High approval rates and monthly reporting empower you to build or rebuild your credit score. But it’s not cheap.
|Product Name||Reflex Mastercard®|
|Annual Fee||$125 intro annual fee for the first year ($96 thereafter)|
|APR (Annual Percentage Rate) for Purchases||29.99% variable|
|Introductory Purchase APR|
|Introductory Balance Transfer APR|
|Cash Advance Rate||29.99% variable|
|Foreign Transaction Fee||3% of the transaction value|
|Cash Advance Fee||$5 or 5% of the cash advance amount, whichever is greater|
|Interest Free Period||Up to 25 days|
|Late Payment Fee||$38|
|Returned Payment Fee||$38|
|Additional Cardholder Fee||$0|
|Minimum Age||18 years of age|
Designed to help build or rebuild credit, the Reflex Mastercard® offers an easy application with instant processing.
You can apply for the unsecured version, which requires no deposit. But your application is otherwise reviewed for a secured card allowing a $50, $150 or $500 refundable security deposit based on your creditworthiness.
Reflex reports your responsible spending to all three credit bureaus monthly, and you can easily monitor your account online.
But the card isn’t cheap: A $125 fee for the first year is deducted from your balance in the first month. In your second year, the annual fee drops to $96, but you’ll also pay a $10 maintenance fee monthly, totaling $216 a year.
And we haven’t yet discussed the card’s sky-high variable APR of 29.99% variable , with transaction fees that can drive up costs even more.
Read on to learn how you can make the most of this card, including what to watch out for, while rebuilding your credit.
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What’s great about the Reflex Mastercard®?
When your options are limited by less-than-perfect credit, Reflex Mastercard® offers adjustable credit limits that depend on your overall financial situation. Starting out, limits range from a low $50 to $500, secured by a corresponding deposit, allowing you to build or rebuild your credit without the risk of debt or harming your current score. After 12 months of on-time payments, you might be eligible to increase your deposit and credit limit up to a $2,000 cap.
An easy application and high approval rates might make this card a suitable choice if you’re looking for a fresh start through everyday spending. And monthly reports on responsible spending to the three credit bureaus could hasten your financial health.
How to make this card worth it
This card comes with so many fees, it can be worth your time mainly if you work to avoid them. Many secured cards have low or nonexistent fees, making it easy to take advantage of their features. However, this card’s expensive fees and high APR offset most of the benefits to owning this card.
If you decide to go with this card, you should do everything you can to avoid paying additional fees. This means paying off your balance in full, avoiding cash advances and foreign transactions, and ensuring all payments are made on time. Using this card responsibly can help you build enough credit to get approved for a better secured card. Since maintenance fees only apply in the second year, you may want to aim to switch cards before your first year is up.
What to watch out for
With so many potential fees that come with using this card, you’ll want to be sure to understand when each kicks in, along with a few other drawbacks of note.
- High APR. The 29.99% variable APR is higher than many other secured cards.
- High annual fees. You’ll pay $125 for the first year — deducted from your credit limit off the bat — and $216 for each subsequent year.
- Many other fees. Add to annual fees those for maintenance, late payments, foreign transactions, cash advances and additional cards — and it’s a lot to keep track of.
- No interest on deposit. While a few secured cards offer interest on your initial deposit, not so with this one.
How to apply for the Reflex Mastercard®
An easy application typically comes with approval results in minutes. However, make sure to budget for your initial deposit and a $125 upfront annual fee.
1. Visit Reflex Mastercard®’s branded site.
2. Complete your personal information, then click Continue Your Application.
3. Enter the confirmation code sent to your smartphone.
4. Enter your Social Security number and financial information, then click Continue.
5. Complete other required information, then review and submit your application.
How likely is my approval?
Because this card is designed for those looking to build or rebuild their credit, regardless of creditworthiness, approval rates are high. Reflex’s site doesn’t provide a suggested credit score range, instead stating its card is available for those with limited, bad and good credit.
I got the card. Now what?
Once you’ve received your card, use it responsibly to build or rebuild your overall creditworthiness with regular reporting to the three main credit bureaus.
- Activate your card. Activate your card by calling the customer service line indicated in your letter from a phone number you listed on your initial application.
- Make timely payments. Avoid late fees and interest on your purchases by paying your balance on time and in full.
- Set up autopay. Save time by setting up automatic payments through your online account or by phone.
- Consider switching after your first year. This card is expensive, even more so after the first year. Consider dedicating the first year to building credit so that you’re in a better position to find a stronger card before costs increase.
- Monitor activity online. Set up your account to stay on top of payments and spending.
What do customers say?
Continental Finance, which issues the Reflex Mastercard®, earns an A+ and official accreditation with the Better Business Bureau (BBB). However, you’ll find a slew of negative reviews and complaints. Most involve experiences with billing and collection, although many others cite issues with the online system.
You won’t find that the card garners a positive reputation on message boards and forums, either. Many customers complain about the card’s high fees, delays in communication, slow reporting to credit bureaus and more. Despite general negativity, others admit the card can be good for building credit — but not much else.
Given expensive fees, a high APR and a general lack of features, the Reflex Mastercard® may not be the best choice out there. But if you’re looking for a stepping stone to better cards, it’s a way to rebuild your credit through regular reporting to credit bureaus.
Explore other options you might be eligible for with our guide to secured credit cards before settling on this starter card.