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. If you can’t afford the deposit for a secured credit card, the Credit One Visa offers a minimum credit line of $300—more than the minimum some secured cards offer.
Keep in mind you may have to pay an annual fee of up to $99 with this card, depending on your credit history. If Credit One Bank assigns you the maximum, you’re probably better off with an alternative card with a lower fee. Some secured cards have an annual fee of less than half that, or none at all.
Low APR for an unsecured card in this class
Rewards on purchases
May not get an interest grace period
Potentially high annual fee
Unclear terms for applicants
- Low APR for an unsecured card in this class: This card’s APR is on the lower end for an unsecured credit card geared to people with poor credit. Some competitors charge APRs almost 10 percentage points higher. (This APR is still higher than many secured cards offer, however.)
- Rewards on purchases: The rewards tied to this card are pretty modest, but it’s better than nothing. You’ll earn 1% cash back on a number of common expenses (like gas and groceries) and also on monthly bills such as cellphone and internet services. There are opportunities to earn extra cash back when you use this card at select retailers, too. (More about this below.)
- May not get an interest grace period: The biggest downside to this card is that only some cardholders are given a grace period on paying finance charges. Grace periods allow you to avoid interest on new purchases by paying off your balance once you get your bill. Without one, you’ll 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 as much as $95 for the first year and $99 thereafter. (You may qualify for no annual fee, but you won’t find out until you’re approved.) Given that there are secured cards that don’t charge anyone an annual fee, this is a definite drawback. Plus, secured card deposits are refundable, while annual fees are not.
- Unclear terms for applicants: You can prequalify for this card, which will give you an idea of what the terms of your account will be, but nothing is final until you are formally approved. Other cards for applicants with poor credit are more transparent about the potential pros and cons, making it easier to evaluate your options.
Earning Points & Rewards
Many competitors don’t offer rewards on purchases, so the Credit One Bank Visa stands out. Its program is simple with a low earnings rate, but routine expenses are rewarded, which may help you rack up cash back faster.
You’ll get 1% cash back on gas and groceries, plus your monthly cell phone, internet, cable, and satellite TV bills. Credit One Bank also offers a promotional program that could get you up to 10% cash back with partner retailers such as Walmart, Pizza Hut, Gap, and Costco, according to a spokesperson. There’s no limit to how much you can earn with the card.
Redeeming cash back is fairly simple: Credit One 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 Credit One.
You’re out of luck if you prefer to receive a check or deposit your cash back in a bank account. Credit One 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, use this card for all of the purchases that will earn 1% cash back. For example, pay your phone, internet, and cable bills with your credit card, rather than with a debit card or cash. (Just make sure your utility companies don’t charge a convenience fee to accept cards. Then the rewards you get may not justify it.)
Don’t use this card for everyday purchases if Credit One Bank denies you a grace period. In that case, you’re better off only using this card for emergencies—or opting for a different card altogether.
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 Bank Visa may also charge an exceptionally high cash advance fee of up to 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.