Although the First Progress credit card isn’t terrible, especially considering cards marketed toward those with damaged credit histories typically come with exorbitant fees, most individuals will have better options. Other secured cards are just as good for building credit without annual fees. We go over those other options below, as well as go over why you shouldn’t apply for any of the First Progress cards.
What to Know Before Applying for First Progress Credit Card
As a secured credit card, the First Progress Platinum Prestige Mastercard® doesn’t come with any welcome offers, sign-up bonuses, or reward rates. Instead, its biggest draw is providing access to credit even if your credit history or credit rating isn’t ideal.
Instead of taking you through a lengthy application process involving credit and income checks, First Progress prioritizes application speed.
You can easily apply online, and applications are processed ASAP without a hard credit pull, meaning you won’t experience a temporary ding to your credit score. Once approved, you’ll need to provide a security deposit to offset lender risk; this is the trade-off for no credit check during the initial part of the application process.
While you aren’t committed to a fixed amount — you can open an account with a deposit ranging from $200 to $2,000 — the amount of your deposit sets your credit limit. This means that if your deposit is $200, your available credit is also $200.
We recommend going for the higher end of this range in order to improve your credit utilization ratio and bump up your score faster. Fortunately, you can later request to increase your credit limit up to $5,000 by increasing your security deposit accordingly.
Suggested Read: Surge Credit Card Review 2021
Benefits of First Progress Credit Card
The First Progress Platinum Prestige Mastercard® Secured Credit Card doesn’t offer many other advantages outside credit building, but this shouldn’t be a deal-breaker since few secured cards provide extra features.
Wide International Acceptance
As a Mastercard-branded credit option, this First Progress card is accepted both nationwide and globally wherever merchants take Mastercard. This puts it a step above retail-branded credit cards that can help boost your credit rating but only allow you to make purchases in their brick-and-mortar and online stores.
The Mastercard® Nearby mobile app can help you find merchants and ATMs that accept Mastercard® around you, but beware of the 3 percent foreign transaction fee when you use this card abroad.
Credit Reporting to All Three Bureaus
First Progress reports all of its credit data to all three major credit bureaus — Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion. While reporting data to any one of these agencies help boost your credit rating, regular reporting to all three makes it easier to build your credit more quickly.
Rates and Fees
The First Progress Platinum Prestige Mastercard Secured Card comes with a $49 annual fee that is charged to the card itself, meaning that if you put down a $200 deposit, you’ll only have $49 worth of credit to use until you pay that fee off.
This card also has a 3 percent foreign transaction fee along with an up to $40 late payment fee and an up to $29 returned payment fee. In addition, cash advances come with a $10 or 3 percent total transaction fee, whichever is greater, and a 18.99 percent variable APR for cash advances.
The standard APR for this card is 9.99 percent variable, which can be better than average for similar secured cards. If you’re worried your payment won’t be posted before your due date, you can make an expedited telephone payment in exchange for a $10 fee. There’s also a potential $1 request fee if you ever need a copy of a billing statement prior to six months ago.
Is the First Progress Platinum Prestige MasterCard Secured Worth It?
The First Progress Platinum Prestige Mastercard® Secured credit card offers credit-building potential with a quick application process, no credit check, and a customizable deposit amount starting at $200, making it a great choice if you’re looking to build a credit history or improve a damaged credit rating.
The downside is that this card doesn’t stand out from the secured credit crowd very much. Other secured cards like the BankAmericard Secured credit card offer higher initial credit limits, while the Discover it Secured card comes with cashback rewards.
It’s also worth noting that, unlike some competitors, you can’t upgrade your First Progress Platinum Prestige Mastercard Secured card into an unsecured card after a certain amount of on-time payments or card ownership, but you can shore up your secured credit line upon request.
However, the First Progress Platinum Prestige Mastercard® Secured may have a leg up since there is no hard credit pull when applying, and the ongoing APR (9.99 percent variable) can be lower than competing cards’ rates.
Pros of First Progress Credit Card
- Based on a Refundable Security Deposit Instead of Your Credit Score
- Help Establish or Re-Establish New Credit History
- No Credit History or Minimum Credit Score Required for Approval
Cons of First Progress Credit Card
- $49 annual fee
- No way to upgrade to an unsecured credit card
Our Thoughts on the First Progress Credit Card
The annual fees associated with these cards are the main reason we don’t fully endorse them. First of all, if you have average to good credit, you are eligible for significantly better offers. These cards are mainly geared towards people with FICO scores below 600. You may think because you have a bad credit history, you are limited to credit card options like the First Progress cards.
However, just because you may have poor credit doesn’t mean you have to settle for a card that charges you an annual fee and gets you nothing in return—apart from building credit. Several other secured cards will do the same thing as the First Progress cards and won’t charge annual fees. Some even offer rewards.
The best thing about the First Progress cards is their low annual percentage rates (APRs). The First Progress Platinum Prestige Mastercard has one of the lowest APRs we’ve seen among secured credit cards—which typically have APRs around 25%—although you’ll have to pay a $49 annual fee to get it. This can help you save quite a bit in interest charges if you ever find yourself unable to pay off your balance in a given month.
But if having a low APR is a priority to you, there are better cards available. For example, the Savings Secured Visa Platinum Card has a low APR, $0 Annual Fee, and a rewards program.
While potential cardholders should consider a card’s APR, we recommend not carrying a balance whenever possible. Carrying a balance will not only cause you to incur interest charges; it can also be damaging to your credit, even if you are making your minimum payments on time. This is because having a high credit utilization ratio—which is your card balance compared to your credit limit—has a negative impact on your credit score.
Although the First Progress cards can be useful—especially when considering the low APR of the First Progress Platinum Prestige Mastercard Secured Credit Card—there are other cards available that can do the same things at a lower cost.
Is it possible to submit an application over the phone for First Progress Credit Card ?
This isn’t possible at the moment, unfortunately. They are requesting new applicants to use their secure online application for the time being so that their contact center resources can be allocated to serving the demands of existing cardholders. The Customer Service number on the back of each card will continue to be available to cardholders if they need it.
Is it possible to submit an application via the internet?
Yes! To begin, go to the “How to Apply” page and follow the instructions. However, people in Arkansas, Iowa, New York, and Wisconsin do not have access to the First Progress secured card program at this time.