Editorial Review

AvantCard Review: You’ll Avoid a Deposit, but Not an Annual Fee

The card will consider other factors aside from credit scores to determine eligibility, but other alternative cards and even some secured cards could be a better fit.

Melissa LambarenaNovember 6, 2018

At NerdWallet, we strive to help you make financial decisions with confidence. To do this, many or all of the products featured here are from our partners. However, this doesn’t influence our evaluations. Our opinions are our own.

Our Take

3.9

NerdWallet rating 

The Bottom Line: If you have limited credit, this card merits consideration. But similar cards allow you to avoid an annual fee and potentially earn rewards, so evaluate your options.

AvantCard Credit Card

on Avant's website

Annual Fee

$29

Regular APR

25.99% Variable

Intro APR

N/A

Recommended Credit Score

Quick Facts

Annual Fee
$29
Annual Fee
$29
Intro APR
N/A

Pros & Cons

Pros
  • Qualify with average credit

  • No foreign transaction fee

Cons
  • Has annual fee

  • No rewards

  • High APR

Alternate Pick: No annual fee, plus rewards

Deserve® Pro Mastercard

Ideal for thin credit files

This card earns 3% cash back per dollar spent on travel and entertainment, 2% back at restaurants and 1% back elsewhere. Annual fee: $0

Read our review

Compare to Other Cards

Annual Fee

$29

Annual Fee

$0

Annual Fee

$35

Regular APR

25.99% Variable

Regular APR

26.99% Variable APR

Regular APR

19.64% Variable APR

Intro APR

N/A

Intro APR

N/A

Intro APR

N/A

Recommended Credit Score
Recommended Credit Score
Recommended Credit Score

Full Review

If you can’t qualify for a traditional credit card because you have a thin credit file, the AvantCard Credit Card may offer an alternative route to continue establishing your credit history — unless you live in Colorado, Iowa, Vermont, West Virginia or Wisconsin. AvantCard Credit Card isn’t available in these states.

The card is issued by WebBank, a state-chartered industrial bank based in Utah. It doesn’t require a security deposit, but it has an annual fee of $29.

If you can afford a security deposit, you could instead opt for a secured credit card that charges no annual fee at all. If you can't afford a deposit, you can consider other alternative credit cards.

AvantCard Credit Card: Basics and benefits

The credit card is provided by Avant, an online lending platform headquartered in Chicago. When the AvantCard Credit Card was launched in November 2017, it joined a small but growing group of alternative credit cards that don’t rely solely on credit scores to determine eligibility.

Like some of its competitors, Avant has an underwriting model that weighs other factors such as income and debt outside of your credit score. You'll still need a Social Security number, email, phone number and address to qualify.

Cardholders can expect the following features and benefits:

  • Annual fee: $29.

  • Sign-up bonus: None.

  • Rewards: None.

  • APR: The ongoing APR is 25.99% Variable.

  • Penalty APR: None, although you may incur a late fee of up to $35.

  • Foreign transaction fee: None.

  • Credit limit: Between $300 and $1,000, depending on creditworthiness.

  • Reporting to three major credit bureaus: TransUnion, Equifax and Experian.

Highlights of the AvantCard Credit Card

No security deposit: The AvantCard Credit Card is an unsecured credit card, meaning that unlike a lot of other cards for those with limited credit, it does not require a security deposit as collateral. However, there is an annual fee of $29.

A pre-qualification process: Before applying to this card, you’re required to go through a pre-qualification process, which won’t impact your credit score. It hints at your likelihood of approval, although it’s not a hard “yes.” It offers your specific terms. If you like them, you can formally submit an application that will result in a "hard pull" on your credit report.

A report to three credit bureaus: With limited credit, you need a card that reports to at least one of the three major credit bureaus, which gather the information used to calculate credit scores. The AvantCard Credit Card reports to all three — TransUnion, Equifax and Experian — which will record your payment history. As long as your payments are on time, it can help you build a good credit score.

A periodic review of your account: The issuer periodically reviews your account to potentially increase your credit limit. It can work in your favor as you’re establishing credit, assuming that you don’t use too much of your limit. Your credit utilization ratio — your total debt compared with your total credit limits — is a key factor in your credit score. It’s best to keep a low credit utilization ratio, generally by using no more than 30% of your available credit.

Travel-friendly features: The AvantCard Credit Card is a Mastercard, so acceptance will be broad worldwide. It also doesn’t charge foreign transaction fees, generally 1% to 3% of the amount charged. If you travel often, the card can be a money-saver.

A cash advance option, should you need it: Cash advances are short-term cash loans that you can get at a bank or ATM with your credit card. They can be convenient, but also very expensive thanks to high fees and interest rates. Still, it’s an option you might consider in a true emergency. Some alternative credit cards don’t offer this option.

AvantCard Credit Card: Pitfalls and other possibilities

Annual fee: Many of the top secured credit cards don't charge annual fees. The AvantCard Credit Card has an annual fee of $29. No-fee options exist, even among alternative cards. Consider the Petal Visa, for example, which also touts itself as a low-cost option for those looking to build a credit history. This card, too, uses its own underwriting model to evaluate creditworthiness, considering such things as income, debt, expenses and savings. There's no annual fee and no security deposit.

No rewards: With a starter card, the goal is to establish a credit history. Rewards aren’t as important — but some starter cards do offer them. The Deserve® Pro Mastercard, for example, earns 3% cash back on travel and entertainment and 2% cash back at restaurants for purchases up to $500 per billing cycle (combined). For all other purchases, it earns 1% back. It has a $0 annual fee.

A permanent "payment due" date: Unlike some other cards, you can't switch your "payment due" date to a more convenient payday. The Capital One® Secured Mastercard®, on the other hand, lets you choose a date that works for you. It does require a security deposit that you can eventually get back with a good payment history. For those who qualify, the card might accept a deposit as low as $49, $99 or $200. And you can pay the deposit in installments if needed. It has a $0 annual fee.

A lower credit limit: The credit limit range for the AvantCard Credit Card is decent for a starter card, but other alternative credit cards like the Deserve® Pro Mastercard and Petal Visa up the ante with credit limits that go as high as $10,000. If you want more flexibility for spending, consider these options.

No mobile app: If you don’t mind managing your account on your phone’s browser, this may not be a deal-breaker. The AvantCard Credit Card’s mobile-optimized website should work on most devices, according to the issuer. Still, it's a feature you might miss.

Is the AvantCard Credit Card right for you?

Not too many other credit cards will weigh other factors outside of credit scores to determine your eligibility, and the AvantCard Credit Card’s lack of a security deposit is a plus, along with its travel-friendly features.

But you won't know whether this card is a good fit unless you're willing to go through the pre-qualification process. If the annual fee is high, you might be better off with a different alternative credit card.

Even a secured credit card might work better, as the deposit can eventually come back to you. That's not the case with an annual fee.