I’ve noticed that many of you are trying to find the best information you can about secured credit cards. Hey, I get it. The recession trashed a lot of credit scores.
And when the media tells you the recession is over, it doesn’t really help you if you can no longer qualify for a great deal on a credit card, does it? Finding the right secured card is tough, but it’s a good way to rebuild your credit history.
Let’s take a look at First Progress Platinum Select MasterCard Secured Credit Card. Whew! That’s a long name. This card is issued by Synovus Bank. The issuer reports 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.
You have to be a U.S. resident to qualify for this First Progress card, but note that the home page says this card isn’t currently available to residents of Arkansas, Iowa, New York, or Wisconsin.
Rates and fees
Just so you know, First Progress offers three secured credit cards. They’re all somewhat similar, but there are some differences among the cards regarding rates and fees.
APR for purchases: You get a variable rate of 14.99 percent.
Balance transfers: Not applicable.
APR for cash advances: You get a variable 19.99 percent APR. Plus, there’s a 3 percent transaction fee. Remember that interest on a cash advance begins immediately. So don’t get one. Ever.
Penalty rate: There isn’t a penalty rate. You also get a 25-day grace period, so you should have no problem making on-time payments. Pay your balance in full during the grace period and you don’t have to pay any interest.
Annual fee: It’s $39, which isn’t too bad for a secured credit card.
Foreign transaction fees: The fees are 3 percent.
Other fees: Late payment fee of up to $35, expedited phone payment is $10, returned payment fee is up to $25, and more. Read the fine print carefully.
Security deposit and credit limit: Your security deposit must be a minimum of $300 and a maximum of $2,000. Your credit limit equals your security deposit less $39 for the annual fee.
Your credit limit can be increased with the issuer’s approval. The maximum limit you can obtain over time is $5,000. You don’t earn interest on your deposit, so don’t put more money in this account than you need to.
In the disclosure statements for the First Progress Platinum Select MasterCard Secured Credit Card, it notes the following: “Payments you make on your Account will not increase your Available Credit until we are assured that the payment has not been dishonored. This payment hold may take up to ten (10) days.”
So if you make a $100 payment and your credit limit is $500, you can’t assume that you have access to that $100 part of your $500 credit limit until ten days has passed. On the Credit Boards, I noticed a commenter said that it’s possible for your online balance to appear as if the payment has been applied, but that you still won’t have access to that portion of your credit limit unless 10 days has passed.
So if you get this First Progress card, just be aware of this glitch. Track the timing of your payment so you won’t end up having your card denied because the issuer thinks you’ve exceeded your credit limit.
Other than this 10-day hold issue, this First Progress secured credit card isn’t too bad. I give it a solid sideways/partial thumbs up. I love that the APR is reasonable and that there aren’t tons of ridiculous fees that I often see with secured cards.
By the way, the First Progress secured credit cards are lower middle-tier cards on my list of The Best (and Worst) Secured Credit Cards. These cards are much easier to get approved for than the cards in the top tier on my list. Have any of you used this card? If so, have you had problems with the 10-day hold thing? I’d love to know what you think about it. It’s so awesome when y’all share your experiences.
Note: This review was updated on June 18, 2013. 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 before applying for a credit card.