Credit One Bank® Visa® for Rebuilding Credit review

 in  Bad Credit
How we rate our cards  | 

Bankrate.com is an independent, advertising-supported comparison service. The offers that appear on this site are from companies from which Bankrate.com receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site, including, for example, the order in which they may appear within listing categories. Other factors, such as our own proprietary website rules and the likelihood of applicants' credit approval also impact how and where products appear on this site. Bankrate.com does not include the entire universe of available financial or credit offers.
Bankrate has partnerships with issuers including, but not limited to, American Express, Bank of America, Capital One, Chase, Citi and Discover.

At Bankrate we strive to help you make smarter financial decisions. While we adhere to strict editorial integrity, this post may contain references to products from our partners. Here's an explanation for how we make money.

Credit One Bank Image

Recommended Credit Score

Bad to Fair (300 - 670)

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 Credit One Bank's secure website

Best unsecured credit card with rewards

Annual Fee:
$0 - $99
Purchase Intro APR:
N/A
Regular APR:
17.99% to 23.99% Variable
Terms and Restrictions Apply | Rates and Fees

Bankrate Rating

Our writers, editors and industry experts score credit cards based on a variety of factors including card features, bonus offers and independent research. Credit card issuers have no say or influence on how we rate cards.

 

Best Credit One card for bad credit

  • Rewards rate: 1 percent cash back on eligible gas, grocery, mobile phone service, internet service and cable and satellite TV service purchases
  • Welcome offer: N/A
  • Annual fee: $75 the first year, then $99 (possibly billed monthly in 12 $8.25 increments)
  • Purchase intro APR: N/A
  • Balance transfer intro APR: N/A
  • Regular APR: 17.99 percent to 23.99 percent (variable)

Searching for a credit card with bad credit can be a draining experience, especially if you’ve been trying to convince lenders to give you a chance with no luck.

Fortunately, however, there are quite a few credit cards for people with bad credit, including the Credit One Bank® Platinum Visa® for Rebuilding Credit.

The Platinum Visa for Rebuilding Credit card 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. 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 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 Platinum Visa for Rebuilding Credit may be worth the cost as a stopgap solution.

Cash back

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 Platinum Visa for Rebuilding Credit card if you have bad credit. But fair or average credit could also prequalify you for the Credit One Bank® Visa® Cash Back Rewards card (which has the same rewards rate as the Platinum Visa for Rebuilding Credit) or the very different Credit One Bank® Platinum Rewards Visa (which earns 5 percent cash back rewards in the same categories on up to $5,000 in purchases per year, plus 1 percent back on all other purchases).

Assuming you prequalify for the Platinum Visa for Rebuilding Credit, here’s how the cash back rewards program works:

Earning cash back

The Credit One Platinum Visa for Rebuilding Credit earns unlimited 1 percent cash back rewards on eligible gas, grocery, 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.

Instead of using typical merchant category codes (MCCs), Credit One Visa cards use “Standard Industrial Classification Codes.”

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 Platinum Visa for Rebuilding Credit card’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 could 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 each eligible purchase.

Benefits

Outside of basic features like account alerts, zero fraud liability and free monthly credit score access, the Credit One 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 have access to two programs that can get you extra cash back rewards and discounts by linking your card and shopping with participating retailers.

Like Amex Offers or Chase Offers, Credit One More Rewards and Visa Offers + Perks stack extra rewards or discounts on top of your original earnings for eligible purchases.

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 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 meant 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 big security deposit, the Platinum Visa for Rebuilding Credit is far from a low-cost card.

The biggest potential cost to consider is the annual fee: Depending on your creditworthiness, you could wind up with either no annual fee or an annual fee of up to $75 for the first year, then $99 per year thereafter.

You may be able, howver, to spread your annual fee out over 12 months in equal installments after the first year (which would eat $8.25 out of your credit limit each month if you have the max annual fee). Any authorized users on your account will have to pay an extra $19 yearly fee.

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.

Other rates and fees buried in the fine print could also end up costing you if you aren’t careful.

For example, the 17.99 percent to 23.99 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 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
  • 3 percent to 8 percent cash advance fee (or $5 to $10 minimum), disclosed in the final terms you receive

How the 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 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.

But there are also plenty of cards for those with no credit history that may be more straightforward and even easier to get than Credit One’s cards.

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 a full unsecured card after just eight 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 $40 late fee after that).

If you have an average credit score and want to stick with Credit One, it’s worth stepping up to the Credit One Bank® Visa® Cash Back Rewards card over the Platinum Visa for Rebuilding Credit.

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.

Card name Rewards rate Annual fee Welcome bonus
Credit One Bank Visa Cash Back Rewards
  • 1% cash back rewards on eligible gas, grocery, mobile phone service, internet service and cable, and satellite TV service purchases
$39 None
Discover it Secured Credit Card
  • 2% cash back on gas station and restaurant purchases (up to $1,000 in combined spending per quarter, then 1%)
  • 1% cash back on all other purchases
$0 ($200 minimum refundable security deposit required, available up to $2,500) All cash back earned by the end of your first year will be matched 
Capital One QuicksilverOne Cash Rewards Credit Card
  • 1.5% cash back on all purchases
$39 None

Bankrate’s take – Is the 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.

Pros

  • 1 percent cash back on eligible gas, grocery, mobile phone service, internet service and cable and satellite TV service purchases
  • One of the few unsecured cards available for bad credit
  • Includes Visa Traditional benefits, plus the Credit One More Rewards program

Cons

  • Up to $75 annual fee the first year, then $99 (option for monthly increment billing)
  • 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
about the author
Bankrate expert Garrett Yarbrough strives to make navigating credit cards and credit building smooth sailing for his readers. After regularly featuring his credit card, credit monitoring and identity theft analysis on NextAdvisor.com, he joined the CreditCards.com and Bankrate.com teams as a staff writer to develop product reviews and comprehensive credit ...
about the editor
Nouri Zarrugh is a writer and editor for CreditCards.com and Bankrate.com, focusing on product news, guides and reviews. His areas of expertise include credit card strategy, rewards programs, point valuation and credit scores, and his stories on building credit have been cited by Mic.com, LifeHacker, People.com and more. Through his thorough card reviews and...