BrightWay credit card review: A beginner credit card that rewards on-time payments

A woman sits in front of a window looking at her cell phone and holding her Brightway credit card.Image: A woman sits in front of a window looking at her cell phone and holding her Brightway credit card.
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These offers are no longer available on our site: BrightWay, BrightWay+

Pros

  • No security deposit
  • Ability to work toward better terms
  • Cash back rewards

Cons

  • Must be invited to apply
  • Low credit limit
  • High annual fee
  • High APR, as is typical for similar cards

What you need to know

If you’re working on building your credit history, the BrightWay credit card may help you get started. But as of now, you can only apply for this new credit-builder rewards card from OneMain Financial if you score an invite.

And while you won’t need to put down a security deposit, the card has a $65 annual fee.

Ability to unlock better terms

Among the BrightWay card’s drawbacks are its low initial credit limit of between $300 and $500 and high interest rate. But if you make six months of on-time payments, you may be eligible qualify for a higher credit line and lower interest fees.

And after four six-month periods of on-time payments — four “Milestone events,” in BrightWay lingo — BrightWay says you’ll get upgraded to its higher-tier card: the BrightWay+, which comes with higher credit limits and no annual fee.

Cash back rewards

The BrightWay credit card offers 1% cash back on all purchases. While this is a nice-to-have perk for a beginner card or unsecured credit card, it’s not as high as the cash-back rate you can get with some other cards.

And remember, it’s not a good idea to spend just for the sake of earning rewards.

What else you need to know

If you’re thinking about getting the BrightWay card, here’s a few more things to consider.

  • APR is on the high side — At 26.99% for purchases, balance transfers and cash advances, if you don’t pay your balance in full every month, you could end up racking up extra debt just from interest charges.
  • Watch out for fees — There’s a fee of up to $40 for any late payments. Setting up autopay can help you avoid this situation.
  • Using the card abroad will cost you extra — A foreign transaction fee of 1% will be applied to all transactions made outside of the United States, so it’s not the best card to use internationally.

Who this card is good for

The BrightWay credit card could be an option for people looking to establish or rebuild their credit history. Or it may make a good first credit card. But you need to be invited to apply — so if you don’t receive an offer, you can’t even consider this card.

Even if you do get an offer, there are other credit-builder cards that may offer better long-term value.

Not sure this is the card for you? Consider these alternatives.


About the author: Sean McQuay is a long-time personal finance nerd. He’s passionate about budgets, credit cards, and earning useful rewards with minimal effort. He lives in the San Francisco Bay Area and is a father to three rambunctious kids. Read more.