Poor credit score? Try The Build unsecured credit card | finder.com

Review: The Build Card – February 2018

A rare unsecured card offered to those with poor credit — but it’s expensive and hampered by no grace period on interest.

  • 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 NameThe Build Card
APR for Purchases ( Purchase Rate )29.9% variable
Annual fee$72
Cash Advance Rate29.9% variable
Card TypeMastercard
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 Interest$0.50
Minimum Credit ScorePoor (Below 660)
Minimum Age18 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.
$500
Annual fee$72
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

The basics

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.

How does credit card interest work?

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.

Indigo® Platinum Mastercard® Credit Card

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.

    The perks

    • 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.

    The Build Card application

    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.

    Bottom line

    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.

    Frequently asked questions

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    49 Responses

    1. Default Gravatar
      LorraineFebruary 8, 2018

      How do I apply for the Build Card I want to bring my credit score up

      • Staff
        RoslynFebruary 9, 2018Staff

        Hi Lorraine,

        Thank you for your inquiry about the Build Card.

        Unfortunately, you can’t apply for this credit card without an invitation from the lender, FS Card. They typically send invitations to select borrowers with credit scores around the 550 to 600 mark.

        There are several other cards you can apply to if you’d like to improve your credit score. Credit One Bank and indigo are a few options for unsecured credit cards. Primor, OpenSky and First Progress Select are a few good options for secured cards.

        You can also learn more from our credit score guides, including https://www.finder.com/how-secured-credit-cards-rebuild-credit and https://www.finder.com/credit-repair.

        I hope this information helps you make an informed decision.

        Cheers,
        Roslyn

    2. Default Gravatar
      DanteNovember 6, 2017

      Is there a fee to use cash advance at an atm?

      • Staff
        JoanneNovember 7, 2017Staff

        Hi Dante,

        Thanks for contacting finder.

        The cash advance Fee is $10 or 3% of transaction, whichever is greater. Keep in mind that 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, it is best that the card owner do not carry a balance on the card for long.

        Best Regards,
        Joanne

    3. Default Gravatar
      EmilyOctober 22, 2017

      If i make a purchase and it goes over my credit limit, will it be declined? Or will it let me go over my credit limit?

      • Staff
        ArnoldOctober 23, 2017Staff

        Hi Emily,

        Thanks for your inquiry

        The purchase will go through even if it exceeds your limit. If you tend to spend over your credit limit, you’ll like that the Build Card doesn’t charge over-limit fees.

        Hope this information helps

        Cheers,
        Arnold

    4. Default Gravatar
      TanaOctober 15, 2017

      How do u know what to pay? What first bill will be? Due date?

      • Staff
        DanielleOctober 18, 2017Staff

        Hi Tana,

        Thank you for contacting finder. We are a comparison website and general information service, we’re more than happy to offer general advice.

        According to their terms, they will send you a statement for each billing cycle in which there is any activity or balance on your account, or in which an interest charge has been imposed.

        I hope this helps.

        Cheers,
        Danielle

    5. Default Gravatar
      ShamekiaOctober 12, 2017

      Can I apply for this card to rebuild my credit?

      • Staff
        HaroldOctober 12, 2017Staff

        Hi Shamekla,

        Thank you for your inquiry.

        To apply for this card you need to meet the following requirements.
        – Minimum Credit Score Poor (Below 660)
        – Minimum Age 18 years of age

        In line with this, if you are asking how ti improve your credit score you may need to check the options here.

        I hope this information has helped.

        Cheers,
        Harold

    6. Default Gravatar
      NicoleSeptember 30, 2017

      How can I receive an invitation to apply for the build cred card

      • Default Gravatar
        GruOctober 1, 2017

        Hello Nicole,

        Thank you for reaching out to us.

        To answer your query, you would have to wait to receive an invitation and am offer code to apply for the Build Credit Card.
        Please note that it actively scopes out “deep subprime” borrowers with credit scores of between 550 and 600. To be clear, you really can’t apply for the Build Card without being invited by FS Card. For now, you may visit their website and sign up to receive updates.

        Hope this helped.

        Cheers,
        Gru

    7. Default Gravatar
      ShawnSeptember 20, 2017

      How do you get an invite to get a card

      • Staff
        DanielleSeptember 20, 2017Staff

        Hi Shawn,

        Thank you for contacting finder. We are a comparison website and general information service, we’re more than happy to offer general advice.

        It is not stated on their website how one can get an invite, however the Build Card targets cardholders with poor credit scores of 550 to 600. You may contact them directly if you need additional information.

        I hope this helps.

        Cheers,
        Danielle

    8. Default Gravatar
      KeithSeptember 16, 2017

      So how much can I go over the limit ?

      • Default Gravatar
        JonathanSeptember 18, 2017

        Hello Keith,

        Thank you for your inquiry.

        The card doesn’t allow you to go over your credit limit. In the event you incurred charges in amounts exceeding your maximum limit, you would be responsible to pay such amounts however, there would be no over the Credit Limit fee.

        You can download Build Card Cardholder Agreement on their website for further information.

        Hope this helps.

        Cheers,
        Jonathan

    9. Default Gravatar
      KaceeSeptember 12, 2017

      I received an email that my card and pin were on their way and being mailed to me but I never applied. Has this happened to anyone else? could someone else have applied in my name? or is that their way of trying to get you to apply.

      • Staff
        HaroldSeptember 12, 2017Staff

        Hi Kacee,

        Thank you for your inquiry.

        I you did not apply to any credit card companies. You may want to be careful and read our guide to avoid getting involve with fraud, traps and scams.

        I hope this information has helped.

        Cheers,
        Harold

    10. Default Gravatar
      NatashiaSeptember 7, 2017

      So do I have to pay 125 out of my pocket or you guys take it off the card?

      • Staff
        LiezlSeptember 7, 2017Staff

        Hi Natashia,

        Thanks for visiting finder. Build Card’s initial one-time set-up fee of $53 and annual membership fee of $72 will be charged to your card hence, reducing your available credit limit. Based on the initial limit of $500, the initial available credit limit will be $375.

        Warm regards,
        Liezl

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