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The First Progress Platinum Elite Mastercard® Secured Credit Card review: A fairly run-of-the-mill secured option

This card checks all the boxes for your standard secured credit card, leaving much to be desired.

 /  8 min
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Snapshot

3.3

Bankrate rating
Info
Rating: 3.3 stars out of 5

Bottom line

People building credit for the first time or rebuilding from the ground up will find a fair match in the First Progress Platinum Elite Mastercard Secured Card. It’s easy to get a hold of with barebones credit history, but there isn’t much reward for the work with this option..

Best for high credit limit
  • Cost of membership
    Rating: 3 stars out of 5
    3 / 5
    Ease of building credit
    Rating: 4 stars out of 5
    4 / 5
    APR
    Rating: 4 stars out of 5
    4 / 5
    Features
    Rating: 3.8 stars out of 5
    3.8 / 5
No Credit History
Info
Recommended Credit

25.24% (Variable)

Regular APR

$29

Annual fee

The First Progress Platinum Elite Mastercard® Secured Credit Card Overview

The First Progress Platinum Elite Mastercard Secured Credit Card is designed to help cardholders build credit with no credit check and no credit history required to apply. Credit limits between $200 and $2,000 are available depending on the amount of your initial deposit. Plus, First Progress reports to all three credit bureaus, making it easier to increase your credit score over time.

Though you won’t have to jump through too many hoops to get approved, you will still be on the hook for a sizable security deposit (minimum of $200), which will serve as your credit limit. Paying a deposit is a common trade-off for building credit with a secured credit card. You’ll also pay an annual fee on top of your deposit charge, which could dampen this card’s competitiveness rather quickly.

  • Credit Card Cash Back

    Rewards

    • This card does not offer rewards, which is common for most secured cards.

    Expert Appraisal: Typical
    See our expert analysis

  • Credit Card Search

    Rates and fees

    • $29 annual fee
    • No intro APR offer for purchases or balance transfers
    • 25.24 percent variable APR

    Expert Appraisal: Typical
    See our expert analysis

  • Credit Fair

    Credit-building features

    • No credit check required
    • Reporting to all three credit bureaus

    Expert Appraisal: Good
    See our expert analysis

First Progress Platinum Elite Mastercard Secured Card pros and cons

Pros

  • Checkmark

    The card has an easy application process with a quick decision turnaround time and decent approval odds for people with no prior credit history.

  • Checkmark

    There is no credit check required, so your credit history is basically a non-factor. That’s a rare plus for people building credit.

  • Checkmark

    First Progress reports to all three credit bureaus for easy and clear documentation of your credit-building progress.

  • Checkmark

    Its ongoing APR is a bit lower than other secured cards.

Cons

  • This card has no welcome bonus, standout perks or rewards, which reduces its value in comparison to other secured cards that do offer these incentives.

  • The card charges an annual fee in addition to your initial security deposit, which reduces its affordability.

  • There’s no way to upgrade to an unsecured credit card, so its long-term value isn’t very substantial.

Why you might want the First Progress Platinum Elite Mastercard Secured Card

The First Progress Platinum Elite Mastercard is a good option for people looking for a secured card since it allows you to build credit while also having a high credit limit depending on how large of a security deposit you put down. There’s also the possibility of having your credit limit extended down the road.

Credit building: Reports to all three bureaus

First Progress reports all of its credit data to all three major credit bureaus — Equifax, Experian and TransUnion. While reporting data to any one of these agencies helps boost your credit rating, regular reporting to all three makes it easier to monitor your overall credit health and build your credit score more quickly.

The First Progress Platinum Elite Mastercard Secured Credit Card doesn’t offer many other advantages outside credit building, but this shouldn’t be a deal-breaker since few secured cards provide extra features. If you're not interested in improving your credit and don't have much use for the basic reporting offered by this card, it may not be worth considering — but if you are focused on boosting your credit, then its limited frills could help you stay on track.

Security deposit: High credit limit is possible

Once you’ve been approved, you’ll need to provide a security deposit to offset lender risk; this is the trade-off for no credit check.

While you aren’t committed to a fixed amount — you can open an account with a deposit ranging from $200 to $2,000 — the amount of your deposit sets your credit limit. This means that if your deposit is $200, your available credit is also $200. It’s wise to aim for the higher end of this range in order to improve your credit utilization ratio and bump up your score faster. Fortunately, you can later request to increase your credit limit up to $5,000 by increasing your security deposit.

Why you might want a different secured card

While the First Progress Platinum Elite Mastercard might help you on your credit journey, its lack of rewards and sign-up bonus may be a dealbreaker for some. In addition to its annual cost, you might be put off by the card's other fees.

