The Credit One Bank® Platinum Visa® for Rebuilding Credit is one of the best options for a very particular type of person: someone with bad credit who needs what amounts to an emergency loan. If, for example, you need credit to cover the cost of vehicle repairs or unexpected medical expenses that you can’t afford in cash, then paying up to $95 in first-year fees for a $300 initial credit line might actually be the most attractive offer you’re going to get. The ability to earn cash back rewards sure doesn’t hurt, either.
With that being said, if you don’t absolutely need emergency spending power, you’re better off placing a refundable deposit on a secured credit card. You’ll get the money back when you close your account, assuming you’ve paid your bill in full, and you should be able to find an offer with no annual fee. Plus, secured cards are just as good for credit building as unsecured cards.
- Good way to get an emergency loan with bad credit. Getting an unsecured credit line can be quite expensive when you have bad credit. But that’s less true for the Credit One Visa. There’s no one-time fee for application processing and no monthly fee. And your first-year annual fee will be at most $95 (up to $99 every subsequent year), depending on your creditworthiness. Given that new cardholders begin with a $300 credit line, you’ll essentially be paying as much as $95 for as little as $205 in immediate spending power with the Credit One Bank Card. After all, the first annual fee is assessed when you open your account, thereby reducing the spending power at your disposal.
- Secured credit cards are much cheaper. If you don’t absolutely need an emergency loan or $205 to $300 in spending power isn’t enough for your needs, you’re better off focusing on improving your credit at the lowest possible cost. That means getting a secured card instead of an unsecured offer such as the Credit One Card. Secured credit cards require a refundable security deposit, the amount of which acts as your spending limit. This reduces both your costs and the issuer’s risk. There are a number of secured cards with no annual fee, and opening one will help you improve your credit score to the point where you can qualify for a decent unsecured card.
- The APR varies widely based on creditworthiness. Your rate could be well above 20% with the Credit One Bank Credit Card, especially if you have damaged credit. But if you have damaged credit, you’ll probably be assigned a rate toward the high end of the range. As a result, you should try to pay for your charges as quickly as possible. WalletHub’s credit card payoff calculator will help you make the best plan for your situation.
- Credit-line increases aren’t guaranteed. Credit One Bank says it will consider cardholders for higher credit limits based on their “overall credit performance.” They don’t elaborate about what you need to do or when you can expect a higher limit. Most cards require at least five consecutive months of on-time payments before considering an increase, but you still shouldn’t get your hopes up.
- Rewards aren’t that helpful. The roughly 1% cash back that you will earn on eligible purchases pales in comparison to the rate at which you’ll have to pay interest. And if you really want rewards, you can do better with a secured card.