Horizon Gold Card review: A store card for casual credit building
An in-store line of credit with a few catches, both ideal and not.
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Horizon Gold Card overview
The Horizon Gold Card is a store card offered by the Horizon Outlet. It comes with an easy application process for a $500 credit line, but it can only be used to make purchases at the Horizon Outlet. In many respects, this isn’t a typical credit card—there’s no APR on purchases, no bonus or welcome offers and no rewards program.
That said, the Horizon Gold Card can be used for purchases, may help build your credit and offers benefits such as roadside assistance and prescription medicine discounts. The catch? Every new Horizon credit card comes with mandatory enrollment in the company’s “membership benefits” plan, which costs $24.95 per month and is required for the card to remain active.
What are the advantages and disadvantages?
- You can only make purchases at the Horizon Outlet.
- You’ll be charged $24.95 each month for the card’s benefits plan membership, meaning you’ll have to pay close to $300 each year to hold this card.
A deeper look into the current card offer
- Rewards rate: N/A
- Welcome offer: N/A
- Annual fee: $24.95 benefits plan membership will be auto-debited monthly
- Purchase intro APR: N/A
- Balance transfer APR: N/A
- Regular APR: N/A
Current welcome offer
The Horizon Gold card doesn’t have a welcome offer, but it may take some of the pain out of the typical credit card application process. Horizon doesn’t require any credit check—hard or soft—before approving your application. However, the card does report to “at least one major credit bureau” so that you can build your credit over time with responsible card use, although it doesn’t specify which one.
Other cardholder perks
Despite its status as a store-only card, the Horizon Gold card does offer several benefits, especially when it comes to APR. Because this is a store-approved credit line rather than a true revolving credit card, there is no APR for purchases, meaning cardholders won’t accrue interest on outstanding balances.
In addition, cardholders are automatically enrolled in the store’s membership benefits plan, which includes My Privacy Protection, My Universal RX, My Roadside Protect and My Legal Assistance services.
This card has no interest or penalty APR because it’s an in-store line of credit rather than a credit card, meaning you’re only required to pay back the amount you’ve borrowed unless you send an NSF check or miss a payment.
My Privacy Protection
Cardholders get unlimited access to their credit report via Horizon’s membership services site at www.memberbenefitsacces.com.
My Universal RX
Horizon Gold Cards also come with 40 percent prescription medication discounts for covered prescriptions at participating local pharmacies. However, you’ll need to be a member to see which prescriptions are covered.
My Roadside Protect
Cardholders receive coverage for three service calls or towing requests up to 15 miles and less than $50 in operator fees. Any additional charges must be paid at the time of service, and cardholders cannot make more than one call for service within a 30-day period.
My Legal Assistance
Horizon Gold cards also offer a one-time, 30-minute consultation with a legal professional “specializing in your area of law interest,” excluding criminal defense cases.
Rates and fees
While the Horizon Gold card doesn’t have any interest APR, it does come with multiple fees. First is the mandatory membership fee of $24.95—all cardholders are auto-enrolled in this membership plan and must provide banking details for auto-debiting each month. In addition, this card has a one-time activation fee of $5, late payment fees of $20 and NSF check fees of $25. Shipping on all products costs $2, plus $3.50 if customers want delivery signature verification.
Your Horizon credit card payment each month must be 10 percent of the account balance owing or $25, whichever is greater. There are no penalties for prepayment, and there is no fee for card cancellation.
How the Horizon Gold Card compares to other store cards
When compared to other store credit cards, the Horizon Gold card doesn’t offer a significant advantage. In fact, its monthly membership fee makes it much more expensive than other store credit cards.
Horizon Gold card reviews indicate that canceling a Horizon Gold is often a laborious and time-intensive process, and the Better Business Bureau notes that refunds are often issued only after BBB investigation.
There’s also confusion over the card itself. As a result, this leaves many consumers wondering, “can I use my Horizon gold card at an ATM or get a Horizon gold card cash advance?” The answer in both cases is no, since the card is only good as credit for Horizon Outlet purchases.
Horizon Gold Card vs. Target RedCard™
While both the Horizon Gold Card and the Target RedCard are only good for purchases at their respective issuers, The Target RedCard does not charge a monthly or annual fee and it also comes with a 5 percent discount on every purchase. Neither card has a welcome offer, and it’s important to note that the APR for the Target RedCard is fairly high at 23.15 percent variable and could prove costly if you carry a balance. Since the Horizon Gold Card is an in-store line of credit instead of a traditional credit card, it has no ongoing APR rate and you won’t need to worry about accruing interest on your purchases. However, the monthly fees alone could end up costing you nearly $300 a year. If you know you won’t be carrying a balance, the Target RedCard could be more cost effective overall. You’ll also have to decide which store you frequent most often to get the most value.
Horizon Gold Card vs. Banana Republic Visa® Card
The Horizon Gold Card is ideal if you spend a lot of money at the Horizon Outlet since you can only use the card at that specific store. Though you have to pay each month for the benefits membership plan (which you’re automatically enrolled in when you’re approved for the card) this plan gets you a few interesting perks including My Roadside Protect and My Legal Assistance services (terms apply).
Comparatively, The Banana Republic Visa card gives shoppers a bit more flexibility on where you can shop, letting you spend at Banana Republic and all of its sister stores, including Old Navy, Gap, Athleta and Hill City. You’ll also have the chance to earn rewards, as spending at Banana Republic and its sister brands will earn you 5 points per dollar and you’ll still earn 1 point per dollar at any establishment that accepts Visa cards. The Banana Republic Visa card skips the annual fee and has a welcome offer, but beware of the high ongoing APR at 26.99 percent variable, the highest of all the cards compared here. Again, if carrying a balance is not a concern for you, the Banana Republic Visa has a lot more to offer in terms of flexibility, reward earning opportunity and long-term value.
Best cards to pair the Horizon Gold Card with
If you’re looking for a card to pair with the Horizon Gold card, consider a secured credit card from a traditional lender. While the Horizon Gold card doesn’t require a credit check, it only reports to one credit bureau, which limits your credit-building prospects. Secured card offerings, meanwhile, typically report to all three bureaus and over time you can increase your available credit or even graduate to an unsecured card. One of the best secured cards on the market is the Discover it® Secured Credit Card, which has rewards, a solid welcome offer and an easy barrier of entry since you can be approved with no credit history. Just note that you’ll have to put down a $200 security deposit up front and that the ongoing APR is 26.74 percent variable, which isn’t the highest on the market, but still isn’t cheap if you end up carrying a balance.
Bankrate’s Take—Is the Horizon Gold Card worth it?
In a word? No.
While this card offers the benefit of easy approval even if you have bad credit, it’s not a true credit card, and the mandatory monthly fee means you’re paying almost $300 each year—far more than you’d pay for an actual secured or unsecured credit card, even with bad credit. What’s more, canceling this card is often a challenge, and there are a host of other fees—including late payment, NSF and shipping costs—that make the Horizon Gold card a poor choice.
The information about the Target RedCard™ and Banana Republic Visa® Card has been collected independently by Bankrate.com. The card details have not been reviewed or approved by the card issuer.