Total Visa® Card review: Building your credit comes at a steep price

Despite being designed for people looking to revamp their credit, the Total Visa turns out to be a lackluster credit-building* tool

Bankrate Logo

Why you can trust Bankrate

At Bankrate we strive to help you make smarter financial decisions. While we adhere to strict , this post may contain references to products from our partners. Here's an explanation for . The content on this page is accurate as of the posting date; however, some of the offers mentioned may have expired. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any card issuer.

ON THIS PAGE Jump to Open page navigation

Snapshot

2.4

Bankrate rating
  • star icon
  • star icon
  • star icon
  • star icon
  • star icon
  • star icon
  • star icon
  • star icon
  • star icon
  • star icon
Total Card Image
Apply now

on Total Card's secure site

Total Visa® Card

Rewards rate

N/A

Annual fee

See Terms

Intro offer

N/A

Regular APR

See Terms

Recommended Credit Score

Bad to Fair  (300 - 670)

Total Visa® Card Overview

Having a low score can feel like being stuck in a pit of your own making with no way to dig yourself out. You can’t qualify for the best credit cards or personal loans, so you have to settle for a credit card for bad credit—complete with burdensome interest rates and fees.

The Total Visa card is not the best option in this category. Not only does the card come with an interest rate that will keep your debt piled up if you don’t pay your balance in full every month, but it charges you fees at every turn.

The Total Visa card should only be an option for people with the worst credit who refuse to open a secured card (though there are many excellent secured credit card options)—everyone else will find much better terms elsewhere.

What are the advantages and disadvantages?

Pros

  • This card reports to all three credit bureaus, helping you to boost your credit score over time.
  • There are no minimum credit requirements, making this card easier to acquire—especially for credit newbies who have limited credit histories.

Cons

  • The fees are extraordinarily high, there are several less expensive options for building or rebuilding credit
  • The card touts a high APR, making carrying a balance very expensive.
  • The card doesn’t allow cardholders to make purchases overseas.

A deeper look at the current card offer

Quick highlights

  • Rewards rate: N/A
  • Welcome offer: N/A
  • Annual fee: See Terms
  • Purchase intro APR: N/A
  • Balance transfer intro APR: N/A
  • Regular APR: See Terms

Current welcome offer

As a credit card designed to help you rebuild* your credit, the Total Visa credit card is extremely bare-bones. It doesn’t offer any kind of points or cash back for purchases, nor does it come with an introductory bonus for spending a certain amount during your first few months that you see with other credit cards. Remember, rebuilding credit depends on factors like making on-time payments, keeping your credit utilization ratio low and paying at least the minimum monthly payment.

The only type of intro offer you can expect from this card is a waived monthly servicing fee for your first year. If you choose to go with the Total Visa to help rebuild* your credit, you should work during those 12 months to build a credit strong enough to qualify for a card that doesn’t charge servicing fees in the first place.

Key cardholder perks

The Total Visa card has one purpose and one purpose only—rebuilding* credit. Like most cards in its category, it doesn’t have many benefits or features that make it attractive to most people. But, for people with significantly damaged credit, it can still help start the journey back to healthy credit.

If you’re in that boat, you’re probably eager to get started and wondering how long it takes to receive the Total Visa card. After you apply, you’ll get a response within 60 seconds. If you’re approved, you’ll get your card in the mail and be able to use it once you pay the program fee and activate the card.

We don’t wholeheartedly recommend the Total Visa to rebuild* credit, but if you use it responsibly you’ll be able to graduate to a better option in no time.

Simple approval

There’s very little chance that you’ll be denied for this credit card. It doesn’t have a minimum credit requirement and is available in most states, excluding New York and Wisconsin.

No security deposit

If you’re dead set against opening a secured credit card, the Total Visa should at least get a glance from you. You won’t have to offer any cash to secure your credit limit—although the cash you’ll pay to cover the card’s fees will add up quickly, taking away a lot of the benefit from having an unsecured card.

Reports to all three major credit bureaus

While many cards only report to one or two credit bureaus, the Total Visa reports to all three. This helps you build* your credit at each one if you show consistent and responsible credit card use.

Rates and fees

A high interest rate and excessive fees plague the Total Visa card, making it difficult to recommend for even the worst situations.

