Reflex Mastercard Review: Its Fees Alone Should Make You Flinch

This is a costly credit card with flimsy benefits, even for those with bad credit. Plenty of better options exist.
Gregory Karp Author Avatar
May 9, 2023 1:57 p.m. PDT
Edited by
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This page includes information about the Petal® 2 "Cash Back, No Fees" Visa® Credit Card, currently unavailable on NerdWallet. The information about the Petal® 2 "Cash Back, No Fees" Visa® Credit Card has been collected by NerdWallet and has not been provided or reviewed by the card issuer.


NerdWallet rating
The bottom line:

This card caters to people with bad credit, but with its high fees and high interest, it's just not worth it.

  • Qualify with limited/bad credit
  • Reports to the three major credit bureaus
  • High annual fee
  • High APR
Reflex® Platinum Mastercard® Image
Reflex® Platinum Mastercard®
Annual Fee

$75 - $125 intro first year, then $99 - $125

Regular APR

29.99% Variable APR

Intro APR


Rec. credit score

Annual Fee

$75 - $125 intro first year, then $99 - $125

Regular APR

29.99% Variable APR

  • Annual fee

    $75 - $125 intro first year, then $99 - $125

  • Rewards rate


  • Bonus offer


  • Intro APR


  • Ongoing APR

    APR: 29.99% Variable APR

  • Foreign transaction fee

    3% of each transaction in U.S. dollars

More details from Continental Finance
View Rates and Fees
  • Up to $1,000 credit limit doubles up to $2,000! (Simply make your first 6 monthly minimum payments on time)
  • See if you’re Pre-Qualified with no impact to your credit score
  • All credit types welcome to apply
  • Access to your Vantage 3.0 score from Experian (When you sign up for e-statements)
  • Initial Credit Limit of $300 – $1,000 (subject to available credit)
  • Monthly reporting to the three major credit bureaus
  • Fast and easy application process; results in seconds
  • Use your card at locations everywhere Mastercard® is accepted
  • Checking Account Required

Compare to Other Cards

$75 - $125 intro first year, then $99 - $125
29.99% Variable APR
Rates & Fees
28.24% Variable APR
Rates & Fees
10.99% intro APR on Balance Transfers for 6 months
25.64% Variable APR
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Detailed review: Reflex® Platinum Mastercard®

With the Reflex® Platinum Mastercard®, your first reflex should be to avoid it. Issued by Celtic Bank and serviced by Continental Finance, it’s a fee-heavy card with high interest rates and low credit limits.

True, it can help you build or rebuild credit. And issuers that accept applicants with bad credit (those with FICO scores of 629 or below) need to be compensated for all the customers who will fail to pay their credit card bills. That compensation comes in the form of high fees and rates.

But even the credit-desperate have better choices.

Reflex® Platinum Mastercard®: Basics

Card type: Bad credit.

Annual fee: $75 - $125, after that $99 - $125 annually.

Maintenance fee: $0 - $120 annually (billed at $10 per month).

Fee for additional cards: $30.

Sign-up bonus: N/A.

Rewards: None.

APR: 29.99% (as of May 2023).

Foreign transaction fee: 3%.

Other benefits:

Drawbacks and considerations

Most people who are looking to build credit would be better off passing on the Reflex® Platinum Mastercard® and instead applying for a card with fewer pitfalls. If you're already carrying this card — or feel like it's your best option and plan to apply for it — be aware of these potential traps. Use the card responsibly to strengthen your credit profile, then move up to a better card and cancel this one.

What to watch out for:

Fees, Fees and MORE fees

Here are the fees the Reflex® Platinum Mastercard® charges:

  • Annual fee: $75 - $125, after that $99 - $125 annually.

  • Additional card fee: $30 for each authorized user you add to your account. On most cards, this is free.

  • Monthly maintenance fee: $0 - $120 (billed at $10 per month).

  • Foreign transaction fee: 3% of each transaction in U.S. dollars.

🤓Nerdy Tip

Monthly maintenance fees, like those charged on the Reflex® Platinum Mastercard®, can be a trap for cardholders. With most credit cards, if. you have a zero balance and don't make any purchases in a month, you have no payment due. But when the card has monthly fees, you always have a payment due, even when you don't use the card. This increases the risk of missed payments and late fees. If you carry this card, set calendar reminders for yourself to pay your bill.

In short, these fees are high.

You could instead rebuild your credit with a good secured credit card that doesn’t charge annual fees. With a secured credit card, the security deposit eventually comes back to you if you maintain a good payment history. Not so with an annual fee.

