Credit cards come in a range of shapes and sizes, meaning that you are best advised to select a specific card that is tailored to your individual circumstances.
As such, if you’re currently in a position where you have a less than ideal FICO credit score – or you simply have no credit history at all, you’ll need to consider a provider that looks at metrics other than just your credit score.
With that being said, the likes of First Progress offer three individual secured credit cards that are all tailored to those without the required financial profile to qualify with more conventional lenders.
If you’re thinking about using the provider for your credit card needs, be sure to read our comprehensive review. We cover everything that you need to know – such as eligibility, fees, credit limits, and more!
What is the First Progress Secured Credit Card?
- 1 What is the First Progress Secured Credit Card?
- 2 How Does a Secured Credit Card Work at First Progress?
- 3 What are the Three Credit Cards That First Progress Offers?
- 4 Which First Progress Card Should I Choose?
- 5 What Other Fees do I Need to be Made Aware of?
- 6 Am I Eligible for a First Progress Secured Credit Card?
- 7 How do I Apply for the First Progress Secured Credit Card?
- 8 What is the Best way to Improve my Credit Score with First Progress?
- 9 First Progress Secured Credit Cards: The Bottom Line
- 10 First Progress
- 11 Pros
- 12 Cons
First Progress is a US-based credit card provider that aims its products to those that are looking to build – or rebuild, their credit profile. The provider currently offers three individual credit cards, all of which are based on a secured deposit.
For those unaware, this means that your available credit limit will correlate directly to the amount that you deposit onto the card. As such, you will never be able to spend more than the security deposit you currently have on the card.
The overarching purpose of obtaining a credit card from First Progress is to improve your FICO credit score. You are able to do this when you meet your monthly payments each and every month, insofar that First Progress will report your payment performance to the main three credit rating bureaus. Notably, this includes Equifax, TransUnion, and Experian.
As the First Progress credit card is based on a security deposit agreement, most applications are accepted. This is ideal if you currently have a bad credit score, as the provider will not take your current FICO score into consideration.
In terms of how much the card will cost you, the APR rate will vary depending on which of the three First Progress credit cards you obtain. In most cases, this will vary from 9.99% APR, up to a maximum of 19.99% APR.
Moreover – and as we will discuss in more detail, your First Progress credit card will come with an annual fee – which can range from $29 per year, up to a maximum of $49 per year.
Irrespective of which First Progress credit card you opt for, your card will be issued by MasterCard. As a result, you can use the card anywhere within the US that accepts MasterCard – both online and in-store.
Take note, the First Progress Secured Credit Card is available in all US states, apart from Arkansas, Iowa, New York, and Wisconsin.
How Does a Secured Credit Card Work at First Progress?
If you’ve ever obtained a secured credit card before, then you should know that the process is largely the same at First Progress. In a nutshell, you will be required to pay a security deposit upfront, with the amount subsequently transitioning into your available credit line. For example, if you were to deposit $1,000, then in theory – your credit limit would be $1,000.
However, it is important to note that once you take into account your annual fee, your credit limit will actually be slightly lower than the amount you have put up as a security deposit. For example, if you were to deposit $500 at First Progress when first obtaining the card, and your annual fee was $39, then your available credit limit would actually be $461.
What are the Three Credit Cards That First Progress Offers?
As we briefly noted earlier, First Progress offers three different cards. Notably, this includes the First Progress:
- Platinum Prestige Mastercard® Secured Credit Card
- Platinum Select Mastercard® Secured Credit Card
- Platinum Elite Mastercard® Secured Credit Card
Interestingly, irrespective of your credit profile – if you qualify for one of the three cards, you’ll qualify for all of them. With that being said, the only difference between the three individual cards is that they each come with a different APR rate, and a different annual fee.
So why not just go with the card that comes with the lowest fees? Well, the card that comes with the lowest interest rate also comes with the highest annual fee! Similarly, the card with the highest APR rate comes with the lowest annual fee.
Here’s a breakdown of the three cards:
- Variable APR: 9.99%
- Variable APR for Cash Advances: 18.99%
- Annual Fee: $49
- Variable APR: 13.99%
- Variable APR for Cash Advances: 19.99%
- Annual Fee: $39
- Variable APR: 19.99%
- Variable APR for Cash Advances: 24.99%
- Annual Fee: $29
In terms of how much you will need to put down as a security deposit, this starts with a minimum of $200, up to a maximum of $2,000 – irrespective of which card you go with.
Which First Progress Card Should I Choose?
Before assessing which card to go with, it is important that you ascertain the reason that you are going with a provider like First Progress. As is the case with any other secured credit card provider, your overarching motivation should be to build your credit history. Otherwise, there would be no point taking the card out, not least because in theory, secured credit cards are essentially prepaid debit cards.
