Review Of The Green Dot Platinum Visa Secured Credit Card
Having a bank account is usually one of the requirements for obtaining a credit card. But did you know there are millions of “unbanked” consumers here in America? Being unbanked makes it quite a challenge to build a credit profile. Fortunately, there are some secured cards that do not require a bank account and the Green Dot Visa® Secured Credit Card is one of them. This makes it a very strong option for any consumer looking to build or re-establish credit.
What Bank Issues The Green Dot Platinum Visa Secured Credit Card?
The Green Dot Visa® Secured Credit Card is issued by Green Dot Bank. Located in Pasadena, the bank was established in 1999. The Green Dot Corporation is one of the largest prepaid debit card companies in the world. They also provide a number of major corporations, such as Walmart and AT&T, with their cobranded card programs.
The Green Dot Platinum Visa Secured Credit CardGreen Dot Visa® Secured Credit Card is a secured card that may be a strong option for millions of consumers who may not have either a bank account or good credit. Neither is a requirement to be approved for this card. If you are in a difficult financial position, then obtaining this card and using it judiciously could help you build your credit profile over time since the card reports to the three major credit bureaus. Hence, your monthly activity will be reported to these agencies so be sure to pay your balance on time each and every month. The card is one of the most affordable secured cards: there are no application, monthly or one-time fees on the card. But there is a $39 annual fee. Applicants will receive notice in a very timely fashion whether they are approved for the card. Once approved, the security deposit will act as your credit line, and it is a minimum of $200. And with the card being backed by the Visa network, you should be able to use it just about anywhere in the U.S.
There are some drawbacks to the card that consumers should know before applying. There are a handful of secured cards that have no annual fee, but the Green Dot Visa® Secured Credit Card does have a $39 annual fee. It also has an APR of 19.99% (F) so it would be very prudent to pay the entire balance on time each month to avoid this interest penalty. The card also assesses up to a $4.95 fee for making a deposit or a same-day payment to a retail store. Some issuers of secured cards give consumers the ability to be upgraded to an unsecured card after properly using the secured card for a period of time. Since Green Dot Bank doesn’t offer an unsecured card, consumers will not have the ability to be upgraded by this issuer.
Is The Green Dot Platinum Visa Secured Credit Card Right For Me?
The Green Dot Visa® Secured Credit Card has a number of compelling factors for consumers who may be “unbanked.” Cardholders can build or establish credit with proper use since Green Dot Bank reports to the three major credit bureaus. It is fairly easy to be approved for the card since the applicant does not need a credit score or bank account. And the fees are quite reasonable: there are no processing or ongoing monthly fees, but there is a $39 annual fee and an interest rate of 19.99% (F).
Taking Steps To Improve Your Financial Situation & Credit Score
Anything you can do to increase your credit score will improve your chances of being approved for a credit card, including The Green Dot Visa® Secured Credit Card. Here are some steps you can take to enhancing your financial situation and credit score.
1. Make all your payments on time every month. The most important element of your credit score is your payment history. It is vitally important to make your payments on time each and every month. Don’t take a chance on any payment being late; pay the bill as soon as you receive it, well ahead of the due date. You should make the minimum payment at the very least, and much more if possible. Most every issuer offers tools to help you in this. You can sign up to receive email or text alerts, letting you know when your payment is due. An even better idea is to have the bill automatically paid from your checking account, which should guarantee that you will never be late on a payment.
2. Keep a low level of debt. Another significant element of your credit score is your debt level. This is sometimes known as your debt or credit utilization. Let’s say your credit card has a limit of $6,000 and you are carrying a balance of $4,000. That means you are utilizing 67% of your available credit. Experts say you should use no more than 30% of your available credit, so you should do everything possible to lower the amount of debt to that 30% mark. Maintaining this debt level will be a positive sign to other lenders of your financial responsibility.
3. Try to maintain a $0 balance on your credit card account. Significant interest penalties will be assessed on any part of your credit card balance that is carried from one month to the next. These interest penalties will be very harmful to your financial health. Do everything you can to pay 100% of the balance on time each month to avoid having to pay any interest charges. This should not just be on your credit cards. Make this a habit on every bill you receive.
4. Monitor your credit score. Your credit score is the most important financial indicator about you. You need to keep this score as high as possible. To help you in this quest, take advantage of the free services which will give your credit score to you on a monthly basis. If you see your score increasing, this can encourage you to keep up the hard work of raising that score. On the other hand, if you see your score drop, you can immediately look into what caused the decrease. Every consumer is entitled to one free credit report each year from all the three major credit bureaus. You can sign up for this at annualcreditreport.com. If you monitor those reports, you can see if something looks amiss and report it immediately.
Whether you apply for the Green Dot Visa® Secured Credit Card or another card, improving your credit score and financial situation will help you keep your interest charges and credit card fees to a minimum.