Rewards: Doesn’t have a sign-up bonus or rewards program

As a secured credit card, the First Progress Platinum Elite Mastercard doesn’t come with any welcome offers, sign-up bonuses or reward rates. Instead, its biggest draw is providing access to credit even if your credit history or credit rating isn’t ideal. Even though it isn’t common for secured cards to have many incentives, there are still a few that do offer a welcome bonus, rewards or perks that sweeten the deal.

For example, the Capital One Quicksilver Secured Cash Rewards Credit Card has no annual fee (See Rates & Fees), an unlimited elevated rewards rate on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel and an unlimited flat rewards rate on all purchases. And amongst the roster of First Progress cards, the First Progress Platinum Prestige Mastercard® Secured Credit Card allows you to earn cash back rewards when you make timely payments. 

Rates and fees: Charges an annual fee plus a plethora of other fees

The First Progress Platinum Elite Mastercard Secured Card comes with a $29 annual fee that is charged to the card itself — meaning that if you put down a $200 deposit, you’ll only have $171 worth of credit to use until you pay that fee off.

This card also has a 3 percent foreign transaction fee, a late payment fee up to $40 and a returned payment fee up to $29. In addition, cash advances come with a $10 or 3 percent total transaction fee, whichever is greater, and a 29.99 percent variable APR for cash advances.

The standard variable APR for this card is 25.24 percent, which can be better than average for similar secured cards, but it’s still a bit steep. If you’re worried your payment won’t be posted before your due date, you can make an expedited telephone payment, although you’ll be charged a $10 fee. There’s also a potential $1 request fee if you ever need a copy of a billing statement from more than six months ago.

Overall, the First Progress Platinum Elite comes with a slew of fees, so it's fair if you're concerned about getting charged more than you can manage if you ever make a mistake, such as a late payment, or need a cash advance for an emergency. 

How the First Progress Platinum Elite Mastercard Secured compares to other secured cards

It’s no surprise that the First Progress Platinum Elite Mastercard Secured Credit Card makes our list of the best secured credit cards thanks to its easy online application and expedited processing. But how does it compare to other credit cards for bad credit?

Although unsecured credit cards designed for less-than-perfect credit might seem appealing since they don’t require security deposits, a secured card could offer a better opportunity to improve your credit score with a potentially higher credit limit and lower ongoing costs.

Image of First Progress Platinum Elite Mastercard® Secured Credit Card
Bankrate Score
Apply now Lock
on First Progress's secure site

Annual fee

$29

Intro offer

N/A

Rewards rate

N/A

Recommended Credit Score

No Credit History
Info
Image of Discover it® Secured Credit Card
Bankrate Score
See Rates & Fees , Terms Apply
Apply now Lock
on Discover's secure site

Annual fee

$0

Intro offer

Cashback Match™
Info

Rewards rate

1% - 2%
Info

Recommended Credit Score

No Credit History
Info
Image of Capital One Platinum Secured Credit Card
Bankrate Score
See Rates & Fees , Terms Apply
Apply now Lock
on Capital One's secure site

Annual fee

$0

Intro offer

N/A

Rewards rate

N/A

Recommended Credit Score

No Credit History
Info

Who is the First Progress Platinum Elite Mastercard Secured Card right for?

Bankrate’s Take — Is the First Progress Platinum Elite Mastercard Secured worth it?

The First Progress Platinum Elite Mastercard Secured credit card offers credit-building potential with a quick application process and no credit check, as well as a customizable deposit amount starting at $200, making it a great choice if you’re looking to build a credit history or improve a damaged credit rating.

The downside is that this card doesn’t stand out from the secured credit crowd very much. Other secured cards like the BankAmericard Secured credit card* offer higher initial credit limits, while the Discover it® Secured Credit Card comes with cash back rewards. It’s also worth noting that, unlike some competitors, you can’t upgrade your First Progress Platinum Elite Mastercard Secured card into an unsecured card after a certain amount of on-time payments or card ownership, but you can shore up your secured credit line upon request.

However, the First Progress Platinum Elite Mastercard Secured may have a leg up since there is no hard credit pull when applying and the ongoing APR can be lower than competing cards’ rates.

*The information about the BankAmericard® Secured Credit Card has been collected independently by Bankrate.com. The card details have not been reviewed or approved by the card issuer.

Frequently asked questions

Written by
Re'Dreyona Walker
Associate Editor, Credit Cards

Re’Dreyona Walker is an editor for Bankrate and CreditCards.com, focusing on product guides and reviews. As a personal finance expert, she is dedicated to providing honest product reviews as well as in-depth, comprehensive guides to assist readers in building credit and finding the best credit cards for their needs.

Edited by Former Senior Editor, Credit Cards
Reviewed by Former Senior Director of Content

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Editorial Disclosure: Opinions expressed here are the author's alone, and have not been reviewed or approved by any advertiser. The information, including card rates and fees, is accurate as of the publish date. All products or services are presented without warranty. Check the bank’s website for the most current information.