The First Access credit card claims it will help you build credit. Should you go for it if you don’t have good credit and need help building credit?
Find out about this card and how it adds up in our First Access credit card review.
- $95 set-up fee
- $75 annual fee that drops to $48 in subsequent years
- High APR of 35.99%
- Low credit limit of $300 that you cannot increase for at least 12 months
- Pays 1% cash back rewards on payments only, not purchases
If you want to rebuild your credit, you may come across the First Access credit card. While it doesn’t have the most positive reviews, there are some benefits to consider.
The First Access credit card application is online, and you can have an answer within minutes. It takes only a few minutes to enter your information and determine if you’re approved.
If First Access can’t approve your application instantly, they’ll send you an email or letter telling you what they need to continue processing your application or why they couldn’t approve it.
Even though the First Access credit card is for people with bad credit who need to build credit, it’s a standard Visa® credit card. This means you can use it at the thousands of stores that accept Visa®.
To encourage cardholders to build positive credit, First Access pays 1% cash back on all payments made toward your bill. This means for every $100 you pay, you earn $1. While it’s not a ton, it’s free money, and you build your credit.
First Access reports your credit card activity to all three credit bureaus. If you use your card properly, pay your bill on time, and do not overextend your credit line, you may increase your credit score with regular use of this card.
The First Access credit card doesn’t require a security deposit. While the credit line is low for new cardholders, you don’t have to come up with money to put down on the card just to have a credit line.
First Access offers free access to your VantageScore® credit score and credit education to continue credit building. With regular monitoring and seeing your progress, you may continue to make good credit and spending habits to improve your credit score.
Understanding the drawbacks of the First Access credit card is important to help you decide if it’s right for you.
The largest downside we want to mention in the First Access credit card review is the fees (see Rates & Fees). They are excessive and not typical for most credit cards. They include:
- $95 set-up fee
- $75 annual fee initially, then $48
- $8.25 monthly fee after the first year
- $10 or 3% of each cash advance after the first year
- Up to $41 late or returned payment fee
- Additional card fee of $29 per authorized user
- Premium card design fee of $10
- Credit limit increase fee equal to 25% of the increase
Keep Reading: Are Annual Fee Credit Cards Worth It?
If you earn cashback by paying your bill, you cannot redeem it for six months. In addition, you must wait until you’ve accumulated 500 points (you earn 1 point for each dollar paid). So, the minimum reward you can redeem is $5.
The First Access credit card interest rate is much higher than most credit cards. At 35.99%, your purchases will quickly add up, and staying on top of your bill could be hard. The debt can accumulate quickly if you charge more than you can afford to pay off.
First Access doesn’t require good credit, but you must have an active checking account to get approved. You may have to look elsewhere if you don’t have a bank account and are trying to build credit.
Few people would benefit from the First Access credit card because of its excessive fees and interest rates. The only upside is that you don’t need a security deposit.
So, if you don’t have money to put down on a card (even $200), this may be a viable option but don’t keep it for more than one year.
It will cost you $95 to set it up and another $75 in an annual fee, but if it helps you build credit without making a security deposit, it can be worth it if you use the card correctly.
There are several alternatives to the First Access credit card to consider, including the following.
You don’t need great credit for the Capital One Platinum Secured credit card, as it’s a credit-building card. Depending on your qualifications, you may only need $49, $99, or $200 down to get a $200 credit line.
The security deposit is refundable with proper use, and you may get a higher credit limit or unsecured card automatically in as little as six months.
The Credit One Bank® Platinum Visa® credit card is meant for building credit, but it pays cash-back rewards. You can earn 1% back on purchases, plus additional rewards for purchases from partner retailers.
This card has a $75 annual fee ($99 after the first year) but doesn’t require a security deposit.
The First Progress Platinum Elite Mastercard® secured credit card doesn’t require a minimum credit score, and its annual fee is only $29; however, you must put down a security deposit, which is your credit line.
The Discover it® secured credit card requires a security deposit starting at $200, which is then your credit line. Discover will review your account history starting at seven months. If you use the card responsibly, they will refund your security deposit.
They will then upgrade you to an unsecured card with typical Discover benefits, including cash-back rewards. In the meantime, you can earn 2% back on gas and restaurant purchases up to $1,000 per quarter and 1% back on everything else with the secured card.
Our First Access credit card review uncovered everything to know about the card to help you determine if it’s a good fit. Here are some other questions people have about it.
There are many other options than the First Access credit card for a first credit card. Even if you don’t have credit yet, there are secured credit card options with much lower APRs and annual fees that make them better cards, such as the Discover it® credit card.
First Access advertises its card as a credit-building credit card. They report your activity to all three credit bureaus, so if you pay your bill on time and don’t max out your card, you may increase your credit score using it.
The First Access credit card starts everyone with a $300 credit limit for the first year. You can request a credit line increase after 12 months, but they charge a fee equal to 25% of the increase, so consider your options.
The First Access credit card prefers a credit rating between 550 to 620. They say the card is for credit building and is meant for people with no or bad credit.
Yes, one of the few stipulations First Access has to get approved is you must have an active checking account in good standing.
You can request a credit line increase after 12 months by calling the customer service number on the back of your card. Not everyone is eligible for a credit line increase, but that’s common for any credit card.
No, the First Access credit card is not secured. They make up for the risk this poses by charging an excessively high APR.
To avoid it, you must cancel the First Access credit card before your annual fee is assessed. If you cancel after the fee is assessed, you will not receive a refund even if you didn’t use the card.
You can get a cash advance on your First Access credit card. It is subject to the 35.99% APR, but there aren’t any cash advance fees for the first year. After the first year, they charge $10 or 3% of the cash advance. The fee you’re charged is the greater of the two.
The mobile app is the easiest way to pay for your First Access card. You can also pay online.
You can apply for the First Access credit card online. Completing the application takes a few minutes, and you should have an answer instantly. You can use the card after you’ve paid your $95 program fee and receive your card in the mail.
The question this First Access credit card review answers: is the First Access credit card best for you?
Honestly, there are better options, even if you have bad credit or no credit. You’d be better off with a secured credit card with a low credit limit to build your credit.
 Editorial Content Disclosure: The editorial content on this page (including, but not limited to Pros and Cons) is not provided by any credit card issuer. Any opinions, analyses, reviews, or recommendations expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any credit card issuer, and have not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by any credit card issuer.
 Calculated on the VantageScore 3.0 model. Your VantageScore 3.0 from Experian® indicates your credit risk level and is not used by all lenders, so don’t be surprised if your lender uses a score that’s different from your VantageScore 3.0.