Those with bad credit — or no credit — can pay a high price for borrowing: high interest rates on lines of credit, denial of new loans, and perhaps even difficulty securing an apartment lease.

The simple answer is to establish a good credit rating, but it’s often not that simple. A secured credit card can help.

What makes a secured credit card different from traditional credit cards? “It’s a credit card where people secure their lines of credit with collateral, in which case it would be a cash deposit,” said Barbara O’Neill, professor of personal finance at Rutgers Cooperative Extension. “Basically, you’re funding your own line of credit.”

Secured cards are especially good for people who have bad credit or no credit history, i.e. people who are starting from scratch or starting over. It is also an alternative for those who do not haveanother adult to act as a co-signer on a new card.

The line of credit on a secured credit card is usually the same amount as your deposit, although it may be higher. For example, if you give the lender a $300 deposit, you will get a $300 line of credit. In the event of default, the lender retains your deposit. Otherwise, your deposit is returned when you close the card.

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“The deposit reduces the lender’s risk,” O’Neill said.

It’s similar to using a prepaid card or a debit card in some ways, but there’s one important difference. With a secured credit card, your credit behavior will be reported to the three major credit bureaus: Experian, Equifax and TransUnion.

“If you’re interested in building your credit, you need to prove your creditworthiness,” said Sean McQuay, credit card associate at NerdWallet. A secured credit card is an easy way to do that, he added.

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Before getting one of these cards, McQuays said, consumers need to be “convinced that they can be financially trustworthy. With any type of credit, it’s important that you are able to pay off the balance in full each month.

Experts also advise shopping around, comparing different secured credit cards for interest rates and fees, and reading the fine print before applying.

NerdWallet and Cardhub have compiled lists of the best secure credit cards for 2015.

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Compare at least three credit cards, compare all the features and decide which is the best, O’Neill said..

Experts recommend researching minimum security deposit requirements, which typically range between $200 and $500; annual percentage rates and for all fees, including application, processing or annual fees.

When Eduardo Flores was ready to buy his first car last year at the age of 19, he couldn’t get a loan because he had no credit history. He also wanted to opt out of his parents’ cell phone plan and get his own, but even though it was approved, he was asked to pay a $500 deposit.

“It was quite frustrating. I thought it was better to have no credit than to have bad credit, but that was not the case,” said the said a sophomore from Texas.

After about 15 rejected applications, Flores started researching how to build a credit history and came across secured credit cards. He applied Capital One’s secured credit card and was approved. He put down a $100 deposit and got a $200 line of credit.

It’s been almost two years since Flores got a secured credit card. He now has a 680 credit score and recently got a $16,000 loan to buy his first car, a 2016 Chevrolet Sonic.

“I established enough credit to get my own car without a co-signer,” he said. “To this day it still seems too good to be true, but I truly believe that creating credit is something I can be proud of and it motivates me to learn more and improve as I see results.”

Flores said he would keep the credit card secured for another four to six months to boost his credit score before switching to a standard credit card.

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One benefit of the change: Secured credit cards tend to have higher APRs than traditional credit cards and don’t offer rewards.

“Consumers should only have them for a year to 18 months, and then they should switch to standard credit card products,” McQuay said.

Depending on the bank, you may be able to switch from a secured card to an unsecured card in the same account, otherwise you will have to close the card, which will impact your credit score and open a new account, McQuay said.

Consider it a minor inconvenience” he said. “He’s not a deal breaker.”

Once they’ve done that, of course, it’s even more important that they monitor their credit and make sure they don’t use more than they can pay off quickly (ideally that month ) so they can keep their good credit intact.