment penalty fee of $35
- Variable APR on any balance you carry from month to month—See the issuers’ terms and conditions for the latest APR information.
Relatively speaking, this list of rates and fees is pretty minimal. If you’re looking for a secured credit card that won’t hit you with sneaky fees, then the Secured Mastercard is probably your best bet.
Why Opt for a Consumer Secured Credit Card Like the Secured AMEX?
If you’re looking to improve your business funding options, why would you want a consumer secured credit card rather than a business secured credit card?
It’s counterintuitive, but one of the most tried and true criteria that business lenders look to in the underwriting process is a business owner’s personal credit score. As such, improving your personal credit score is a one-way ticket to improving your business’s funding options—whether you want to access a more lucrative business credit card or secure more affordable debt financing.
And one of the most straightforward solutions to improving your personal credit?
You guessed it—spending responsibly on a secured consumer credit card.
So, instead of wishing there was a secured business credit card from American Express, we suggest you consider a secured consumer credit card as a viable option for improving your business’s financial standing.
Your Best Secured Business Credit Card Option
If you’re really certain that you want access to a secured business credit card, then check out the Wells Fargo Business Secured Credit Card. Because it’s a business card, this secured card will come with some perks that are tailored to businesses. Let’s take a look:
Access a Business Rewards Program
With this secured credit card, you get rewards for your business spending. As a cardholder, you can choose whether you want your rewards to come in the form of cash back or rewards points. If you choose cash back, you’ll get 1.5% for every dollar you spend. If you choose rewards points, you’ll get 1% for every dollar you spend, along with 1,000 bonus points once your monthly spend reaches $1,000.
Be sure to note that this current rewards program offer is only available for a limited time, so if you wait on taking it up, it could no longer apply.
Get Up to 10 Free Employee Cards
Additionally, you can get free employee cards attached to your account with the Wells Fargo Business Secured Credit Card. This is a huge convenience for business owners who have a fleet of employees that are constantly having to make business purchases.
Plus, when employees are doing all their business purchases on your business’s secured credit card account instead of asking for reimbursements, the rewards will really start to add up.
Rates and Fees for the Wells Fargo Business Secured Credit Card
This all sounds great, right?
Well, as always, we need to take a magnifying glass to the fine print before we get too excited.
With the Wells Fargo Business Secured Credit Card, you’ll have to pay the following rates and fees:
- An annual fee of $25
- Balance transfer fees and cash advance fees
- High cash advance APRs
- Variable APR for any balance you carry month to month
Altogether, the Wells Fargo Business Secured Card offers a lot of exciting perks that might not necessarily justify its annual fee and potentially punitive rates.
What If I Don't Want to Carry a High Balance on My Secured Credit Card?
Just because you found the perfect secured business credit card doesn’t mean that you want to run all of your company’s purchases off of your new account. Totally reasonable! Keeping your credit card balance in check is a great way to make sure you can pay it off quickly, which helps boost your credit score.
Whatever the reason, you might be in search of another way to charge purchases to a card without having to rely solely on a secured business credit card. The Bento for Business is a prepaid business Mastercard that provides the simplicity of a credit card, but with the added protection of hard spending limits, zero interest rates, and all of the bookkeeping integrations you’ve come to expect from a credit card.
All you need to do is load up your employees’ Bento cards at the beginning of the month with your own money, right from any business bank account. That way, you can to set spending levels right off the bat, while making sure that you aren’t charging too many purchases to your new secured business credit card.
Since it’s not a credit card, Bento won’t be able to help you build credit. But it can be a great add-on option for business owners who are looking to carefully build credit with their secured business credit cards—helping you distribute purchases across a couple of cards where one has a prepaid limit.
Still Wish There Were a Secured Business Credit Card From American Express?
We didn’t think so.
All in all, anyone who’s ever applied for a business credit card or for business funding can tell you that a business owner’s personal credit score is make or break in the process. Though there are options for business-specific secured credit cards, you’ll be able to see better results for you personal credit score through responsible spending on a secured consumer credit card.
If you’re looking for a low-fee, flexible credit-building option, we suggest you turn to the Capital One Secured Mastercard to start your path to unsecured credit and affordable financing for your business.
Brayden is a credit card expert and the former vice president, new markets at Fundera. He’s passionate about helping businesses take advantage of the best credit card offers on the market, from the longest 0% intro APR periods to the richest cash back and travel rewards bonuses.