Note: Our editorial staff maintains strict independence and integrity, so it is important to note that WalletHub’s legal history with First Premier had absolutely no bearing on our review.
The Verdict: The First PREMIER® Bank Mastercard Credit Card is a bad deal, even for people with “bad” credit, and it’s immediately obvious. You’ll have to pay First Premier $25-$95 for “processing” right off the bat should you, for some reason, decide to apply and ultimately get approved. That’s a prerequisite for account opening. You’ll then immediately find yourself facing a first-year fee of $75 to $125, depending on whether your starting credit line is $300, $400, $500, $600, $700 or $1000 which reduces your initial spending power.
Such a relatively paltry amount, coupled with such burdensome fees, won’t do you much good when it comes to affording emergency medical expenses or car repairs, which might very well be fueling your desire for an unsecured credit line. Neither will the card’s 36% regular APR — the highest interest rate on the market, according to our latest Credit Card Landscape Report. For example, a $400 balance paid down over 12 months would generate about $83 in interest charges under these conditions. What’s more, if you keep your account open for longer than a year, you will have to pay $120 to $174 in fees each year, thanks to the combination of an annual fee and a monthly “maintenance” charge.
In other words, you can basically think of First Premier as your wallet’s worst fear. Below you can learn more about why that’s the case as well as which alternatives are preferable.
- As Much As $896 In Starting Spending Power: People with bad credit resort to unsecured cards in order to pay for something they can’t afford in cash. And that is where the First PREMIER® Bank Mastercard Credit Card provides a modicum of assistance. You just have to fit a very specific profile.More specifically, you must:
- Have $25 - $95 in cash
- Be willing to wait for a new credit card to arrive
- Need an emergency loan of $896 or less
- Be unable to obtain the funds at a lower cost
This assumes you will have to pay a $25 processing fee and a $79 first-year fee in return for a $1,000 credit line, which would give you a total of $896 in spending power that you do not currently have ($896=$1,000-$25-$79). If you obtain a $1,000 credit limit, the monthly fee is also not waived, as with the $300, $400, or $500 credit limits, and you would have to pay during the first year an $8 monthly fee, which will rise to $10.4 in the second year. The same monthly fees are applied if you get a $700 credit limit, and a $5.85 fee per month in the first year, with $8.25 in subsequent years, if you get a $600 limit. Such an amount will ultimately prove insufficient for many people. But others could also say that it’s better than nothing.
- $25-$95 Processing Fee: If you’re approved for the First PREMIER® Bank Mastercard Credit Card, one thing will stand between you and account opening: a processing fee between $25 and $95. This can have a significant impact on your initial spending limit, and, if you don’t pay this fee within 85 days of being notified of approval, your account will be terminated.
- $75 - $125 First-Year Annual Fee: Upon opening your account, you will be greeted by another treat: a first-year annual fee as high as $125, which alone would accrue about $26 in interest over a year’s time. More specifically, you’ll have to pay $125 the first year if you’re approved for a $500 credit line, $100 for $400, $79 for $600, $700, and $1,000, and $75 for $300.
- Up To $173.80 In Membership Fees Starting Year Two: The card’s annual fee will drop to $45 in the second year if you have a credit line of $300 or $400 and to $49 if your limit is $500, $600, $700, or $1,000. But this is deceiving. If you get a $300, $400, or $500 credit limit, monthly fees also come into play, with the lower-credit-limit groups having to shell out $6.25 and the high-end crowd on the hook for $10.40. As a result, cumulative membership fees after the first year can total $120 or $173.80. And, if you get the larger credit limits, you would have to take into consideration that the monthly fees are not waived in the first year.
- 36% Regular APR: The whole point of an unsecured credit card for bad credit is to finance emergency expenses. In other words, you’re probably going to carry a balance from month to month. Unfortunately, doing so will be awfully expensive with the First PREMIER® Bank Mastercard Credit Card, thanks to a 36% APR that is considerably higher than the average rate for secured credit cards (17.19%) and cards for people with fair credit (23.43%), according to WalletHub’s latest Credit Card Landscape Report.
- 25% Credit-Limit Increase Fee: If you ever ask for and receive a credit-limit increase after at least 13 months of having an active account, you will be charged a fee equal to 25% of the difference between your old and new limits. For example, if you get approved for an additional $200, you will be charged a fee of $50.
Other Things To Consider
- 5% Cash Advance Fee: : If your emergency expense can only be paid in cash, you will have to pay a fee equal to 5% of the amount withdrawn (minimum of $6) to tap into your card’s credit line at an ATM. Interest will immediately begin accruing at a market-worst 36% rate as well.
- 3% Foreign Transaction Fee: If your financial emergency for some reason involves international travel or spending, it’s important for you to note this card’s 3% fee for transactions processed outside the U.S. Such a charge bucks the market-wide trend away from geographic nickel-and-diming, as the average foreign transaction fee has fallen by 38% since 2014, according to WalletHub data.
- Premier Credit Protection: You can pay $0.89 per $100 in end-of-month balances for a service that First Premier calls “Premier Credit Protection,” which promises to make payments for you in the event of certain covered events, such as disability, unemployment and unpaid family leave. However, such deals typically aren’t worthwhile given the myriad exclusions that apply. But you can peruse the contract to make up your own mind.
- Watch Out For Aliases: First Premier typically offers a single credit card. However, it regularly changes the name of this card – sometimes, but not always, in accordance with tweaks to its terms. The same basic offer has been called the Possibilities Card, the Forward Card, the Gold Card, the Classic Card, the Platinum Card and the Centennial Card. So make sure to be on the lookout for this marketing gimmick, and always analyze a card’s terms to see if it’s really a wolf in sheep’s clothing
Compared To The Competition
First PREMIER® Bank Mastercard Credit Card
Credit One Bank® Visa® Credit Card
Secured Mastercard® from Capital One
Milestone® Mastercard® - Less Than Perfect Credit Considered
|Annual Fee||$75 - $125 1st yr, $45 - $49 after||$0 - $99||$0||$35 - $99*|
|Rewards Rate||N/A||0 - 1% Cash Back||N/A||N/A|
|Purchase Intro APR||N/A||N/A||N/A||N/A|
|Transfer Intro APR||N/A||N/A||N/A||N/A|
|Regular APR||36%||17.99% - 23.99% (V)||26.99% (V)||24.9%|
|Editors' Rating||1.0 / 5||3.0 / 5||5.0 / 5||3.0 / 5|
|Details, Rates & Fees||Learn More||Learn More||Learn More||Learn More|