What the NetFirst Platinum Card Really Offers - NerdWallet
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What the NetFirst Platinum Card Really Offers

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The NetFirst Platinum card makes a lot of promises to consumers: an unsecured $500 credit limit, no credit check, guaranteed approval. If you don’t read the terms and conditions carefully, though, the limitations and large membership fees could catch you off guard. Before you apply for this offer, make sure you understand what’s on the table.

Limited options

NetFirst Platinum sounds like the name of a credit card you could use anywhere. But, in fact, you can only use the card at NetFirst’s affiliated online store, according to the terms and conditions. Here’s what it says:

“Upon Account activation of your membership, you will receive various benefits as well as a credit card account to use exclusively on purchases available through the Horizon Outlet Website. Your Account will not work at any other website.”

This isn’t mentioned anywhere in the card’s marketing bullets, but for many, it’s a deal-breaker. You can’t even see what Horizon Outlet sells by going to its website, Shop.TheHorizonOutlet.com, since it doesn’t display its merchandise to non-members. If you’re looking for a card to use for general shopping, this isn’t a good pick.

To be sure, there’s a difference between the NetFirst Platinum and other store credit cards that can only be used at one outlet. A JCPenney credit card, for instance, can only be used at JCPenney stores, the JCPenney website and a partner website. Considering it’s a JCPenney card, that’s not entirely surprising. Meanwhile, nothing about the NetFirst Platinum card’s name indicates that it can only be used at the Horizon Outlet store. That’s a problem.

Robert Kane, the president of Horizon Card Services, which issues the NetFirst Platinum card, says that the way the card is marketed isn’t misleading.

“If you look at the landing page, there’s a box consumers have to check. It says the card can only be used at Horizon Outlet. You have to check that before you go onto the application,” he tells NerdWallet. “We’re giving them exactly what they’re signing up for.”

Judging from consumer complaints on online forums, though, more than a few people have missed this disclosure, which is set in small print. If this is the case for you, and you’re unhappy with the terms, you can call the company at 1-800-251-6144 during business hours, cancel the card and request a refund.

Steep membership fees

When you look at credit cards from mainstream banks, you’ll notice that most information about rates and fees is easy to find. Every online application includes a link to a Schumer box, where rates and fees are printed in order, in large type. This is absent from NetFirst’s website, NetFirstPlatinum.com. The terms and conditions page notes that the purchase APR is 0% — which, at first, sounds like a good deal. But the card’s high membership fees make the interest rate beside the point.

There’s a $19.95 monthly maintenance fee auto-debited “for ease and convenience.” That adds up to about $240 per year. The card also charges processing fees on the items sold on Horizon Outlet, which vary by item.

Is the card really worth those fees, even if you think of it solely as a credit-building product?

Probably not.

As of July 2015, the card reports to two credit bureaus, which NetFirst Platinum doesn’t disclose, according to Kane. In contrast, other less-expensive credit-building options report to all three.

Kane says the card provides “exceptional value.” It’s designed for people who can’t afford a full secured credit card deposit, but want to establish credit, he adds. “We believe whole-heartedly we’re giving people a way to establish credit in the most cost-effective way possible,” he says. If you call customer service, you can also get your benefits plan changed so your monthly payments are $6.95 per month, he says, though that option isn’t listed in the application process.

Compared to other methods of credit building, though, this card remains an expensive option.

Here are NerdWallet’s Best Secured Credit Cards.

I have bad credit. What’s the best way to rebuild?

If you have bad credit, and you’re not sure what’s bringing down your credit, start by checking your credit report. You’re entitled to one free credit report from each of the major credit bureaus once every 12 months, which you can get at AnnualCreditReport.com. Go through all the account information, check for errors that may be hurting your credit and, if necessary, dispute them.

After that, look for ways to get positive information on your credit report. NetFirst Platinum isn’t your only option if your credit is severely damaged. Here are some better, more affordable ways to build your credit:

Shared secured loans: At your bank or credit union, you can generally apply for what’s known as a shared secured loan or credit-builder loan. These generally are reported to the three major credit bureaus, offer low APRs and don’t require an upfront deposit. Call your local branch to ask about terms on the types of share secured loans they offer.

Rent: If you get your landlord to sign up for a program like RentTrack, you can get your rent payments reported to the three major credit bureaus. As a tenant, you won’t have to pay for the service.

Secured cards: A secured credit card, designed for people with no credit or bad credit, requires you to pay a security deposit upfront, usually equal to the credit limit (if you want a $200 credit limit, you’ll have to post $200 when you open the account). This money is collateral, which you’ll get back when you close the credit card account in good standing. Some cards let you pay the deposit in smaller installments. On many cards, monthly payments are reported to the three major credit bureaus. If you’re not sure whether that’s the case, call your issuer for clarification.

As with any financial product, make sure you understand the terms before applying for a credit-building product. When you have have poor credit, your options may be limited, but they’re not as limited as you may think.

Here are NerdWallet’s Best Credit Cards for People With Bad Credit.

