If you put yourself in the right perspective, just about everything has pros as well as cons. For instance, an all-you-can-eat pizza buffet sounds like it’s all pro — until two hours later when you can’t move for being so full. Found the con.
The same can be said about the wealth of choices available for bad-credit credit cards for rebuilding damaged credit. On the one hand, options allow for more customization and provide room for competition. On the other hand — how do you choose?
A big name in the subprime credit card market, First PREMIER bank may be on your list of options. Check out the pros and cons of First PREMIER’s cards, and a few alternative cards to consider.
The Pros: Bad Credit and Bankruptcy OK
First PREMIER Bank was established in 1986 and quickly expanded, with the bank currently ranking as the 10th largest issuer of Mastercard credit cards in the US. First PREMIER is popular for its subprime credit card offerings, which cater to the poor-credit (credit scores below 650) consumer market. This means that those with low credit scores who would be turned down for unsecured credit from most mainstream issuers are more likely to qualify for a First PREMIER credit card.
In fact, First PREMIER’s credit requirements are extremely flexible, and the issuer will consider applicants with a variety of credit backgrounds, including those who have recently undergone bankruptcy. First PREMIER offers several different cards from which to choose, however little distinguishes one from the other. All the options will offer the same terms, rates, and fees.
The Cons: High APRs and Low Credit Limits
Of course, as with most things in life, not everything about the First PREMIER credit cards is all rainbows and unicorns. For the most part, however, the cons presented by the First PREMIER stable of cards are inherent in just about any unsecured subprime credit card, and they aren’t necessarily limited to First PREMIER.
One example of a con universal to subprime cards is the high interest rate you’ll be charged for carrying a balance from month to month. That said, First PREMIER charges a particularly high rate even for a bad-credit credit card, charging a 36% APR on new purchases and cash advances alike. The easiest way to avoid getting stuck with high interest fees is to pay off your entire balance before the end of your billing period.
The low credit limit may also be a bummer for some customers, as subprime credit cards, First PREMIER included, tend to limit your available credit line to avoid the risk you’ll default on a large amount. Don’t expect a credit limit higher than $500 for your First PREMIER card (or most other unsecured subprime cards). If you need a higher limit, try a secured credit card.
Another negative you’ll experience with a First PREMIER card will be the fees associated with opening and maintaining your credit card account, starting with the one-time program fee charged when you open your account. You’ll also see an annual fee, the size of which will vary with the size of your credit limit. Expect to pay at least $75 for the first year’s annual fee.
3 Additional Credit Card Options for Bad Credit
For all that the cons may be similar across the subprime credit card market, that doesn’t mean each card is the same as the next. You should consider all of your options before choosing a card to ensure you select the best card for your individual financial situation and credit-rebuilding needs.
Among our other expert-rated options for credit cards for bad credit are other unsecured credit cards, store credit accounts, and secured credit cards, with something designed to help just about any credit scenario.
See issuer website
Once you’ve made a selection, only apply for one new credit card, rather than trying to increase your odds by applying to many cards. Every new application for credit can result in a hard credit pull, the likes of which are included in the new credit factor of your credit score. This factor is worth 10% of your FICO score, so each hard credit inquiry on your report can ding your score several points.
If you’re unsure of your chances of approval for a certain card, you can often check for pre-qualification offers. While not supported by all issuers, pre-qualification uses a soft credit pull to estimate your approval chances. Pre-qualification doesn’t guarantee you’ll be approved when you apply, but it can be a good indicator, and soft credit pulls won’t negatively impact your credit score, making the process a win-win.
Responsible Use of First PREMIER Cards Can Build Credit
The pros and cons of many situations will strongly depend on how you choose to look at them. I choose to see pizza buffets from the best-invention-ever perspective, rather than the one in which they’re horrible traps designed to make you overdose on mozzarella.
Along that same vein, if your perspective on a new credit card is to rebuild your poor credit through the responsible use of your new card, then the First PREMIER line of credit cards presents a solid option. Within this perspective, consumers only charge what they can afford to repay right away, and they pay off their entire balance each billing cycle to avoid interest.
At the same time, if your perspective is that you should be able to find a low-interest, low-fee credit card with high limits that will just happen to overlook your bad credit, well, prepare to be disappointed by First PREMIER — and by life in general.