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Mission Lane Visa® Credit Card review: Short-term credit building at a low cost

A noteworthy unsecured option for people with bad to fair credit scores. 

 /  10 min
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Snapshot

3.4

Bankrate rating
Info
Rating: 3.4 stars out of 5

Bottom line

This low-cost, unsecured credit-building card could be a worthwhile addition to your wallet, especially if you want to skip paying a deposit on a secured card. However, it’s a pricier option overall than many secured cards.

Best for entry-level fair credit
Image of Mission Lane Visa® Credit Card

Mission Lane Visa® Credit Card

  • Cost of membership
    Rating: 3 stars out of 5
    3 / 5
    Ease of building credit
    Rating: 3 stars out of 5
    3 / 5
    APR
    Rating: 1 stars out of 5
    1 / 5
    Features
    Rating: 3.8 stars out of 5
    3.8 / 5
Bad to Fair (300 – 670)
Info
Recommended Credit

N/A

Intro offer

Info

Annual fee

Regular APR

Mission Lane Visa® Credit Card overview

The Mission Lane Visa® Credit Card doesn’t come with many perks and benefits, but this unsecured card could make sense if you need to build credit and want to avoid putting up a large upfront deposit. If you have a bad credit score or limited credit history and need a chance to boost your score, you can use the Mission Lane Visa to build credit without tying up hundreds of dollars in a security deposit. The card doesn’t charge any of the hidden fees common among subprime cards, and its annual fee — if you’re assigned one — is reasonable for an unsecured card in this credit range.

However, the card’s unimpressive starting credit limit and potential annual fee mean a traditional secured credit card may be a better way forward. Not only could a secured card be less expensive, but it could also help you build credit more effectively and possibly even earn you rewards. Since you can put down a large deposit and get a matching credit limit with some secured cards, it could be easier to keep your credit utilization low. And if you have fair or average credit, you can definitely find a lower-cost, more lucrative unsecured alternative among the best credit cards for fair credit.

  • Credit Card Cash Back

    Rewards

    • This card does not offer rewards, which is typical of unsecured credit-building cards

    Expert Appraisal: Typical
    See our expert analysis

  • Credit Card Search

    Rates and fees

    • $0 to $59 annual fee 
    • 3 percent foreign transaction fee
    • No security deposit required 
    • 29.99 percent to 33.99 percent variable APR

    Expert Appraisal: Unimpressive
    See our expert analysis

  • Credit Fair

    Credit-building features

    • Opportunity for credit line increase 
    • Reports activity to the three credit bureaus
    • Mobile app and financial planning and education tools

    Expert Appraisal: Typical 
    See our expert analysis

  • Congrats

    Other cardholder perks

    • $0 fraud liability 
    • 24/7 pay-per-use roadside dispatch 
    • 24-hour support for lost or stolen cards

    Expert Appraisal: Unimpressive
    See our expert analysis

Mission Lane Visa pros and cons

Pros

  • Checkmark

    Potential for a low or no annual fee makes this an accessible credit-building option if you’d rather not deposit hundreds of dollars for a secured card.

  • Checkmark

    It’s accessible with a bad-to-fair credit score and gives you the chance to be pre-approved without affecting your credit score.

  • Checkmark

    You can get a credit limit increase over time with consistent good habits, making it easier to keep credit utilization in check.

Cons

  • Carries a sky-high APR, even for a credit-building card, making it a risky choice if you’re inexperienced with credit or struggle to pay off your balance each month.

  • Plenty of secured cards can be less expensive than the Mission Lane since many charge no annual fee and eventually refund your security deposit.

  • The card’s minimum starting credit limit of $300 is better than the typical $200 starting limit, but it’s still low enough to make it tough to maintain good credit utilization.

Why you might want the Mission Lane Visa

The Mission Lane Visa is a decent card for people rebuilding from a bad or fair credit score. Although it’s a no-frills credit card, it can be a fairly low-cost option if you want to avoid a security deposit.

Rates and fees: No security deposit and potential for no annual fee 

The Mission Lane Visa card’s $0 to $59 annual fee may put you off, but it’s relatively low for an unsecured card available to people with bad credit. Plenty of unsecured cards available with poor credit charge closer to $100 in annual fees, with some tacking on additional account activation fees and even higher annual or monthly fees in your second year. While the Mission Lane card is far from your cheapest credit-building option, its cost is not outrageous.

Even if the Mission Lane Visa charges you an annual fee, it could be a more cost-effective option in the short-term than the $200 minimum security deposit most secured cards require. A secured card would require a matching deposit if you want a higher limit, but the Mission Lane starts you off with at least a $300 credit line without the cost of an upfront deposit. Although many secured cards don’t pose an annual fee and will eventually refund your deposit once you’ve closed your account or upgraded to an unsecured credit line, the Mission Lane is one of the better options if you view the potential annual fee as the cost of holding onto your deposit money. 

You should be able to qualify for better unsecured cards once you’ve achieved a fair credit score, so the Mission Lane will hopefully be a short stepping stone. However, before choosing between a secured and unsecured card, just be aware that canceling your oldest card (to avoid the annual fee, for instance) could hurt your hard-earned score by reducing your average credit history length and available credit. 

