Secured Credit Cards: What Are They, How They Work in Singapore

By
Writers@Aspire
Published
November 9, 2022

Brands and businesses have highs and lows, but successful ones stay true to their long-term vision. It is, therefore, safe to say that sometimes businesses find themselves in urgent need of cash. When such a situation arises, a credit card can provide a quick solution. 

But unfortunately, most (unsecured) credit cards require a good credit score. So what happens if you or your company doesn't have an established credit score? In that case, you can obtain a secured credit card in Singapore. Firstly, let's look at what Singapore secured credit cards are.

What are secured credit cards?

Although limited, secured credit cards in Singapore are designed for businesses (or individuals) with not-so-good credit scores. They are typically provided to fulfil a company’s requirement for credit card with a huge credit line despite having a poor credit score. However, this would require you to provide collateral, typically a fixed deposit of at least S$10,000. 

One of the main benefits of these cards is that they offer you the flexibility to either make regular payments or pay later with interest. If you are unable to repay a credit amount, banks use collateral to offset the debt, making this a secured option.

What are the features of secured credit cards? 

Here are some features of a secured credit card you should know before applying: 

Credit limit

It is the maximum amount that can be spent on a secured credit card. In most cases, it is 80% to 100% of the collateral.

Cash transaction charges

It is the interest charged on all cash transactions, such as withdrawals from ATMs.

Interest charges

Interest is charged on balances not paid by the statement due date, just like with a regular credit card. Even so, the interest rate may be lower than that of a regular or unsecured credit card.

Credit tracking

Information about your purchases and credit repayment history will be sent to credit bureaus by credit card companies.

What are the pros and cons of using a secured credit card?

Before applying for a Singapore secured credit card, it's helpful to understand its pros and cons. Let's take a look.

Pros of a Singapore secured credit card

  1. Financial Security – This card is available to anyone, even those with poor credit histories. Thus providing your business with financial security.
  2. Build Credit History – Every company deserves a second chance. Making timely payments with this card will help you build your credit score.
  3. Time to Settle debt – Until the bill is due, you have some time to source and repay the amount interest-free.
  4. Track Expenses – Using a card for all your business expenses helps you keep track of them in one place.

Here's a side note: Are you having trouble managing your company's spending? With Aspire, you can now manage your company's expenses effectively and with real-time visibility. View Aspire’s Spend Management Services now. 

Cons of a Singapore secured credit card 

  • Penalty – Defaulted credit card payments will be subject to late payment fees. The accumulation of such interest can result in a large sum over time.
  • Annual Card Fee – There is an annual fee associated with the physical card provided. So, you may need to ensure that the benefits of the card justify its cost.
  • Limited Credit – Although it cannot be considered a negative aspect, it does limit your expenditures.
  • Collateral – Generally, you won't have to worry about your deposit. However, if you are unable to repay your dues, you may lose your deposit

What type of business can benefit most from secured credit cards in Singapore?

As a business owner with a poor credit history, a secured business credit card may be your only option. While secured business credit cards may not offer the same rewards as unsecured credit cards for small businesses, they can be beneficial for building or rebuilding your credit history. Furthermore, when your business grows, and your credit score improves, you may be able to qualify for a credit card without a security deposit.

So, who should opt for a secured business credit card:

  1. Credit-challenged business owners looking to rebuild their credit scores
  2. Business owners who can afford to lock up their cash as a security deposit
  3. Owners of businesses that use credit cards for online and in-person purchases

How to apply for a secured credit card?

Step 1: Ensure you meet the credit card eligibility criteria in Singapore

Here are the credit card application requirements of Singapore that you need to check to ensure your application for a Singapore secured credit card will be approved:

  • Age criteria – Above the age of 21
  • Security deposit criteria – Minimum S$10,000 to be deposited as collateral in a fixed deposit of the same bank

Step 2: Visit the nearest branch 

To begin the process, fill out and submit the application form. You will need to activate the fixed deposit in order to park your collateral.

Step 3: Await approval

Once your application is approved, the card you have applied for will be delivered to the registered address.

What are the available secured credit card options in Singapore?

