Having good credit can make anyone's financial life a lot easier. Banks are more apt to lend out money at favorable rates, so it's easier to make large purchases. Unfortunately, some of life's twists and turns can cause some financial hardships. Events some can't plan for, such as divorce, job loss, bankruptcy and foreclosure, may be some of the triggers that cause people to have a hard time keeping up with credit card payments and perhaps even lose the privilege of having credit cards.

When a catastrophic event occurs, and you find that no bank will issue you a regular credit card, you might want to get a product called a secured credit card. This type of card is designed to help you build or rebuild your credit if it's been destroyed.

"A secured credit card is where you put up money as collateral against the card, so that if you don't make a payment, the bank can cover the loan," says Ben Jackson, senior analyst, Prepaid Advisory Service at Mercator Advisory Group. "You're still making payments, but you're putting money up in case you don't pay. There's security there in case you don’t."

A secured credit card works the same way as a security deposit on a rental apartment, explains Jackson. You put a set amount down, and that amount becomes your credit limit. However, you don't spend that money—it's held in reserve in case you stop making payments. If you close the account, that money will be refunded to you.

"Your credit line is the bank's assessment of your ability to pay with a secured credit card. They're saying we don't want to loan you money without some guarantee, so we'll loan you money in direct proportion to how much you've given us," says Jackson.

When applying for a secured credit card, make sure the bank issuing the card reports your activity to the credit bureaus so that you actually establish good credit. Also be aware that you may have to pay more for the privilege of rebuilding your credit. "There are fees associated [with secured credit cards]. You have to pay interest. All of those things," says Jackson.

Even with extra fees, many banks offer secured credit cards, so it pays to shop around for a card that suits your needs. Capital One's secured credit card has low deposit rates of $49, $99 or $200, and credit lines are anywhere from $200 to $3000 depending on the initial deposit. If you're able to add to your security deposit, you'll be allowed to increase your credit line.

For the privilege, you'll pay a variable APR of 22.9% and an annual fee of $29. The card also has fees for cash advances, late payments and returned payments.

Bank of America also offers a secured credit card that comes with a slightly lower variable APR of 20.24%. The security deposit minimum is $300 and goes up to $4,900, and your credit line will equal the money you put down. After twelve months, the bank will review your account and may upgrade you to an unsecured credit card, which means you'll get your deposit back and you'll be able to have a regular credit card. Bank of America also offers credit education to help you build some financial knowledge. The annual fee on this card is $39, with other fees included for late or returned payments, balance transfers and cash advances, among others.

While having a secured credit card may seem like a bit like you're on a bike with training wheels, some secured cards still have benefits associated with unsecured credit cards. US Bank has a Harley-Davidson Visa Secured Credit card that allows you to earn Harley Davidson rewards points that can be redeemed for Harley Chrome Cash. Cardholders also get entries into a monthly sweepstakes to win a new Harley-Davidson motorcycle. This card comes with a $30 annual fee, a 23.99% variable APR, and other assorted fees.