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If you’ve been having difficulty getting a credit card, or getting any kind of credit at all, the First Progress Platinum Prestige Mastercard® Secured Credit Card can help. It’s designed specifically for consumers who have no credit, limited credit, or even bad credit–they don’t even impose a minimum credit score requirement. The low interest rate is great, but it's offset by the $49 annual fee. If you’ve been looking for a first credit card, or want a credit card to help you improve your credit score, the First Progress Platinum Prestige Mastercard® Secured Credit Card may be the credit card for you. However, you should also consider other secured credit cards which may be a better fit.
What First Progress Platinum Prestige Mastercard® Secured Credit Card Has to Offer
The First Progress Platinum Prestige Mastercard® Secured Credit Card is designed for consumers with limited or poor credit. And while it offers a low interest rate on purchases, it doesn’t provide the benefits typically found with credit cards for those with good credit, such as a 0% introductory APR or a signup bonus. You do, however, earn 1% cash back on payments (not purchases). You get one reward point for every dollar you pay. Points can only be redeemed in increments of 500 points, worth $5. Note that your account must be in good standing, “as determined by us” in order to redeem points.
Introductory 0% APR: None
Sign Up Bonus: None
Maximum Credit Limit: $200 to $2,000 with a fully refundable deposit.
Cash Back Rewards: 1% cash back on payments.
Credit required: Open! No minimum credit score is required. That makes it the perfect card for anyone with no credit, limited credit, or even poor credit.
Secured credit card: Your maximum card credit limit will be determined by the amount of the security deposit you put up. If your deposit is $1,000, your credit line will be the same. But the absolute maximum is $2,000.
No co-signer required: Because the card is secured, you won’t need to get an eligible cosigner for approval.
Mobile App: First Progress Platinum Prestige Mastercard® Secured Credit Card does have a mobile app where you can make payments and view your statements.
Features and Benefits
Once approved for the First Progress Platinum Prestige Mastercard® Secured Credit Card you’ll enjoy the following benefits:
The First Progress Platinum Prestige Mastercard® Secured Credit Card can be used anywhere Mastercard® is accepted. That includes millions of vendors, merchants, and service providers around the globe, which is pretty close to everyone.
The card does not say Secured on it. Many consumers understandably don’t want that word printed on their cards. It at least hints at an impaired credit status, and the fact that First Progress doesn’t include it on the card shows sensitivity to their customers.
Your security deposit is refundable. If you decide to close out your account, you’ll receive a credit balance refund check, net of any outstanding charges on the card. However, it will take approximately 10 weeks to receive your deposit back.
Your credit line can be increased. With bank approval, you can add funds to your deposit account and increase your credit limit. If you’re under 21 years old, you can add an eligible cosigner to have your credit limit increased. Though the maximum credit limit is $2,000, the bank may approve a line as high as $5,000 under very limited circumstances. You can't upgrade to a non-secured card, because First Progress doesn't offer any. Once your credit score improves, you can close this card and apply for a unsecured card at another company.
First Progress reports to all three credit bureaus Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion. Since the card is designed for those with either no credit or even poor credit, making your payments on time is an opportunity to either build or raise your credit score. First Progress will report your payment history to all three major credit bureaus, giving you a chance to add good credit to your report.
How to Sign Up
To qualify for the First Progress Platinum Prestige Mastercard® Secured Credit Card you must be at least 18 years old (or 19 in Alabama and Nebraska), have a valid Social Security number, and be a resident of a U.S. state (other than Arkansas, Iowa, New York, or Wisconsin). In addition, the card can only be used for personal transactions and not for business purposes.
You can only apply for the card on the website. You cannot apply by phone or by paper application.
To apply for the Card, you’ll need to provide the following information:
- Your full name
- Your email address
- A valid U.S. mailing address and residential address (if different)
- Mobile and home phone
- Your estimated monthly income
- Estimated monthly obligations
- The amount of your security deposit
- Your Social Security number
- Your date of birth
When the above information has been entered into the application, you’ll need to choose a security passphrase (password).
