If you have bad credit and can’t afford a security deposit, the Total Visa Credit Card’s unsecured nature can be appealing, and it can help you build your credit history. But the card’s fee structure could end up threatening your budget. In this Total Visa review, we’ll cover what to consider before applying for the card.
Total Visa® Credit Card
RECOMMENDED CREDIT SCORE 350850Poor – Excellent
|REGULAR APR (%)||34.99% fixed|
|ANNUAL FEE||$75 for the first year, then $48|
RATINGS BREAKDOWNfor Interest1.6for Fees2.5for Rewards2.3for Credit4.3To see how we calculate these scores, check out our full methodology.TABLE OF CONTENTS
- Pros Explained
- Cons Explained
- How to Get the Most Out of This Card
- Customer Experience
- Security Features
- Fees to Watch Out For
Who Is This Credit Card Best For?
- Prioritizes sticking to their budget while buying what they want and needSee more cardsSAVVY SAVER
- Attacks existing balances while avoiding new debtSee more cardsDEBT WARRIOR
- Takes improving their finances seriously and wants recognition for using credit responsiblySee more cardsCREDIT BUILDER
The card is designed for people who have struggled with credit in the past. It reports your activity to the three national credit bureaus, so if you use it regularly and make your payments on time, it could help improve your credit.1 But because the card charges a lot of fees, including ones that the vast majority of cards don’t charge, we don’t recommend it. There are a handful of other cards for people with bad credit with not nearly the same amount of fees that this card requires.Pros
- Doesn’t require a security deposit
- Reports to all three credit bureaus
- More expensive than a secured card in the long run
- Limited on how you can use it
- Low credit limit
- Doesn’t require a security deposit:A lot of credit cards for bad credit require that you put up a deposit—typically at least $200 and it’s equal to your credit limit—to get approved. You can generally expect to get that money back when you close the account, and possibly sooner, but if you can’t part with that amount of money for an extended period, an unsecured card like the Total Visa Credit Card can be more appealing.
- Reports to all three credit bureaus: Most major credit cards report your account activity to Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion. But that’s not a guarantee with all credit cards for bad credit. While the Total Visa Credit Card has some serious flaws, this isn’t one of them.
- More expensive than a secured card in the long run:A secured credit card can be difficult to get for some people because of the security deposit requirement. But as long as you pay back whatever debt you incur with the card, you get that money back. What’s more, many secured credit cards don’t charge an annual fee. With the Total Visa Credit Card, however, you’ll pay $164 in fees once you open your account (the program fee and the first annual fee), then you’ll pay $123 in annual and monthly fees starting in the second year. And if you want to add an authorized user, you’ll pay a $29 annual fee on that card as well.2 The card’s APR is also steep compared with other credit cards for bad credit, and it doesn’t provide any rewards or perks to help you recoup those costs.
- Limited on how you can use it:The card has some limitations in its terms and conditions, the most glaring of which is that you can’t use the card outside of the U.S. So if you’re planning a trip abroad, you’ll need to rely on other payment methods. The card also doesn’t allow balance transfers—of course, you likely wouldn’t want to do that anyway with such a high interest rate, but not having the option may be frustrating for some credit card users.2
- Low credit limit: The Total Visa Credit Card has a credit limit of $300. Just keep in mind your annual fee and any additional user fees will be charged to your first billing cycle. This leaves you with only $225 (or $196 if you choose to have an additional user on your card) in available credit.2 Your credit utilization rate—your card balance divided by its credit limit—is an important factor in your FICO credit score, and credit experts recommend keeping it as low as possible. You can request a credit limit increase after your first year with the card, but you’ll have to pay a fee of 20% of the increase amount.2
How to Get the Most Out of This Card
The Total Visa Credit Card doesn’t offer rewards or perks, so if you have it, the best way to use it is to make purchases and pay them off by the due date each month so you can establish a positive payment history. While you can’t do anything about the fees, you can avoid the card’s high interest rate by paying the full balance every month.
In most cases, though, you may be better off with a different credit card.
A secured card requires a one-time, refundable deposit before applying for the card. An unsecured card does not. Make sure you know the difference before applying for a credit card.
The card’s issuer, The Bank of Missouri, offers customer service by phone Monday through Saturday from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. Central Standard Time. With most major card issuers, you can typically expect 24/7 access to customer service.
The bank also doesn’t provide a mobile app for cardholders, which is standard for the credit card industry.All account management must be done through your mobile or desktop browser.
Beyond basic fraud protection, the card doesn’t provide any other security features. While you will not be liable for the unauthorized use of your card, you are required to notify the card issuer—either orally or in writing—as soon as you realize that your card has been lost, stolen, or used without your consent. And you still may be liable for up to $50 in fraudulent charges.2
Total Visa Credit Card’s Fees to Watch Out For
The Total Visa Credit Card’s fees are higher than you’d get with most credit cards, especially with its one-time $89 program fee and $6.25 monthly servicing fee after the first year. The card’s credit limit increase fee isn’t unique, but most major card issuers don’t charge one. Finally, some premium credit cards charge an annual fee for authorized users, but that’s primarily because additional cardholders are also getting a lot of perks. Most other credit cards don’t charge one.