If you need to build credit, but have no or very poor credit, the First Progress Platinum Select Mastercard® Secured card helps you get on track. Find out the good and the bad before signing up. If you’ve been through a significant negative credit-related event, such as a bankruptcy or foreclosure, you already know how difficult it can be to get new credit. Sometimes it can take years before you are able to start rebuilding. But there is another option: a card that approves you based not on your credit, but on your ability to make a security deposit and pay an annual fee. Here, I’ll review the First Progress Platinum Select Mastercard® Secured Credit Card - which doesn’t have a lot of bells and whistles but may be one of the best options for someone with no credit.
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What Is the First Progress Platinum Select Mastercard® Secured Credit Card?
The First Progress Platinum Select Mastercard® Secured Credit Card is a secured card offered by First Progress and is designed for those who are rebuilding their credit or building credit for the first time. Your credit line is based on a security deposit you put down.
Helps You Build Credit
Since the First Progress Platinum Select Mastercard® Secured Credit Card is secured and both approval and the credit line are based on your security deposit–not your credit history–you’re almost guaranteed approval if you can come up with the deposit. And whatever your deposit is will be your credit line.
So for example, if you deposit $200, your credit line will be your deposit, minus the annual fee you have to pay (more on this below). This helps you build credit by allowing you to use the card for purchases, make payments on time, and that activity gets reported to Equifax, TransUnion, and Experian each month.
Low Annual Fee
There is an annual fee for the card, but it’s just $39. This fee gets deducted from your security deposit so it makes it easy to pay. Using the example above, if your deposit was $200, your credit line would actually be $161 ($200 to $39). Something to take into consideration as you’re making your initial deposit.
Get Cash for Emergencies
While we don’t recommend pulling cash off of a credit card, sometimes you’re left with no choice and you need to do it to cover an immediate emergency. You can take cash out of an ATM using this card (there is a transaction fee of course), which makes this a great emergency card, too.
There is no minimum credit score required and no credit history required for the First Progress Platinum Select Mastercard® Secured Credit Card. This is a really nice value-add for those who have no credit or whose credit has been destroyed from something like a bankruptcy. So as long as you can come up with the money for a deposit, you’re good to go.
This is a Mastercard®, so it’s accepted basically everywhere Mastercard® is accepted. What’s nice about this is you don’t have to worry about carrying anything else--this can be your primary, everyday card if you’d like. Companies like American Express and Discover issue secured cards, but you run the risk of those types not being accepted where you shop. Plus you’ll receive the same benefits that all Mastercard® members do--like return protection and extended warranties.
If you need to get your card fast, First Progress offers expedited processing for $19.95. Using this, you can get your card processed up to seven days faster. This is a nice feature if you’re leaving for vacation or have a larger purchase coming up that you want to use the credit card for.
The First Progress Platinum Select Mastercard® Secured Credit Card has a purchase APR of 18.49% (V) and a 24.49% (V) for cash advances. As a reminder, Variable means it moves up or down with the federal funds rate.
The card also comes with a $39 annual fee, which I’ve mentioned gets deducted from your initial security deposit. Other fees to be aware of are a cash advance fee, which is $10 or 3% of the amount--whichever is greater, up to a $40 late payment fee, and up to a $29 returned payment fee. You’ll also have a 3% foreign transaction fee.
Honestly, pricing for the card isn’t great--but you have to remember that it’s a secured credit card, so you’re not getting it to rack up points, travel, or do anything other than build your credit. Use it for what it is and nothing more.
Applying for the card is easy and follows five basic steps:
- Personal information
- Contact details
- Finance and basic information
After you enter your information, you are required to enter your personal financial information. While your application is based on your ability to fund a deposit, you still need to enter this information. After you agree to the terms and conditions, you choose a method to fund your new card and your account will begin processing. This could take a couple of weeks--but remember you can pay $19.95 for expedited processing.
I wasn’t able to find any more information on how they encrypt your data or keep you safe. While I would assume they do, I was not able to locate this information.
There’s no mobile app for the card, but you can access your account from a mobile device with no issues. It’s mobile-friendly and easy to navigate.
You can only contact First Progress through snail mail. Otherwise, they direct you to their FAQ page to hopefully answer your questions. This is another big pain point for me, as I’m not sure how I would feel being unable to directly get in contact with my credit card company if I needed to--especially if I’d just provided them with my information and a security deposit.
Pros and Cons of the First Progress Platinum Select Mastercard® Secured Credit Card
No credit required — As long as you have enough money for a security deposit, you can get this card without any issues.
Easy way to build credit — Since First Progress reports your account activity to the three major credit reporting agencies every month, you’re able to use the card for small purchases, pay them off, and begin building (or rebuilding) your credit file with ease.
Expedited processing — By paying a $19.95 fee, you can have your application processed up to seven days faster, which is a nice feature if you’re in a hurry.
Modest annual fee — I don’t like that there’s an annual fee, but at least it’s only $39 and it gets taken from your initial deposit.
Customer service & contact — There’s no way to get in touch with First Progress unless you write them a letter. Who does that anymore? They should have a phone number to call or at least an email or social account.
No transparency on processing — Before you apply, you won't know how long it’ll take to process. They do offer expedited processing which is “up to seven days faster."
Capital One Platinum Secured Credit Card
The Capital One Platinum Secured Credit Card is a secured card for people with poor credit. So unlike the First Progress card, you do need some credit to get approved, even if it’s bad. There’s no annual fee on the card and the minimum deposit is either $49, $99, or $200--based on your credit history. Your credit line will be $200 to start, but you’re always able to deposit more money to get a higher credit line if you’d like. You’ll also automatically be considered for a higher credit line in just six months!
DCU Visa® Platinum Secured Credit Card
The DCU Visa® Platinum Secured Credit Card has no annual fee and has a minimum deposit of $500. Like most secured cards, whatever your deposit is will be your credit line--so you can go higher if you want. What I like about this card, though, is the APR for purchases--which ranges from 11.75% to 18%. While not amazing, it’s lower than the average credit card rate, so you won’t be killing your wallet with interest if you have to carry a balance. To open this card, you need to be a member of Digital Federal Credit Union--which isn’t terribly difficult to do.
Related: First Progress vs. Open Sky: Secured Credit Cards
Who is the First Progress Platinum Select Mastercard® Secured Credit Card For?
With so many options out there for secured cards, you might wonder who would want a card that has a higher APR, an annual fee, and limited access to customer service. All great questions, but the person who is going to benefit most from the First Progress Platinum Select Mastercard® Secured Credit Card is someone with no credit--or credit SO poor that they can’t get any other secured card.
Related: Experian Boost Review - Improve Your Credit Score for Free
There’s value here if you have no credit or if your credit has been beaten down from a past bankruptcy or something. It’ll be very tough to get a traditional card, let alone a secured card. So with instant approval and the ability to slowly build your credit back up, this card will be a great fit for many people.
Although the First Progress Platinum Select Mastercard® Secured Credit Card doesn’t have rewards or anything major to write home about, but it does the job for people with little to no credit.