The First Access Visa credit card is not the kind of credit card anyone wants to have. To start with, the credit limit is small and made even smaller by initial fees. Credit line increases are few and far between. Beyond that, there are incredibly high fees for everything, many activities are prohibited, and the APR is almost unrealistically high.
Still, the card exists as shown through the plether of www.preapprovedaccess.com invitations. It can be used to build credit, provided you are willing to pay for it. If anyone has been considering taking on the application for the First Access Visa, make sure you read the fine print or at least the rest of this review.
The First Access card appears to have been made as an almost predatory trap for people with low to middle-of-the-road credit scores. It may have been intended as an option for anyone desperate for a credit card, any credit card.
This is not the best card for anyone, not even in the most desperate situation. Mail offers like www.preapprovedaccess.com are targeted towards people with damaged credit histories. The credit limit is too low, the fine print is completely unforgiving, and the interest rate is one of the highest you will find. To that end, this card is not available in New York or Wisconsin and has to have a few modifications to exist in Delaware. Hence, no preapprovedaccess.com offers have been sent to those states.
The industry standard for APR with even the worst credit score is about 24.99%. Penalty APR may go up to as much as 29.99%. The APR for purchases and cash advances with the First Access Visa card is 34.99%. No feature of this card makes up for APR that high.
The initial credit limit for the First Access credit card is $300, minus your annual fee. Your initial setup fee will need to be paid before you receive your card. The annual fee is then charged as soon as the account is set up. The standard annual fee is $75 for the first year and $48 for each subsequent year.
Further, if you want to increase this limit, you can only do so every 12 months. If you are denied during the credit limit increase process, you will have to wait another 12 months or 12 billing cycles to try again.
Credit Limit Increase Fee
You will also be charged a credit limit increase fee of up to 20% of the amount your limit is increased by. For example, if you get an increase of $100, you will be charged a $20 fee. This fee is automatically applied if you accept any credit limit increase at any time.
- Program Setup Fee – A unique, one-time fee of $95 for “setting up” your credit card for the first time.
- Annual Fee – The annual fee for the First Access credit card is $75 for the first year and $8 for each year after that.
- Cash Advance – The first year you have the First Access card, you will not be charged any cash advance fees, if you qualify for this standard introductory offer. After that, cash advances come at a rate of the greater of $10 or 3%.
- Foreign Transaction – This card is not permitted to be used outside of the United States.
- Late Payment – Up to $40 and expect to pay the max.
- Return Payment - Up to $40 and expect to pay the max.
- Authorized User Fees – $29 per year for each additional card.
Rewards or Introductory Offers
This card offers no rewards program of any kind. As far as introductory offers go, this card typically offers a no-fee cash advance for up to one year. Keep in mind, all cash advances on the First Access Visa card are limited to half of your current credit limit.
Pros – Advantages of the First Access Credit Card
The advantages of the First Access Visa are few and far between. They also pale in comparison to what's offered by just about every other card out there.
- An Introductory Offer Is Available – It's not a very good introductory offer, but if you need a no-fee cash advance of up to $150 at 34.99% APR, this is a way to get one.
- Unsecured Visa Card – This is a genuine Visa card that you can use in some places, in most states, but not at automated gas pumps. This is also an unsecured credit card, though with what you have to pay in fees, a secured card might not be that bad of an option.
- Online Application – You can apply for the First Access credit card in minutes and know if you are approved in seconds.
Cons – Disadvantages of the First Access Credit Card
The disadvantages of this card can be seen in the Interest, Credit Limit, and Fee sections above as well as the few standout points listed below.
- Cannot Be Used at An Automated Fuel Pump – This is a strange rule to have in the fine print, but it's there and more than a little inconvenient in this day and age.
- Use Outside of the United States is Prohibited – While not everyone wants or needs to use their credit card on a trip outside the country, most credit cards give you the option.
- Credit Limit Increase Check Every 12 Months – You have to wait 12 months between each credit limit upgrade check.
- Liability for Unauthorized Use of Your Card – First Access has reserved the right to charge you up to $50 if your card is lost or used without your permission.
- Credit Limit Increase Fee – If you do manage to get approved during your annual credit limit increase, do expect to be charged a fee equal to 20% of your credit increase if you accept.
- Not Available in New York or Wisconsin (some modifications in Delaware) – You cannot apply for the First Access credit card program in New York or Wisconsin. However, applications in Delaware do get a slightly better deal.
The First Access credit card is not a good credit card offer by any means. It's not even the kind of card you want to have to increase your credit utilization rate. This card costs you money to have, even if you don't use it; which is why many people with the option to respond to a www.preapprovedaccess.com letter decline the invitation.
None of the features of this card are unique, and there are a few good reasons the First Access Visa “program” is unavailable in a few states. Yes, they have “flexible” credit score requirements, but there are far better cards you can apply for even if your score hovers around 550.