Best Cards for Repairing Credit Mercury Mastercard vs. Total Visa

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Last updated on August 23rd, 2023

Bad credit is a reality for millions of Americans.  Bad credit is also known as “subprime” because it is below what lenders consider a safe level of risk for themselves when extending new credit lines. Because of this “subprime” distinction, even fair – or average – credit can mean higher interest rates, lower credit limits, and other less-than-desirable terms. While there are plenty of credit builder credit cards on the market, how can you know which is best? Let’s compare two of the best cards for repairing credit: The Mercury Mastercard and the Total Visa.

What Card Has the Best Interest Rates?

Part of repairing your credit is showing financial responsibility. This process includes keeping your credit utilization ratio down – ideally below 10%. Keeping your credit use this low means trying to pay your balance in full every month. Paying your whole statement balance regularly eliminates the worry about interest rates or APR.

That said, some people do carry a balance, and for those individuals, the Mercury Mastercard is the better choice. The card features a variable APR between 25% and 29%. The Total Card, on the other hand, has a higher fixed APR. Paying in-full essentially makes the interest rate irrelevant. Otherwise, however, Mercury offers a better rate.

Related Article: The Best Ways to Fix Your Credit

Fees Comparison

The Mercury Master card features no annual fee, which is an excellent perk. The Total Visa, on the other hand, has a number of fees, including an annual fee. There’s an annual fee of for the first year, plus a one-off setup fee. Fortunately, the annual fee drops in year two. Unfortunately, there is also a monthly maintenance fee, though Total waives this for the first year. Since the Total Visa is a good option for rebuilding credit, the charges are understandable. Lower credit might mean lenders are taking a bigger risk. For those with fair credit, the Mercury is the best bet.

Limitations of the Mercury Card

While the Mercury Card has significant benefits, it also has drawbacks. The biggest of its limitations is the customer service aspect of card membership. Online forums, such as MyFICO, feature critiques of the cardmember experience. Complaints include poor customer service, lack of transparency, and other issues. While each customer’s experience is different – and there are happy customers – it is still something to consider before applying.

Limitations of the Total Visa

The Total Visa also has its imperfections, though these are mainly the fees the card charges. The other significant negative is the purchase APR. This rate, however, is entirely avoidable by paying each statement balance in full every month.

So, Which Is the Best Card for Repairing Credit?

What’s the best card for repairing credit? The Mercury Mastercard and Total Visa are somewhat similar but each offers  something different. For those with a credit in the low to mid-600s, the Mercury is the better option. The card offers a lower APR, no annual fees, and higher credit limits.

For those with slightly better credit, the Total Visa is a quality option to consider. The Total Card offers better acceptance odds for people in the rebuilding stage of credit. The card also reports to the three major credit bureaus regularly. This consistent reporting is key to steadily building credit with responsible use.

Related Article: What Are the Best Unsecured Cards for Rebuilding Credit?

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About: Cory Santos
Cory Santos

Cory is the senior credit card editor at BestCards, specializing in everything credit card-related. He’s worked extensively with credit cards and other personal finance topics, including nearly five years at BestCards. Cory’s extensive knowledge is an essential part of the BestCards experience, helping readers to live their best financial lives with up-to-date insights and comprehensive coverage of all facets of the credit card space, including market trends, rewards guides, credit advice, and comprehensive credit card reviews.

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