Avant Credit Card review

Bankrate Staff  in  Credit History How we rate our cards  |  Advertiser Disclosure
Avant Image

Recommended Credit Score

Fair to Good (580 - 740)

A FICO score/credit score is used to represent the creditworthiness of a person and may be one indicator to the credit type you are eligible for. However, credit score alone does not guarantee or imply approval for any financial product.

Apply Now On Avant's secure website

Best for no penalty APR

Annual Fee:
$39
Purchase Intro APR:
N/A
Regular APR:
25.99% (variable)
Terms and Restrictions Apply

Best for building credit with an unsecured card

  • Rewards Rate: N/A
  • Welcome Offer: N/A
  • Annual Fee: $39
  • Purchase Intro APR: N/A
  • Balance Transfer Intro APR: N/A
  • Regular APR: 25.99 percent variable

The Avant Credit Card is an unsecured credit card designed for someone with a fair or average credit score or a limited credit history. While it requires no deposit and can help you build credit with responsible use, it doesn’t offer many other benefits.

The Avant card’s initial credit limit is not the highest you’ll find on a starter card, but it beats out the limit found on a number of other unsecured cards for people with less-than-perfect credit. Plus, if you use the card responsibly, you may be able to increase your credit limit over time, which can help your credit utilization.

You can also see if you’re preapproved for the card without a hard credit inquiry, allowing you to get a sense of your approval odds without negatively impacting your score.

Current sign-up bonus

There’s no current sign-up bonus or welcome offer with the Avant Credit Card. Though this is the case with most starter or credit-building cards, it’s still disappointing considering the card carries an annual fee. Still, the card has a relatively low initial cost of ownership, requiring no deposit and carrying reasonable fees given it is an unsecured product.

Benefits

The Avant Credit Card is designed to help cardholders who have no credit history or a middling credit score build their credit with a credit card, so while it can be useful in that way, you shouldn’t expect much in the way of perks and cardholder benefits. That said, the card reports to all three national credit bureaus, charges no foreign transaction fee and the issuer may take into account more than just your credit score (such as your bank account balance) when evaluating your application.

Reports to major credit bureaus

As cardholders use the Avant Credit Card, their payment history and credit utilization are reported to the major credit bureaus. By keeping credit utilization low and making payments on time and in full, cardholders can potentially boost their credit scores, establish positive credit history and qualify for more lucrative cards down the line.

No foreign transaction fees

The Avant Credit Card charges no foreign transaction fees, making it a fair choice for cardholders who plan to spend abroad. Many cards charge you a fee of around 3 percent of each transaction you make overseas.

No security deposit

Unlike secured credit cards, an unsecured card like the Avant card does not require a security deposit upfront. While these deposits are refundable when you close your account, they can be a roadblock if you don’t have much cash on hand or would rather avoid tying up money for several months.

Pre-qualify with only a soft pull

You can check if you pre-qualify for the Avant card without recording a hard credit inquiry on your credit report. While it’s no guarantee of approval, prequalification allows you to get a sense of your chances before you put your credit score at risk by applying.

Rates and fees

The variable APR for both purchases and cash advances with the Avant Credit Card is 25.99 percent, which is quite high compared to the average credit card interest rate. You’ll definitely want to avoid carrying a balance with the Avant card.

There’s an annual fee of $39 with this card, which, though not ideal given there are a few no-annual-fee alternatives like the Petal 2 “Cash Back, No Fees” Visa® Credit Card, is reasonable for an unsecured credit-building card. There’s a cash advance fee of 3 percent of the cash advance amount or $10, whichever is greater. Late fees are up to $39. There are no foreign transaction fees with this card.

How the Avant Credit Card compares to other credit building cards

If you need to build up a credit score and have no credit history or a poor credit history, explore your options. A number of Credit One Bank credit cards offer cash back rewards for everyday purchases, which is a nice perk that can offset card fees.

If you’re looking for a higher line of credit, you might be interested in the Merrick Bank Secured Visa®. This card does require a refundable security deposit of between $200 and $3,000, which doubles as your credit limit. Opting for a high deposit and high limit could seriously help your credit utilization. The annual fee is $36 for the first year, with the cardholder is billed $3 per month after that. The APR is a 17.45 percent variable and there’s a foreign transaction fee of 2 percent of each transaction in U.S. dollars.

With all of the cards mentioned here, your credit usage will be reported to all major credit bureaus. All of them can help you build up your credit score and qualify for better cards, so it just depends on the other features you’re looking for in a card.

Card Rewards rate Annual fee Welcome bonus
Credit One Bank® Platinum Visa for Rebuilding Credit
  • 1 percent cash back on gasoline, grocery store, mobile phone service and internet, cable and satellite TV services
$0 to $95 for the first year, then $0 to $99 annually after that (annual fee depends on creditworthiness) N/A
Merrick Bank Secured Visa® N/A $36 for the first year, then $3 per month after that (requires a $200 up to $3,000 security deposit) N/A

 

Best cards to pair with the Avant Credit Card

If you qualify for other cards, you may be interested in getting a rewards credit card. While they’re typically harder to qualify for, there are rewards credit cards that provide cash back or travel points for some or all of your purchases. Since the Avant card carries an annual fee, try to stick to cards that charge no annual fee.

When you apply for credit cards, it can negatively affect your credit score because there’s an inquiry into your credit history. Also, opening too many accounts at once may negatively impact your score. If your goal is to build up your credit score with a card, be mindful of how many cards you’re applying for at once. You should try to get prequalified before applying to a card you may not qualify for.

Bankrate’s Take—Is Avant Credit Card worth it?

If you’re looking for a credit card to build credit, you’ll want to consider what’s most important to you. That may be a low annual fee, cash back rewards, a high credit line or another factor. Since the Avant Credit Card is designed for those with no credit history or a less-than-ideal score, there’s a low barrier of entry for this card. However, if rewards or a high credit line are your top priorities, look elsewhere.

Pros

  • Qualify with fair or average credit
  • Lets you build credit history with responsible use
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • No security deposit required
  • Decent credit limit for an unsecured credit-building card
  • Offers prequalification

Cons

  • Charges an annual fee
  • Offers no rewards program

All information about the Avant Credit Card, Merrick Bank Secured Visa® and Credit One Bank® Platinum Visa for Rebuilding Credit has been collected independently by Bankrate and has not been reviewed or approved by the issuer.