Complete First Premier Mastercard Review
No security deposit is required
Exorbitant and expensive fees
Exceptionally high APR
The benefits explained
- No security deposit is required: Since traditional (unsecured) credit cards are largely unavailable to people with poor credit or no credit history, these consumers typically need to sign up for a secured card, which requires a security deposit which also serves as the card’s credit limit. The First Premier Mastercard is an unsecured card that you can be approved for even if your credit is poor, but with an initial line of credit that can be as low as $300.
- Exorbitant and expensive fees: The multiplicity of charges on this card really add up, even when compared to other cards of this type. Fees vary based on your credit limit and include:
- Annual subscription : Can go up to $125.
- Program fees: A single fee; can go up to $95.
- Monthly service charge: Although exempt for the first year, these can then total up to $124.80 per year thereafter.
- Credit limit increase fee: After 13 months, you may be eligible for a credit limit increase. However, if approved, you will pay a fee of 25% of the increase. For example, if your credit limit increases by $200, you will have to pay a $50 fee to qualify for the higher limit.
- Authorized User Fee: Additional cards for a spouse or child are $29 each.
- Exceptionally high APR: You expect a high APR on a carried forward balance on a card that serves those with no or damaged credit. But the rate charged by the First Premier Mastercard – a mind-boggling and arguably usurious 36% APR – may be unprecedented for any card. Indeed, this APR is so high that it exceeds the limits allowed by New York State regulations and those governing military loans, which means that New Yorkers and those serving in the military do not are not entitled to obtain the First Premier Mastercard.
The First Premier Mastercard is designed for applicants with low credit (which Experian, one of three credit bureaus, defines as having a credit score between 300 and 579) who wish to build or restore their credit history (card transactions are shared with these agencies). It is also for those people who prefer not (or cannot) provide the security deposit required for a secured card, the main alternative for those who have no credit or want to improve their creditworthiness.
However, although the First Premier Mastercard does not involve any security deposit, you must have up to $95 on hand for its program fee shortly after the card is approved, and other fees follow. It is therefore not a card for those who hope to obtain credit but cannot find the money to begin this process.
This card from First Premier Bank has very few advantages, as is the case with most cards designed to build up credit.
The only advantage, practically, is its access to Premier Credit Manager, a service that allows you to consult your credit score and your credit report from Experian. However, where some other cards offer this feature for free, First Premier charges $3.99 per month for the service.
The quality of First Premier’s customer service is unclear, as the issuer is too small to be included in JD Power’s credit card satisfaction survey, or in surveys of any other financial service provided by the bank.
We know, however, that the bank has more limited hours for customer service than most other credit card issuers. Customer Service Representatives are only available at 1-800-987-5521 during the following hours:
- From Monday to Friday: 7:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. CT
- Saturday: 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. CT
- Sunday: Firm
Having such limited service hours can, of course, be frustrating, as it can leave you waiting hours and even an entire day for help with a lost or stolen card or other issues.
With this card, you can sign up for account alerts to receive notifications about unusual transactions and spending limits. A quarterly FICO score is provided free on your monthly billing statement.
Fees to watch
Installation and maintenance fees are assessed before you start using your card and are deducted from your available credit. See below for available fees and credit limits.
|Credit limit||Program fee (one-time fee)||Annual fees||Monthly service fees||Initial credit available|
|$300||$95||$75 the first year; after that, $45 per year||$0 the first year; after that $75 a year||$225|
|$400||$95||$100 the first year; after that $45||$0 the first year; after that $75||$300|
|$500||$95||$125 the first year; after that $49||$0 the first year; after that $124.80||$375|
|$600||$75||$79 the first year; after that $49||$70.20 the first year; after that $99||$515|
|$700||$55||$79 the first year; after that $49||$96 the first year; after that $124.80||$613|
The First Premier Mastercard potentially allows access to a credit card even if you have bad credit. However, this alone is not enough to justify a demand for this deeply problematic financial product. The card comes with an impressive array of fees, which can easily add up to several hundred dollars a year, at least after your first 12 months of ownership. You receive virtually no benefit in return. Additionally, if you have a balance, you will pay such a high interest rate that it will even prevent the card from being marketed to certain populations. Look for alternatives to this card for people with poor credit, which are all better than it. While you can qualify for the Petal Visa, for example, the card has no annual fee, monthly service fee, authorized user fee, foreign transaction fee, or late payment fee. The Petal Visa also allows you to earn cash back on your everyday purchases.
Because it requires a security deposit (of at least $200), the OpenSky Secured Visa may be easier to qualify for than the Petal Visa, and its APR on purchases is nearly half that of the First First Mastercard. However, the card also has an annual fee of $35, which is deducted from your credit limit.
Another worthy secure card, the Discover it Secured, has no annual fee and offers rewards. You’ll earn 2% cash back on up to $1,000 in combined gas station and restaurant purchases each quarter and unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases. Discover will even match any cashback earned in your first year as a cardholder, doubling your rewards.
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