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The Aspire Credit Card, issued by the Bank of Missouri, offers different terms depending on where it is advertised and your eligibility. You may have received targeted offers online or through the mail for different versions of the card.
The features can be eye-catching if you have less-than-perfect credit. The card doesn't require a security deposit and it can offer a decent credit limit of up to $1,000, depending on creditworthiness. But, upon closer inspection of its terms, you may find that the fees make the card more costly to hold over time than other options.
You’re better off paying a security deposit on a different card. That's because if you maintain a good payment history you'll likely get that deposit back in time. Saving up for one may be a challenge, but other credit-building options offer the flexibility to choose a security deposit amount that aligns with your budget.
As you’re making up your mind about the best option for your goals, here’s what you need to know about the Aspire Credit Card.
Depending on eligibility, you might qualify for the Aspire Credit Card or the Aspire Cash Back Reward Card. With the cash-back option, you can earn up to 3% cash back in qualifying categories and 1% on everything else. The Aspire Cash Back Card also has pricey fees and a high APR to consider, so it's important not to get drawn in by the incentives. These costs will easily cancel out any value provided by rewards.
1. There’s a prequalification process
When you receive a mail offer for the Aspire credit card and use the acceptance code to apply on the card's website, you're funneled through a prequalification process that allows you to see your odds of approval. There’s no impact on your credit scores to explore the offers.
Once you accept an offer, a hard inquiry will apply that can temporarily cause credit scores to drop. It’s not uncommon to see this action after submitting a credit card application with most issuers.
2. It’s heavy on the fees
The fees on this card make it expensive to hold for the long term. The pricing may vary depending on eligibility.
Here’s a look at the potential costs:
An annual fee: This fee ranges from $49 to $175 depending on your creditworthiness; after that, it’s $0 to $49 annually.
An account maintenance fee: This fee ranges from $60 to $159. You pay it in full the first year, then on a monthly cadence after that.
Late fees: As is the case with most credit cards, a late fee of $41 may apply for a missed payment.
Authorized user: You'll pay $19 to add another user to your account. Many cards don't charge a fee to add an authorized user.
Beyond the first year, the ongoing annual fee seems low compared with other credit cards. But don't forget to factor in the ongoing maintenance fee. If your offer is on the lower end, you might pay a total of $109 for both fees in the first year. At the higher end, you could pay up to $334 in the first year. That’s money you could potentially get back if you put it toward a security deposit on a credit card elsewhere.
For a lower security deposit and fewer fees, instead consider: The $0-annual-fee Capital One Platinum Secured Credit Card may allow $49, $99 or $200 as a security deposit, if you can qualify.
If you prefer even more flexibility, the $0-annual-fee Chime Credit Builder Visa® Credit Card allows you to choose the security deposit amount. The card does require a Chime checking account to do so, but it might be a helpful addition considering that it offers a program called SpotMe. The service allows you to overdraft up to $200 with no fee if you're ever strapped for cash. Terms apply. You can’t carry a balance on the Chime Credit Builder Visa® Credit Card, so you’ll avoid interest charges and fees. (Out-of-network ATM withdrawal fees apply except at MoneyPass ATMs in a 7-Eleven location or any Allpoint or Visa Plus Alliance ATM.)
3. Carrying a balance is expensive
It’s not uncommon for credit cards to have a high interest rate when you have less-than-perfect credit and this card is no exception. The interest rate is sky-high, ranging from 22.74% to 36% (as of March 2023), depending on your creditworthiness.
The card's annual fees and monthly maintenance fees, along with the potential interest rate charged for ongoing balances, can catapult you into debt if you’re not prepared to cover the costs.
For more value, instead consider: Other credit cards like the $0-annual-fee Discover it® Secured Credit Card can provide valuable perks, making it worth it even if it does require a minimum of $200 as a security deposit. The rewards can potentially defray the cost of the security deposit while it’s tied up. It offers 2% cash back at gas stations and restaurants on up to $1,000 in combined purchases each quarter. All other purchases earn 1%.
There’s also a sign-up bonus: INTRO OFFER: Unlimited Cashback Match – only from Discover. Discover will automatically match all the cash back you’ve earned at the end of your first year! There’s no minimum spending or maximum rewards. Just a dollar-for-dollar match. The APR on this card also runs high — 10.99% intro APR on Balance Transfers for 6 months, and then the ongoing APR of 28.24% Variable APR — so you'll get the most value if you avoid carrying a balance.
With a good payment history, you can eventually get that money back when you close the card or upgrade to an unsecured credit card with the issuer. Discover begins to review your account after seven months to determine if you are eligible for a standard unsecured Discover credit card.
4. Balance transfer and cash advance options are pricey, too
The Aspire Credit Card offers a balance transfer option, but it’s not worth pursuing to pay down debt. The steep interest rate (25.74% to 36%, depending on creditworthiness, as of this writing) and the 3% fee, aren't a debt-busting combination. An excellent balance transfer option provides a 0% introductory APR to pay down debt, but these offers are typically reserved for those with good credit scores of 690 or higher. Even with less-than-ideal credit, though, you still have potentially more affordable get-out-of-debt options.
Cash advances are notoriously expensive on credit cards, including this one. The APR for cash advances ranges from 25.74% to 36% depending on your creditworthiness (as of this writing), and there’s a 5% fee. Avoid these transactions to prevent debt if you’re planning to have this card.
5. Think twice about occasional deferred interest offers
Occasionally, the Aspire Credit Card might offer deferred interest promotions, but it’s important to understand the terms before accepting one. Generally, a deferred interest offer gives you the chance to finance a purchase and avoid interest charges for a certain amount of time if you can pay off the balance by the deadline. It can be helpful if you need some time to pay down a large purchase, but it can also put you at risk for debt if you can't pay it off by the promotion's expiration date. Failing to pay off the entire balance on time leaves you on the hook for all of the interest charges that have accrued throughout the duration of the promotional period.
With this card’s high interest rate, it’s critical to avoid this offer if there is any chance that you can’t pay it back on time. Paying only the minimum amount during a deferred interest promotion won't help you pay it off by the deadline.
Juggling an ongoing interest rate for purchases and a deferred interest offer could also get complicated. For instance, if you have accepted a deferred interest offer and you set up automatic payments, you have to make one or more additional payments by mail or phone to avoid interest, according to the card’s terms and conditions.
The Chime Credit Builder Visa® Card is issued by Stride Bank, N.A., Member FDIC, pursuant to a license from Visa U.S.A. Inc. and may be used everywhere Visa credit cards are accepted.