After a detrimental event that strips you of your credit access, Curtis Arnold, founder of credit card comparison website CardRatings.com, says you should take a few months to get back on track with your payments and then look into a secured credit card. With a secured card, you put up a few hundred dollars as a deposit, and that’s your line of credit. The bar to entry is much lower because you’re basically “borrowing” your own money, so many people with blemished credit can get one. But the best of the bunch tend to charge an annual fee of $20 to $30, says Arnold. What’s more, there’s a subset of these cards Arnold calls “fee harvester” cards that are designed to part you from your money, not repair your credit. Also, check to make sure the issuer reports your on-time payments to the three big credit bureaus because this is crucial to restoring your credit.