  • Janicki Rose Tyacke

    I agree thanks for being smart

  • Sue Wilcox

    I fell for this! I even called to cancel it after I realized I could only use it on their online store! When I called they told me for $19.95 a month they’d up my credit limit to $1000…and wouldn’t that look great on my credit report for reestablishing credit? This was a few months ago and when I checked my credit report today, this card appeared no place on it! Run from these folks…as fast as you can!

  • Bruce

    I just fell for this too. I am on the phone with them now they offered me vouchers an extended credit line etc. I told them this is the complete opposite of what I want I wanted a card for consolidation of some other higher interest items, they then offered me all that. I told them at that point put a visa or mastercard logo on it and I will if not cancel this and refund my deposit they are no refunding a partial deposit of 26 dollars. I got the card in the mail yesterday and realized the was utter shit. DO NOT get this.

  • Bruce

    I just fell for this too. I am on the phone with them now they offered me vouchers an extended credit line etc. I told them this is the complete opposite of what I want I wanted a card for consolidation of some other higher interest items, they then offered me all that. I told them at that point put a visa or mastercard logo on it and I will if not cancel this and refund my deposit they are no refunding a partial deposit of 26 dollars. I got the card in the mail yesterday and realized the was utter shit. DO NOT get this.

  • Bruce

    I just fell for this too. I am on the phone with them now they offered me vouchers an extended credit line etc. I told them this is the complete opposite of what I want I wanted a card for consolidation of some other higher interest items, they then offered me all that. I told them at that point put a visa or mastercard logo on it and I will if not cancel this and refund my deposit they are no refunding a partial deposit of 26 dollars. I got the card in the mail yesterday and realized the was utter shit. DO NOT get this.

  • Arnetta

    Thank you for sharing this information. It just comfirmed my suspicision. I notice that something was wrong with the card.There is no exspiration date on the front of the card or 3#s on the back of the card. So, I cut my card up.

  • Arnetta

    Thank you for sharing this information. It just comfirmed my suspicision. I notice that something was wrong with the card.There is no exspiration date on the front of the card or 3#s on the back of the card. So, I cut my card up.

  • Candy Moreno

    so i just ordered one but now they thave my visa on file what do i do

  • Candy Moreno

    so i just ordered one but now they thave my visa on file what do i do

  • Crystal Rutherford

    I called them up after reading this and told them they scammed me and that I have never used it and to put my 29.95 back on my debit and they cancelled it and told me my refund would be back on debit card 3-5 business days. I told them that they were on a recorded line and I did record it.

  • Crystal Rutherford

    I called them up after reading this and told them they scammed me and that I have never used it and to put my 29.95 back on my debit and they cancelled it and told me my refund would be back on debit card 3-5 business days. I told them that they were on a recorded line and I did record it.

  • brandi

    Thank you all so much for pointing out the flaws! I was just about to join and had a funny feeling which you all confirmed, thank you again for saving me from a huge mistake.

  • brandi

    Thank you all so much for pointing out the flaws! I was just about to join and had a funny feeling which you all confirmed, thank you again for saving me from a huge mistake.

  • Jennifer Clemens Pangallo

    your 100 % right. family member of mine works for a place just like this. and shes told me when people call in to complain the first thing she does is transfer them to someone else by the 2nd transfer they drop monthly fee to 4.95 and up credit limit to $1000. It is only for their online shopping site but every time I see her shes wearing something new that I love and shes bought everything off the site! So its not a scam if you READ what your signing up for people!

  • William Adu Sarkodie

    Thank you very much for keeping awearness but l have paid $29.95 to them already so what should l do next .

  • William Adu Sarkodie

    Thank you very much for keeping awearness but l have paid $29.95 to them already so what should l do next .

  • Jeremy

    If you have bad credit or no credit history you can’t expect to be approved for a major credit card especially with how today’s economy is. You have to establish good credit first and take the necessary steps. I admire people who think they destroyed there credit and still think there going to just get a major credit card. Yes it does help you out it reports every 30 days back to the credit bureau as long as the account is open and active. Then if you make a purchase it reports those payments as well every 30 days. I’ve got feedback from many customers thanking them that there credit score did go up and they finally got approved for the major credit cards. Also consumers don’t usually see it on the credit reports right away doesn’t mean they didn’t report your positive entries. The credit bureau itself takes up to 90 days to put it on the consumers credit report.

  • Angela Martin Wright

    Thank you so much. I went out and got a prepaid card just in case it was a scam they couldn’t take the money in my account. I am so thankful I read this while waiting on the money to post to the card.

  • Angela Martin Wright

    Thank you so much. I went out and got a prepaid card just in case it was a scam they couldn’t take the money in my account. I am so thankful I read this while waiting on the money to post to the card.

  • Angela Martin Wright

    Thank you so much. I went out and got a prepaid card just in case it was a scam they couldn’t take the money in my account. I am so thankful I read this while waiting on the money to post to the card.

  • HB

    I hope by this time you’ve called to cancel; they charge monthly fees just for having the card.

