First Progress Platinum Select MasterCard® Secured Credit Card Review

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In a Nutshell

If you have no — or less-than-stellar — credit, making good use of the First Progress Platinum Select MasterCard® Secured Credit Card could help you improve it. You don’t need a credit history or minimum credit scores to apply. But the First Progress Platinum Select MasterCard® Secured Credit Card does charge an annual fee.

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Pros Cons

Potentially easy to qualify for

Charges an annual fee

Reports to all three credit bureaus

Can’t graduate to a fully unsecured version of the card

Moderate variable APR for purchases

No rewards program offered

 

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What you need to know about the First Progress Platinum Select MasterCard® Secured Credit Card

Potentially easy to qualify for

The First Progress Platinum Select MasterCard® Secured Credit Card is one of three secured credit cards offered by First Progress. No matter which card you choose, First Progress says that there’s no minimum credit requirement to apply. It doesn’t require a credit history either.

This card is designed to help consumers who are looking to establish or rebuild their credit history. And these relaxed requirements mean that consumers with bad or no credit might have a good chance of qualifying for the First Progress Platinum Select MasterCard® Secured Credit Card.

It’s unclear whether First Progress will pull your credit when you apply for First Progress Platinum Select MasterCard® Secured Credit Card. So if you’re worried about your credit being pulled, you may want to consider the OpenSky® Secured Credit Visa® Card. It doesn’t require any credit check to apply and it comes with a slightly lower annual fee of $35.

Credit limit will be equal to your deposit

Secured credit cards require you to make a cash deposit to secure your account, which acts as collateral against your credit line. If you don’t make payments, then the card company can use your security deposit to pay your debt. So the security deposit helps to offset risk for the card issuer, which is why most secured credit cards can have lower credit requirements than unsecured credit cards.

With the First Progress Platinum Select MasterCard® Secured Credit Card, you’ll need to make a minimum security deposit of $200, which is refundable. You can make a larger deposit if you choose, at a minimum of $300 and a maximum of $2,000. But no matter what size deposit you make, your credit limit will be equal to your deposit. One other thing to note: First Progress will deduct your $39 annual fee from your initial credit line. So if your deposit is $200, your initial available credit would be $161 until you pay off the $39.

Reports to the three major credit bureaus

Even though it requires a cash deposit, the First Progress Platinum Select MasterCard® Secured Credit Card is a true revolving line of credit. And your card activity will be reported to all three major credit bureaus. So if you use the card carefully and make consistent on-time payments, it can have a positive effect on your credit scores.

One thing to note: Your credit utilization rate, which is the amount of money you’ve borrowed divided by the total credit available to you, can deeply affect your credit scores. The rule of thumb is to try and keep your utilization rate below 30%, but that can be hard to do if you have a low credit limit — especially if you get hit with an annual fee right out of the gate. Don’t lose hope, though. Credit card utilization is important, but only one of many factors that make up your credit score. Making on-time payments every time and paying off your balance before a statement comes can also help.

Over time, First Progress may choose to increase your credit limit without requiring an additional deposit. Or you may want to apply for an unsecured card that has better terms or offers more cardholder perks. Just keep in mind that if First Progress does increase your limit that the maximum you can obtain is $5,000.

Can’t graduate to a fully unsecured card

Some secured credit cards will offer the option to graduate cardholders to unsecured versions of their cards after they’ve made a certain number of on-time payments.

But the First Progress Platinum Select MasterCard® Secured Credit Card doesn’t offer the option to get your “refundable” deposit back without closing your account, sending the issuer your cards and paying off your balance in full. 

You can ask First Progress to bump up your credit limit at any time. But it makes no promises about approval. This is definitely an area where the First Progress Platinum Select MasterCard® Secured Credit Card falls short.

Annual fee and APR

The First Progress Platinum Select MasterCard® Secured Credit Card has a $39 annual fee and a 13.99% purchase APR. That’s not bad, as far as interest rates go, but it’s better not to carry a balance at all if possible.

Annual fees can be worth it with unsecured cards that offer a lot of rewards. But that’s not the case here. If you can qualify for a secured card that doesn’t charge any annual fee, that would probably be a better move.

What else you need to know about the First Progress Platinum Select MasterCard® Secured Credit Card

  • Penalty fees — This card’s late payment fee is up to $40, and its returned payment fee is up to $29.
  • Transaction fees — With this card, a cash advance will cost you 3% (minimum $10) of the amount transferred (whichever is greater), and you’ll be charged a 3% fee for foreign transactions.
  • Availability — Not available in Arkansas, Iowa, New York or Wisconsin.

Who this card is good for

The First Progress Platinum Select MasterCard® Secured Credit Card may be a good fit for someone who wants the combination of relaxed credit requirements and a moderate variable purchase APR. You should try to avoid carrying a balance, but if that’s not possible, the First Progress Platinum Select MasterCard® Secured Credit Card could save you money over other secured credit cards that charge higher purchase APRs.

But if you plan to pay your bill off in full every month, there are better secured credit card options. Deciding on the right one for you depends on your needs.

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


About the author: Clint Proctor is a freelance writer and founder of WalletWiseGuy.com, where he writes about how students and m… Read more.