Mission Lane boasts on its website that it’s a “new company dedicated to helping everyone have access to fair and clear credit.” Since the card’s recommended FICO score is bad to fair (300 to 669), it seems to be exactly what the Mission Lane Visa® Credit Card does — and not much more.
Don’t get us wrong. Getting access to an unsecured credit card for a low annual fee that ranges from $0 to $59 (offer through Bankrate; up to a $75 annual fee through other methods) is a huge deal for people who need to quickly raise a low credit score. You’ll also be happy to know that the Mission Lane Visa Credit Card won’t hit you with any hidden charges or so-called activation fees that are so popular among subprime lenders.
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 a few situations when the Mission Lane Visa Credit Card can be a great fit for your needs.
You don’t want to put down a security deposit
One popular step for consumers who are starting or restarting their credit journey is to apply for a secured credit card. This is when you give the lender a security deposit that can be used to offset the losses should you fail to repay what you owe. Typically, your credit limit will be 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 act as a financial barrier, which is why unsecured cards are more desirable for most people.
You have a very low credit score
If your credit score is bad, you’ll find very few lenders willing to extend you credit in the form of an unsecured card. Those who do usually charge an exorbitant annual fee and a bunch of other fees that might be less than transparent.
You’re not interested in perks or rewards
While most people love getting rewards for using their credit cards, not everyone does. If you want a credit card just to build your credit, you might find the Mission Lane Visa fits the bill perfectly.
You want to increase your credit limit over time
The Mission Lane Visa might start you off with a low credit limit (the minimum is $300), but you’ll get a real shot at increasing that limit if you make on-time payments for six months. While that’s helpful, the Mission Lane Visa is far from the only lender that offers this opportunity.
When is the Mission Lane Visa not worth it?
Some consumers may find the Mission Lane Visa less than ideal. Here’s why.
Your credit score isn’t that bad
If your credit score is fair or relatively close, you should see if you can get a better card from 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 another Mission Lane card like the Mission Lane Cash Back Visa® Credit Card. This card offers 1 percent to 1.5 percent cash back on all qualifying purchases and a $0 to $19 annual fee. You also 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 would be 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, a secured card might offer you a better deal. 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 will match all of the cash back you’ve earned at the end of the first year.
You’re a student
If you qualify for a student credit card, there are some excellent student cards that might be available to you, and many lenders won’t expect you to have a great 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 very low, the Mission Lane Visa is a good choice to consider. The Mission Lane Visa might start you off with a very low credit line ($300 minimum), but it will review your account every six months and might increase your credit limit as long as you make timely payments. Unlike some of its subprime competitors, there are no unexpected or hidden fees.
However, if you have at least a fair credit score, and if you value rewards and benefits, you might want to try your luck with another credit card instead since the Mission Lane Visa is a bare-bones credit card that doesn’t offer many benefits. In addition, it has an eye-popping variable APR (26.99 percent to 29.99 percent), so if you tend to carry a balance, you might want to look elsewhere.
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 with bad credit, the Mission Lane Visa isn’t your only option. Depending on your goals and actual FICO score, you might be able to find better deals with another card, whether that be rewards, a welcome bonus, lower interest rate or simply better perks and benefits.