The First PREMIER Bank unsecured MasterCard and Visa cards represent the other approach to credit cards for bad credit. While we believe that secured cards are, in general, a better deal for consumers, some people will find the attributes of an unsecured card preferable.
If we’ve learned nothing else when comparing credit cards for bad credit, we’ve learned that every advantage seems to be offset by an equivalent disadvantage when weighed against the competition. Nowhere is that clearer than when examining unsecured cards next to secured cards. The interest rate for purchases with the First PREMIER Bank unsecured card is 9.9%, lower than that charged by any of the secured cards. Further, there is a 25-day grace period for purchases making it very feasible to avoid interest charges altogether by paying the entire card balance monthly. On the other hand, cash advances carry a hefty 19.9% interest rate and, not surprisingly, there’s no grace period. We should also point out that failure to comply with the terms of the card agreement, such as exceeding the credit limit or making a payment late will result in a penalty interest rate of 19.9% even for purchases transactions.
Though possessing a clear advantage over its secured counterparts in the area of interest rates, the First PREMIER Bank unsecured card is expensive with regard to other fees. The tradeoff that will be attractive to some consumers is that no security deposit is made in order to get this card. The annual fee for the card is $48.00 but there’s also a monthly servicing fee of $7.00. Additionally, when setting up the account there’s a $95.00 program fee and a $29.00 account set up fee. All of these fees add up to $179.00 and will be charged to the account as soon as it’s opened. If the initial credit limit which is granted is the minimum $250, a very realistic possibility, that means that only $71.00 would remain available for charges until the initial onslaught of fees is paid off.
Unlike secured credit cards which literally don’t consider past credit performance when granting a card, the application process for obtaining an unsecured card does include a cursory look at past credit history. If granted, the minimum credit limit that would be allowed would be $250.00. It could, of course, be substantially more than that because an individual applicant’s risk is assessed. The initial credit limit remains in effect for a period of six months. Following that, presuming satisfactory compliance with the terms and conditions of the card, the credit limit may be raised. If a limit increase is approved, there is a onetime charge of $25.00 for the increase.
Cash advances are further limited. During the first 90 days of the account, cash advances cannot exceed 10% of the total line of credit. Following that 90 days, the advance limit can be raised to 50%, again presuming compliance with the terms of the card agreement.
The whole point of getting an unsecured credit card for bad credit is to build a better credit rating and the First PREMIER Bank unsecured cards accomplish that by reporting card activity to the major credit bureaus monthly. That’s about all that can be expected of the account. The legally required protection against unauthorized usage is included and, needless to say, customers suspecting such use or have a card lost or stolen need to report it to the card issuer without delay.
Customer support is provided by round the clock internet account access. There is a $3.95 onetime fee associated with initial setup of online access. Customer support is also provided by telephone and email.
An unsecured credit card for bad credit such as the First PREMIER Bank cards won’t be right for everyone but some consumers will find that being able to obtain the card without having to make a collateral deposit is advantageous if rather expensive.
Disclaimer: The Annual Percentage Rate or APR is reflective of the date this review was last updated.