For people with poor credit, paying higher rates and fees is par for the course compared to someone with excellent credit.
But this doesn't mean you have to be overcharged for everything as the First Premier Bank Mastercard does.
From the moment you submit your application, there are processing fees, monthly servicing fees, annual fees and a pitifully low credit limit.
Other cards, like the Digital Federal Credit Union Visa, will let you make meaningful progress toward repairing your credit, rather than potentially causing you to dig yourself further into debt.
Main Competition: Digital Federal Credit Union Visa Platinum Secured
The Digital Federal Credit Union Visa Platinum offers a significantly lower interest rate along with no annual fee and EMV chip protection for an extra layer of security when making transactions.
|First Premier Bank Mastercard||Digital Federal Credit Union Visa Platinum|
|How high of credit score do you need?||300 (Poor) or higher||300 (Poor) or higher|
|Average APR?||36% (yes, thirty-six percent)||12.50% on purchases and cash advances. Up to 18.00% penalty APR|
|Annual fee?||$75-125 the first year $45-49 thereafter||None|
|How big of sign-up bonus do you get?||None||None|
|How much do you need to spend to get the bonus?||N/A||N/A|
|How many points do you get for every dollar?||No points program available||No points program available|
|If you spent $100 on the card, then how much would the points be worth in dollars?||N/A||N/A|
|How much would you need to spend on the card to make up for the fees (excluding APR/rates?)||N/A||N/A|
Other cards to Consider
Capital One Secured Mastercard. No annual fee and a 24.99% variable APR. Make a security deposit as low as $49 and get an initial $200 credit line.
- Intro APRN/A
- Regular APRN/A
- Annual feeSee Terms
- Credit levelRebuilding
Discover it Secured card. No annual fee plus cashback on each purchase (2% on restaurants and gas and 1% on everything else, up to $1,000 per quarter).
You can also request that Discover evaluate your credit history to potentially upgrade you to an unsecured card.
OpenSky Secured Visa. No credit check necessary. OpenSky reports to all three credit bureaus to help you quickly rebuild your credit. There is an annual fee of $35.
Rates and Fees
"Is the First Premier Bank Mastercard a good credit card for people with bad credit?"
First Premier Bank offers many different types of secured credit cards but all of them have similar rates and fees.
That being said, there are much better alternatives available that don't charge you exorbitant fees on top of ridiculously high-interest charges.
If you're looking to rebuild or repair your credit, it's worth looking elsewhere for a card that won't gouge your bank account.
Having a credit line of nearly $1,000 can be a boon to people with poor credit who need the convenience of a credit card or have no other way of getting emergency cash at a "lower cost" somewhere else.
If you fit this particular profile and have anywhere from $25-95 in cash, you may be able to get as much as a $1,000 credit line from First Premier Bank.
The $896 is your actual spending amount when you consider the $95 sign-up fee and $79 first-year fee.
Don't forget that you also have a monthly fee on top of the other fees. For the first year, the fee is $8 per month but then rises to $10.40 per month for the second year.
It's important to keep in mind that the monthly fee changes depending on how much your credit limit is.
If your credit limit is $600, you'll have to pay a $5.85 monthly fee the first year and $8.25 per month every year thereafter.
This means that even if you fit the very narrow profile of someone who could get this much spending power on their card, the fees add up quickly and nibble away at that purchasing power, leaving you with very little in the way of a credit limit.
The First Premier card charges ridiculously high-interest rates and way too many expensive fees
Every way you look at this card, you'll find fees.
There's a fee to sign up for the card, a 36% APR, and a cash advance rate. You'll have to also pay an annual fee of $75 for the first year and $45 every year thereafter.
In addition to these fees, expect a monthly servicing fee that depends on your credit limit, a 3% foreign transaction fee, and much more.
There are just too many fees to make this card a worthwhile contender worth your consideration no matter how dire your credit situation is.
You should get the First Premier Mastercard only if you've exhausted all other options for secured credit cards
Even if your credit is so severely damaged that you're struggling to get a credit card, there are many more secured credit cards out there that are better.
Many, not this one, will probably help transition you to a normal credit card, where the company extends a credit limit to you rather than you having to set your own credit limit.
Even if you need emergency cash with poor credit, it may be possible and advisable to get a personal loan in place of a card like this that charges fees on top of fees. In short — look elsewhere.
Beware of First Premier Bank
First Premier Bank was forced to change its business model after the CARD Act was passed
First Premier Bank is no stranger to predatory lending or the lawsuits that come with it. The passage of the CARD Act finally reeled in the rampant questionable practices of subprime credit cards like the First Premier Bank Mastercard.
Many credit card issuers simply stopped issuing cards because they didn't want to comply with the requirement that upfront fees could not exceed 25% of the initial credit limit.
First Premier Bank complied with this requirement, but then, in order to offset the decrease in fees, raised their rates to 36%, or in some cases, as much as 79.9%.
So while the CARD Act did force changes, there's nothing in writing requiring subprime credit card issuers not to raise their fees to jaw-dropping levels, which is exactly what First Premier Bank has done.
