Credit One Bank® Platinum X5 Visa® review: Light rewards with heavy fees
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Credit One Bank® Platinum X5 Visa® overview
The Credit One Bank® Platinum X5 Visa credit card appears to be a big step up from other Credit One cards due to its striking 5 percent cash back rewards bonus categories and 1 percent back on everything else. However, the card’s prequalification terms show that it carries the same finicky application process as its Credit One siblings.
Rather than applying directly for the Platinum X5 Visa card, you must submit a preapproval form that covers all Credit One Platinum cards. From there, Credit One will gauge your creditworthiness and tell you which cards you’re eligible for.
The tricky terms and fees that come with the Platinum X5 Visa card may also limit your rewards in the long run. The Platinum X5 Visa may be better than many Credit One cards and isn’t a bad option if you want an unsecured credit card with average credit or above, but knowing your goals ahead of time may reveal better options to help you build credit.
What are the advantages and disadvantages?
- The $95 annual fee eats into your $500 minimum credit limit.
- Cardholders are limited in how much they can earn in rewards. The $5,000 yearly bonus category spending limit is lower than the average rotating bonus category card’s rewards spending cap.
- The application process is confusing and the card terms are riddled with fees.
A deeper look into the current card offer
- Rewards rate: 5 percent cash back rewards on eligible gas, grocery, mobile phone service, internet service and cable and satellite TV service purchases (up to $5,000 in purchases per year, then 1 percent); 1 percent cash back rewards on all other purchases. Terms Apply.
- Welcome offer: N/A
- Annual fee: $95
- Purchase intro APR: N/A
- Balance transfer intro APR: N/A
- Regular APR: 25.49 percent variable
Current sign-up bonus
The Credit One Platinum X5 card doesn’t offer a sign-up bonus, which is normal for Credit One cards and other cards available at this credit level.
There is some fine print worth considering before you get too excited about the Platinum X5 Visa card’s cash back rewards rate. To start, make sure that you prequalified specifically for the Platinum X5 Visa card—Credit One brands its cards very similarly, and you may actually have prequalified for a card with a completely different rewards rate.
Here are a few other footnotes that could impact your potential to earn rewards.
Earning cash back rewards
The Credit One Platinum X5 Visa card earns 1 percent cash back rewards on all purchases and a formidable 5 percent cash back rewards on eligible gas, grocery, internet service, cellphone service, cable, and satellite TV service purchases. However, your 5 percent cash back rewards rate is limited to the first $5,000 you spend across these categories each year. After you meet this spending cap, your rate reverts to 1 percent back.
While this bonus category spending limit is impressive for a card designed for those with fair credit, it falls short of the rewards spending limit found on most 5 percent rotating cash back category cards (typically $1,500 per quarter or $6,000 per year). Meeting the card’s rewards spending limit may also be unrealistic if you start with the minimum credit limit of $500, which drops to $405 once Credit One deducts the $95 annual fee from your available credit.
Maximizing your categories’ yearly spending cap can be a challenge with these obstacles and the extra restrictions spelled out in the reward conditions. For example, the Platinum X5 Visa’s terms state that category purchases made through wholesale clubs, superstores, drugstores, bakeries/confection stores and PayPal won’t earn 5 percent cash back. And although it’s a Visa card, the prequalification terms state eligible purchases are defined by each merchant’s “Standard Industrial Classification Code” instead of Visa’s normal merchant category codes (MCCs). That means your Platinum X5 Visa might not earn rewards at the same places your other Visa cards do.
Redeeming cash back rewards
Cash back rewards earned with Credit One cards can only be redeemed for automatic statement credits. Saving money doesn’t get much more convenient than automatic credits, but you lose the flexibility from other methods like bank account direct deposits.
How much are cash rewards worth?
Credit One cash back rewards work like other cash back programs. You’ll net 5 cents per dollar on 5 percent category purchases and 1 cent per dollar on other purchases.
Other cardholder perks
It would help if you also tapered your expectations when it comes to this card’s added benefits. While paying with your card may offer you basic Visa perks and more cash back rewards through a card-linked offer program, Credit One’s Card Protection Program could easily be more of a trap than a lifeline.
Credit One More Rewards and Visa Offers + Perks
The Credit One More Rewards and Visa Offers + Perks programs allow you to save money with select online shopping retailers by linking your credit card to these online portals, just like you would with Amex Offers or Shop Through Chase.
Both programs cycle participating merchant offers for a limited time, but More Rewards deals can earn up to an extra 10 percent in cash back rewards while Visa Offers + Perks mainly provides product discounts. Just be sure to read the offer limitations carefully.
Traditional Visa benefits
All Visa credit cards carry a roster of perks based on your credit limit. The Credit One Platinum X5 Visa card qualifies as a Visa Traditional card, which will get you basic features like $0 liability on unauthorized purchases, Emergency card replacement, Emergency Cash Disbursement and 24/7 pay-per-use Roadside Dispatch.
