Updated June 28, 2015: It appears that this card is no longer available. A photo of the card is still on Continental Finance’s website, but there isn’t a link to apply for it. When I click on “Apply Now,” I land on the page for Surge, their latest offering.
But this issuer tends to be vague about things like this, so if you’ve recently applied for Cerulean, please let me know in the comments section below. I try to stay on top of cards like this so I can help you protect yourself from expensive cards. Oh, and let me know if you applied online or received a mailed offer. Thanks in advance!
The Continental Finance Cerulean Discover credit card is issued by the same folks who brought you The Matrix Credit Card. Now, on credit card comparison sites, you’ll find that the name for both of these cards can vary. Sometimes “Hybrid” and “Discover” are in the name, sometimes they aren’t.
I’ve also noticed that some card comparison sites suggest these cards are for those with average credit, which isn’t appropriate. These cards are for folks with bad credit. If you have average credit, set your sights much higher than this.
Like The Matrix card, the Cerulean card is a hybrid card. This means that Continental Finance will review your application and then decide whether you’ll be offered an unsecured, partially secured, or fully secured credit card.
I’ve heard from many people who thought that the Matrix card was from Discover. Neither the Matrix credit card nor the Cerulean credit card are issued by Discover. This is an understandable mistake because the Discover logo is on the card. The issuer is Services Credit Union and the cards are serviced by Continental Finance.
Discover is only the payment network that processes transactions when these credit cards are used to make purchases. Sorry to interrupt the review with such boring details about the issuer and the service provider. But I know a lot people sign up for these cards because they believe they’re true Discover cards. Just wanted to clear that up.
Okay, so let’s get right to it. Here’s what you need to know about the Cerulean card.
Rates and fees
I think you’ll find these terms are somewhat similar to those for the Matrix card. Oh wait…they’re actually identical! Another issuer, First PREMIER Bank, does the same thing. First PREMIER has several cards that all look different, but under the hood, they’re exactly the same. I don’t see the point of that.
Annual fee: It’s $75 per year.
APR: You get a variable rate of 29.9 percent. Don’t carry a balance with this card or you’ll pay a lot in interest expense.
Additional card fee: It’s $30 per year.
Balance transfers: Not applicable.
APR for cash advances: You get the same 29.9 percent rate that you do for purchases. The transaction fee is 5 percent and the interest clock starts ticking right away.
Monthly maintenance fee: There’s a $144 annual maintenance fee that’s billed at $12 per month. It’s waived for the first year.
Foreign transaction fees: It’s 3 percent, which is within the normal range.
Credit limit: Your credit limit will be $300, less the $75 annual fee. So effectively, your limit is $225 when you activate your account.
Credit limit increase fee: Your account must be open for 12 months before you qualify for an increase. If you get approved for an increase, you have to pay a $30 fee for every $100 increase in your limit. You read that correctly. There’s a freakin’ 30 percent fee on a $100 increase.
Security Deposit: This is a hybrid card so you might be asked to make a partial or full deposit. The credit limit is $300, so your deposit could be as high as $300.
Other fees: Paper statement fee, late payment fee, return payment fee, and more.
The bottom line
I’ve got to give a thumbs down to the Cerulean card. But as I’ve said before, I understand that there are some folks who don’t have many, if any, decent options. If you’re in this situation and this is the only card you qualify for, just proceed with caution. I have a few readers who are using this card–very carefully!–for the purpose of rebuilding credit.
And speaking of my fabulous readers, there’s a goldmine of advice and information in the comments section of Updated: My Review of The Matrix Credit Card and My Review of The Matrix Secured Credit Card: Thumbs Down. My gut tells me that you will have similar issues with the Cerulean card so this might be helpful.
While I’m on the subject, I want to thank all of y’all who left comments on those blogs. When people search for the Matrix card, those two posts show up very high on the first page of Google results. I’m not kidding! So thank you for being so generous with your time and thoughts because it truly helps others.
Important note: If you get approved for the partially secured or secured card version of the Cerulean, be sure you read “Terms and Conditions of Your Deposit Account,” which is at the bottom of the “Terms & Conditions” (a.k.a., T&C) document. You can read the T&C right here. If this link gets changed, which wouldn’t surprise me, you can find it at the bottom of the Cerulean card’s home page.
Another important note: Credit card agreements change frequently. So my review is based on the information that was in effect today. Be sure you read all the disclosure statements carefully.