If you're trying to rebuild your credit after a bankruptcy or a series of setbacks, the best way is usually a secured card that reports to all major credit bureaus. Not all secured cards are created equal, however. If you've stumbled across the First Progress Secured cards, you may be wondering if they're a good option for restoring your credit and getting back on your feet.
Important Note:If you are building or rebuilding your credit, check out our full list of the best credit cards and other resources for building your credit.
Here's what you need to understand about the secured cards from First Progress and a little trick you should watch out for.
The Good Features
Reports to all 3 bureaus. Want to rebuild your credit or establish credit for the first time? All three First Progress secured cards report your payment history and balance to the credit bureaus each month. If used responsibly, you'll see your credit score rise over time.
Relatively low fees and rates. There are three versions of this card and the only difference between them is the annual fee and APR. The Platinum Elite card has a 19.99% variable APR with a $29 annual fee, the Platinum Select card has a 14.99% variable APR with a $39 annual fee and the Platinum Prestige card has a 11.99% variable APR with a $44 annual fee. If you pay your balance in full each month, you might as well stick with the Platinum Elite card with the lowest annual fee that compares to other popular secured cards like the Capital One Secured card.
Available regardless of credit history. Like most secured cards, you can get approved for a First Progress card regardless of your credit problems. You must be a US citizen, meet income requirements, fund your security deposit and, if you have declared bankruptcy, it must be discharged.
Watch Out! Here's a Couple of Tricks to Watch Out For
The biggest problem with this card is the very long delay between First Progress receiving your payment and the restoration of your credit availability.
You'll see the fine print reveals that payments will be held for 10 days after they're received, unless they are guaranteed funds like money order. This means you need to wait around 2 weeks after you pay them to see your credit availability restored! Be careful, as this can get you into trouble if you assume you have credit on your card that isn't there.
The other problem comes when you try to get your security deposit refunded. According to the fine print, you will only get the security deposit back once your account is closed, your account is paid in full and you return all of the expired cards, cut in half. You'll then need to wait up to 10 weeks after the account is closed to get any remaining security deposit left after some or all of it is applied to the balance, outstanding transactions and fees.
The Bottom Line
The First Progress secured card is far from the worst secured card on the market. There aren't any hidden costs and the annual fee is on the low end, too. Still, the hold on your payments is unnecessary and may only get you in trouble if you assume you have credit on your card or you're in an emergency. To avoid problems like this, go with a secured card from Capital One or Wells Fargo.