First Access Visa® Credit Card review

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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.

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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 for responsible spenders rebuilding their credit score

  • Rewards rate: N/A
  • Welcome offer: $0 monthly fees and cash advance fee for the first 12 months
  • Annual fee: $75 year one, $48 thereafter (See terms)
  • Purchase intro APR: N/A
  • Balance transfer intro APR: N/A
  • Regular APR: 34.99 percent (See terms)

The First Access Visa Credit Card provides that little bump of credit history even when you have a bad or nonexistent credit score. However, there is a price to pay for this boost in the form of fees and a very high APR.

The First Access Visa Credit Card is not a secured credit card, meaning applicants don’t have to have the amount of their credit limit as a deposit. This is great news for those who don’t have immediate cash on hand but also need to improve their credit score.

Current welcome offer

In lieu of a standard introductory APR or rewards offer, the First Access Visa charges no monthly or cash advance fees for the first year of card ownership. Considering the high fees charged on the card, waiving the monthly service fee of $6.25 and the cash advance fee ($10 or 3 percent—whichever is greater) will come as a relief.

Benefits

While this isn’t a card loaded with travel perks or exciting rewards, it provides a means for cardholders to rebuild their credit history.

Reasonable credit limit

Considering that the card is unsecured, an overall credit limit of $300 is reasonable. An important note, though, is that the first annual fee of $75 is deducted from this overall limit in the first year (After that, $48.00 annually).

Supplementary cards allowed

If you need an additional card for a spouse or partner, you can get one. You’ll be charged another annual fee and share the credit limit, so you’ll need effective communication and budgeting to get the most out of the card.

Rates and fees

Like many other credit-building cards, the downsides to the First Access Visa are buried in its terms and conditions. The card charges rather exorbitant interest and maintenance fees, even for a card designed for those with poor credit.

APR

There is a 34.99 percent APR on purchases (see terms) and cash advances (see terms), and any interest charges have a minimum price of $1.

Sign-on fee

You’re charged a one-time program fee of $95 once your application is approved.

Annual fee

The first year’s fee is $75, charged upfront and deducted from your overall credit limit. After the first year, the fee drops to $48 annually. There is also a $29 annual fee on supplementary cards.

Monthly service fees

While there is no monthly service fee in the first year, this kicks in from month 13 at a cost of $6.25 per month (or another $75 per year).

Other fees

  • Late payment and returned payments fees are quite steep at up to $40 per incident.
  • There is a cash advance fee beginning in the second year, which costs $10 or 3 percent per transaction, whichever is more.

Credit limit increase fee

After the first year, you become eligible for a limit increase assessment. The cost of this assessment is 20 percent, meaning that if your limit is increased by $50, the fee levied is $10.

How the First Access Visa Credit Card compares to other credit cards for bad credit

There are a number of major issuers providing unsecured credit card deals to those with low or nonexistent credit scores. The Credit One Bank® Visa® for Rebuilding Credit is one well-known unsecured credit cards for those with bad debt.

The Indigo® Platinum Mastercard® is a close match to the First Access Visa, and for these two, it will be a war of fees to decide which is the better option. With the Indigo Platinum, annual fees are on a sliding scale, and you’ll only know the charge after your application. This is also a good option for those with no credit history. Where this card might fall short is that there is very little information available about all its other fees and charges.

Card Annual fee More details
Credit One Bank® Visa® for Rebuilding Credit $0—$99 ($0—$95 in the first year)
  • 1% cash back on eligible purchases
  • 17.99%—23.99% variable APR
  • Minimum $300 credit limit
Indigo® Platinum Mastercard® $0—$99
  • 24.9% APR
  • Minimum $300 credit limit

Best cards to pair the First Access Visa Credit Card with

The Discover it® Secured Credit Card is the ideal credit card companion to the First Access Visa. It offers cardholders the opportunity to rebuild their credit without the burden of an annual fee.

It is also one of the few cards for those with poor credit that offers rewards on qualifying spending. While there is a refundable security deposit required of $200, the card can boost your credit score if used right.

Bankrate’s Take—Is the First Access Visa Credit Card worth it?

If you’re in the market for a credit card when your credit score is on the low side, the First Access Visa is an expensive option. If it weren’t for the fact that it’s offered to those with low credit scores, it wouldn’t be a worthy credit card option at all.

Most consumers would be better off with alternatives from issuers like Credit One or saving up for the deposit on a secured card like the Discover it® Secured Credit Card.

Pros

  • A chance to rebuild your credit score
  • Unsecured

Cons

  • High APR
  • High monthly and annual fees
  • No rewards