Make no mistake about it: This card is meant for people with little or no credit and few options for a credit card. The ongoing interest rate is lower than some competing cards, which could save you some money as you work toward building (or rebuilding) your credit history. However, if you’re looking for a low interest rate on a secured credit card, there are other options available. If you’re looking to avoid fees, there are plenty of secured cards that can help you do that, too. Our advice is to look elsewhere for a secured credit card. There’s no compelling reason to choose this one—and plenty of reasons to stay away.
Free FICO score
Competitive interest rate
No cardholder perks
Poor customer service
High fee to increase credit limit
- Free FICO score: Each quarter, you’ll get a new FICO score update listed on your bill. You can use this to help you track changes in your credit score.
- Competitive interest rate: Many of the better secured credit cards also come with higher interest rates—but not by much. Still, it’s best to pay off your balance on a secured card every month to build your credit. Do that and you won’t pay any interest at all, whatever the interest rate.
While the free quarterly FICO score is a nice perk, you can get free FICO scores, updated monthly, elsewhere. And you won’t even need to sign up for a credit card to get it.
- No cardholder perks: This card is about as bare-bones as they come. You can expect other cards to offer perks like rental car collision insurance, travel assistance hotlines, and more. This one doesn’t.
- Poor customer service: There aren’t very many websites featuring actual customer reviews of this card, but the ones that are around almost universally list poor customer service as a defining feature of this card.
- High fee to increase credit limit: You’ll start out with a $200 credit limit. First PREMIER might bump that up after 13 months, but it’ll cost you a whopping 25% of the increase amount. For example, if First PREMIER were to boost your limit by $300, you’d be charged $75.
The credit limit increase fee is charged automatically whenever First PREMIER increases your unsecured credit limit. Cardholders have 30 days to reject the increase and be refunded the fee.
How to Get the Most Out of This Card
The only purpose this card serves is to take a positive step toward improving your credit history. If this is the card you are using, the best way to do that is to make no more than a couple of small purchases each billing cycle, then pay the balance in full. After a couple of billing cycles, you should start to see a positive impact on your score.
Paying the balance in full each billing cycle is beneficial because credit utilization is one of the key factors in determining your credit score. The more available credit you have, the better your score will be.
Make sure to reject any increases to your secured credit limit so you can avoid the fee associated with such increases.
First PREMIER Bank is one of the lesser-known names in the credit card world and doesn’t offer any particularly flashy customer service perks. You can manage your account online and call an automated 24/7 phone number. In our experience, it can be difficult to reach a live human on the other end of the phone. However, First PREMIER Bank does provide you with four quarterly FICO score updates per year on your bill, so that’s handy.
The First PREMIER Bank Secured Card is about as secure as you can expect with any credit card. Again, there aren’t any special features here such as Social Security number monitoring or the ability to lock your card from a mobile app. There is a mobile app you can use, but it’s equally slim on features.
First PREMIER Bank Secured Card’s Fees to Watch Out For
Aside from its OK interest rate, the First PREMIER Bank Secured Card comes with some steep fees: a $50 annual fee, a $29 authorized user fee, and the 25% credit limit increase fee. First PREMIER also charges fees to copy your statement ($3 per copy) and to deliver a replacement card ($35). Finally, leave this card at home if you travel abroad, otherwise you’ll pay a foreign transaction fee if you use it to make purchases.