Moreover, when you factor in the annual fee, you’re essentially losing money by using the card. However, as you are looking to build your credit score up, this is fine – as long as you clear your monthly balance each and every month. In doing so, First Progress will always report your on-time payments to the main three credit agencies.
Over time, it is then hoped that the credit bureaus will increase your score – albeit, there is never any guarantee that this will happen. With that being said, if you are you going to use the card to meet the objective of improving your score and thus – you’ll be clearing your balance every month, then you are best off going with the highest APR rate – which is the Platinum Elite.
The reason for this is that the APR rate is effectively irrelevant if you are clearing your balance each and every month, not least because you will not be liable for interest. At the same time, by going with the Platinum Elite, you’ll benefit from the lowest annual fee – which is $29 per year.
What Other Fees do I Need to be Made Aware of?
Other than the annual fee applicable to the specific First Progress card you opt for, there are no other fees linked to the application process itself. However, depending on how you use the card, you do need to make some considerations regarding potential charges.
First and foremost, if you were to use your credit card to withdraw cash from an ATM, then you will be charged 3% of the transaction amount or $10 – whichever is greater. As such, any ATM transaction of less than $334 will come with a fixed-fee of $10.
However – we would strongly advise you to refrain from using your First Progress card to withdraw cash from an ATM. While we appreciate that life can throw unexpected events at us, the overriding purpose of obtaining the First Progress card is to build your credit up – as opposed to using the card for day-to-day expenses (even though you are essentially withdrawing your own cash when you factor in the secured deposit).
In terms of your APR rates, as noted earlier – this won’t apply if you clear your balance every month. If you don’t, then you will need to make sure that you make a payment within 25 days after receiving your bill. Moreover, your payment must be at least $1.50.
If you were to miss a payment, then First Progress will charge you up to $40. If you were to have a payment returned from your bank, then First Progress will charge you up to $29.
Am I Eligible for a First Progress Secured Credit Card?
As is the case with the vast majority of secured credit cards, most US consumers will be eligible for the card. However, this isn’t to say that everyone will qualify.
You’ll need to meet a number of eligible requirements, such as:
- Be aged at least 18 years old
- Be based in a US state other than Arkansas, Iowa, New York, or Wisconsin
- Be a US resident
- Have a valid social security number
- Have a valid checking account
Other than the above – as long as First Progress are able to validate the information that you entered in your application, you should have no issues being approved.
How do I Apply for the First Progress Secured Credit Card?
If you like the sound of what the First Progress Secured Credit Card can do for your credit rebuilding endeavors, then you can apply online using a simple form to get started.
Irrespective of which application channel you go with, you will be required to provide some personal information. This will initially include details pertaining to your identity, such as your full name, home address, date of birth, and social security number.
After that, you will also need to provide some basic financial information, such as your employment status and how much you make each month after tax.
Next, you will then need to choose the specific card that you want to go with. Once you have submitted the application, the team at First Progress not that the decision-making process can take upto three weeks.
This is somewhat unusual, especially considering the super-high acceptance rate that the provider facilitates. In fact, most secured credit cards operating in the market will offer an ‘Instant Approval’ service, not least because the provider is taking on virtually no risk by giving you the card.
Nevertheless, as soon as your application has been approved, you will then need to make your security deposit. You can do this by transferring the funds from the same checking account that you plan to make your repayments from.
Finally, you then will be asked whether or not you want to set-up an electronic debit agreement, which you should – as this will allow you to clear your balance in-full every month automatically.
What is the Best way to Improve my Credit Score with First Progress?
One of the most important metrics that the three main credit rating agencies will look at is your historical payment performance. In other words, you are likely to see an improvement if you are able to clear your monthly balances in full each and every month, as this illustrates that you have a good relationship with credit.
With that being said, you are best advised to use your First Progress credit card whenever the opportunity presents itself. By this, we don’t mean to go and use the card to make senseless purchases that you don’t need.
On the contrary, we mean that your everyday expenses that would otherwise be paid for in cash should now be paid for with your card. Think along the lines of groceries, gas, and your morning coffee. In other words, if you were going to buy it anyway, use your First Progress card!
If you do follow this credit building strategy, it is important that you put the cash to one-side after every purchase. This will ensure that you are able to clear your balance every month. If you don’t, and you end up struggling to meet your monthly statement, then not only will you be accustomed to a high rate of interest, but you won’t be able to meet your objective of building your credit score.
First Progress Secured Credit Cards: The Bottom Line
In summary, First Progress Secured Credit Cards do exactly what they say on the time. By putting up a security deposit onto your card, you’ll have access to a credit line of the same figure – less the card’s annual fee.
Although this doesn’t sound too dissimilar to a conventional prepaid debit card, by always meeting your payments on-time, you stand the best chance possible of improving your FICO credit score.
With that being said, you should not use the First Progress Secured Credit Card for any purpose other than building your credit profile with the main three credit agencies.