How does a fixed rate and a limited credit check sound to you? Well, if you’re in a situation where this sounds pretty awesome, then the primor Secured Visa Classic Card has your back. And while we’re at it, there’s another card in this portfolio that has a fixed rate: It’s called the Secured primor Gold credit card.
I’m combining both of these into one review so it will be convenient for you to compare them. I’ve provided links to these credit cards, but it was a pain to find them. You can also find them on most credit card comparison sites. For instance, I found it here on CreditCards.com. Just so you know, I don’t get a referral fee if you apply for this card. You’re getting my unbiased take on this card because I’m just awesome that way.
Okay, here’s the deal. You have guaranteed approval as long as your monthly income exceeds your monthly expenses by $100 or more. Sounds like an easy way to get a credit card, but let’s be real for a minute. If your cash flow is so tight you’re barely saving $100 a month, then you need to be careful about getting a credit card. I just don’t want to see anyone end up in debt (although if you do, I have a book for that, LOL).
But seriously, if you plan to pay the balance in full every month, this is a good card for building or rebuilding credit. And that should be your plan.
The primor Secured Visa Classic Card used to be issued by First Choice Bank, but that bank was acquired by Berkshire Bank. And now, the primor secured cards (both Visa and MasterCard versions) are issued by Green Dot Bank. Got that? Just letting you know so you don’t get confused if Green Dot shows up on your credit report.
Thanks to those who gave me the heads up in the Comments section about the bank musical chairs. You guys rock!
Your payment history is reported to all three major credit bureaus. This is the most important feature for a secured card because without this reporting, your credit history won’t improve. In the comments section below, an awesome blog reader said it reports as unsecured to the bureaus.
Rates and fees for the primor Secured Visa Classic Card (and for the Secured primor Gold Card)
Hey, these rates aren’t too shabby. The two cards appear to be similar except for the APR and the annual fee. It’s rare to see fixed rates and I think I like it.
APR for purchases:
primor Secured Visa Classic: You get a fixed rate of 13.99 percent.
Secured primor Gold: You get a 9.99 percent fixed rate. Not bad, right? But check out the annual fee below.
Balance transfers: Not applicable.
APR for cash advances: You get a fixed 18.99 percent APR. Plus, there’s a 5 percent transaction fee. Remember that interest on a cash advance begins immediately. So don’t ever get one unless it’s a life and death situation. And even then, weigh your other options first.
Penalty rate: There isn’t a penalty rate. You also get a 25-day grace period and that’s generous. Pay your balance in full during the grace period and you don’t have to pay any interest.
Annual fee: For the primor Secured Visa Classic, it’s $39, which isn’t great, but it’s within the normal range for secured cards. There’s also a $29 annual fee for each additional card.
For the Secured primor Gold, it’s $49, which is getting a little high. There’s also a $29 annual fee for each additional card. Listen, if you think you’ll carry a balance, this card is a better choice than the classic version since the APR is lower. But then again, if you think you’ll carry a balance every month, don’t get a credit card. Just don’t.
Foreign transaction fees: The fees are 3 percent.
Other fees: Late payment fee of up to $29, expedited phone payment is $10, returned payment fee is $29, possible credit increase fee up to $49 (more on this down below), and more. Note that fees (other than the annual fees) are posted to your account as if they’re cash advances, so interest starts ticking right away.
And note this: There’s an “Automated Account Information Fee” and it’s $0.50 for each separate inquiry (no charge for your first two inquiries in a billing cycle). Yeah, just read the fine print carefully.
Security deposit and credit limit: Your security deposit must be a minimum of $200 and a maximum of $5,000. Your credit limit equals your deposit. Your deposit for the primor Secured Visa earns 0.15 percent interest and that’s cool. But note that if you decide to close the account before the current interest is added, you’ll lose the amount of interest that hasn’t been posted yet.
Credit limit increase: This sentence is from the credit card agreement: “We may offer or accept requests for credit limit increases, which may be subject to a Credit Limit Increase Fee of up to $49.” Yikes! It sounds like the fee may or may not be charged. You can avoid this fee by depositing the amount you need for a credit limit when you open the account.
The primor Secured Visa and the Secured primor Gold cards aren’t perfect, but if you’re careful and avoid fees, you can use this card to build or rebuild your credit history and improve your credit score. And it’s fairly easy to get approved for one of these cards if you have sufficient cash flow.
As always when I update a review, I leave the comments in place. Even though a few things with the card have changed, there are still some golden nuggets in the Comments section.
And if you already have this card, let us know what you think of it. Has customer service been on top of things? Just wondering since there are so many changes involved with the banks.
Note: Credit card agreements change frequently. So my review is based on the information that I believed was in effect today. Be sure you read all the disclosure statements carefully before applying for a credit card.