Credit-building features: Chance at a credit limit increase

Though you may start with a credit limit as low as $300 on the Mission Lane Visa (a common starting limit for unsecured credit-building cards), the issuer gives you a chance to earn a credit limit increase by demonstrating responsible card use. If you make your card payments on time, stay within the credit limit and keep your account in good standing, Mission Lane will review your account during your first 12 months and may approve you for a higher limit.

While this is a common timeframe for getting a credit limit increase, many issuers don’t offer explicit guidelines about when or whether you can get a higher limit. How easy it is to increase your credit limit is worth keeping in mind when evaluating credit-building cards, as a higher limit should make it easier to keep your credit utilization ratio — the amount of money you’ve borrowed compared to your total available credit — in check.

That said, though the Mission Lane card offers some transparency around when you can get a credit limit increase, several popular secured card issuers can increase your limit even faster. Many issuers will automatically review your account for a higher limit and security deposit refund after just the first six or seven months. Secured cards also give you more control over your credit limit because the amount you put down as a deposit typically determines your credit limit. If you have the money to spare and opt for a secured card that lets you put down a large deposit, you can get a matching credit limit and enjoy even more credit breathing room.

Why you might want a different credit-building card

Outside of its credit-building features and accessibility to people with bad or fair credit, the Mission Lane Visa doesn’t come with many bells and whistles. If you want extra incentives like rewards or more cardholder perks, you might want to pick another card. 

Plus, if you already have fair credit, the Mission Lane card’s potential annual fee will be hard to justify since you should be able to find an unsecured card with a lower annual fee or no annual fee. Some, like the Capital One QuicksilverOne Cash Rewards Credit Card, even offer cash back programs that give you a chance to offset the cost of the card with your cash back earnings.

Rewards: No rewards program or welcome offer

Unsecured cards that earn rewards and carry intro offers are hard to come by if you have a low credit score. With that in mind, the Mission Lane Visa card’s lack of a rewards program, intro APR and welcome offer might not be a deal-breaker. After all, your primary focus should be on developing good credit habits if you’re rebuilding your credit score.

However, it’s worth noting that this card’s counterpart, the Mission Lane Cash Back Visa® Credit Card, earns rewards (though you’ll need to have at least fair credit to qualify). The Mission Lane card’s lack of rewards is also disappointing since several top-notch secured cards offer rewards and are available even with no credit history. A card like the Discover it Secured® Credit Card will be a more lucrative credit-building option and also carries lower rates and fees than the Mission Lane.

Cardholder perks: Not much beyond basic Visa benefits

Since this Mission Lane card uses Visa as its network, you’ll get access to basic Visa benefits like $0 fraud liability and 24-hour customer service. However, virtually all Visa credit cards (and credit cards in general) come with perks like these, so this card doesn’t add anything extra other than the chance to see if you’re pre-approved with only a soft credit pull. This limits the card’s long-term value, but it isn’t a major issue since credit-building cards typically offer only a handful of noteworthy benefits.

How the Mission Lane Visa card compares to other credit-building cards

Though the Mission Lane Visa card’s annual fee range and credit limit policy are among the best for people with bad credit who want to avoid a security deposit, unsecured cards available with a low credit score may not be your best option for building credit. The potential ongoing fees, staggering APRs, low credit limits and other red flags can make these entry-level unsecured cards much costlier and more difficult to build credit with compared to secured cards, which may earn rewards and often pose no annual fee.

Image of Mission Lane Visa® Credit Card

Mission Lane Visa® Credit Card

Annual fee

$0 - $59

Intro offer

N/A

Rewards rate

N/A

Recommended Credit Score

Bad to Fair (300 – 670)
Info
Image of Capital One Platinum Secured Credit Card
Bankrate Score
See Rates & Fees , Terms Apply
Apply now Lock
on Capital One's secure site

Annual fee

$0

Intro offer

N/A

Rewards rate

N/A

Recommended Credit Score

No Credit History
Info
Image of SuperCash™ Card
Bankrate Score
See Rates & Fees , Terms Apply
Apply now Lock
on SuperCash's secure site

Annual fee

N/A

Intro offer

N/A

Rewards rate

2% - 10%
Info

Recommended Credit Score

No Credit History
Info

Who is the Mission Lane Visa right for?

The Mission Lane Visa may not be the best credit card for improving your credit score, but it can prove helpful to some, especially if you have bad credit and need a card to get you to the next level. If you see yourself among any of the groups below, the Mission Lane Visa could be worth a look.

Bankrate’s Take — Is the Mission Lane Visa card worth it?

Given its relatively low annual fee, the Mission Lane Visa could make sense as a short-term unsecured credit-building card, but it’s probably not your best option overall. While it charges fewer fees than many cards in this category, a secured card with rewards, no annual fee or a lower APR will likely save you more. And if you have at least fair credit, you can avoid both an annual fee and a security deposit. That said, the card will certainly get the job done if your goal is to build credit without putting down a deposit.

Dig deeper: Is the Mission Lane Visa worth it?

Frequently asked questions

Written by
Ashley Parks
Editor, Credit cards

As a Bankrate credit cards editor, Ashley Parks is fascinated by the ways people can make credit cards work for them when armed with the right knowledge.

Co-written by
Garrett Yarbrough
Writer, Credit Cards
Edited by Senior Editor, Credit Cards

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Editorial Disclosure: Opinions expressed here are the author's alone, and have not been reviewed or approved by any advertiser. The information, including card rates and fees, is accurate as of the publish date. All products or services are presented without warranty. Check the bank’s website for the most current information.