5 Things to Know About First Progress Credit Cards
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First Progress offers three different secured credit cards that could be decent, if expensive, options for consumers looking to build their credit:
Each requires an initial deposit of $200 to $2,000, which becomes your credit limit. But unlike some other secured cards, you'll also owe an annual fee.
Still, you can apply for these cards without dinging your credit scores, and all of them report your activity to the three major credit bureaus. Plus, they come with comparatively low interest rates for cards in their class, ideal if you carry a balance.
Here are five things to know about First Progress secured credit cards.
First Progress provides limited ways to contact customer support and pay your credit card bill, with a heavy reliance on snail mail. If you'd prefer a secured card you can manage online or through an app, consider other options like the Discover it® Secured Credit Card or Capital One Platinum Secured Credit Card.
1. The annual fees and interest rates are inversely related
All three First Progress credit cards charge an annual fee. The higher the card’s fee, the lower the interest rate it charges. Here’s how the cards compare:
Annual fee: $29
APR: The ongoing APR is 24.74% Variable
Annual fee: $39
APR: The ongoing APR is 18.74% Variable
Annual fee: $49
APR: The ongoing APR is 14.74% Variable
2. The annual fee will eat into your credit limit for the first month
The annual fee is due upon account opening, which means you’ll automatically have a balance of $29, $39 or $49 on your first statement (and any statement in the future when the annual fee comes due). That’s important to note, especially if you provided the lowest allowable deposit of $200, which would reduce your credit limit to $171, $161 or $151 in the first month.
No-annual-fee secured credit cards are available, though they typically charge higher interest rates.
For instance, the Discover it® Secured Credit Card has a $0 annual fee and it charges a 10.99% intro APR on Balance Transfers for 6 months, and then the ongoing APR of 27.74% Variable APR. The minimum security deposit is $200.
With the Capital One Platinum Secured Credit Card, it’s possible to get a $200 credit limit with a lower initial deposit if you're eligible. Depending on your financial situation, you may qualify for a minimum security deposit of $49, $99 or $200.
3. They're not great cards if you travel internationally
First Progress cards all charge a 3% foreign transaction fee on purchases made in foreign currencies. This is pretty standard, but you can find cards that waive this fee. If you're hoping to take your credit card on an international trip, Capital One doesn't charge foreign transaction fees on any credit cards.
4. You won't be able to upgrade to an unsecured card
Once your credit is strong enough for you to qualify for an unsecured card, you don't necessarily need to keep a secured card in your wallet, but closing any credit card can harm your scores. Unfortunately, you usually have to close your secured card to get your deposit back.
Some issuers who offer both secured and unsecured cards will give you the chance to upgrade to a secured card after several months of on-time payments. But since First Progress only offers secured cards, this isn't an option. The website does note that you can apply for a second card after six months of on-time payments, but this isn't a product change. You'd be applying for a second secured credit card — and a second annual fee.
If you're looking for a card with a potential upgrade path, consider the Discover it® Secured Credit Card. After seven months, Discover will automatically review your account each month to see if you qualify to upgrade to an unsecured credit card.
5. You have the opportunity to earn rewards
The First Progress Platinum Select Mastercard® Secured Credit Card and First Progress Platinum Prestige Mastercard® Secured Credit Card earn 1% back on every purchase. (Note: the First Progress Platinum Elite Mastercard® Secured Credit Card doesn't earn rewards.) Even though earning rewards is probably not your main goal with a credit-building credit card, it is a nice perk.
Still though, other credit-building cards have more earning potential. For example, the Capital One Quicksilver Secured Cash Rewards Credit Card earns 1.5% back on every purchase. What's more, it has a $0 annual fee.
The Discover it® Secured Credit Card also offers higher rewards: 2% cash back on up to $1,000 in gas station and restaurant purchases each quarter, and 1% back everywhere else. Plus, there's a bonus for new cardholders: 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.
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