Total Visa Credit Card Review

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If you have bad credit and can’t afford a security deposit, the Total Visa Credit Card’s unsecured nature can be appealing, and it can help you build your credit history. Rebuilding credit depends on factors like making on-time payments, keeping balance below credit limit and paying at least the minimum monthly payment. But the card’s fee structure could end up threatening your budget. In this Total Visa review, we’ll cover what to consider before applying for the card.

Total Visa® Credit Card

Overall Rating
Total Visa® Credit Card
Recommended Credit
Score Our recommended ranges are based off of the FICO® Score 8 credit-scoring model. Credit score is one of the many factors lenders review in considering your application.
350 579
580 669
670 739
740 799
800 850
Poor - Excellent
Regular APR (%) 34.99% fixed
Annual Fee $75 for the first year, then $48
Ratings Breakdown
for Interest
for Fees
for Rewards
for Credit

Who Is This Credit Card Best For?

  • Avatar for Savvy Saver Persona
    Prioritizes sticking to their budget while buying what they want and need See more cards
    Savvy Saver
  • Avatar for Debt Warrior Persona
    Attacks existing balances while avoiding new debt See more cards
    Debt Warrior
  • Avatar for Credit Builder Persona
    Takes improving their finances seriously and wants recognition for using credit responsibly See more cards
    Credit Builder

The card is designed for people who have struggled with credit in the past. It reports your activity to the three national credit bureaus, so if you use it regularly and make your payments on time, it could help improve your credit. But because the card charges a lot of fees, including ones that the vast majority of cards don’t charge, we don’t recommend it. There are a handful of other cards for people with bad credit with not nearly the same amount of fees that this card requires.

  • Doesn’t require a security deposit

  • Reports to all three credit bureaus

  • More expensive than a secured card in the long run

  • Limited on how you can use it

  • Low credit limit

Pros Explained

  • Doesn’t require a security deposit: A lot of credit cards for bad credit require that you put up a deposit—typically at least $200 and it’s equal to your credit limit—to get approved. You can generally expect to get that money back when you close the account, and possibly sooner, but if you can’t part with that amount of money for an extended period, an unsecured card like the Total Visa Credit Card can be more appealing.
  • Reports to all three credit bureaus: Most major credit cards report your account activity to Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion. But that’s not a guarantee with all credit cards for bad credit. While the Total Visa Credit Card has some serious flaws, this isn’t one of them.

Cons Explained

  • More expensive than a secured card in the long run: A secured credit card can be difficult to get for some people because of the security deposit requirement. But as long as you pay back whatever debt you incur with the card, you get that money back. What’s more, many secured credit cards don’t charge an annual fee. With the Total Visa Credit Card, however, you’ll pay $164 in fees once you open your account (the program fee and the first annual fee), then you’ll pay $123 in annual and monthly fees starting in the second year. And if you want to add an authorized user, you’ll pay a $29 annual fee on that card as well. The card’s APR is also steep compared with other credit cards for bad credit, and it doesn’t provide any rewards or perks to help you recoup those costs. See rates, fees, costs and limitations for additional details.
  • Limited on how you can use it: The card has some limitations in its terms and conditions, the two most glaring of which are that you can’t use it at automated fuel pumps and you can't use the card outside of the U.S. So if you’re planning a trip abroad, you’ll need to rely on other payment methods. The card also doesn’t allow balance transfers—of course, you likely wouldn’t want to do that anyway with such a high interest rate, but not having the option may be frustrating for some credit card users.
  • Low credit limit: The Total Visa Credit Card has a credit limit of $300. Just keep in mind your annual fee and any additional user fees will be charged to your first billing cycle. This leaves you with only $225 (or $196 if you choose to have an additional user on your card) in available credit. Your credit utilization rate—your card balance divided by its credit limit—is an important factor in your FICO credit score, and credit experts recommend keeping it as low as possible. You can request a credit limit increase after your first year with the card, but you’ll have to pay a fee of 20% of the increase amount. 

How to Get the Most Out of This Card

The Total Visa Credit Card doesn’t offer rewards or perks, so if you have it, the best way to use it is to make purchases and pay them off by the due date each month so you can establish a positive payment history. While you can’t do anything about the fees, you can avoid the card’s high interest rate by paying the full balance every month. 

In most cases, though, you may be better off with a different credit card.

A secured card requires a one-time, refundable deposit before applying for the card. An unsecured card does not. Make sure you know the difference before applying for a credit card.

Customer Experience

The card’s issuer, The Bank of Missouri, offers customer service by phone from 5 a.m. to midnight Central Standard Time. With most major card issuers, you can typically expect 24/7 access to customer service.

The bank also doesn’t provide a mobile app for cardholders, which is standard for the credit card industry. All account management must be done through your mobile or desktop browser.

Security Features 

Beyond basic fraud protection, the card doesn’t provide any other security features. While you will not be liable for the unauthorized use of your card, you are required to notify the card issuer—either orally or in writing—as soon as you realize that your card has been lost, stolen, or used without your consent. And you still may be liable for up to $50 in fraudulent charges.

Total Visa Credit Card’s Fees to Watch Out For

The Total Visa Credit Card’s fees are higher than you’d get with most credit cards, especially with its one-time $89 program fee and $6.25 monthly servicing fee after the first year. The card’s credit limit increase fee isn’t unique, but most major card issuers don’t charge one. Finally, some premium credit cards charge an annual fee for authorized users, but that’s primarily because additional cardholders are also getting a lot of perks. Most other credit cards don’t charge one.

Next Steps
For Total Visa® Credit Card
Compare This Card
See how this card stacks up to the competition
Total Visa® Credit Card
overall rating
Recommended Credit
Score Our recommended ranges are based off of the FICO® Score 8 credit-scoring model. Credit score is one of the many factors lenders review in considering your application.
350 579
580 669
670 739
740 799
800 850
Poor - Excellent
Regular APR (%) 34.99% fixed
Annual Fee $75 for the first year, then $48
Our Methodology
At The Balance, we are dedicated to giving you unbiased, comprehensive credit card reviews. To do this, we collect data on hundreds of cards and score more than 55 features that affect your finances.
  • Our Reviews Are Always Impartial: No one can influence which cards we review, the way we present them to you, or the ratings they receive. The scores and reviews come directly from the data we collect and our editorial expertise, and we focus on three areas:
  • How Much Does It Cost? With credit card debt at an all-time high, we believe you should know the cost of carrying a balance. Because of that, we give regular purchase APRs significant weight in overall scores, and cards receive low marks if they have an array of pricey fees.
  • What Are the Rewards Worth? Cards accumulate rewards in different currencies—points, miles, cash back—and their values vary widely. To simplify the problem, we built a system that fairly compares rewards and gives them a dollar value. We do this by looking at the ways you can earn and use rewards, which includes evaluating Americans’ typical spending habits and analyzing common travel patterns.
  • Does It Make Your Life Easier? Our scoring system favors cards that accept a wide range of credit profiles and offer simple solutions for things like checking your credit score or contacting customer service. Finally, we give preference to credit cards that have several tools for dealing with fraudulent charges.
  • For every review on The Balance, we hold the credit cards to these standards, and we set the bar high. While we recognize the appeal of splashy features like six-digit sign-up bonuses, our approach ensures that credit cards with the best combination of value, affordability, and accessibility receive the highest scores. See our full methodology for more details.