Back in 2007, the New York Times reported on a judgment that ruled against First Premier Bank to the tune of $4.5 million dollars due to its deceptive marketing practices.
If these points alone haven't dissuaded you from trying to apply for the card then proceed at your own peril.
Nearly any other option out there for a secured credit card is more viable than this one.
Little Perks, Big Cost
Individuals with poor credit are often desperate for emergency cash or find themselves in circumstances beyond their control.
Under these conditions, they will hastily sign up without reading all of the terms. This is precisely the kind of behavior that First Premier Bank is "banking" on.
The only benefit is that you have an unhelpful secured credit card
This card is designed for people with poor or no credit – it is easy to get.
But even if you are in dire straits with your credit situation, you don't want to dig yourself deeper into debt, which is exactly what this card aims to do to you.
Instead, try and boost your credit score (take a peek at our comprehensive guide) and/or start using one of our recommended budgeting and credit score management apps to help you get in control of your finances.
There are no rewards associated with the card.
An APR that should make you afraid to touch. The APR on this card ranges from 36% to as high as 79.9% — a sky-high rate that tops (or bottoms) the competition by a wide margin.
Look at all these insanely expensive fees. The fees are where this card will eat your finances alive. Most notably, these fees include:
Account set-up charge. You'll pay a one-time $29 fee to have First Premier bank set up your account with them.
One-time program fee. This is a sign-up fee of $95
Annual fee. There is an annual fee of $75 for the first year and $45 every additional year.
Additional card request fee. Requesting an additional card will set you back $20
Cash advance fee. 3% of the amount or $5, whichever is greater
Foreign transaction fee. 3% of the amount to be converted into USD
Credit limit increase fee. Requesting a credit limit increase will cost you $25, which immediately decreases your actual credit limit.
Returned item charge. You'll pay $25 for returning an item bought with this card
Auto-draft fee. For the privilege of having your payment taken out of your bank account, you'll pay between $5-9 per draft
Express mail delivery fee. If you need your card sent to you by Express Mail, expect to pay $25 for the convenience.
Copying fee. $3 per item copied
Monthly maintenance fee. The amount you pay monthly to maintain your account will depend on your credit limit. It's generally $6.25 but can be as high as $8.50 or more.
The Only Positive: It's Easy to Get
The card is often promoted with terminology like "bad credit OK, "guaranteed acceptance," and so on.
Although it's easy to get, it comes as at a cost that is both extraordinarily burdensome and predatory.
Biggest Consumer Complaints
If the 36% interest rate wasn't enough to dissuade you from applying for this card, the fees themselves will eat up whatever meager credit limit is assigned to you.
And when you're working hard to repair your credit, the last thing you want is to dig yourself deeper into debt.
Watch out for First Premier Bank's predatory direct mail practices. The company specifically targets people with poor credit through its direct mail campaigns.
This means that they push the envelope on what is acceptable to send through the mail — and it borders on deceptive.
Questionable return address. The return address is shown as coming from the "Office of the Chief Bank Officer" which makes it sound as if it comes from a high-ranking official.
Deceptive "Reply Required" note. The actual text on the envelope reads "Reply Required: Mastercard Issuance Pending". This leads consumers to believe that they must reply in order to complete the process.
Misleading "Documents registered" note. The full note reads "The person identified in window has been assigned the enclosed Bank Documents." This makes it sound as if the customer has a legal obligation to review the contents and reply. There is no such obligation.
No toll-free number. There is no toll-free number to call if you have questions. There is an "information line" but it only contains basic automated information. You cannot speak to a customer service representative, thus it discourages users from asking questions.
Their App Isn't Any Better
Ideally, you would be able to log-in and check your current card balance, your credit limit, the amount due or past due, and when your last payment amount is made.
Many users claim that even after going through the rigorous, fee-ridden sign-up process, they cannot get the app to open or load correctly.
Log-in issues were so bad, that First Premier Bank had to temporarily remove the fingerprint log-in that is often standard for online banking apps.
How to Sign Up
The online sign-up process comes with its own host of fees and charges to complete and submit your application.
You will need to provide some basic information in order to apply for the card, including your name, Social Security number, address, and phone number.
How to Cancel
To cancel your card, you'll need to contact First Premier Credit card services by calling toll-free 1-800-987-5521 or 1-605-357-3440.
Hours are Monday through Friday from 7 am – 9 pm central time and Saturday from 8 am-4:30 pm central time
Frequently Asked Questions
- Does this card offer any rewards?
The First Premier Bank Mastercard does not have a rewards program.
- How can I cancel my card?
To cancel your card, contact First Premier Bank's customer service at 1-800-987-5521.
Representatives are available from Monday through Friday from 7am-9pm central time, and Saturday from 8am-4:30pm central time.
- What can I use my First Premier credit card for?
You can use your First Premier Bank Mastercard for any type of purchase where Mastercard is accepted.
- Where and what stores can I use my First Premier credit card at?
You can use your First Premier Bank Mastercard at any store that accepts Mastercard credit cards.
- Can I get a refund on the credit card?
If you have requested a chargeback and it has been made in your favor, it may be possible to see the refunded amount in your balance.
