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The NetFirst Platinum card makes a lot of promises to consumers: an unsecured $750 credit limit, no employment or credit check, and approval for those with bad or no credit. It sounds like a great option for those who want to shore up their credit scores, but it’s not.
Your account activity isn’t reported to any credit bureau, a fact that’s mentioned in a small font on the card’s website, along with a mention in the terms and conditions. But the site also touts credit monitoring as a benefit and includes educational content on how to establish credit — which the NetFirst Platinum card won’t help you do.
The NetFirst Platinum card is actually a line of credit you can only use for purchases at a single online retailer, the Horizon Outlet. (This is also true of the Horizon Gold card, another card marketed by Horizon Card Services.) Overall, this card isn't a good choice for those who want to build their credit. It’s expensive and inflexible, and there are far better options even for limited or bad credit.
The NetFirst Platinum card's terms and conditions spell out the limitations quite clearly: “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. Horizon Card Services does not facilitate or provide assistance in obtaining credit from any other credit-issuing entities. Horizon Card Services does not charge an advanced fee to establish credit and does not attempt or claim to attempt to repair a customer's credit history.”
Monthly fee, lackluster benefits
The NetFirst Platinum card doesn’t accrue interest, but it charges a $14.77 monthly membership fee, for a total of $177.24 a year. This is far more than you’d pay for a decent secured credit card, especially if you’re paying off your balance in full each month. The annual cost is even more than what you’d pay for many perks-laden travel and cash-back rewards credit cards.
For the money, the card’s perks are mediocre at best:
Credit monitoring through Credit Hawk, which provides 24/7 monitoring, up to $1 million in identity theft insurance and annual credit report updates. But there’s a lot you can do to protect yourself for free. For one thing, you’re already entitled to a free credit report once a year from each of the three major credit bureaus at AnnualCreditReport.com, the federally authorized site. (And because of the COVID-19 pandemic, you can get a free credit report weekly from each of the three bureaus through December 2022.) You can also freeze your credit for free as a precaution.
A prescription benefit, known as My Universal RX, claims to save you up to 50% of the cost of “covered prescription medications,” but you can’t access the list of qualified medications until you sign up for the card.
Roadside protection grants you "up to 1 service call or towing request every 30 days and no more than 3 within a twelve-month period," per the terms and conditions. But your coverage is capped at 15 miles per tow, and you'll be responsible for any charges from the provider beyond $50.
The legal assistance plan gives you "one free 30-minute consultation with a legal professional in your area specializing in your area of law interest.”
These benefits are available only to the person whose name is on the account. (You may add family members, but you have to call customer service to get pricing.)
Shipping is costly — and you can’t use your card to pay for it
The Horizon Outlet — the sole retailer you can shop with using your NetFirst Platinum — has a variety of products, like clothing, home goods, electronics and toys. Prices seem comparable to what you’d expect to pay at any other discount store, but there’s a catch: shipping fees that can’t be paid for with your NetFirst Platinum card.
Per the Horizon Outlet’s FAQ page: “We ask that you pay a small shipping and processing fee at the time of placing an order. This allows us to finance you at a 0% interest rate. You do need to use a Visa or MasterCard and provide a valid CVV #. The amount you will be charged will be available at checkout before you submit your order." Since the NetFirst Platinum isn’t a Visa or Mastercard, you’ll need a traditional debit or credit card to pay this expense.
Bad or no credit, you have other options
If you’re interested in getting the NetFirst Platinum card because you want to build your credit, it won’t. Consider other more affordable options that allow you to use your card at any retailer and report your account activity to credit bureaus (see our list of best credit card offers).
One of the best options is a secured credit card. Designed for people with no credit or bad credit, a secured card requires you to pay a security deposit upfront, usually equal to the credit limit. This money is collateral, which you’ll get back when you close the credit card account in good standing and move on to a traditional unsecured credit card. In some cases, an issuer might even offer a way for you to “graduate” to an unsecured card without having to close the account; this won't be an option with the NetFirst Platinum card.
Of course, if you carry a balance on a secured credit card, you can expect to pay interest costs on your average daily balance. And it may be daunting to save up the required deposit. But over time, it can be much less costly than getting a card like the NetFirst Platinum, which charges nonrefundable fees every year, not just once upfront.
And if you're just not able to come up with that one-time security deposit, you can consider “alternative” credit cards. These cards typically don't require security deposits and instead rely on proprietary underwriting methods to evaluate your creditworthiness, including things like your income and your employment status.