Credit One Bank® Platinum Visa® for Rebuilding Credit review: An expensive way to rebuild credit
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Credit One Bank® Platinum Visa® for Rebuilding Credit Overview*
Searching for a credit card with bad credit can be a draining experience, especially if you’ve had no luck convincing lenders to give you a chance.
Fortunately, there are quite a few credit cards for people with bad credit, including the Credit One Bank® Platinum Visa® for Rebuilding Credit.
The Credit One Bank® Platinum Visa® for Rebuilding Credit may seem like an incredible deal at first: It’s an unsecured credit card (meaning no upfront security deposit is needed) that also earns cash back on everyday purchases. However there is a caveat: Make sure you thoroughly read the fine print before you apply.
Credit One cards are notorious for their baffling terms, often filled with unexpected fees and rates that aren’t guaranteed until you prequalify. In fact, the Credit One Bank® Platinum Visa® for Rebuilding Credit may have the most red tape of all.
If you’re focused on improving your credit score, there are plenty of less expensive options that earn rewards and don’t even require any credit history, such as secured credit cards or student cards.
If, however, you don’t want to tie up money in a deposit, the Credit One Bank® Platinum Visa® for Rebuilding Credit could be worth the cost as a stopgap solution.
What are the advantages and disadvantages?
- This card charges a $75 annual fee the first year, then $99 ($8.25 per month)
- Confusing card terms and application process filled with additional fees and restrictions
- Limited cash back compared to some other credit-building cards
- The Credit Protection Program can be more of a risk than a protection
A deeper look at the current card offer
- Rewards rate: Earn 1% cash back rewards on eligible gas, grocery purchases and mobile phone service, internet, cable and satellite TV services (Terms apply)
- Welcome offer: N/A
- Annual fee: $75 the first year, then $99 ($8.25 per month)
- Purchase intro APR: N/A
- Balance transfer intro APR: N/A
- Regular APR: 24.24 percent (variable)
Credit One’s required prequalification form is a type of hybrid application for any of the four different Credit One Bank Platinum Visa cards.
These similarly-named cards carry slightly different cash back rewards programs, and, unfortunately, you won’t know which you’re prequalified for until Credit One reviews your application and selects one or more based on your creditworthiness.
The so-called informational terms you’ll see when you go to prequalify list three different cash back rewards styles. Odds are you’ll qualify for the Credit One Bank® Platinum Visa® for Rebuilding Credit if you have bad credit.
Assuming you prequalify for the Credit One Bank® Platinum Visa® for Rebuilding Credit, here’s how the cash back rewards program works:
Earning cash back
The Credit One Bank® Platinum Visa® for Rebuilding Credit earns unlimited 1 percent cash back rewards on eligible gas, grocery purchases, mobile phone service, internet service and cable and satellite TV service purchases.
Credit One’s system to track which purchases earn rewards is different, however, from that of most other Visa credit cards.
These two work similarly, but it can be harder to track which stores earn cash back using Standard Industrial codes. Though this is a small difference, it’s important to keep in mind if you have multiple Visa cards because they may not earn rewards at the same locations.
Redeeming cash back
Unfortunately, you don’t get to choose how you receive your rewards. Your Credit One Bank® Platinum Visa® for Rebuilding Credit’s cash back rewards are automatically added back to your account as a statement credit on each billing cycle’s credit card statement.
While more flexibility is always a plus, having rewards automatically applied to your balance as a statement credit may offer consistent, low-hassle savings.
How much are cash rewards worth?
Credit One’s rewards system works like many other cash back programs. You’ll earn 1 cent back per dollar on eligible gas, grocery purchases and mobile phone service, internet, cable and satellite TV services (terms apply).
Key cardholder perks
Outside of basic features like account alerts, zero fraud liability and free monthly credit score access, the Credit One Bank® Platinum Visa® for Rebuilding Credit doesn’t carry many extra perks — even for building your credit.
The card’s most prominent benefits include its two card-linked rewards programs and a “Credit Protection Program” of questionable value. It also comes with some standard Visa perks that may be useful.
Credit One More Cash Back Rewards and Visa Offers + Perks
Credit One Visa cards offer access to two programs that can get you extra cash back rewards and discounts by linking your card and shopping with participating retailers.
More Rewards cycles in deals that can net you up to 10 percent bonus cash back while Visa Offers + Perks is tailored toward online shopping, apparel and dining discounts with select businesses.
Select Visa Traditional perks
As a basic Visa Traditional credit card, your Credit One Bank® Platinum Visa® for Rebuilding Credit comes with a few standard benefits like travel accident insurance, pay-per-use 24/7 roadside dispatch, zero fraud liability and an auto rental collision damage waiver coverage when renting with your card.
Be sure to check with your issuer, however, because the exact Visa benefits you qualify for may be different from the terms on Visa’s website.
