Key takeaways

  • The Mission Lane Visa Credit Card is a good tool for someone with low credit that’s looking to start building up their credit score, especially because the card is unsecured.
  • With an unsecured credit card, you won’t have to put down a security deposit like you would with a secured card.
  • But the Mission Lane Visa Credit Card doesn’t offer rewards and has a high APR, so if you have fair credit or better, you’d likely get more value out of a different card.

Mission Lane advertises a commitment to helping consumers have access to credit. Since the Mission Lane Visa® Credit Card’s recommended FICO score is the bad to fair range of 300 to 669, that sounds to be exactly what the card does — and not much more.

Don’t get us wrong: Access to an unsecured credit card for a low annual fee that ranges from $0 to $59 is a huge deal for people who need to quickly build on or increase a low credit score. And the Mission Lane Visa Credit Card won’t hit you with any hidden charges or so-called activation fees that are popular among subprime lenders, either.

That said, this card provides very little beyond access to unsecured credit. There are no rewards, and you’ll find it lacking even in terms of traditional credit card benefits that most cardholders take for granted. To put it bluntly, if your score is at least fair, you might qualify for a more exciting product.

When is the Mission Lane Visa worth it?

There are four key circumstances in which the Mission Lane Visa Credit Card can be a great fit for your needs.

You don’t want to put down a security deposit

A popular step for consumers who are starting or restarting their credit journey is to apply for a secured credit card. This is when you put down with the lender a security deposit that can be used to offset their losses should you fail to repay what you owe. Typically, your credit limit is the amount of your deposit.

A secured credit card is not a bad deal just because it’s secured. Contrary to what some people think, FICO doesn’t grade your credit score based on the type of credit card you use. However, the deposit you’re supposed to give to the lender can easily become a financial barrier if you don’t have much cash to spare, which is why unsecured cards are more desirable for most people.

You have a very low credit score

If your credit score is poor, you’ll find few lenders willing to extend you credit in the form of an unsecured card. Those who do usually charge an exorbitant annual fee among a bunch of other fees that might be less than transparent. These fees can quickly eat into your budget, making it harder to stay on top of your credit card payments and harder to build credit.

You’re not interested in perks or rewards

While most people love being rewarded for using their credit cards, not everyone is interested in doing so. You need to spend money to earn credit card rewards, which could mean spending more than you can comfortably afford to pay off. If you want a credit card just to build your credit, you might find the Mission Lane Visa fits the bill.

​You want to increase your credit limit over time

The Mission Lane Visa might start you off with a low minimum credit limit of $300, but you’ll get a shot at increasing that limit — typically within seven and 12 months of card ownership. As long as you make timely payments, keep your balance under your credit limit and keep your account in good standing, you should see a credit limit increase for your Mission Lane Visa. But while that’s helpful, Mission Lane is far from the only lender that offers the opportunity to graduate to a higher limit.

When is the Mission Lane Visa not worth it?

If you don’t fall within the narrow circumstances that make the Mission Lane Visa a good fit, you’re likely to find a stronger credit card elsewhere.

Your credit score isn’t that bad

If your credit score is fair or close to it, see if you can get a stronger card from either Mission Lane or other lenders. Even if you don’t care much about rewards or card benefits, chances are you might appreciate them at some point in the future.

For example, you may want to try your luck with a card like the Mission Lane Cash Back Visa® Credit Card. This card offers an unlimited 1 percent to 1.5 percent cash back on all qualifying purchases with a $0 annual fee. And you might qualify with a credit score as low as 580.

You tend to carry a balance

If you don’t pay your credit card balance in full every billing cycle, you won’t be happy with this card’s high 26.99 percent to 29.99 percent variable APR. Your best bet is to find a card with a lower variable APR — even if that means choosing a secured card instead.

You’d rather get a secured card that earns rewards

If you don’t mind putting down a security deposit for a credit card, another secured card might offer you better terms and rewards. For example, the Discover it® Secured Credit Card offers 2 percent cash back at gas stations and restaurants (on up to $1,000 in combined purchases per quarter, then 1 percent) and 1 percent back on everything else. Plus, Discover matches the cash back you’ve earned at the end of your first year of card membership.

You’re a student

If you qualify for a student credit card, you’ll find excellent student cards from lenders that don’t expect you to have a solid credit history. Some of these cards don’t require applicants to have any credit history at all, like the Discover it® Student Cash Back.

Should you get the Mission Lane Visa?

If you’re in the process of repairing your credit and your FICO score is low, the Mission Lane Visa is a card to consider. The Mission Lane Visa might start you off with a low credit line, but it reviews your account — likely sometime between seven and 12 months — and decides whether to increase your credit limit. Plus, unlike some of its subprime competitors, Mission Lane has no unexpected or hidden fees.

Yet it’s a bare bones credit card with an eye-popping variable APR of 26.99 percent to 29.99 percent, which means it won’t be a good fit for everyone — especially those who carry a balance from month to month.

If you have at least a fair credit score and are interested in rewards and benefits, you might want to look into the Mission Lane Cash Back Visa or another credit card for fair credit instead.

The bottom line

The Mission Lane Visa Credit Card has a reasonably low annual fee for this type of credit card, and it can help you build or repair your credit. However, even if you have poor credit, the Mission Lane Visa isn’t your only option. Depending on your goals and your credit score, you might be able to find a stronger card designed for those with fair or poor credit offering rewards, a welcome bonus, a lower interest rate or simply better perks and benefits.

And don’t forget that you don’t need a card to build credit, necessarily. If your solitary goal is to raise your credit score but you don’t feel like a credit card is the right product for you, consider alternatives like a credit builder loan.

Issuer-required disclosure statement

Information about the Mission Lane Visa® Credit Card and the Mission Lane Visa® Cash Back Credit Card was collected independently by Bankrate. Card details have not been reviewed or approved by the issuer.