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Last updated on September 24th, 2021
Fortiva® Mastercard® Credit Card
Unsecured Card Option for Imperfect Credit
- Regular Purchase APR 22.74% to 36% variable based on creditworthiness
- Balance Transfer APR 25.74% to 36% variable based on creditworthiness
- Cash Advance APR 25.74% to 36% variable based on creditworthiness
- Annual Fee $49 to $175 the first year; up to $49 thereafter
- Credit Needed Fair , Poor
- Processing Network Mastercard
- Free VantageScore 3.0 (provided by Equifax)
- Reports to all three major credit bureaus
- Mobile app available in Apple Store and Google Play
- $0 fraud liability
- Must receive mail offer in order to apply
- Regular Purchase APR: 22.74% to 36% variable based on creditworthiness
- Balance Transfer APR: 25.74% to 36% variable based on creditworthiness
- Balance Transfer Transaction Fee: 3% of the amount of each transfer after the first year
- Cash Advance APR: 25.74% to 36% variable based on creditworthiness
- Cash Advance Transaction Fee: Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each cash advance, whichever is greater
- Annual Fee: $49 to $175 the first year; up to $49 thereafter
- 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
At a Glance
The Fortiva® Mastercard® Credit Card fees and APR are very high, but for those who cannot afford the upfront cost of a security deposit, this card can serve as a short-term solution for beginning the journey of rebuilding credit.
Ideal for Those Who:
- Have been denied for secured cards from both major and local card issuers
- Have less than $100 disposable income
- Cannot spare cash to use as a secured card security deposit
- Will pay their balance in full every month
- Are looking for a short-term credit card to use to increase their overall credit limit
Fortiva® Mastercard® Credit Card Review
The Fortiva® Mastercard® is a rare find: an unsecured credit card for bad credit. It carries all the functionalities of a typical credit card (can conduct balance transfers and cash advances) in addition to the protections from Mastercard – but could cause more financial harm than good if cardholders aren’t careful.
The card is a credit rebuilding product from the Bank of Missouri. As the card is geared towards building a good credit score with on-time payments, the card is ideal for people with bad credit or fair credit score ranges.
It has an understandable appeal to those who don’t have the cash on hand to secure a credit line, but potential applicants should be wary of the high costs. In lieu of a security deposit, the Fortiva credit card has high annual and maintenance fees that will cost users upwards of $100 a year. Besides having considerably higher costs, the Fortiva card has a high APR and virtually no credit building perks.
Rebuilding Bad Credit: A Secured Credit Card Alternative
The traditional route for individuals wanting to rebuild credit and fix a bad credit score is usually a secured card. Secured cards are a specific type of credit card that require collateral in order to secure a credit line. These collaterals are aptly called ‘security deposits’ and ranges can start at a few hundred dollars to several thousand. Available credit is then directly correlated with the amount of money used for the security deposit.
Minimum deposits are typically around $300, and it is this upfront cost can be a major deterrent, preventing those with poor credit to begin the credit repair process. For this reason, credit options like the Fortiva® Mastercard® can be a useful alternative to a secured card to those lacking the cash on hand to use for a minimum deposit. For this privilege, however, Fortiva charges many fees and other costs that could be almost as much as what one would’ve spent on a security deposit in the first place.
High Cost of Ownership
One major drawback of the Fortiva® Mastercard® card is the multiple fees associated with ownership. While it’s not uncommon that cards for bad credit have higher than average costs (and interest rates), the Fortiva fees have both a high upfront cost (annual fee) and ongoing monthly cost (maintenance).
Strangely, whereas most credit cards waive their annual fee the first year and charge it thereafter, the Fortiva card functions in reverse. New cardholders will be charged between $49 and $175 (although all user accounts of this card report having the full $175 indicated as their starting annual fee) and “up to” $49 every year thereafter.
Fortiva also charges its users an account maintenance fee which starts at $60 and goes up to $159 (surprisingly, this fee is waived during the first year of card ownership). These charges are billed on a monthly basis and come out to either $5 or $12.50 every billing cycle.
The exact amounts for both fee types will be stated on the disclosures following an approved application. However, based on Fortiva’s track record from user experiences, potential applicants should expect to pay the maximum fee amounts—resulting in a whopping $187.50 due at signup.
Credit Building Card Features
Despite being touted as a card for those with bad credit, the Fortiva® Mastercard® has nothing in place to help improve cardholder situations. There are no built-in credit limit increases after a certain number of on-time payments, no automatic considerations for having the security deposit refunded.
In fact, the Fortiva does not offer credit limit increases at all – which is easily the most concerning aspect card, card fees, and all. The only benefit the card can boast is that it reports to all three credit bureaus: Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion.
Depending on the state of your credit at the time of your application, you may be locked into an insignificant credit limit that can’t handle medium-sized purchases—much less add a significant enough credit line to impact your FICO score (a factor that could raise your credit score).
A Bad Option for Carrying a Balance
When it comes to actually using this card, potential applicants will want to ensure they can pay their card balance in full each and every month. Some credit cards are specifically designed to help their owners handle large purchases but the Fortiva credit card is not one of them. Having an APR that’s more than double the national average, this card is not shopper-friendly and could significantly add to the already steep list of fees.
These rates are also mirrored in the balance transfer and cash advance rates – which should not be undertaken lightly.
Should You Apply for the Fortiva® Mastercard® Credit Card?
Technically, the Fortiva® Mastercard® cannot be applied for directly. Applications are only open to those who received a mailed offer and an acceptance code. But for those who have received a mailer and are wondering whether it’s worth responding to the offer, in most cases the answer will be “no”.
Improving one’s credit score comes at a price—that’s to be expected—but the Fortiva credit card probably brings a higher price than most would probably expect. The high upfront and ongoing costs (annual fee, monthly maintenance fees, and well-above-average APR) will likely result in an overall cost that’s just as much (if not more) as what one might have paid as collateral for a traditional secured card.
Fees aside, sacrificing the potential for a credit limit increase is not worth trying to avoid paying a security deposit.
However, for those who are running low on potential card options, don’t have the funds for a secured card security deposit, or have already accepted the offer, treat the Fortiva Mastercard as a temporary resort. This card is not meant to be long-term credit rebuilding option (due to the lack of credit increase opportunities) and will not grow as your credit file improves.