By Marcy Bialeschki


5 Min. To Read

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Usually, in these reviews, the writer builds to the high point or the low point, depending on the content. This time I'm breaking those rules. The Primor Visa by Green Dot has one major downfall -- a $49 annual fee. As far as credit cards go, many in the credit recovery category, do not attach a yearly fee. In this respect, the Primor Visa is just so-so. However, notice I said it has one major downfall. That was it. I'm not saying this is the best card in the category, but it is a contender. Let's take a look and see if it could be the right card for you.

Reviewing the Details

The Primor Visa is a secured card where the cardholder can set the spending limit with the security deposit. The self-imposed credit limit can be $200 to $5000 and is refunded, minus any balance, when the card is canceled. Card owners are not locked into their initial deposit either. With some secured cards, the cardholder must wait on the bank to increase the credit limit. With the Primor Visa, the owner can increase the limit $50 at a time up to $5000. Potential card owners do not need a checking account to apply for the card; however, if accepted, a checking or savings account is necessary to hold the refundable security deposit.

Unfortunately, this secured card cannot graduate into an unsecured card. But this detail is not necessarily a negative. When the card owner builds credit to a certain point, they simply close the account and move to a more appropriate credit card.

Other than the annual fee, the Primor Visa has no additional costs. This feature is a welcome detail considering some other credit building cards seem to punish the cardholder with an excessive number of fees. The Primor Visa also has a shockingly low purchase APR at a fixed 9.99%. One thing to consider is that most people will have this card to build credit, and that will only happen with responsible use, including paying your balance every month on time. The low purchase APR is somewhat deceiving because most people with this card will not be carrying a balance. A low purchase APR, therefore, is irrelevant.

Summary of Details No application fee

No processing fee

No penalty rate

$49 annual fee

9.99% fixed purchase APR

18.99% fixed APR for cash advances

Cash advance fee 5% or a minimum of $5

3% foreign transaction fee

Add an authorized user for $29 per year

Building Credit

The Primor Visa from Green Dot can be a useful tool in getting your credit back on track. Your credit score is reported monthly to all three nationwide credit bureaus, and having the security deposit as the credit limit gives the cardholder control. The key is to keep the ceiling at an amount that can be paid on time every month. This diligence is the action that will bring up a low credit score.

Many people who have the Primor Visa claim their credit score increased quickly, sometimes making a significant jump to upgrade to an unsecured card at the eight-month review. Unfortunately, a lot of customers also reported having to wait a considerable amount of time -- sometimes up to 7 weeks -- to be refunded the security deposit. Some of these same people who had difficulty retrieving their deposit also gave the customer service department a C- in resolving other, similar issues.

True, the Primor Visa has a lot to offer as a credit building card, but is it the best card out there? Well, the Primor Visa claims to have an easy application process with instant results. Plus, they boast most people who apply are accepted because they do not have a set credit score minimum. Sounds pretty good, but let’s take a look at the competition to make sure the Primor Visa is right for you.

The Competition

Hands-down, one of the best credit-building cards on the market right now is the Discover It Secured credit card. It automatically trumps the Primor Visa with no annual fee. Like the Primor Visa, it lacks all of those other ridiculous fees as well. However, the Discover It Secured does not let the cardholder set the credit limit as with the Primor Visa. Its credit limit is set at a firm $200. Both cards report to the three major credit bureaus monthly, helping you improve your credit score as fast a possible.

The Discover It Secured has two other advantages: a rewards program and an automatic credit review after eight months. Just because you are building your credit does not mean you have to sacrifice a rewards program. The Discover It Secured offers 2x cash back at restaurants and gas stations up to $1000 and 1x the cash back on all other purchases. Discover will also match your cash back at the end of the first year. Additionally, Discover will also automatically review your credit at the end of eight months, trying to move you to an unsecured card as fast as possible.

The downside to the Discover It Secured credit card is it has a minimum credit score of 660. In contrast, the Primor Visa claims not to have a set minimum credit score. The Primor Visa, therefore, might be easier to get.

No doubt about it, the Primor Visa by Green Dot is an excellent choice for a credit recovery card. The major downfall is the $49 annual fee that many cards in the same category do not have. However, other comparable cards might have additional charges or restrictions the Primor Visa does not have. The final result being, the Primor Visa is an excellent deal if you want to set your credit limit and have the flexibility to increase it. And with no other fees than the annual fee, it is tons better than some other options in the same category.

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