Millions of Americans suffer from bad credit. A bad credit score, or subprime credit score, ranges from 300 to 669 with FICO’s scoring model. This scale includes fair credit, since that is also subprime, meaning applicants receive higher APRs, lower credit limits, and other less-than-desired terms. However, there are plenty of great credit cards for repairing credit. Two of the more popular options are the Reflex Mastercard and the Mercury Mastercard. When comparing the Mercury and Reflex, however, what’s the best credit card for rebuilding credit? Here’s how the two cards stack up against each other:
What’s the Best Card for Rebuilding Bad Credit or No Credit?
The Reflex Card has an edge on the Mercury Mastercard for those with no credit history or a very bad credit score. The Mercury Card is designed for those with fair credit, whereas the Reflex Mastercard welcomes those with bad credit or no credit. This versatility makes the Reflex an excellent option for those at the beginning of their credit repair journey. The Mercury, on the other hand, is ideal for those further along on the road to rebuilding their credit score.
Related Article: How Bad Is My Credit Score?
Which Card Has the Lowest Interest Rate?
Both cards feature a variable APR on purchases and balance transfers. Since the Mercury focuses on those with higher credit scores, the interest rates are lower than those of the Reflex. That said, the difference in APR isn’t large, with Reflex cardholders getting a rate of about .75% higher than Mercury Cardholders. Considering the Reflex accepts a wider credit profile of applicants, that’s a fair trade-off.
What Card Has the Lower Annual Fee?
The Mercury Master card features no annual fee. The Reflex, on the other hand, has a $99 price tag. Since the Reflex is for poor-to-average credit scores, the yearly charge is understandable. Lower credit scores mean a higher risk for lenders. For those with average credit, the Mercury is the best bet. For those with poor credit, however, the Reflex’s annual fee is reasonable.
One of the unique features of the Reflex Card is something called “Continental Credit Protection.” This service provides a debt cancellation program, should the cardholder lose their job or develop a disability. The cardholder pays $0.99 for every $100 of the outstanding balance each month. This fee acts as insurance, protecting the cardholder from debt should anything unfortunate happen. This feature is excellent for those new to rebuilding credit or those in gig economy jobs.
The Reflex also offers a chance at a credit line increase with on-time payments. This feature provides cardholders with the motivation to make their payments on time each month and to learn proper financial habits. Both of these skills are vital to rebuilding credit quickly.
The Mercury Card has no standout features, but that’s not what it’s designed for. The card is for repairing credit and does this well.
So, Which Card Is Better?
What’s the best card for rebuilding credit? The Mercury and Reflex Mastercard’s are similar but offer something unique to different people. For those with an average credit score, the Mercury is the winner. That’s because the card charges no annual fee. Sure, the APR is high, but that shouldn’t be a factor for those repairing credit. After all, paying in full each month means no interest charges to worry about.
Build Credit with No Annual Fee
- Regular Purchase APR 25.15% to 28.15% variable based on creditworthiness and the Prime Rate
- Balance Transfer APR 25.15% to 28.15% variable based on creditworthiness and the Prime Rate
- Cash Advance APR 25.15% to 28.15% variable based on creditworthiness and the Prime Rate
- Annual Fee None
- Credit Needed Fair
- Processing Network Mastercard
- No annual fee
- Free access to FICO score
- Reports to the three main credit bureaus
- $0 Fraud Liability if your card is lost or stolen
- Regular Purchase APR: 25.15% to 28.15% variable based on creditworthiness and the Prime Rate
- Balance Transfer APR: 25.15% to 28.15% variable based on creditworthiness and the Prime Rate
- Balance Transfer Transaction Fee: Either $5 or 4% of the amount of each balance transfer, whichever is greater
- Cash Advance APR: 25.15% to 28.15% variable based on creditworthiness and the Prime Rate
- Cash Advance Transaction Fee: Either $10 or 5% of the amount of each cash advance, whichever is greater
- Foreign Transaction Fee: 3% of the transaction amount in U.S. dollars
- Late Payment Penalty Fee: Up to $40
- Return Payment Penalty Fee: Up to $40
For those with credit scores in the 580s or a low 600s credit score, the Reflex is ideal. The Reflex Card has a $99 annual fee but offers a competitive APR, a debt cancellation program, and the opportunity for a higher credit limit.
- See if you’re Pre-Qualified with no impact to your credit score
- Free access to your Vantage 3.0 score from TransUnion* (When you sign up for e-statements)
- Monthly reporting to the three major credit bureaus
- Use your card at locations everywhere Mastercard® is accepted
- Regular Purchase APR: See Terms*
- Cash Advance APR: See Terms*
- Cash Advance Transaction Fee: See Terms*
- Annual Fee: See Terms*
- Foreign Transaction Fee: See Terms*
- Late Payment Penalty Fee: See Terms*
- Return Payment Penalty Fee: See Terms*
Ultimately, it is the credit score of the applicant that determines which card is right for them. Confident in your credit? Then consider the Mercury. If, however, you aren’t sure you’ll get accepted for the Mercury Card, the Reflex MasterCard is a quality option to consider.
Related Article: Are There Unsecured Credit Cards for Bad Credit?