Total Visa® Credit Card review: An unsecured credit card for applicants with poor credit

Two friends are shopping online with their new Total Visa credit card, an unsecured card for applicants with poor credit. Two friends are shopping online with their new Total Visa credit card, an unsecured card for applicants with poor credit. Image:

In a Nutshell

The Total Visa® Credit Card offers you a chance to build your credit without requiring a refundable security deposit. But before you apply, you should learn about its rates, fees and limitations.

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If you have poor credit, it might seem as if the only credit cards that are available to you are secured cards that require a refundable security deposit.

The Total Visa® Credit Card is a standard unsecured card issued by Mid America Bank & Trust Co. that is designed for applicants who struggle to get approved for credit. Instead of paying a refundable security deposit, as you would with a secured card, you pay several fees that are not refundable.

This is one of the few standard unsecured cards that are available to applicants with poor credit. Read on to learn more about this Visa® card.

  1. The rundown: Everything we like about the Total Visa® Credit Card
  2. Heads up: What you should consider before applying for the Total Visa® Credit Card
  3. Do the math: How to get the most out of the Total Visa® Credit Card
  4. The competition: How the Total Visa® Credit Card stacks up against similar cards
  5. Bottom line: Is the Total Visa® Credit Card right for you?

The rundown: Everything we like about the Total Visa® Credit Card

The Total Visa® Credit Card is designed specifically for people who have had credit problems in the past. Here are some other good qualities about the card:

No security deposit

Most importantly, this is an unsecured credit card that doesn’t require the payment of a refundable security deposit. This means those who have had trouble being accepted for a credit card in the past have other options besides a secured card.

Designed to help you build credit

Unlike debit cards and prepaid cards, your balance and payment information will be reported to the three major consumer credit bureaus, allowing you to build your credit history and improve your credit health.

You are also eligible to receive a credit-limit increase once your account has been open for six billing cycles, you’ve made all your payments on time and you haven’t gone over your credit limit.

Grace period for payments

The Total Visa® Credit Card offers a 21-day grace period between the statement closing date and the payment due date. When you pay your monthly statement balance in full before the due date, interest charges for that statement period will be waived.

Another advantage this card has is a no cash advance fee during the first year. After that, the fee will be $5 or 5% of the amount advanced, whichever is greater.

Heads up: What you should consider before applying for the Total Visa® Credit Card

Small line of credit

If approved for this card, you will receive a credit limit of only $300, minus the $75 cost of your first year’s annual fee. With a secured card, your credit limit is typically equal to the amount of your security deposit, which you have more flexibility to choose.

Very high fees

This card is offered to applicants with a poor credit history, and it doesn’t require a security deposit, so something has to give. Applicants should expect to pay very high fees every step of the way.

Fees include a one-time $89 processing fee to open your account. The annual fee for the card is $75 the first year, then $48 annually.

While the vast majority of credit cards offer additional cards for authorized users at no charge, the Total Visa® Credit Card imposes a $29 fee on each additional card, every year.

And should you continue to use this card for more than 12 months, you will also pay an additional $6.25 a month, or $75 annually, in servicing fees.

Limits on usage

One of the most important reasons you’ll want a Visa® credit card is to use it anywhere that Visa is accepted. However, this card has some serious restrictions not found on other Visa® cards.

First, you will not be able to use this card for unattended transactions at fuel pumps. Presumably this is because many gas stations place a hold of $100 or more on your credit line when authorizing a transaction, and it can take days for this hold to be released. If this happened, it would consume a large percentage of this card’s modest $300 credit limit.

Also, this card cannot be used for any transaction that’s processed outside of the United States. This restriction prevents you from using the card when you travel to a foreign country and also prohibits you from making online purchases in a foreign currency.

Finally, you won’t be able to receive a cash advance within 90 days or three billing cycles of your account opening, whichever is greater. And when you do, your cash advance balance may not be more than half of your credit limit.

Do the math: How to get the most out of the Total Visa® Credit Card

This card can be extremely valuable to build your credit, but you should consider the costs of using this card to do so. At a minimum, you’ll have to pay $164 in non-refundable fees the first year after you open a Total Visa® Credit Card account, only to receive a card with a $300 line of credit. And although this card may give you the opportunity to improve your credit, it also comes with some substantial limits on its usage.

To get the most out of this card, you will want to make all of your payments on time and stay well within your credit limit.

You can also improve your credit with responsible use of a secured card, which could have lower fees but require the payment of a refundable security deposit.

The competition: How Total Visa® Credit Card stacks up against similar cards

Milestone® Gold Mastercard® Unsecured card with a $35 to $99 annual fee
Credit One Bank® Cash Back Credit Card

Unsecured card with $0 to $75 annual fee the first year, $0 to $99 after that

1% cash back on eligible purchases

No grace period for many cardholders

Capital One® Secured Mastercard®

No annual fee

Minimum $49 deposit gives you an initial $200 line of credit


Milestone® Gold Mastercard®

This unsecured card offers different rates and fees depending on your credit worthiness. It offers a standard variable interest rate of 23.9% for purchases.

From our partner

Credit One Bank® Cash Back Credit Card

An unsecured card that offers 1% cash back on eligible purchases of gas, groceries, mobile phone service, internet service, and cable and satellite TV service. The card has an APR with a variable rate of 16.99 percent to 24.99 percent for purchases.

From our partner

Capital One® Secured Mastercard®

This is a secured card that requires a minimum deposit of $49 to receive an initial credit line of $200. There’s no annual fee for this card and no foreign transaction fees. The card has an APR with a variable rate of 24.99 percent for purchases.

From our partner

Capital One® Secured Mastercard®

From cardholders in the last year

See Details, Rates & Fees

Bottom line: Is the Total Visa® Credit Card right for you?

If you believe that having an unsecured credit card is a privilege that’s worth paying dearly for, then this card may be worth considering.

But if saving money is a priority while building your credit, then you should strongly consider a secured card that requires the payment of a refundable deposit rather than a card like the Total Visa® Credit Card, which charges several expensive, non-refundable fees.


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