Many Americans have had a very bumpy financial ride through what is now being called, "The Great Recession." One of the casualties many have faced is a bruised credit score. Whether you actually had a foreclosure, or simply went through a loan modification, chances are your credit score was affected. Even a few late credit card payments can destroy years of good credit management. There is a great tool that I have recommended for years that can be used to quickly rebuild damaged credit. This is how I restored my own credit after bankruptcy.

I learned very quickly, that even though I don't borrow money very often, that my credit score could affect other areas of my personal finances. This would include insurance rates, deposit requirements for utilities, the ability to be able to open a checking account, etc...

Secured Credit Cards

Most of the information in this article comes from what I call my "insider secrets file" from the years that I worked as a mortgage broker. Our office specialized in helping people with lower credit scores. In many cases, we had to consult with a client for several months to rehabilitate their score before we could take a shot at a mortgage approval. There is quite a lot more on this topic covered in my recent book Credit Scoring Secrets.

Secured Credit Cards require that you first make a deposit equal to the amount of credit that you are applying for. This represents a no risk proposition for the lender. If you default, they have your deposit to look to to recover their money. Since there is no risk, your credit score is not an issue. Virtually anyone, regardless of credit history, can get a secured credit card (the only exception to this would be those that have a criminal record involving financial fraud). This allows someone who has damaged credit to get back in the game without waiting years to get approved for a traditional credit card.

Secured Credit Cards Carry Higher Fees

A typical secured credit will have a $35 -$40 annual fee. If you carry a balance, you will also be charged interest. If you exceed your credit limit you may be hit with overdraft fees (although you can opt out of overdraft to prevent this from happening). I recommend that you have three to four open credit card accounts. So, based on any accounts you may already have, this would determine how many secured credit cards you should consider adding to your portfolio. Secured cards carry the Visa or Mastercard logos. You can count on them being accepted anywhere Visa or Mastercard is. The only exception to this is when renting a car. Some rental car agencies do not accept secured cards, so be sure and ask ahead of time if you plan on using your card to pay for a rental.

How To Use Your Secured Credit Card To Quickly Boost Your Credit Score

It goes without saying, but you need to make your monthly payments on time. In fact, my advice is to pay your payment within a couple of days of receiving your bill each month. The faster you get your payment in, the more quickly it will show up on your credit report. The other super important factor is to never (and I mean never) use more than 50 percent of your available balance. One third of your credit score is based on an analysis of the percentage of available credit you have used compared to your overall limit. If you obtain a secured card and max it out, you will end up lowering your credit score. The best source of secured credit cards I have found online is through the website BankRate Monitor.