First Progress Platinum Elite MasterCard Secured Credit Card

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A low annual fee isn't enough to make this card a winner.

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If you’re applying for a secured credit card, chances are either your credit stinks or you don’t have much of a financial history.

First Progress can help make access to credit easy with one of its secured cards. None of the three credit cards it offers require a credit check or have a minimum credit score, which can be a big boon for some who may not be able to qualify for a credit card otherwise. Of the three options, the First Progress Platinum Elite MasterCard Secured Credit Card is the best choice for someone looking for the lowest annual fee.

Review

The First Progress Platinum Elite MasterCard Secured Credit Card is a just OK card with some just OK attributes. It has an acceptable variable APR of 19.99% — there are other secured cards that offer lower rates, but you’d have to qualify for it. And some offer crazy high interest rates closer to 30%.

But anyone trying to responsibly build up their credit score should try to pay their bill in full every month. That means no interest charges.

There are plenty of reasons why someone may want to apply for a secured credit card with an institution that doesn’t run a credit check. Young adults who have spent most of their lives in school or recent arrivals to the country who haven’t yet built up a credit history, someone who is emerging from bankruptcy, or anyone who made some major mistakes with their finances are all likely to face challenges qualifying for an unsecured card, and in some cases some secured cards.

There is a $29 annual fee, which can put a dent in the amount of available credit you’ll end up with. If you’re approved for a $200 line of credit, but have that pesky $29 fee, you’ll only have $171 left until you reach your card’s limit. Not only does this lower the purchasing power of the card, but it can also affect your credit utilization ratio. This ratio can play a big part in determining your credit score and, since this card reports monthly to all three of the major credit bureaus, your goal should be to keep the amount of credit you’re using low.

The money you put down to “secure” your line of credit won’t earn any interest either, and you won’t see that money again until you close the account. If you can only qualify for a card that doesn’t conduct a credit check, this card will do, but you should shop around to make sure you can’t find something better.

Who should get this card

If you’re serious about building up — or rebuilding — your credit, this card can help you get there if you use it responsibly.

Advantages
  • There’s no credit check or minimum credit score requirement, so it’s easy to get approved.
  • You can get a credit limit ranging from $200 to $2,000, as long as you can put down an equivalent amount cash.
  • The interest rate is better than some of the sky-high rates charged by other secured cards.
  • The card reports to all three of the credit bureaus, so with regular on-time payments, you could improve your standing.
Disadvantages
  • You can’t "graduate" to an unsecured card with the same issuer.
  • The $29 annual fee eats into your available credit.
  • It takes up to 10 days for payments to show as deposited to your account.
  • There’s no phone number to reach customer service and you can only contact them online.
  • Late payments won’t affect your APR but you will have to pay a late fee of up to $38.
  • There's a 3% foreign transaction fee.

Fees and APR

• You’ll pay a 19.99% variable APR on any balances you carry.
• This card has a $29 annual fee.
• Late payments won’t affect your APR but a late fee of $29 will apply.
• You’ll be charged a 3% foreign transaction fee on all purchases made outside the U.S.

Extras and perks

There are no extras with the First Progress Platinum Elite MasterCard Secured Credit Card.

How this card compares

First Progress Platinum Prestige MasterCard® Secured Credit Card
Card Details
  • Fund your new MasterCard® secured credit card with your tax refund today!
  • Our card reports monthly to all three major bureaus and approval is based upon a fully-refundable security deposit.
  • We can approve you at any credit score, no minimum required.
  • No processing or application fees required.
  • Full-featured Platinum MasterCard, accepted for car rentals, hotels, and millions of other locations worldwide.
  • Credit Line Secured by Your Fully-Refundable Deposit of $200 - $2,000 Submitted with Application
  • Nationwide Program though not yet available in NY, IA, AR, or WI
Credit Needed No Credit
Regular APR 9.99% (Variable)
Annual Fee $49
Purchase Intro APR N/A
Balance Transfers Intro APR N/A

The First Progress Platinum Prestige MasterCard Secured Credit Card has a lower annual percentage rate than the First Progress Platinum Elite MasterCard Secured Credit Card, making it a slightly better choice. We still think you can do better than any of the three First Progress secured cards.

