First Progress Platinum Elite Mastercard® Secured Credit Card review

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Snapshot

3.0

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Best for easy application and processing

First Progress Platinum Elite Mastercard® Secured Credit Card

Rewards rate

N/A

Annual fee

$29

Intro bonus

N/A

Regular APR

19.99% (Variable)

Recommended Credit Score

No Credit History 

Best for building credit with no credit check required

  • Rewards rate: N/A
  • Welcome offer: N/A
  • Annual fee: $29
  • Purchase intro APR: N/A
  • Balance transfer intro APR: N/A
  • Regular APR: 19.99 percent variable

The First Progress Platinum Elite Mastercard Secured Credit Card is designed to help cardholders build credit with no credit check and no credit history required to apply. Credit limits between $200 and $2,000 are available depending on the amount of your initial deposit, and First Progress reports to all three credit bureaus, making it easier to increase your credit rating over time.

What to know before applying

As a secured credit card, the First Progress Platinum Elite Mastercard doesn’t come with any welcome offers, sign-up bonuses or reward rates. Instead, its biggest draw is providing access to credit even if your credit history or credit rating isn’t ideal.

Instead of taking you through a lengthy application process involving credit and income checks, First Progress prioritizes application speed. You can easily apply online, and applications are processed ASAP without a hard credit pull, meaning you won’t experience a temporary ding to your credit score. Once approved, you’ll need to provide a security deposit to offset lender risk; this is the trade-off for no credit check during the initial part of the application process.

While you aren’t committed to a fixed amount — you can open an account with a deposit ranging from $200 to $2,000 — the amount of your deposit sets your credit limit. This means that if your deposit is $200, your available credit is also $200. We recommend going for the higher end of this range in order to improve your credit utilization ratio and bump up your score faster. Fortunately, you can later request to increase your credit limit up to $5,000 by increasing your security deposit accordingly.

Benefits

The First Progress Platinum Elite Mastercard Secured Credit Card doesn’t offer many other advantages outside credit building, but this shouldn’t be a deal-breaker since few secured cards provide extra features.

Wide international acceptance

As a Mastercard-branded credit option, this First Progress card is accepted both nationwide and globally wherever merchants take Mastercard. This puts it a step above retail-branded credit cards that can help boost your credit rating but only allow you to make purchases in their brick-and-mortar and online stores.

The Mastercard Nearby mobile app can help you find merchants and ATMs that accept Mastercard around you, but beware the 3 percent foreign transaction fee when you use this card abroad.

Credit reporting to all three bureaus

First Progress reports all of its credit data to all three major credit bureaus — Equifax, Experian and TransUnion. While reporting data to any one of these agencies helps boost your credit rating, regular reporting to all three makes it easier to build your credit more quickly.

Rates and fees

The First Progress Platinum Elite Mastercard Secured Card comes with a $29 annual fee that is charged to the card itself, meaning that if you put down a $200 deposit you’ll only have $171 worth of credit to use until you pay that fee off.

This card also has a 3 percent foreign transaction fee along with an up to $40 late payment fee and an up to $29 returned payment fee. In addition, cash advances come with a $10 or 3 percent total transaction fee, whichever is greater, and a 24.99 percent variable APR for cash advances.

The standard APR for this card is 19.99 percent variable, which can be better than average for similar secured cards. If you’re worried your payment won’t be posted before your due date, you can make an expedited telephone payment in exchange for a $10 fee. There’s also a potential $1 request fee if you ever need a copy of a billing statement prior to six months ago.

How the First Progress Platinum Elite Mastercard Secured compares to other secured cards

It’s no surprise that the First Progress Platinum Elite Mastercard Secured Credit Card makes our list of the best secured credit cards thanks to its easy online application and expedited processing. But how does it compare to other credit cards for bad credit?

Although unsecured credit cards designed for less-than-perfect credit might seem appealing since there may not be an upfront cost, a secured card could offer a better opportunity to improve your credit score with a potentially higher credit limit and lower ongoing costs.

In fact, the Discover it® Secured Credit Card is one of the best cards on the market if you have limited credit. It’s one of the few secured cards to offer cash back  — 2 percent cash back at gas stations and restaurants (on up to $1,000 in combined purchases per quarter, then 1 percent) along with 1 percent on all other purchases  — and a welcome offer: all cash back you earn in your first 12 months will be matched. More importantly, Discover will begin reviewing your account at seven months for good credit habits in order to possibly upgrade your account to an unsecured card.

The Capital One Platinum Secured Credit Card is also another solid option to consider. If you’re concerned about forking up a big deposit, your security deposit could be as low as $49. Capital One’s secured card also excels at being a steppingstone to a better full-fledged credit card. It beats Discover’s seven-month account review period by potentially allowing you to upgrade to an unsecured card if Capital One recognizes good credit activity after only six months.

Alternatively, if you’d like a high credit limit to boost your credit score and you don’t mind ponying up a bigger security deposit, the BankAmericard® Secured Credit Card offers a $300 to $4,900 credit line to match your deposit.

Card Rewards Annual fee and security deposit/credit limit Other details
Discover it® Secured
  • 2% cash back at gas stations and restaurants (on up to $1,000 in purchases each quarter, then 1%)
  • 1% cash back on all other purchases
  • $0 annual fee
  • $200 to $2,500 security deposit
  • Initial credit line matches deposit
  • All cash back earned in the first 12 months is matched
  • Six-month 10.99% intro APR for balance transfers posted to your account by stated date in terms (3% intro balance transfer fee during intro APR period, 5% after)
  • 22.99% ongoing APR
  • Automatic reviews starting at 7 months to see if they can transition you to an unsecured line of credit and return your deposit
  • No penalty APR
Capital One Platinum Secured Credit Card N/A
  • $0 annual fee
  • $49, $99 or $200 minimum security deposit (depending on creditworthiness)
  • $200 to $1,000 initial credit line (depending on creditworthiness)
  • 26.99% ongoing APR
  • Automatic credit line reviews starting at six months for a possible credit line upgrade
  • No penalty APR
BankAmericard® Secured Credit Card N/A
  • $0 annual fee
  • $300 to $4,900 security deposit
  • Initial credit line matches deposit
  • 22.99% variable
  • Up to $40 late payment
  • APR
  • No penalty APR

Bankrate’s Take—Is the First Progress Platinum Elite Mastercard Secured worth it?

The First Progress Platinum Elite Mastercard Secured credit card offers credit-building potential with a quick application process, no credit check and a customizable deposit amount starting at $200, making it a great choice if you’re looking to build a credit history or improve a damaged credit rating.

The downside is that this card doesn’t stand out from the secured credit crowd very much. Other secured cards like the BankAmericard Secured credit card offer higher initial credit limits, while the Discover it Secured card comes with cash back rewards. It’s also worth noting that, unlike some competitors, you can’t upgrade your First Progress Platinum Elite Mastercard Secured card into an unsecured card after a certain amount of on-time payments or card ownership, but you can shore up your secured credit line upon request.

However, the First Progress Platinum Elite Mastercard Secured may have a leg up since there is no hard credit pull when applying and the ongoing APR (19.99 percent variable) can be lower than competing cards’ rates.

Pros

  • Easy application process
  • No credit check required
  • Reports to all three credit bureaus
  • Ongoing APR is a bit lower than other secured cards (19.99 percent variable)

Cons

  • $29 annual fee
  • No way to upgrade to an unsecured credit card