A rare unsecured card offered to those with poor credit — but it’s expensive and hampered by no grace period on interest.
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- Get this card if… your credit score is between 550 and 600 and you’ve exhausted other loan options.
- Pick something else if… you don’t want to pay an annual fee or if your credit score is fair or better.
- Recommended credit range to apply: 550 to 600 (poor)
|Product Name||The Build Card|
|APR for Purchases ( Purchase Rate )||29.9% variable|
|Cash Advance Rate||29.9% variable|
|Returned Payment Fee||$35|
|Foreign Currency Conversion Fee (MC)|
Foreign currency conversion fees are charged when you make a transaction that is converted by a credit card network, such as MasterCard, Visa or American Express, from Australian dollars to a foreign currency. You’ll also incur a currency conversion fee if you make a purchase or obtain a cash advance in Australian dollars while overseas or shopping online with a foreign merchant or financial institution.
|0% of transaction value|
|Minimum Credit Score||Poor (Below 660)|
|Minimum Age||18 years of age|
|Min credit limit|
This is the lowest credit card limit that you can request. It is possible to apply for a higher credit card limit but not a lower one than this figure.
|Returned Payment Fee||$35|
|Over The Credit Line Fee||$0|
|Late Payment Fee||$35|
|Cash Advance Fee||$10 or 3% of transaction, whichever is greater|
|Additional Cardholder Fee||$12 annually|
People with poor credit have few options for unsecured cards. Most lenders are simply unwilling to take a chance on so-called subprime borrowers.
The issuer of the Build Card — a company called FS Card — takes a different tack. Rather than shy away from customers with poor credit, it actively scopes out “deep subprime” borrowers with credit scores of between 550 and 600. To be clear, you can’t apply for the Build Card on a whim: You must be invited by FS Card.
The Build Card is a mixed bag of positives and negatives. On one hand, it’s an unsecured card, so it doesn’t require a security deposit like a secured card does. It also comes with a respectable $500 starting credit limit.
On the other hand, you’ll have to pay $125 to open the card (a $53 one-time account set-up fee and a $72 annual membership fee). The card also offers no grace period before charging you interest on purchases — a significant downside and something that is rare for credit cards in general.
Ultimately, it’s best to consider the Build Card only if you’re in a serious cash crunch and have no other options but to borrow money. The card comes with a high 29.9% variable APR for purchases and cash advances, but that’s better than what you’ll get with a payday loan (as long as you pay your balances in good time).
If your primary goal is to build credit, strongly consider passing on the Build Card. A secured card will likely be a better option — you’ll need to put down a security deposit, but the money will still be yours. Many excellent secured cards have no annual fees and require low deposits.
Alternative Pick: Indigo® Platinum Mastercard® Credit Card
It doesn’t come with all the bells and whistles of other cards, but it also doesn't come with as many fees as the Build Card, and it offers a chance for those with less-than-stellar credit to build consistent payment histories.
- Annual fee: $0 - $75 the first year, $0 - $99 after that
- Purchase rate (APR): 23.9%
- Minimum credit score: Below 660 (poor)
- Get pre-qualified.
- No security deposit needed. The Build Card is an unsecured card, so you don’t need a security deposit to get a credit line.
You’ll also like …
- No foreign transaction fees. You can use your card overseas without incurring fees.
- No over-limit fees. If you tend to spend over your credit limit, you’ll like that the Build Card doesn’t charge over-limit fees.
What to watch out for
- Account setup fee. When you open your card account, you’ll pay a one-time fee of $53.
- Annual fee. The Build Card charges a $72 membership fee for the first year. Starting the second year, you’ll pay a membership fee of $6 per month.
- No grace period on interest. You’ll start accumulating interest on your purchases and cash advances immediately. This is a big difference from other cards, which typically offer grace periods of 20 days or more. To avoid accruing too much interest, do not carry a balance on your card for long.
- No balance transfers. You can only use the Build Card for purchases and cash advances.
- It hurts to pay late. Making late or returned payments could result in fees as high as $35.
Consider other cards if …
- You don’t want to pay account set-up and membership fees. To open your Build Card, you’ll pay upfront fees of $125. In contrast, you could open a secured card with no annual fee. You will need to provide a security deposit with the secured card, but it’s refundable. The Build Card’s fees aren’t security deposits, and you won’t get the money back.
- You have fair credit (or better). If you have fair or better credit, you might not need the Build Card. Other cards are cheaper and offer better perks.
What should I know before I apply?
Always consider your options and your financial situation before you apply for a credit card.
Currently, you must be invited to apply for the Build Card. When you apply, you need to input the offer code that was sent to you.
What credit score do I need?
The Build Card targets cardholders with poor credit scores of 550 to 600.
If your credit score is higher than that range, consider a card for fair credit. If your credit score is lower than that range, look for a secured credit card — and especially consider one that doesn’t require a credit check.
How to apply for the Build Card
After you receive your offer code, click the Respond To Offer link on the Build Card website.
Enter your offer code, application ID, ZIP code and Social Security number, and proceed to the application, which will ask you for personal information like your contact details and annual income.
I got the card — now what?
- Online access. Create an account at the Build Card website, where you can manage your card account.
- Making payments. There’s no grace period on interest — you’ll start accruing interest immediately after you make a purchase or cash advance. That said, it’s a good idea to pay off your balances quickly.
- Avoiding fees. Late and returned payments come with hefty fees of up to $35.
- Customer service. For support, call 1-800-634-9558 or access Build’s text message service by texting HELP to 88100 anytime.
The Build Card is a rare unsecured card that targets people with poor credit. However, it’s expensive and significantly hampered by its lack of a grace period on interest.
If you want to build credit, strongly consider getting a secured card instead.