Updated September 9, 2013: On the application page for The Matrix credit card, I get this message: “We are not currently accepting credit card applications. Please check back periodically” when I click on the “Apply Now” link. At this time, I don’t know if this is temporary or permanent.
A few weeks ago I wrote a thumbs-down review of The Matrix Credit Card. Since then, the card has gone from being a secured credit card to a “hybrid” type of credit card. I’ve gotten questions about this from my very alert readers. So I’m officially updating my review so y’all know what’s going on with this card.
I will say that I hate it when credit card issuers change the product suddenly on consumers. The problem is that you apply for one thing and then get a variation of what you thought you were getting (or, in some cases, already had).
Okay, so here’s how this card now works: You apply for the card online and the issuer uses “multiple financial data points” to determine if you’ll be offered an unsecured card, a partially unsecured card, or a secured credit card.
The word “hybrid” is confusing because it’s a term I usually use to describe a partially unsecured card, which is a card that offers you a credit limit that isn’t tied to the amount you deposited. To be clear, you still have to make a security deposit, but your credit limit is higher than the deposit amount.
But if you apply and get approved for an unsecured Matrix card, you don’t have to worry about a deposit. You do still have to worry about a 29.99 percent variable APR. The details may vary by state, but you can expect around a $300 credit limit. Your $75 annual fee will be immediatly charged to your account, so your available credit from the start is $225.
There’s a $144 annual maintenance fee that’s billed at $12 per month. It’s waived for the first year. If you need to use this card to rebuild credit (sometimes you don’t qualify for a better choice and I understand that), use it responsibly for one year and then see if you qualify for a better card before you get stuck with a $12 per month maintenance fee. Be sure you read the terms and conditions carefully.
If your goal is to build or rebuild your credit history, there are better choices out there. Even if you think this is the only card you can get approved for, take a look at my list of secured cards, The Best (and Worst) Secured Credit Cards. Focus on the lower part of the middle-tier cards and see if you can find a better option than the The Matrix Credit Card.