Looking for the best Singapore secured credit card for your business? Well, not all banks have the same credit card eligibility criteria in Singapore, and they do not always offer the same benefits. So let's quickly examine each of them -

DBS Altitude Secured Credit Card

Eligibility Criteria: 

  • Aged between 21 and 70
  • Should maintain a fixed Deposit Account with S$10,000 in a DBS fixed deposit account

Benefits: 

  • Deposited amount continues to accrue interest 
  • This DBS secured credit card offers up to 10 miles per S$1 spent
  • Receive 10,000 bonus miles after the annual fee payment
  • Allows foreign currency deposit as security with a minimum Singapore dollar (S$) value of 10,000

HSBC Secured Revolution Card

Eligibility Criteria: 

  • Age requirement of 21 or older
  • Should provide a fixed deposit of at least S$10,000 as collateral

Benefits:

  • Points are awarded for all other kinds of spending 
  • No annual fee 
  • Up to 10x points or 4 miles for every dollar spent
  • Offers options for offsetting spending with reward points or monthly installments

UOB PRIVI Miles Card 

Eligibility Criteria: 

  • Should be 21 years or older
  • A fixed deposit of at least S$10,000 should be provided as collateral

Benefits:

  • Reward Points for both local and international spending 
  • Free personal accident and medical cover
  • Complimentary travel insurance
  • Sign-on bonus of S$150 
  • Annual fee of S$256.80 waived for the first year

CIMB Visa Signature Secured

Eligibility Criteria: 

  • Minimum age of 21 is required
  • A fixed deposit of at least S$10,000 should be provided as collateral

Benefits:

  • Provides 10% cash back on purchases of groceries, beauty and wellness products, pet shops, and veterinarian services made using this card
  • Annual membership card free for life

Is there an alternative to a secured credit card in Singapore?

It’s always best to know your options, right? So, here are some of the alternatives you might want to know about.

Debit Card

It is a card that withdraws money directly from your checking account. This card can be used for direct payments or cash withdrawals at an Automated Teller Machine (ATM).

Benefits:

  • You can get one linked to your checking bank account in Singapore, making it easier to obtain.
  • It may have lower interest rates.

Drawbacks: 

  • You will be charged for the amount spent immediately, and there will be no additional payback period.
  • There may be additional fees involved. 
  • Your checking account may also be subject to penalty fees if they are overdrawn.

Prepaid card

Unlike bank debit cards, these cards do not require a bank account. Once you load money onto the card, you can make purchases or withdrawals up to the amount of your deposit.

Benefits:

  • No credit check required.
  • Easy top-up options and can be used for purchases and transportation.

Drawbacks:

  • If linked to your bank account, it may lead to unintentional purchases.
  • It will not help you build your credit score.
  • All purchases are charged immediately to the card, so there are no repayment periods.

Multi-currency card

A multicurrency card lets you switch seamlessly between fiat currencies and digital assets. This prepaid card allows you to load multiple currencies onto the card, making international purchases much easier.

Benefits:

  • Since it is a prepaid card, it is a convenient option for newly established business owners in Singapore without local credit histories.
  • Widely accepted all around the world.

Drawbacks:

  • Not all cards allow the withdrawal of the balance amount or the option to transfer to a bank account.

Personal loan

It is an unsecured loan you take from a bank or another financial institution to pay for your urgent financial needs. There is, however, a set repayment method and period associated with it.

Benefits:

  • Generally have lower interest rates and would be a better option if you need more time to repay.
  • You get a lumpsum amount upfront.
  • You don’t need to provide collateral.

Drawbacks:

  • It may require a good credit history.

Alternatively, you can choose Aspire Corporate Cards. They provide you all the benefits of a secured credit card, without having to deposit a security. They work as Multi-currency debit cards and come with an option for interest-free credit, a month's period for re-payment, and are much easier to obtain. Still wondering which card to choose, read our article: how to choose the right corporate card for your business.

Frequently asked questions

Can I apply for a credit card with bad credit?

Unsecured credit cards may not be available to you if your credit score is bad. Your application may also be rejected if you have no credit history. It is, however, possible to obtain a secured credit card, but collateral is required. Make sure you check your credit card eligibility in Singapore before applying.

Can you get turned down for a secured credit card?

Yes, if you do not meet the eligibility criteria of the card you are applying for, you may be rejected by the bank. This can be for several other reasons, including errors on your credit card application form or your credit report. A history of inadequate income or bankruptcy could also be one of the reasons.

How fast can I obtain a secured credit card?

To apply for a secured credit card in Singapore, most banks advise their customers to visit their branch. You must fill out a form to open a fixed deposit account where you can park your deposit as collateral. While it may take around 7 to 9 working days (may vary depending on the chosen card), applying for a Singapore secured credit card through your regular bank usually proceeds more smoothly and swiftly.

How can one increase the credit limit for a secured credit card?

For a secured credit card in Singapore, banks will normally approve 80%-100% of the amount deposited as collateral as the credit limit. So you may not be able to raise it higher than that. There may be differences in policies between banks, so contact their customer service for more information.

What happens if there is an urgent need for the deposit money?

You will need to settle the outstanding debt and request the bank to terminate the credit card. Upon completion of that step, you can notify the bank to release the pledge on your fixed deposit.

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