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For those with less than stellar credit who need a credit card, the Indigo® Platinum Mastercard® is one worth considering, although expect a lower credit limit and not many perks.
- Approval with bad credit
- No cash advance fee for the first 12 months
- Pre-qualify online before applying
- Low credit limit
- High annual fee after the first year if you have bad credit
- No rewards
If you are looking for a traditional credit card and your credit scores are currently poor (in the FICO® Score* range of 300 to 579), the Indigo® Platinum Mastercard® is one to consider. It's designed for poor credit and therefore does not have the bells and whistles you'll find with other cards, such as cash back and other rewards—but it will allow you to build credit because payments are reported to all three credit bureaus (Experian, Equifax and TransUnion).
Pre-Qualify Prior to Applying
One good benefit of the Indigo® Platinum Mastercard® is your ability to determine whether you are eligible for approval before you formally apply. This helps you avoid having a hard credit inquiry posted to your credit report, which could have a negative impact on your credit scores.
This Card Can Help You Build Credit
One of the main reasons for getting the Indigo® Platinum Mastercard® (rather than a secured card) is that it reports to the major credit bureaus each month. By paying your bill on time every month and keeping your balance well below your credit limit, you could improve your credit scores with this card.
What to Expect
The terms and conditions for this card list the credit limit at $0 to $99 the first year ($0, $59, $75 or $99, depending on creditworthiness). The $99 annual fee kicks in after the first year, and your credit limit will also likely increase. However, expect a low credit limit—about $300—after the first year. With a low limit, even smaller purchases can get you close to your credit limit, increasing your credit utilization ratio, or percentage of available credit you're using. This can lower your credit scores. Experts recommend you keep your credit utilization under 30%.
You can also expect to pay a high interest rate if you carry a balance on this card. The ongoing interest rate is 24.90%, which is above average. So if you just need a card to cover an emergency expense, plan to pay it off as quickly as possible.
The Bottom Line
Emergencies happen, and if you have a low credit score, this card can help cover those unexpected expenses. It can also help you build credit if you manage it well by paying off your balance every month. Take a close look at this card's fees, perks and starting credit limit when deciding whether it might be the right card for you.
Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are author's alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer or other company, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities. All information, including rates and fees, are accurate as of the date of publication.
This article was originally published on March 31, 2019, and has been updated.
*Credit score calculated based on FICO® Score 8 model. Your lender or insurer may use a different FICO® Score than FICO® Score 8, or another type of credit score altogether. Learn more.