If you have a lower-than-ideal credit score and are looking to open a new credit card account, you may quickly hit a brick wall.
Cards offering cash back rewards often require excellent scores, while run-of-the-mill cards still expect average scores. If you’ve encountered financial trouble in the past and have fair -- or even poor -- credit, you might be getting denied by every card for which you’re applying.
This is where the Total Visa® Unsecured Credit Card comes into play.
Total Visa® is a unique credit card. It is similar in many ways to a secured credit card, yet is completely unsecured. This means that no deposit is required, as is the case with secured cards. However, it also means that there are some less-than-desirable aspects to being a cardholder.
First off, the credit limit will be quite low. We’re talking $300 low, in fact. After six billing cycles, your account can be reviewed for a credit limit increase, with subsequent reviews possible every six months after that.
Oh, and one big tip for holding this card is to avoid ever carrying a balance, if you can.
The Total Visa® is accepted everywhere that takes Visa®. Your account will be reported monthly to all three credit bureaus, offering you a good opportunity to slowly begin rebuilding your score. Make no mistake: this is not your “ideal” credit card. If your credit is in the hole, though, it might be your best option.
How Much It Costs
Also unlike its sister secured card options, the Total Visa® Unsecured Credit Card will cost you some money right off the bat.
Once you are approved for an account, you’ll immediately be charged an $89 processing fee. This must be paid before the account is actually opened and active.
Then, with the first billing cycle, you’ll also be charged your first annual fee of $75. Beginning with year two, this fee drops to $48 annually. Note that this means the credit limit during your first month of holding the card is actually $225 ($300 minus $75).
You won’t have to pay any monthly fees for the first year as an introductory rate. However, each year after that will bring with it a monthly fee of $6.25. This adds up to $75 a year on top of the annual fee, so it’s certainly not insignificant.
APR and Cash Advances
The interest rate on the Total Visa® card is also notable, making it a poor card choice if you plan to carry a balance at any point.
The APR for both purchases and cash advances is 29.99%. If you don’t pay off your balance in full by the due date each billing cycle, you’ll be tacking on a hefty interest charge.
For the first year, you won’t have to pay a cash advance fee. Beginning with year two, though, the fee will be either $5 or 5%, whichever is greater.
The Total Visa® Credit Card has a few other fees of which you should be aware.
If you want a second card, you’ll pay $29 for it. This fee will be charged the first time you request an additional card, and every year thereafter. Keep in mind that if you order an additional card when you first open the account, your initial credit limit will drop to $196 ($300 minus $75 annual fee minus $29 additional card fee).
If you are late in paying your bill, you’ll be charged a late fee of $27, assuming you haven’t had a late payment in the six months prior. If you have had another late payment fee in any of the prior six billing periods, this fee jumps to $38.
If your credit is poor and you’re trying to rebuild from past financial struggles, your credit card options will likely be limited. Secured cards are an option, as is the Total Visa® Credit Card. This card allows you to skip the inconvenience of a deposit (as is required by secured cards), but comes with downsides of its own.
If you’re smart about managing your account and avoid carrying a balance, this card can be a good way to start building your credit back up. This is especially true if you simply don’t have the available cash required to put down a deposit on a more ideal, secured card. Yes, the annual fee can be a bit of a doozy the first year, especially with the processing fee. Plus, the initial credit limit is low, but you have the opportunity to increase this every six months. Bit by bit, the Total Visa® Credit Card can help you begin to rebuild your credit.