For example, the Capital One Platinum Secured Credit Card requires 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. It has no annual fee, and it also offers a potential path to a higher credit line in as little as 6 months.

If you have limited or no credit — as opposed to bad credit — you can find alternative cards 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 issued by WebBank and touts itself as a low-cost option for those looking to build a credit history. Petal’s issuer can also use its own underwriting model to evaluate creditworthiness, considering such things as income, spending and savings. The annual fee is $0. And the card earns rewards.

And if instead of bad credit what you really have is average credit (FICO scores of at least 630), then you have a slew of options better than the Reflex® Platinum Mastercard®.

Low initial credit limit

The initial credit limit with this card ranges up to $1,000 — but that's not the full story, thanks to those aforementioned fees.

Per the card's terms and conditions: "Some of these set-up and maintenance fees will be assessed before you begin using your card and will reduce the amount of credit you initially have available. For example, if you are assigned a credit limit of $300, your initial available credit will be $225 (or $195 if you choose to have an additional card)." That's assuming, of course, that you receive an annual fee of $75 in your first year and not something higher.

So out of the gate, your credit limit will be significantly reduced because the card has socked you with a fee before you even get it in the mail. For a credit limit of $300, that's at least 25% of your credit limit gone on day one, and now you're in debt.

However, if you pay diligently from the start, you can earn a higher limit. Specifically, you must make your first six monthly minimum payments on time. If you do, you can double your credit limit, up to $2,000.

As an alternative, the $0-annual-fee Discover it® Secured Credit Card requires a deposit that determines your credit limit, but it can range from $200 to $2,500, so you have flexibility. It also earns rewards and has a bonus offer, phrased this way: 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.

If you have at least fair credit, the Capital One QuicksilverOne Cash Rewards Credit Card may also offer you access to a higher credit line in as little as six months if you make your monthly payments on time. And it, too, earns rewards: 1.5% back on spending. There's an annual fee, but it's much more palatable. Plus, you won't have to pay a security deposit.

High interest rates

Not paying your balance in full every month — including that annual fee — will sting badly. The card has an APR of 29.99% (as of May 2023).

If you plan to carry a balance, you may be better off with the $0-annual-fee DCU Visa® Platinum Secured Credit Card, which has a much better APR — lower than the rates on many unsecured cards. You'll need to qualify for membership at that credit union to be eligible for the card.

Requires a checking account

Like some other cards for people with bad credit, the Reflex® Platinum Mastercard® requires you to have a checking account.

If that’s a problem, consider the OpenSky® Secured Visa® Credit Card. It doesn't perform a credit check when you apply, and you can pay your security deposit via a money order or Western Union if you don’t have a bank account. There is a $35 annual fee, however.

Alternate Pick: No annual fee, plus rewards
Higher possible credit line

This card has a $0 annual fee, not to mention ongoing rewards and a bonus phrased this way: "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." You'll need a minimum $200 security deposit, which will equal your credit line, but deposits can be as high as $2,500.

How to decide if it's right for you

There are much better options available, even for bad credit. See the NerdWallet best credit cards roundup to find out more about some of those other options. If you do ultimately apply for this card, or if you have it already, view it as a temporary solution. Your goal is to move up to a better card as quickly as possible.


NerdWallet reviews credit cards with an eye toward both the quantitative and qualitative features of a card. Quantitative features are those that boil down to dollars and cents, such as fees, interest rates, rewards (including earning rates and redemption values) and the cash value of benefits and perks. Qualitative factors are those that affect how easy or difficult it is for a typical cardholder to get good value from the card. They include such things as the ease of application, simplicity of the rewards structure, the likelihood of using certain features, and whether a card is well-suited to everyday use or is best reserved for specific purchases. Our star ratings serve as a general gauge of how each card compares with others in its class, but star ratings are intended to be just one consideration when a consumer is choosing a credit card. Learn how NerdWallet rates credit cards.

Frequently asked questions

It’s a real credit card, but it’s a costly one with limited benefits, even for those with bad credit. Better options exist.

The annual fee is $75 to $99. However, the card charges other fees, such as a monthly maintenance fee after the first year.

The issuer says all credit types are welcome to apply. A checking account is required.

It is a card aimed at people with bad credit.

The APR is 29.99% Variable APR.

No. Its biggest benefits are monthly reporting to the three major credit bureaus and free access to your Vantage 3.0 score from Experian when you sign up for e-statements.

It is a Mastercard.

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