Who is This Credit Card Best For?
Diligently searches for the best products and delights in a good bargain
Prioritizes sticking to their budget while buying what they want and need
The Credit One Bank Visa is only worth considering if you have bad credit and are looking for an unsecured card to help you bounce back—particularly if you want a somewhat larger credit limit and can’t afford the deposit for a secured credit card. The Credit One Bank Visa offers a minimum credit line of $300, which is more than the minimum some secured cards offer.
But you’re better off with a secured credit card or an unsecured card with a lower fee if Credit One Bank assigns you the card’s maximum $99 annual fee. Some secured cards only require roughly half that amount to secure a line of credit. Others require a larger deposit—but, unlike an annual fee, the money is refundable.
Fairly low APR for an unsecured card made for building credit
Modest rewards for some cardholders
You may not get an interest grace period
Potentially high annual fee
Unclear terms for applicants
- Fairly low APR for an unsecured card made for building credit: Although the Credit One Bank Visa card’s APR is high, it’s on the lower end for a subprime unsecured credit card, which means it's for people who have fair or poor credit. Some competitors charge APRs that are at least 10 percentage points higher than Credit One’s for similar cards. Many secured cards, however, charge APRs in line with Credit One’s—or lower.
- Modest rewards for some cardholders: Depending on the terms you’re offered, you may qualify for cash-back rewards, which is somewhat unusual for this type of card. However, the rewards are minimal: You’ll be rewarded just 1% to 1.1% cash back at most, and only certain purchases may qualify.
- You may not get an interest grace period: The biggest downside to the Credit One Bank Visa card is that only some cardholders are given a grace period, which allows you to avoid paying interest on new purchases by paying off your balance in full before your bill is due. Without a grace period, you may be charged interest as soon as a charge hits your account. Most cards—including some of the priciest cards for those with bad credit—offer at least some time to pay off your balance before they charge interest.
- Potentially high annual fee: Depending on your credit history, you could pay an annual fee of $75 for the first year and $99 thereafter. You may qualify to pay no annual fee, but you won’t find out until you’re approved. By contrast, there are secured credit cards that don't charge an annual fee to anyone who is approved. Plus, secured card deposits are refundable, while annual fees are not.
- Unclear terms for applicants: If you apply for this card, you won't know exactly what fees you will be charged or what rewards you'll get until you're approved, which is unfortunate and potentially confusing. Other cards serving poor-credit applicants make clearer the potential pros and cons of the product, making it easier to evaluate your options.
Earning Points & Rewards
Many similar cards don’t offer rewards, so the Credit One Bank Visa rewards program stands out. Even so, its structure is a bit murky. You may qualify for modest cash back rewards, but you won’t find out until you get prequalified for a card.
Credit One Bank offers four different rewards tiers, ranging from 1% cash back on certain purchases—such as gas and groceries—to 1.1% cash back on dining, and 1% cash back on everything else.
If you’re placed in a limited rewards tier, you’ll only earn cash back when you charge select purchases, such as gas, groceries, cell phone, internet and cable bills, and, in some cases, dining. Other cardholders, on the other hand, earn 1% cash back on all of their purchases. However, Credit One Bank also offers a promotional program that could get you up to 10% cash back with partner retailers.
If you’re willing to pay a security deposit, a secured card that offers cash back may be simpler (and more lucrative) for everyone who is approved.
Redeeming cash back is fairly simple: Credit One Bank will automatically give you a statement credit every month that you’ve made a qualifying purchase. The statement credit will help reduce your balance, but you will still have to pay the minimum amount due each month as calculated by the bank.
You’re out of luck if you prefer to receive a check or deposit your cash back in a bank account. Credit One Bank doesn’t offer any redemption options beyond an automatic statement credit.
How to Get the Most Out of This Card
If you’re given a grace period, you can use this card for all of the purchases that earn at least 1% cash back. For example, if you’re given rewards for phone, internet and cable bills, pay those bills with your credit card, rather than with a debit card or cash. This strategy only works, though, if your utility companies don’t charge a convenience fee in exchange for accepting cards. If a company charges a fee, then the rewards you get may not justify using it.
Don’t use this card for everyday purchases if Credit One Bank denies you a grace period. In that case, you’ll pay interest as soon as you make those charges, so you’re better off only using this card for emergencies—or opting for a different card all together.
Limit your charges, and pay off your balance in full each month, if your goal with this card is to improve your credit over time. Credit scores place a lot of weight on the amount of available credit you use compared to your credit limit, which is known as your credit utilization ratio.
Credit One Bank Visa’s Other Features
The Credit One Bank Visa doesn’t offer a ton of benefits. However, it provides these perks that can be helpful to consumers rebuilding their credit:
- Periodic review for credit limit increases
- Free Experian ScoreX credit score and summary of your credit report—which is for educational purposes only, and isn’t used by lenders to make credit decisions
- The option to pay for a credit protection program that lets you cancel payments for up to six months if you lose your job or become disabled.
Using Credit One Visa’s credit protection plan means closing your account during that time, and it’s not free. The program cost will be based on your monthly balance.
Credit One doesn’t offer 24-hour customer support or chat services on its website, which could be a big inconvenience. It does provide automated account information 24/7 for customers who have basic questions about their account, and a mobile banking app that you can use to check your balance and pay bills.
The Credit One Visa card offers standard security features.
Credit One Bank Visa’s Fees
In addition to a potentially high annual fee, the Credit One Visa charges an exceptionally high cash advance fee of 8% for some cardholders. It also charges an additional $19 fee annually when you add an authorized user. Both the annual fee and authorized user fee will come out of your credit line, reducing the amount of credit you have available. One pro: The card doesn’t charge a penalty APR, so your APR won’t increase if you miss a payment.