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First Progress offers three secured credit cards for people who are new to credit or rebuilding their credit. These cards have the same application requirements and similar features, but offer a choice between a lower annual fee or lower interest rate. The Platinum Select Mastercard® Secured Credit Card is the middle option.
|No minimum credit history or score requirement||Annual fee and foreign transaction fee|
|Moderate interest rate||Few cardholder benefits|
|Reports to all three major credit bureaus||Not available to residents of Arkansas, Iowa, New York or Wisconsin|
|Customer service contact info for First Progress|
If you're working to establish or rebuild your credit, the Platinum Select Mastercard® Secured Credit Card could be a good option because there's no minimum credit requirement. It also offers a modest interest rate for a secured card. However, there's an annual fee, $200 minimum deposit and few cardholder benefits.
No Minimum Credit Requirements
While secured cards are designed for people who are building or rebuilding their credit, some cards still have minimum credit requirements. The Platinum Select Mastercard® Secured Credit Card doesn't, which means you may be approved even if you recently had a discharged bankruptcy or are brand new to credit and don't have any credit history.
First Progress does a "soft pull" on your credit report to verify your identity, but this does not record an inquiry and will not affect your credit. If you don't have a credit file, First Progress may ask for alternative forms of identification, such as a government ID and utility bill.
Keep in mind, though, you could get denied for non-credit reasons. For example, First Progress doesn't offer cards to residents of Arkansas, Iowa, New York and Wisconsin. You also might not be able to get another First Progress card if you've previously been approved for a card through them.
The Annual Fee and Interest Rate Trade-Off
Ideally, you can pay your bill in full each month and won't have to pay interest on your purchases. If you carry a balance, a lower annual percentage rate (APR) can save you money on interest.
All three First Progress cards have the same qualification requirements, benefits and usage fees. The trade-off is that the annual fee is either $29, $39 or $49, and as the annual fee increases, the card's interest rate on purchases and cash advances decreases.
The Platinum Select Mastercard® Secured Credit Card is the middle option with a $39 annual fee and moderate rates.
This card's APR is 6% lower than its $29 annual fee sister card, the First Progress Platinum Elite Mastercard® Secured Credit Card. With the 6% APR and $10 annual fee differences, it would take about 333 days (about 11 months) for you to break even if you're carrying a $200 balance the entire time. The higher the balance, the more interest accrues each day, and the shorter the break-even point.
If having a low APR might tempt you to carry a balance, or you expect to rarely carry a balance and pay it off quickly when you do, the lower annual fee card might be a better option. Also, consider one of the many secured cards that don't have any annual fees.
Limited Cardholder Benefits
Like many secured credit cards, the Platinum Select Mastercard® Secured Credit Card doesn't come with a wide range of cardholder benefits. For example, there's no rewards program or purchase protections.
Here are a few of the things the card does offer:
- Zero liability for unauthorized purchases
- Choose your security deposit amount (either $200, or $300 to $2,000), which will also determine your credit limit
- Reports your account and payments to all three major credit bureaus—Experian, TransUnion and Equifax
A basic credit card without a lot of frills might be a good fit if you're building or rebuilding your credit. You can look for a full-feature unsecured card once you've established your credit and have a good score.
Consider the Fees
In addition to the annual fee, there are a few other fees to know about before you apply. These include common fees, such as a fee if your monthly payment is late or gets returned.
You'll also pay a 3% foreign transaction fee on purchases made outside the U.S. This fee is fairly common for secured and unsecured cards alike, although there are some card options without it.
Additionally, there's an option to pay $19.95 for expedited application processing. This can cut down the processing time from about seven to 10 business days to three to five business days. In either case, you'll still need to wait for the card to be created and mailed to you, which can take a couple of weeks.
Once you close your card, you'll get back your security deposit (minus any outstanding balance you have on your account). It can take up to 10 weeks for you to receive the check.
|Purchase APR: 13.99%||Grace period: 25 days|
|Transfer APR: N/A||Annual fee: $39|
|Cash advance APR: 19.99%||Balance transfer fee: N/A|
|Minimum interest charge: $1.50||Cash advance fee: 3% ($10 minimum)|
|Foreign transaction fee: 3%|
|Late payment fee: Up to $39|
|Returned payment fee: Up to $28|
First Progress doesn't allow authorized users on this card.
Is This Card Right for You?
The Platinum Select Mastercard® Secured Credit Card could be a good option if you're brand new to credit, or have had credit troubles in the past and want a secured card that doesn't require a credit check. But also consider the lower-fee option from First Progress if you can avoid carrying a balance, and look into secured cards without an annual fee from other companies.