To get started with the Total card, you’ll first pay a one-time program fee of $89—and that’s before your $75 annual fee is placed on your card balance. If you keep the card for longer than a year, the annual fee drops to $48, but you’ll add an additional $6.25 monthly servicing fee (this is waived for the first year). The APR for this card is 34.99 percent for purchases and 34.99 percent for cash advances. While the cash advance fee is waived the first year, transactions will cost you the greater of $10 or 3 percent after that. You’ll also pay an up to $40 fee for late or returned payments.

How the Total Visa card compares to other cards for bad credit

Beginning your credit-building journey can be daunting. Finding the right credit-building tool is key to helping you boost your score (in addition to keeping up positive credit behaviors over time). The Total Visa leaves a lot to be desired compared to other credit cards for bad credit. There are many other card options—including both secured and unsecured credit cards—that are less expensive and more rewarding.

Total Card Image

Total Visa® Card

  • star icon
  • star icon
  • star icon
  • star icon
  • star icon
  • star icon
  • star icon
  • star icon
  • star icon
  • star icon
2.4
Apply now

on Total Card's secure site

Annual fee

See Terms

Intro offer

N/A

Rewards rate

N/A

Recommended credit

Bad to Fair(300 - 670)
Capital Bank Image

OpenSky® Secured Visa® Credit Card

Annual fee

$35

Intro offer

N/A

Rewards rate

N/A

Recommended credit

No Credit History
Credit One Bank Image

Credit One Bank® Platinum Visa® for Rebuilding Credit

Annual fee

$75 for the first year. After that, $99 annually ($8.25 per month)

Intro offer

N/A

Rewards rate

1%

Recommended credit

Bad to Fair(300 - 670)

The Total Visa vs. The OpenSky® Secured Visa® Credit Card

Though you’ll have to shell out at least $200 for a security deposit, the OpenSky Secured Visa Credit Card is still significantly less expensive than the Total Visa credit card. The annual fee is a much more straightforward $35 when compared to the Total Visa’s multiple fees (there are other fees to be aware of like the 3 percent foreign transaction fee, 5 percent cash advance fee, $38 late payment fee and $25 returned payment fee, but responsible use of the OpekSky should help you avoid many of these). The OpenSky’s 20.39 percent variable APR makes much more sense for someone still learning to manage their credit card responsibly while on their credit-building journey. Like most other cards for bad credit, the OpenSky doesn’t offer significant perks or rewards, but it’s a solid, inexpensive means of building credit. The OpenSky is the right choice for credit-builders looking to keep more money in their pockets.

The Total Visa vs. Credit One Bank® Platinum Visa® for Rebuilding Credit

The current APR for the Credit One Bank Platinum Visa for Rebuilding Credit* —while still a bit higher than the norm at 24.74 percent variable (though it is about average for this credit card category)—is much lower than the Total Visa’s extremely high 34.99 percent variable APR. The annual fee—$75 for the first year and $99 thereafter—might be on the steep side, but cardholders can at least recoup some costs by earning rewards. Credit One cardholders will earn 1 percent cash back on eligible gas, grocery, mobile phone service, cable and internet service purchases—a feature lacking in most credit cards designed for people with bad credit.

Overall the Total Visa card is an interest-heavy card lacking some of the features needed to make it a solid credit-building option. Credit-builders will find more value in the Credit One Bank Platinum Visa—there are fees Credit One cardholders should keep an eye on, but this card is a much more cost-effective option for people looking to build or rebuild* their credit.

Best cards to pair with the Total Visa card

If you’re rebuilding* your credit, it’s best to keep your finances simple. Instead of pairing multiple credit cards together, focus on using one card to boost your credit to a healthier place. Once you’ve leveled up your credit, you can swap out your Total Visa card for one with a lower APR and no annual fee or even a cards that earn best in class cash back rewards.

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

The Total Visa credit card is a poor option for most people—even for people in the worst credit situations. This card nickels and dimes its users by charging fees at every turn. On top of that, you’ll face a high APR if you don’t pay off your balance in full every month. You can find much better rates and fees with the same benefits from other credit cards.

*Rebuilding credit depends on factors like making on-time payments, keeping balance below credit limit and paying at least the minimum monthly payment.

*The information about Credit One Bank® Platinum Visa® for Rebuilding Credit has been collected independently by Bankrate.com. The card details have not been reviewed or approved by the card issuer.