  • Kenneth Rogers

    Do any of you have a Home depot card or maybe a Lowe’s card , OK no problem lets keep going, Macy’s or target? none of which these cards have a visa or MasterCard logo. and you can only use them in the perspective stores. Lets be honest most of you have bad credit. If someone is going to allow you to purchase from them with you having negative credit, it might be something for you to look into. The way they make money is through inflated pricing, but wait isn’t that the same thing as paying 21% interest on a sears card? ( in fact you pay more). lets be smart people everyone is not trying to rip you off . If you have bad credit there is going to be a price to pay . Try Finger huts fresh start program. There are a lot of options out there just dont knock what someone else business just because it doesnt fit your needs.

  • Kenneth Rogers

    it only means that this card is not for you . not that its a scam.

  • Audrey Hills

    I wondered the same thing, but if you’re like most of us on here, it’s not necessarily about “shopping til you drop” as much as it should be to show other lenders you can handle large amounts of credit RESPONSIBLY! Hope that helps. :-)

  • Audrey Hills

    I was offered the exact same deal but for $6.95. To me $5.00 a month is nothing to repair what I did in my youth. HOWEVER, what I did was I made sure to have tangible evidence of our new agreements! I told the rep I wanted the new terms emailed to me with his information included as my proof! He was very happy to oblige. One guy above stated that we wouldn’t bat an eye over having the same offers but from Macy’s, Wal-Mart, Home Depot, etc. Let’s call a spade-a-spade… he’s RIGHT! Most of us eat that amount in one trip to a fast food place! If I’m dissatisfied, I’m calling the Better Business Bureau! Best of luck to you all!

  • Phire

    This company ONLY reports to Transunion….which is the one bureau almost nobody checks when they run your credit.

  • Kristin Audra Cranstoun

    I have had this card for a few months and have never bought anything and I’ve checked my credit score several times and they are reporting a positive score just like they said they would. It’s what I need right now to rebuild my credit and I plan on using it short term to help me raise my score.

  • Kristin Audra Cranstoun

    I have had this card for a few months and have never bought anything and I’ve checked my credit score several times and they are reporting a positive score just like they said they would. It’s what I need right now to rebuild my credit and I plan on using it short term to help me raise my score.

  • Marcus Clayton

    I tried usin my card to make a purchase and they are asking for a credit card with a visa or MasterCard logo. What am I doing wrong

    • Nathen Markus

      HORIZON CARD SERVICES™ IS NOT A CREDIT SERVICES ORGANIZATION, BANKING INSTITUTION OR INSURANCE COMPANY, NOR IS IT AFFILIATED WITH ANY CREDIT SERVICES ORGANIZATION, BANKING OR INSURANCE INSTITUTION. THIS PRODUCT IS NOT A VISA, MASTERCARD, OR DEBIT CARD. HORIZON CARD SERVICES ACCOUNT IS A LINE OF CREDIT THAT CAN BE USED BY AN ACCOUNT HOLDER TO SHOP EXCLUSIVELY AT OUR ONLINE SHOPPING WEBSITE.

  • Marcus Clayton

    I tried usin my card to make a purchase and they are asking for a credit card with a visa or MasterCard logo. What am I doing wrong

    • Nathen Markus

      HORIZON CARD SERVICES™ IS NOT A CREDIT SERVICES ORGANIZATION, BANKING INSTITUTION OR INSURANCE COMPANY, NOR IS IT AFFILIATED WITH ANY CREDIT SERVICES ORGANIZATION, BANKING OR INSURANCE INSTITUTION. THIS PRODUCT IS NOT A VISA, MASTERCARD, OR DEBIT CARD. HORIZON CARD SERVICES ACCOUNT IS A LINE OF CREDIT THAT CAN BE USED BY AN ACCOUNT HOLDER TO SHOP EXCLUSIVELY AT OUR ONLINE SHOPPING WEBSITE.

  • Anison Roberts

    I did not get my card maryroberts355@yahoo.com

    • http://www.nerdwallet.com/ NerdWallet

      Hi Anison – Thanks for reaching out to us! Generally it can take about a week to receive your card once you’re approved. Unfortunately NerdWallet doesn’t have any info on the application/status of your card so we definitely recommend that you contact the card issuer’s customer service to follow up.

  • Anison Roberts

    I did not get my card

    • http://www.nerdwallet.com/ NerdWallet

      Hi Anison – Thanks for reaching out to us! Generally it can take about a week to receive your card once you’re approved. Unfortunately NerdWallet doesn’t have any info on the application/status of your card so we definitely recommend that you contact the card issuer’s customer service to follow up.

  • Magan Mays

    I want to cancel before they take money from me on the 5th I don’t want this card what do I do

    • http://www.nerdwallet.com/ NerdWallet

      Hi Megan – thanks for reaching out to NerdWallet! You should try contacting their customer service directly to see if they’ll honor your request. However, they’re not obligated to do so. Feel free to email us at support@nerdwallet.com if you have additional questions/concerns.