Key takeaways

  • The Mission Lane Visa® Credit Card is a no-frills credit card that starts with a low credit limit, but can also offer a few big benefits to cardholders with bad to fair credit.
  • When used responsibly, the Mission Lane Visa can be a useful tool for cardholders to improve their credit scores and get back on track with their finances.
  • Cardholders with the Mission Lane Visa may also qualify for higher credit limits over time by showcasing responsible credit use.

If you have a few blemishes on your credit report that are causing you to have a bad credit score, you might find it tough to get your finances back on track. Bad credit can make it harder for you to get a loan at a good interest rate or qualify for affordable housing. It can even affect your job prospects.

Proving that you can use a credit card responsibly is one strategy that can help increase your credit score — and your financial wellbeing alongside it. However, there aren’t many lenders that are willing to take a chance on someone who’s paid their bills late or defaulted on what they owe to other lenders.

But if you’re in this situation, you still have options. One is to apply for the Mission Lane Visa® Credit Card, which could be the right fit to help you start or restart your credit journey. This bare-bones, credit-building card doesn’t offer rewards or access to many cardholder perks, but it does help users build credit over time through responsible use.

The key to maximizing the Mission Lane Visa is in how you use it. This card can be a boon for your finances if you use it in a disciplined and strategic way, but it can make your credit worse if you use it without a plan. Here’s what you should know about this card’s features if you want to maximize its value while improving your credit on the way to applying for a better card down the line:

Features of the Mission Lane Visa Card

The Mission Lane Visa is geared toward people with credit scores as low as 500. In turn, it doesn’t offer many cardholder perks or benefits. However, this card still has some strengths to note:

Higher credit lines over time

While the minimum credit limit on this card is $300, you can qualify for higher credit limits over time. The Mission Lane Visa card agreement states that the issuer will “Evaluate your Account at least once within the first 12 months of the Account opening to determine whether your Account is eligible for an increase in Credit Limit…”

So if you keep your account in good standing by paying your bills on time and keeping your spending within your credit limit, then the issuer will evaluate your account for a higher credit line. This can happen in as little as seven months but, as stated above, may take up to 12 months.

Not only can a higher credit limit give you more purchasing power, but higher credit limits can also make it easier to keep your credit utilization ratio on the lower end. Credit utilization refers to the amount of credit you’re using compared to the total amount of credit you have available. So, if you have a $500 credit limit and have made $250 in purchases with the card, your credit utilization would be at 50 percent. A low credit utilization ratio can help you improve your credit score even more over time.

Money tip: Experts recommend keeping your credit utilization below 30 percent, but those with the highest credit scores tend to keep their credit utilization below 10 percent.

Convenience of having a Visa credit card

The Mission Lane Visa is a Visa credit card, so you can use it at millions of places where Visa is accepted worldwide. It also comes with basic Visa perks, like 24/7 customer service access, emergency card replacement and $0 fraud liability.

Transparent pricing

Mission Lane charges an annual fee between $0 and $59, depending on your creditworthiness. However, the card issuer is upfront about this fee from the start, and they don’t list any other hidden fees in the fine print.

That said, the Mission Lane Visa does charge a foreign transaction fee of 3 percent, so it’s not ideal for purchases made abroad or in foreign currency. You may also be charged a fee for a cash advance or a penalty fee of up to $35 if you pay your bill late.

Instant credit decision

The Mission Lane Visa offers the option for an instant credit decision, so you won’t have to wait days or weeks to find out if you’re approved. Perhaps more importantly, this card lets you get prequalified online without a hard inquiry on your credit report. This helps you gauge your approval odds, as well as the interest rate and annual fee you’ll likely be assigned, before you apply.

Maximizing the Mission Lane Visa Card

If you decide to sign up for the Mission Lane Visa, you’ll want to use it in the most strategic way possible. Ultimately, your goal should be maximizing the card’s benefits and improving your credit enough so you can qualify for a rewards credit card with better perks.

If you want to use the Mission Lane Visa Card to your full advantage, take the following steps after you sign up:

  • Pay your bill on time. Cardholders with the Mission Lane Visa Credit Card should pay their credit card bill early or on time each month. After all, payment history is the most important determinant of FICO credit scores, so on-time payments can help build credit more than anything else. Paying your bill on time will also help you avoid the card’s $35 penalty fee for late payments.
  • Pay your bill in full. In addition to making sure you pay your bills on time, you should also make sure you pay your bills in full each month, mostly due to the card’s potentially high annual percentage rate (APR). If you carry a balance from one month to the next, you’ll pay a variable APR between 26.99 and 29.99 percent.
  • Do not use the card for a cash advance. While you can technically use this card to get cash from an ATM, doing so will be a costly experience. Not only will you have to pay an upfront cash advance fee of 3 percent ($10 minimum) on the transaction, but you’ll pay a higher cash advance APR and you’ll lose your grace period. This means interest starts piling up on your cash advance from day one.
  • Keep credit utilization on the low end. It’s also important to keep credit utilization in mind with this card due to its low starting limit of $300. Most experts suggest keeping your credit utilization rate below 30 percent for the best results, which would mean maintaining a balance of $90 or less with a credit limit of $300.
  • Only charge small purchases that are easy to pay off. With your credit utilization ratio in mind, it’s best to only charge a few minor recurring purchases to the card each month, like streaming subscriptions or gas station purchases. The Mission Lane Visa offers no rewards, so it doesn’t benefit you to try and charge as much as possible to the card.
  • Monitor your credit health. Finally, make sure you keep an eye on your credit score and its progress as you use the Mission Lane Visa to build credit over time. With months of responsible credit use behind you, including on-time payments without any exception, you may be able to upgrade from this card to a better option once enough time passes.

The bottom line

The Mission Lane Visa doesn’t offer much in terms of card perks, but it can nevertheless be a good card for you if you have poor credit and want to start rebuilding your credit score. Reading over our Mission Lane Visa Credit Card review can help you learn more about this card and how it could benefit you. However, you should also take the time to compare other credit cards for bad credit, including secured credit cards that require a cash deposit as collateral.

By comparing different credit-building cards and seeing how they stack up, you can decide if the Mission Lane Visa Credit Card is the best option to help you reach your financial goals.

*Information about the Mission Lane Visa Credit Card has been collected independently by Bankrate. The card details have not been reviewed or approved by the card issuer.