This will take time, however, since First Premier Bank will need to research both the consumer and the merchant to determine if the chargeback is warranted.
- How can I check my First Premier credit card balance?
You can check your balance using the First Premier Bank credit card app or by logging into the First Premier Bank credit card member's area with the username and password that you created when you first set up your account.
- How do I withdraw money from my First Premier credit card?
You can withdraw money, provided you have not reached your credit limit, at any ATM that accepts Mastercard.
If you live in South Dakota, you may also visit a First Premier Bank branch near you to withdraw funds from your credit card.
- Can I get a cash advance and are there any related fees?
You can get a cash advance with the First Premier Bank Mastercard, however, you'll pay a cash advance fee of $5 or 3% of the amount, whichever is greater.
Also, keep in mind that interest begins to accumulate on your cash advance immediately — there is no grace period.
- Can I pay for my First Premier credit card with a gift, a different credit card, or PayPal?
You can only pay your First Premier credit card balance online using your checking or savings account.
- Can I use my First Premier credit card without the card?
The First Premier Bank Mastercard does not have mobile wallet functionality. Therefore, you will need to have your card with you in order to use it.
- Can I add an authorized user to my First Premier credit card?
You can add an additional user to your card, or request an additional card, however, there is an added fee of $20 to request an additional card.
- Are there any upgrades on First Premier credit card?
The First Premier Bank Mastercard has no upgrade program.
There are, however, alternative cards, such as the Discover card profiled here, that may transition you to a normal (unsecured) credit card with continued on-time payments and good credit habits.
- How soon can I use my First Premier credit card once I receive it?
Once you receive your First Premier Bank credit card, you can start using it right away.
- How do I contact First Premier credit card services?
You can contact First Premier Credit card services by calling toll-free 1-800-987-5521 or 1-605-357-3440. Hours are Monday through Friday from 7 am – 9 pm central time, and Saturday from 8 am – 4:30 pm central time
- How do I report stolen First Premier credit card?
If your First Premier Bank Mastercard is lost or stolen, you can use the company's automated system by calling toll-free 1-800-987-5521 and choosing option 6 to report a lost or stolen card.
- Can I use my card online? Will I be charged for shipping if I use my card online?
You can use your First Premier Bank Mastercard anywhere that accepts Mastercard, including at online stores. Shipping charges depend on the merchant you are purchasing from — the credit card you use makes no difference.
- What credit score do I need to get approval?
You can get approved for the First Premier Bank Mastercard with a poor credit score of 500 or less.
- What credit score do I have to maintain so my account is not closed?
There is no particular credit score you'll need to maintain, although your credit score should be above 500 in order to start working your way toward a good credit score.
- Will my credit score drop when my account gets closed?
If your account is closed due to non-payment, it may cause your credit score to drop considerably.
If you have simply paid off your balance and closed your account, it is unlikely that your credit score will be affected that much.
- Does First Premier credit card report to credit bureaus?
First Premier Credit does report to the three major credit bureaus – a major condition in working to repair your credit.
The sooner you can start making headway with making regular payments (beyond the minimum) on time, consistently, the more your credit score will improve.
Nearly all credit card issuers report to the credit bureaus, so it may be worth finding a different card with fewer fees and a higher credit limit.
- Can I build my credit with the First Premier credit card?
Use of any credit card, including the First Premier Credit card, can help you rebuild your credit if used responsibly.
Considering the high APR and fees, the First Premier Bank Mastercard is not recommended if you are looking to build or repair your credit.
- Is there an expiry date on the card?
The card does have an expiration date, but First Premier Bank will mail you a new card before your old one expires.
- Is there a credit insurance program and how will it cover me if I lose my job?
First Premier Bank does not have a credit insurance program.
- Can I have two credit cards from First Premier at the same time?
You may be able to have two First Premier credit cards at the same time, but the rates and fees for these cards are generally the same across the board. It is worth looking beyond First Premier to get a card that will transition you toward a normal (unsecured) credit card, as you continue to build a solid and reliable credit history.
- Is it hard to get a First Premier credit card?
It is easy — almost deceptively so.
First Premier specifically markets to users with poor credit, so nearly everyone is approved, but the application process comes with its own sign-up fee in addition to the other fees outlined here.
- How long does it take to receive the card once I have been approved for it? Is it worth it?
You should receive your First Premier Bank Mastercard within a week after applying. Depending on whether or not there are any other flags on your application, the process may be delayed.
You can log-in to your First Premier member's account at any time to determine the status of your application.
Is it worth it? Absolutely not. There are no redeeming qualities about this card save for how easy it is to get.
You're highly encouraged to seek out cards with far fewer fees and a much more reasonable APR such as the competing cards we've profiled in this article.
Conclusion: Stay Away
If it were possible to rate a credit card and a company below one star, First Premier Bank Mastercard would be it.
The pitifully low credit limit that's nearly eaten up by fees and charges is not worth the privilege of having the credit card.
There are better alternatives out there that can make your goal of repairing your bad credit much more attainable.
Do you use the First Premier Bank Mastercard?
Is it as awful as consumers report?
Any nightmares to share with the rest of us?
Let us know in the comments below.