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.
May 17, 2022

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Our Take

1.8

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.

Jump to: Full Review
Reflex Mastercard® Credit Card
Annual fee
See Terms*
Regular APR
See Terms*
Intro APR
N/A
Rec. credit score
300-719 (Poor - Good)
Apply now

on Celtic Bank's website

Quick Facts

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Qualify with limited/bad credit

  • Reports to the three major credit bureaus

Cons

  • High annual fee

  • High APR

Alternate Pick: No annual fee, plus rewards
Discover it® Secured Credit Card
NerdWallet rating 
Discover it® Secured Credit Card
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.

Read our review

Compare to Other Cards

NerdWallet rating 
NerdWallet rating 
NerdWallet rating 
Annual fee

See Terms*

Annual fee

$0

Annual fee

$35

Regular APR

See Terms*

Regular APR

23.24% Variable APR

Regular APR

17.64% Variable APR

Intro APR

N/A

Intro APR

10.99% intro APR on Balance Transfers for 6 months

Intro APR

N/A

Recommended Credit Score
Recommended Credit Score
Recommended Credit Score
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Full Review

With the Reflex Mastercard® Credit Card, your first reflex should be to avoid it. 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 Mastercard® Credit Card: Basics and benefits

Card type: Bad credit.

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

Maintenance fee: None in the first year. After that, $120 annually, billed at $10 per month.

Fee for additional cards: $30.

Sign-up bonus: N/A.

Rewards: None.

APR: 24.99% - 29.99% variable.

Foreign transaction fee: 3% (waived for 12 months).

Other benefits:

Why you're better off passing on the Reflex Mastercard® Credit Card — and what you should consider instead

Fees, Fees and MORE fees

Here are the fees the Reflex Mastercard® Credit Card charges in the first 12 months:

  • Annual fee: $75 - $99.

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

And here are the fees after the first 12 months:

  • Annual fee: $99.

  • Monthly maintenance fee: $120, billed at $10 per month.

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

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 Mastercard® Credit Card.

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 $500 and your annual fee is $99, your initial available credit will be $401 (or $371 if you choose to have an additional card).

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 $500, that's nearly 20% 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.

Sky-high interest rates

Not paying your balance in full every month — including that annual fee — will sting badly. The card has an APR of up to 29.99%.

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 Mastercard® Credit Card 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.

Should you get the Reflex Mastercard® Credit Card?

No. There are much better options, even for bad credit. See the NerdWallet best credit cards roundup to find out more about those other options.

on Celtic Bank's website

Methodology

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
Is the Reflex Mastercard legit?

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

What is the annual fee for the Reflex Mastercard?

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

How do I qualify for the Reflex Mastercard?

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

Who is the Reflex Mastercard for?

It is a card aimed at people with bad credit.

What is the interest rate on the Reflex Mastercard?

The APR is 24.99% - 29.99% Variable APR.

Are there rewards on the Reflex Mastercard® Credit Card?

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.

Is the Reflex credit card a Visa or a Mastercard?

It is a Mastercard.