The Fortiva credit card will help you rebuild your credit—at a cost
Do you have less-than-stellar credit and continue to get rejected when you apply for traditional credit cards?
Then Fortiva may be a decent option for you.
This unsecured Mastercard is marketed to those have had challenges with their credit score.
Interestingly enough, although the company advertises itself as an option for those with "less-than-perfect credit," it does not publicly state a minimum credit score needed to apply for the card.
Despite its lack of transparency on its exact credit score requirements, what it does promote is its offering of free credit scores, which can help cardholders monitor and improve their credit at no additional charge.
Fortiva also reports payment history to all three credit bureaus, which is helpful if you're looking to boost your credit score by making on-time payments.
So, what's the catch?
Fees, fees, and more fees.
In addition to an annual fee based on your account limit, the Fortiva credit card requires a monthly service fee of $12.50 and a one-time program fee when opening the card.
And interest rates are high—close to 36% a year.
It also seems like you need to be invited to apply.
Bottom line: If you're offered an access code to submit an application for a Fortiva credit card, sign up only if you have a very low credit score and can't qualify for a better, no-fee credit card.
Why You Should Consider It
Those who were rejected but ready to rebuild will find credit options
Is Fortiva the right credit card for you? Answer the following questions to find out:
- Do you have poor credit, and have you been turned down when applying for other unsecured credit cards?
- Are you looking to improve your credit score?
- Do you anticipate not needing to call customer service?
If you answered yes, then Fortiva may be a short-term solution for you as you work to rebuild your credit so that you can then qualify for a no-annual-fee credit card with fewer fees.
Why People Love It
Fortiva provides credit to those who otherwise can't access it
Despite its fees, Fortiva fulfills a real need for those within its target demographic.
Access to credit. For people who are struggling with the downturn of a business, or a nasty divorce that ruined their credit, the Fortiva credit card gives them access to credit when they need it most and are least likely to get it elsewhere.
For that, it serves a real need.
Customers said they received pre-approval for credit limits of up to $2,000, significantly higher than the $400 or $500 credit limits offered by competitor credit cards geared toward those with poor credit scores.
The Fortiva Finance company also provides loans for those with poor credit.
A credit score dashboard. Another bonus Fortiva customers rely on is the ability to access their credit score in the Fortiva online dashboard, free of charge.
Similar services that help you monitor your credit score cost as much as $30 a month.
What Are the Problems?
Customers complain about Fortiva's high fees and APR
Fortiva attracts new customers by mailing offers to those the company determines may have a "Fair" or "Poor" credit score.
As a quick refresher on the topic of credit scores, a "Fair" credit score ranges from 650–699; a "Poor" credit score ranges from 600–649.
Before signing up for a Fortiva credit card, however, you would do well to carefully read the fine print.
Or, as one less-than-impressed reviewer wrote, "your best bet is to cut it up and search for a better company."
Lots of unexpected fees. In addition to a program fee for opening the Fortiva credit card, you'll also pay a monthly account maintenance fee of $12.50.
That adds up to $150 a year!
Plus, there's an actual annual fee on top of this monthly account maintenance fee!
These range from $175 for the first year to $49 every year thereafter.
And, like many other credit cards, there are also fees for foreign transactions, cash advances, balance transfers, and late payments.
Sky-high APR. Fortiva promises not to charge in excess of 36% APR, however, customers say that the company gets very close to that maximum, with interest rates starting at 29.99%.
Outsourced customer service. Customers complained of long wait times, poor service, and being disconnected multiple times when attempting to contact Fortiva customer service.
What Does It Compete With?
It competes with the Milestone Mastercard
Fortiva Finance credit card is issued by The Bank of Missouri in St. Robert, MO.
The parent company is Atlanticus Services Corporation.
Fortiva's credit card competes with other unsecured credit cards aimed at people with bad credit, chief among them the Milestone Mastercard.
Looking for a lower APR? The Milestone Mastercard has an annual fee ranging from $35–$99 and is open to those with poor or bad credit.
At 23.9%, its APR is lower than the Fortiva credit card's 36%.
The card also comes with Mastercard Gold Benefits, including fraud protection.
However, the Milestone card only has a $300 credit limit, while Fortiva initially provides a higher $500 credit limit.
If you sign up for Fortiva, you'll pay at least $51 more in annual fees, plus higher-interest costs than with the Milestone card.
If you like Fortiva, then here are two other competitive cards to consider
Higher credit line without an annual fee. After making five on-time payments to the Capital One Platinum credit card, you'll gain access to a higher credit line with this credit card geared toward those with weaker credit.
Plus, it has no annual fee.
No credit check + sign-up bonus. When you are approved for a Horizon Gold card, you'll gain an instant $500 credit limit with no credit check.
You may have to use a portion of the sign-up bonus to cover the card's whopping $24.95 monthly membership fee, however, which adds up to almost $300 a year.
