- Annual percentage rate (APR): 34.99%;
- Purchase intro APR: None;
- Rewards: None;
- Annual fee: $75 the first year, $48 per year after;
- Late fee: Up to $40;
- Credit score: Poor to fair (300 to 669).
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- Flexible about credit scores: If you’re struggling with less-than-perfect credit, getting approved for a credit card can seem like a feat. First Access is willing to approve applicants with lower credit scores.
- Ideal for rebuilding your credit: Your payment history will be reported to all three credit bureaus. This gives you the chance to implement healthy credit habits that will pay off in the form of an improving credit score over time.
- Credit limit increases after several months: Some customers report their initial credit limit was increased after six months of making payments on time. You’ll have the option to accept or decline the credit increase.
- High fees: First Access charges high fees for taking a risk and extending your credit. Besides the annual fee of $75 the first year and $48 thereafter, other fees include:
- One-time program fee: $95;
- Monthly servicing fee: None the first year, $75 per year starting year two;
- Cash advance fee: $10 or 3%, whichever is greater;
- Returned payment fee: $40;
- Additional card fee: $29 per year;
- Expedited card delivery fee: $35;
- Credit limit increase fee: 20% of the credit increase you’ve accepted. For example, if you accept a credit increase of $150, you’ll need to pay a $30 credit limit increase fee.
- Credit limit not clear. The First Access Credit Card is designed for higher-risk customers and therefore comes with a low credit limit of $300. There’s a caveat — you may not have full access to the amount. First Access deducts the $75 annual fee from your credit limit, meaning you’ll only have a credit line of $225 available.
- Not available in all states. Residents of New York and Wisconsin aren’t eligible for a First Access credit card.
What Can You Expect From the First Access Credit Card?
If you’re wondering whether a First Access credit card is worth all the fees, here’s what to expect when you’re approved for one.
Apply and Manage Your Account Online
Your First Access credit card is a Visa, which could be used anywhere Visa is accepted, including online stores. You can apply for a card online and receive an answer in minutes. Once you’re approved and your account is set up, you can review transactions, manage your card, and make payments through the First Access online portal.
Activity Reported to the Credit Bureaus
Make sure you make your monthly credit card payments on time. Paying your balance off in full each month will save you the $40 late fee and the high 34.99% APR in interest. Paying your balance off in full and on time each month not only saves you money, but also helps your credit — First Access reports your payment history to the credit bureaus.
Wait for a Credit Line Increase
Working with a credit line of $300 is a safe start towards rebuilding your credit, but you should aim for a higher credit limit. The more credit available to you, the more it can boost your credit score.
You’ll need to be cautious about your spending — having a high balance or maxing out the credit card will have a negative impact on your score. First Access may contact you to offer a credit line increase after a few months to a year. The best credit-building strategy is to accept the increase, but forget that you have that much more money to spend.
Who Should Get the First Access Credit Card?
A First Access Visa is ideal for someone with a poor or fair credit score who hasn’t been able to get approved for a standard credit card. It should be a last resort — the fees are high and the credit limit is low.
Expect to pay $150 to $170 per year in fees just to have $225 in credit available. If your goal is to rebuild your credit for a year or two, the First Access credit card can be an effective way to establish a more positive credit history, albeit an expensive option. Shop around — there are other options for rebuilding credit, such as a secured credit card, which doesn’t require a credit check and may come with a lower APR and fewer fees.
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