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

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

Melissa LambarenaSeptember 4, 2020

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Our Take

3.6

NerdWallet rating 

The bottom line: This card may be an option for those with limited credit, but it's not necessarily the best one. Similar cards allow you to avoid an annual fee and potentially earn rewards.

AvantCard Credit Card

on Avant's website

Annual Fee

$39

Regular APR

25.99% Variable

Intro APR

N/A

Recommended Credit Score

Quick Facts

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Qualify with average credit

  • No foreign transaction fee

Cons

  • Has annual fee

  • No rewards

  • High APR

Compare to Other Cards

Annual Fee

$39

Annual Fee

$35

Annual Fee

$0

Regular APR

25.99% Variable

Regular APR

17.39% Variable APR

Regular APR

22.99% Variable APR

Rates & Fees

Intro APR

N/A

Intro APR

N/A

Intro APR

10.99% intro APR on Balance Transfers for 6 months

Recommended Credit Score
Recommended Credit Score
Recommended Credit Score

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Full Review

If your credit card options are slim because you have limited credit, 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. The product isn’t available in those 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 $39.

That's on the affordable end, but you can still find some no-annual-fee cards for limited credit that offer more. For instance, if you can afford a security deposit upfront, 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 that offer rewards and other perks.

And if what you actually have is fair credit (typically a FICO score of at least 630) rather than limited or no credit, you may have access to even better options.

AvantCard Credit Card: Basics

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's issuing bank has an underwriting model that weighs nontraditional factors — such as your bank account balance — 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: $39.

  • 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: From $300 to $1,000, depending on creditworthiness.

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

Why you might want 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 doesn't require a security deposit as collateral. However, there is an annual fee of $39.

A pre-qualification process

Before applying for 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 fair or 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.

Why you might want a different credit card

It has an annual Annual fee

Many of the top secured credit cards don't charge annual fees. You can even find alternative cards for those with limited or no credit that have no annual fee and no security deposit requirement. Consider the Petal 2 "Cash Back, No Fees" Visa® Credit Card, for example, which is also issued by WebBank and touts itself as a low-cost option for those looking to build a credit history. Petal's issuer also uses its own underwriting model to evaluate creditworthiness, considering such things as income, spending and savings. The annual fee is $0.

It doesn't earn 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 aforementioned Petal 2 "Cash Back, No Fees" Visa® Credit Card, for example, has a rewards program. So does the Deserve® Pro Mastercard. It 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.

If you have at least fair credit, you can even find rewards-earning options among major lenders. The Capital One® QuicksilverOne® Cash Rewards Credit Card offers 1.5% on all spending. It has an annual fee. But it may also offer you access to a higher credit line after you make your first five monthly payments on time.

It has A permanent 'payment due' date

Unlike some other cards, the AvantCard Credit Card doesn't let you switch your "payment due" date to a more convenient time. The Capital One® Secured Mastercard®, on the other hand, lets you choose a date that works for you. It requires a security deposit that you can eventually get back with a good payment history. But 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 also offers a potential path to a higher credit line once you've made your first five monthly payments on time.

If you have at least fair credit, the Capital One® Platinum Credit Card doesn't require a security deposit.

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 the Petal 2 "Cash Back, No Fees" Visa® Credit Card up the ante with credit limits that go as high as $10,000. If you want more flexibility for spending, consider these options.

Is the AvantCard Credit Card right for you?

The AvantCard Credit Card doesn’t have a security deposit as a roadblock, but you may be better off paying one. With a secured credit card, the security deposit eventually comes back to you if you maintain a good payment history. That’s not the case with an annual fee.

If you prefer to avoid a security deposit and an annual fee, some alternative credit cards for limited credit and credit cards for fair credit can offer better features and benefits.

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