Another alternative. And while we're talking of alternatives, if you're not picky about security deposits, a secured credit card is another good way to steadily build up credit if you virtually have none.
To quickly improve that credit score of yours to qualify to get your security deposit back, a small personal loan just might help.
The Question Everyone's Asking
Is the Fortiva credit card worth it?
If you can qualify for a no-annual-fee credit card that offers rewards—such as the Chase Freedom Unlimited or Discover it card—then, no.
However, if you can't get approved for those kind of credit cards, then the Fortiva card can help you rebuild your credit while also helping you smooth out your cash flow when you need it most.
How It All Works
How to apply for a Fortiva Finance credit card
To apply for a Fortiva credit card, you'll need to have received an offer in the mail.
If you received one, you can log onto the Fortiva website and enter your mailer code.
You can find this hyphenated 14-digit code at the bottom of your postcard or letter.
To qualify for the Fortiva card, in addition to having a mailer code, you'll also need to be a United States resident who is 18 years old or older.
Although the company does not disclose specific credit requirements, it does promote itself as an ideal card for those whose credit needs improvement.
Indeed, Fortiva Credit is geared to those who are looking to rebuild their credit scores.
Gain access to added perks with your card
Though rewards are slim with the Fortiva credit card, there are a few added benefits to be aware of that you can maximize.
Free alerts help keep you financially focused. You'll get alerts when you use your Fortiva credit card and when payments are posted.
These can help you spend less and avoid late fees.
Free access to your (hopefully improving) credit score. Sixty days after you open your account, you'll be able to log into your account online and view your free credit score.
The free VantageScore the Fortiva credit card dashboard shares is provided by Equifax.
Fight off fraud liability. In addition to an EMV chip to reduce counterfeit risk, the Fortiva card also comes with 0% fraud liability.
Just be sure to report the card lost or stolen as soon as possible.
Key digital services
When it comes to technology, Fortiva offers a decent mobile app and online account access from your desktop or tablet.
Check your credit score and more. You can view your updated credit score right in the app, while also viewing transactions and payment history.
You can also view and edit your account profile, view and export statements, check your rewards balance, and see your monthly spending trends using the app.
Prevent late fees by setting up alerts. Plus, set up purchase and payment alerts and even report fraud straight from the app.
A handful of customers complain online that the app is slow to load, and that they often have to re-sign up in order to log in.
Those who manage to successfully log in report that they often cannot make credit card payments using the app, rendering it practically useless.
- What can I use my credit card for?
The Fortiva credit card is a Mastercard and is accepted worldwide, wherever Mastercard is accepted.
- Can the card be used to make purchases online on websites?
- Is the credit card good for building credit?
Yes. You'll get a free credit score and the card reports your payment history to the three credit bureaus.
- How can I check my credit card balance?
You simply have to log in to your account online to view your balance.
- How do I withdraw money from my credit card? Can cash be withdrawn from the card using an ATM?
Yes, you can withdraw money from any ATM where Mastercard is accepted. However, you will pay a fee.
- Can I pay for my credit card with a debit card?
No, you will need to mail a check to pay your credit card bill or authorize a direct debit from your checking account.
- Can I upgrade my credit limit?
- How soon can I use my credit card once I receive it?
There is no cash back on this credit card.
- How do I contact Fortiva credit card services?
Call Fortiva customer service at 800-245-7741, or mail a letter to Fortiva, P.O. Box 105555, Atlanta, GA 30348-5555.
- How often can I get cash back for my credit card?
There is no cash back on this credit card.
- How do I report a stolen credit card?
Call customer service at 800-245-7741 as soon as you discover that your card has been stolen.
- How can I cancel my credit card?
Call customer service at 800-245-7741 to cancel your credit card.
You'll need to pay off the balance in full, including all fees incurred.
- Can I use my card overseas/abroad? If yes, what are the related fees?
Yes, but you'll pay a 3% foreign transaction fee.
- Which credit bureaus does the Fortiva credit card report to?
All three bureaus.
- What are the security features of the card?
The card has an EMV chip to reduce counterfeit risk.
- If the card is lost or stolen, will payments made using the card be refunded? If so, what is the procedure?
Yes as long as you report it to customer service right away.
It may take several weeks for Fortiva credit card customer service to resolve the situation, however.
A fee-filled credit card for those with not-so-great credit
The Fortiva card helps those with less-than-stellar credit gain access to much-needed funds while also providing them features that can help rebuild their credit scores.
Still, the $12.50 monthly fee really adds up—and to think that the card doesn't offer any rewards!
The Fortiva card can be a good card to use temporarily to rebuild your credit, so long as you upgrade to a no-annual-fee card as soon as you qualify.
Have you tried the Fortiva credit card? How has it worked out for you so far?
Any good tips you'd like to share with the rest of us?
Let us know in the comments below!