Credit Protection Program
The optional Credit Protection Program outlined in the Platinum Visa cards’ prequalification terms is designed to prevent your credit score from dropping for up to six months in case you lose your job or become disabled by covering your card’s minimum payment.
It works like an insurance policy by charging 96 cents per $100 of your balance each month after enrollment (up to $10,000), whether you decide to use the protection or not.
You’ll have to wait at least 30 days after enrolling, however, to activate your protection – and you’ll still accrue interest on your account (an account that will be frozen while you receive benefits).
Combined with this card’s laundry list of rates and fees, the mounting interest could lead to a more dangerous cycle since your protection and account can be forcibly closed if you’re 60 days past due or 20 percent overlimit.
All things considered, Credit One’s protection plan could end up costing more than other debt management options.
Rates and fees
Although it doesn’t require a large security deposit, the Credit One Bank® Platinum Visa® for Rebuilding Credit is far from a low-cost card.
The biggest potential cost to consider is the annual fee: $75 for the first year, then $99 per year thereafter ($8.25 per month).
Since the rewards rate is relatively low, these fees could make it hard to pocket any cash back since you’ll need to spend at least $825 per month (or $9,900 per year) just to offset the $99 annual fee with cash back rewards.
Other rates and fees buried in the fine print could also end up costing you if you aren’t careful.
For example, the 24.24 percent variable APR is higher than the current average credit card interest rate (not horrible for a card designed for people with damaged credit) but the catch is that the Credit One Bank® Platinum Visa® for Rebuilding Credit may not have the 24-day grace period for you to make your minimum payment that you’ll find on most other cards.
It’s also important to note that if you make a card payment on your due date after 5:00 p.m. PT, your payment might not be processed the same day – unless you pay the optional express payment service fee.
If you’re not careful, that means you could accumulate interest on the balance you’ve already submitted a payment for and incur a late payment fee (up to $39).
Here are a few other potential rates and fees to be aware of before you apply:
- 3 percent (or $1, whichever is greater) foreign transaction fee
- Credit limit increase fee (based on your payment history and creditworthiness; disclosed in advance if imposed for processing a request)
- Optional express payment service fee if you get live representative assistance (standard payment is free)
- Up to $39 returned payment fee
- Cash Advance Fee: Either $5 or 8% of the amount of each transaction, whichever is greater.
How the Credit One Bank® Platinum Visa® for Rebuilding Credit compares to other cards for bad credit
Despite its higher upfront cost (keep in mind that you’ll get the deposit back later), a secured credit card will likely be a better option for building credit with fewer potential ongoing costs than the Credit One Bank® Platinum Visa® for Rebuilding Credit and other unsecured cards for bad credit.
If you’re a college student looking for your first card, a student credit card would probably be the best choice since they’re typically lower-cost cards with better benefits and rewards.
Credit One Bank Platinum Visa for Rebuilding Credit vs. Discover It® Secured Credit Card
One of the best all-around picks as you work on beefing up your credit profile is the Discover it® Secured Credit Card. It earns 2 percent cash back at gas stations and restaurants (on up to $1,000 in spending each quarter, then 1 percent) and 1 percent back on all other purchases — all for no annual fee ($200 to $2,500 security deposit required).
Plus, Discover matches all the cash back you earn in your first year. Even better, Discover will consider you for an upgrade to an unsecured card after just seven months of responsible use.
And in case you miss a payment, you’ll also have a safety net since Discover waives your first late payment fee (up to $41 late fee after that).
Credit One Bank Platinum Visa for Rebuilding Credit vs. Capital One QuicksilverOne Cash Rewards Credit Card
If you have an average credit score and want to stick with Credit One, it’s worth stepping up to the Credit One Bank® Platinum Visa® over the Credit One Bank® Platinum Visa® for Rebuilding Credit. The Credit One Bank® Platinum Visa® not only carries a lower annual fee, but also the same 1 percent rewards rate.
At that credit level, though, it might be a wiser move to look into the Capital One QuicksilverOne Cash Rewards Credit Card — a better cash back card for the same annual fee.
Bankrate’s take: Is the Credit One Bank® Platinum Visa® for Rebuilding Credit worth it?
The Credit One Bank® Platinum Visa® for Rebuilding Credit doesn’t carry the same upfront cost as a secured credit card but its limited 1 percent cash back isn’t worth being nickel and dimed over by the swarm of fees you’ll find in its complicated terms and conditions.
The card may be a decent option if you have bad credit but ponying up for a secured card with a larger credit limit will be a much more effective tool as you work on improving your credit.
Simply put, there are better credit cards available that accept applicants with a less-than-ideal credit history, and your pool of better options deepens considerably if you have fair credit.
*The information about Credit One Bank® Platinum Visa® for Rebuilding Credit has been collected independently by Bankrate.com. The card details have not been reviewed or approved by the card issuer.