I was 20 years old and ruined my credit in merchant and consumers accounts due to opening a business, had banking accounts closed along with the credit from those banks as well. My score had dropped to about 460 in 2013. This eventually lead to having a bad credit status and being marked in ChexSystems, which prevents you from opening any sort of consumer accounts like checking accounts. After finding a job shortly after, instead of filing for bankruptcy, I decided to go ahead and repair my credit and it started with First Progress.
So this is my review 2 years and 9 months later...
1.) You need to have bad credit, either this card is not for you. Even if you have no credit and want to build credit, this card is still not for you.
2.) An extra $200 or more (I put $300)
3.) Patience and knowing how/what to use it on. (give it 6 months at least, 12 months if you have many baddies on your account).
4.) Checking Account that allows bill pay, or another form of card that has these features (such as the Chase Liquid Card, which is what i used)
5.) The following needs to stick in your head:
a) Remember that rebuilding credit COSTS in some shape or form, either by deposits, charges and annual fees. Rebuilding is not easy, it takes a lot of patience and of course money.
b) Rebuilding is not just opening secured accounts and hoping everything will be fixed in a couple of years, you need to constantly work in fixing your negative remarks on your account, to a certain extent.
Opening the First Progress account was pretty easy, that is if you have a bank account to fund it with. If you do not have a bank account, I would highly recommend the Chase Liquid Card as they allow you to use their Online Bill Pay as a feature. The Chase Liquid Card is what I started out with since I was marked on ChexSystems and was unable to open any checking/savings accounts at any bank at the time (due to closed checking accounts with negative balances). The process took over a week and a half for them to receive the deposit and send out the card. Then I received it in the mail about a week later, so about 2 - 3 weeks in total for the whole process it took for me, but this can take longer for some areas.
Using the card was simple, I put $300 as the deposit and if this was your first secured card like it was for me, you would need to be responsible to keep it below the 30% utilization rate. Since I put $300 as the deposit, 30% in this case would be $90. You would need to make sure your max spending limit to have at the end of a billing cycle would be lower than $90, meaning when you recieve you billing statements, your balance owed should not be over $90, since $90 is 30% of your overall utilization rate. This is extremely important when you start applying for other cards down the road.
I would highly recommend finding some way to bill pay direcly to First Progress's account, the first bill I paid I used MoneyGram at a local CVS and this was the first and last time I would do something like this, it takes longer for First Progress to receieve the payment and could possibly make your payment late, plus the hassle of going in store, calling, connecting, providing the information, and confirming took about 40 minutes since this was my very first time doing something like this. Theres lots of debit cards that allow bill pay if you do not have a checking account or unable to get one like me at the time.
By also wary that this has an annual fee, for me it was $39 a year.
My score was around 460 when I started in 2014, in about 6 months, my score jumped to 524. Not exactly an average score, however as long as progress is made, you're on the right track (and so was I). I soon applied for another secured card from Capital One a couple months after, and at the end of the 12th month, my score was around 580 from these 2 secured cards, which 580 for some credit cards applications is the bare minimum. First Progress was easy to use as it was accepted everywhere and suprisingly did not require a signature, unlike unsecured cards which do.
Eventually after a year and 2 months, I applied for my first Capital One Unsecured card (QuickSilver One) and was given a $500 limit. The secured card from Capital One also bumped up from $300 (my original security deposit) to a $600 credit line. I had First Progress to thank since it lead me up to this point in 2015.
However, don't expect an increase from First Progress as they do not hand out credit increases, whatever you deposit is what you get. I still have the same $300 limit from the time of opening the account to now.
Overall, this card was easy to use, and I had no problems with payments or First Progress using bill pay from Chase Liquid's Card. I would highly recommend this along with other secured cards for rebuilding your credit.