Credit Protection Program
Credit One Platinum cards offer an optional Credit Protection Program, which ensures you in case you’re involuntarily unemployed or disabled. By paying 0.96 cents per $100 of your standing balance on each monthly statement, your minimum payment will be waived for up to six months. Beneficiaries can also receive up to a $10,000 balance payoff in the event of death.
There are other drawbacks to weigh besides the monthly fee for carrying a balance. Your account will be frozen (except to accrue interest) once you activate your protection, but you’ll have to wait 30 days to see your policy take effect. Considering these setbacks and other significant costs like compound interest, opting for another debt management plan might be a better play.
Rates and fees
If you’re looking for a low-cost starter card, you might want to pass on the Platinum x5 Visa. The 25.49 percent variable APR is well above the current average credit card interest rate. Plus, you’ll have to spend at least $1,900 per year (or $159 per month) in the card’s 5 percent cash back rewards categories just to offset the $95 annual fee, which also eats into your credit limit.
You may also need to pay a credit limit request fee (depending on your creditworthiness) if Credit One doesn’t offer you an automatic credit limit increase. A low starting credit limit could be especially dangerous since Credit One can cancel your account if you’re 20 percent over limit, and the card’s 3 percent ($1 minimum) foreign transaction fee, up to $39 late payment fee and up to $39 returned payment fee could easily snowball your balance given the high interest rate.
Luckily, however, the Platinum X5 Visa offers a 24-day grace period, which isn’t a given for all Credit One cards.
How the Credit One Platinum X5 Visa compares to other cards for fair credit
The Credit One Platinum Visa is a notable credit-building tool that—unlike many credit-building cards—offers cash back on purchases. The card’s interest rate is in line with the standard interest rate for cards for fair credit, but the $95 annual fee is certainly higher than other similar cards. The Credit One Platinum X5 Visa isn’t a bad unsecured credit card if you have limited credit history or a damaged credit score, but there are plenty of more cost-effective options out there.
The Credit One Bank Platinum X5 Visa vs. the Credit One Bank Platinum Rewards Visa with No Annual Fee
The Credit One Bank Platinum Rewards Visa with No Annual Fee could be a better option for cardholders who don’t want to shell out the money for the annual fee. If you’re looking to earn rewards in everyday categories like gas and grocery spending, the Platinum X5 Visa is the top contender. Rewards on gas and groceries aren’t as lucrative with the Credit One Platinum Rewards Visa with No Annual Fee (cardholders will earn 2 percent on gas, grocery, cable and satellite TV services, mobile phone and internet service purchases on up to $5,000 in purchases per year, then 1 percent).
For cardholders looking for a tool to build their credit, the Credit One Bank Platinum X5 Visa is likely the better option. The Credit One Bank Platinum Rewards Visa with No Annual Fee has a higher barrier to entry than the Credit One Bank Platinum X5 Visa. Its credit score requirements are more strict.
The Credit One Bank Platinum X5 Visa vs. the Capital One QuickSilverOne Cash Rewards Credit Card
Both cards are equally accessible for cardholders with fair credit. The Capital One QuicksilverOne Cash Rewards Credit Card and its flat-rate rewards structure could be easier to manage for cardholders newer to credit card rewards. QuicksilverOne Cash Rewards cardholders will earn 1.5 percent unlimited cash back on every purchase with no spending cap.
The QuicksilverOne Cash Rewards $39 annual fee is definitely more affordable than the Credit One Bank Platinum X5 Visa’s, but cardholders who may carry a balance from month to month should select the Credit One Bank Platinum X5 Visa, as its APR (25.49 percent variable) is lower than than the 28.49 percent variable APR on the QuicksilverOne Cash Rewards card.
Best card to pair with the Credit One Bank Platinum X5 Visa
This card is a solid credit-building tool. It may be worth it to focus on building your credit while using it instead of pairing it with another credit card to maximize its rewards value. Tools like Experian Boost—a free feature from the Experian credit bureau that aims to help you boost your credit score—are better to pair with this type of credit card.
If you are set on pairing the Credit One Bank Platinum X5 Visa, a card like the Discover it® Cash Back Credit Card—if you can qualify for it—can expand your rewards earnings potential. With its rotating bonus categories, you can continue to earn 5 percent cash back (on up to $1,500 in rotating categories like groceries and gas each quarter when activated, then 1 percent) without meeting the $5,000 spending cap of the Credit One Bank Platinum X5 Visa.
Bankrate’s Take—Is the Credit One Platinum X5 Visa worth it?
The Credit One Bank Platinum X5 Visa credit card dangles an alluring 5 percent cash back rewards rate (up to $5,000 in purchases per year, then 1 percent) on major expenses like grocery, gas and eligible digital services, but the $95 annual fee and restrictive card terms can take a toll if you’re building credit.
Its rewards rate may look fantastic while you’re window shopping, but you can easily find well-rounded credit cards that won’t nickel and dime you on your journey to a full-fledged rewards card.