Once you submit your application, the decision will take about three weeks. If you don’t hear back within that time, you’ll need to contact the bank.
If approved, the final step will be to fund your security deposit. That will require mailing a check for the amount of the deposit. First Progress does not accept electronic transfers.
Rates and Fees
Annual Fee: $49
Annual Percentage Rate (APR): 15.24% (Variable).
Cash advance APR: 24.24%
Penalty APR: N/A.
Cash advance fee: Either $10.00 or 3% of the amount of each Cash Advance, whichever is greater.
0% Introductory APR: None
Balance transfer fee: N/A
Foreign transaction fees: 3% of the transaction amount
Late payment or return payment fee: Up to $41 for late payments, Up to $30 for returned payments.
Over limit fee: None, but additional charges will be declined.
Pros and Cons
- All credit scores accepted, including no credit at all — Credit is not an obstacle since the card is designed primarily for those with no credit, limited credit, or impaired credit.
- No minimum credit score — No minimum credit score is required to get this card.
- “Soft” credit pull — A “soft” credit pull is performed when you first submit an application, which will not have a negative impact on your credit score.
- No cosigner needed — No cosigner is required to get the card, though it may boost your credit limit.
- Requires a paper check to fund your security deposit — A paper check is required upon application to create your deposit account. Funds cannot be transferred by wire or other electronic means.
- Credit limit tied to deposit — As a secured credit card, your credit limit will be limited to the amount of your deposit.
- No 0% introductory APR — Does not offer a 0% introductory APR on purchases or balance transfers.
- Annual fee of $49 eats into your credit limit. If you put down a security deposit of $200, $49 will be for the annual fee. This leaves you with only a $151 credit limit.
Why does First Progress Platinum Prestige Mastercard® Secured Credit Card charge such a low APR, even lower than most major credit cards?
The card is fully secured and presents less risk to the bank. For that reason, they’re able to charge a much lower interest rate than you might get with either no credit score or a low score.
Is First Progress a reputable bank?
Synovus Bank, the parent company of First Progress, has a Better Business Bureau rating of “A+”, the highest rating on a scale ranging from A+ to F. However, customer reviews are not used in the BBBs rating. There are 94 complaints in the past three years, 32 in the past year. Not all of them concern First Progress, but caution is warranted.
What's the benefit of having a secured credit card? Isn't that something like spending my own money?
The major advantage of a secured credit card is that the bank will usually approve your application when an unsecured credit card lender will decline it. Put another way, it may be the only way for someone with no credit, limited credit, or seriously impaired credit to get a credit card. Even if you fit one of those descriptions, you still need to have a credit card. First, there are times when a credit card is absolutely necessary. That can include renting a car, making online purchases, or buying an airline ticket. But second, and more important, having a credit card that reports to all three credit bureaus will give you an opportunity to build or improve your credit score. That will eventually enable you to get a traditional, unsecured credit card.
What's the difference between a prepaid debit card and a secured credit card?
The prepaid cards require you to periodically reload your account to provide funds to spend with the card. Meanwhile, some vendors and merchants put restrictions on the use of debit cards, compared to credit cards. But most importantly, prepaid debit cards don’t report to the credit bureaus. The cards won’t help you build or improve your credit score. A secured credit card functions like a credit card in every way, except that it requires a security deposit. But the security deposit will be the reason why your card is approved, and why the interest rate is so much lower than what it would be on unsecured cards. And since secured cards report to all three major credit bureaus, you will be able to build or improve your credit score.
Should You Sign Up for First Progress Platinum Prestige Mastercard® Secured Credit Card?
If you have impaired credit, limited credit, or no credit, the First Progress Platinum Prestige Mastercard® Secured Credit Card is worth considering. While it may require you to have a security deposit, the interest rate on the card is much lower than traditional credit cards and specially designed for consumers with poor credit.
Even if you have only a few hundred dollars for a security deposit, it can be well worth the effort to get the card with even a small credit limit. The basic idea is to use the card to build or improve your credit score. It’s entirely possible your score may move up sufficiently after just a year or so to enable you to apply for an unsecured credit card elsewhere.