OpenSky® Secured Visa® Credit Card
Card Details
  • No credit check necessary to apply. OpenSky believes in giving an opportunity to everyone.
  • The refundable* deposit you provide becomes your credit line limit on your Visa card. Choose it yourself, from as low as $200.
  • Build credit quickly. OpenSky reports to all 3 major credit bureaus.
  • 99% of our customers who started without a credit score earned a credit score record with the credit bureaus in as little as 6 months.
  • We have a Facebook community of people just like you; there is a forum for shared experiences, and insights from others on our Facebook Fan page. (Search "OpenSky Card" in Facebook.)
  • OpenSky provides credit tips and a dedicated credit education page on our website to support you along the way.
  • *View our Cardholder Agreement located at the bottom of the application page for details of the card.
Credit Needed No Credit
Regular APR 18.39% (Variable)
Annual Fee $35
Purchase Intro APR N/A
Balance Transfers Intro APR N/A

The OpenSky Secured Visa Credit Card is most similar to the First Progress cards as its secured credit card doesn’t require a credit check or bank account. The two reasons you may want to apply for the OpenSky Secured Visa Credit Card is if you don’t own a checking account, but still want access to a credit card, or if you’re looking for a secured card with a decent annual percentage rate.

There’s a very narrow band of consumers this applies to, we imagine.

Capital One® Secured MasterCard®
Card Details
  • No annual fee, and all the credit building benefits with responsible card use
  • Unlike a prepaid card, it builds credit when used responsibly, with regular reporting to the 3 major credit bureaus
  • You will get an initial $200 credit line after making a security deposit of $49, $99, or $200, determined based on your creditworthiness
  • Get access to a higher credit line after making your first 5 monthly payments on time with no additional deposit needed
  • Easily manage your account 24/7 with online access, by phone or using our mobile app
  • It's a credit card accepted at millions of locations worldwide
Credit Needed No Credit
Regular APR 24.99% (Variable)
Annual Fee $0
Purchase Intro APR N/A
Balance Transfers Intro APR N/A

The Capital One Secured MasterCard has flexible opening options that other secured cards do not. If you qualify, you can put down as little as $49 to get a credit limit of $200. Or, you can pay the $200 security deposit in installments. This card can give you access to a higher credit line after you make five on-time monthly payments.

Discover it® Secured Card
Card Details
  • No Annual Fee, cash back on every purchase, and helps you build your credit with responsible use.
  • Your Secured Credit Card requires a refundable security deposit up to the amount we can approve of at least $200 which will establish your credit line.
  • You will need to provide your bank information when submitting your security deposit.
  • We will automatically begin reviewing your account starting at 8 months to see if we can transition you to an unsecured line of credit.
  • Earn 2% cash back at restaurants & gas stations on up to $1,000 in combined purchases each quarter. Plus, 1% cash back on all your other purchases.
  • Get a dollar-for-dollar match of all the cash back you've earned at the end of your first year, automatically.
  • New! Receive Free Social Security number alerts-Discover will monitor thousands of risky websites when you sign up.
Credit Needed No Credit
Regular APR 23.99% Variable
Annual Fee $0
Purchase Intro APR N/A
Balance Transfers Intro APR 10.99% for 6 months

The Discover it Secured Card packs a powerful punch of attributes not typically seen in secured cards. For starters, you earn cash back with the card — something no other secured card on the market offers. And it will double your cash back at the end of the first year. The bank also will review your account, starting at eight months to see if you qualify to graduate to an unsecured card.

EDITORIAL NOTE

Opinions expressed here are author's alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines, or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.