Consumer Reports Finds The Absolute Worst Credit Card

Think your credit card is bad? Check out this specimen that our sister-publication, Consumer Reports, says is the absolute “worst credit card.”

From Consumer Reports, emphasis ours:

In 2007, First Premier signed a $4.6 million settlement with the New York Attorney General’s office over the card’s deceptive marketing practices. First Premier’s card now advertises a $25 to $95 processing charge (which fluctuates by the minute, depending on when you click on the card’s website).

What’s worse is that when you drill deeper into the fine print, you’ll find a $75 annual fee and an APR of 23.9 percent to 59.9 percent on purchases and cash advances (again, depending on when you visit the site).

So you could face a minimum of $100 or a maximum of $170 in fees in the first year for a card with only a $300 initial credit limit. Other fees include an $11 charge for expediting bill payment over the phone and a credit-limit increase fee equal to 50 percent of the increase.

So for every $100 that First Premier increases your credit limit it charges you $50. Also, look out for copycats of this card. First Premier Bank markets very similar cards under the names Centennial and Aventium.

The runner-up is no prize either, check it out.

Worst Credit Card [Consumer Reports]


Edit Your Comment

  1. GuJiaXian says:

    Out of curiosity, is “First Premier Bank” an actual lending institution with brick-and-mortar locations, or is it simply a name slapped onto a credit card company? If it really is a bank, I’m not sure that I want to see the rates on their other services.

    • The Tick says:

      Premier has a couple of call centers in South Dakota. I’ve not seen any ‘banks’.

    • midtower says:
    • Costner says:

      It does have brick and mortar banks, but they are independently operated and other than sharing a name and an owner, I don’t believe there is any affiliation.

      They are based in my city (Sioux Falls) and although the credit card company is generally looked down upon as a gigantic predatory wart on the elbow of the financial services industry, their bank is just another bank.

      You will find their executives (namely the owner: T. Denny Sanford) donate vast sums of money to charity, but I somehow don’t feel that washes away the slime. I guess in some circles giving away $300M to a hospital probably means you are a good person, but in my world philanthropy is defined as giving something with no expectation of anything in return (including acknowledgement). However for Sanford, they named a multi-Billion dollar healthcare system after him (Sanford Health – formerly known as Sioux Valley Health System) so a lot of people in the area want to put the man on a pedestal for his actions.

      Ignorance is bliss, and unfortunately I’m surrounded by a lot of very happy people.

  2. balthisar says:

    What are the qualifications? Sometimes it’s worth the fees in order to establish and build credit.

    I do the same thing, but it’s called “interest payments”; I keep an open car loan so I have that reported.

    I’m not defending it and saying it’s a good card by any means, merely that there are valid reasons for getting one.

    • Keavy_Rain says:

      My credit union offers a secured credit card. You have to put at least $200 into a special account, your limit is equal to what is in your special account, the interest rate is 18%, no grace period, and if you keep the account in good standing for two years you get the special account money back (with interest) and the card becomes a regular credit card.

      I found that to be a far better option.

      • Big Mama Pain says:

        Wow. Your bank charges you for the privilege of borrowing your own money. That’s brilliant (for them, though, not you).

        • AnthonyC says:

          No, actually, this is what a “secured credit card” means. It’s a fairly normal financial instrument. Some people, for various reasons, are unable to get regular credit cards (bad or no credit history, etc.). Eventually, these people may want to re-build their credit cards. The cards secured by your own deposit offer much less risk to the bank (just like mortgages backed by your home), and so are much easier to get.

          They are a tool, with legitimate uses. Would you freely choose them over a regular credit card? No, but that isn’t the point.

    • humphrmi says:

      We rebuilt our credit with Capital One secured cards. We were pretty happy with them. Now that we’re in the upper echelons of creditworthiness, we still have the CapOne cards because they offer rewards and no-fee foreign transactions. At every milestone of our credit rebuilding (getting a car loan, getting a mortgage, seeing a bad credit ding age off of our credit report) CapOne added more features and lowered the cost of our cards.

      I usually don’t shill cards, and I’m sure CapOne has their problems, but I feel they really helped us rebuild for a lot less money than these shysters.

      • midwestkel says:

        I used one of these cards to rebuild my credit, I knew they had crazy fees but I don’t like secure credit cards. I don’t have the card anymore of course.

    • fs2k2isfun says:

      You are aware making payments on a credit card (and being charged) interested does not actually help your credit score, right? I’m not sure what you are saying about the car loan, did you just get the loan for the heck of it so you can make payments?

    • tbax929 says:

      When I had horrible, horrible credit about 10 years ago, First Premiere was the only company that would give me an unsecured credit card. I used it and paid it off every month. Eventually (a couple of years later), I was able to get a regular unsecured card from Capital One and HSBC and closed the First Premiere account.

      I learned a life-long lesson about credit responsibility. Everything costs more when you have shitty credit. Now I’m in the high 700s, but I paid dearly for the mistakes I made when I was young and dumb.

  3. BrianneG says:

    I don’t really understand why this exists. Are some people so desperate to rebuild their credit that this is all they can get?

    • fizzypopbubbles says:

      Yep. My ex-husband’s credit was so horrible that he couldn’t even get approved for a normal secured credit card from a reputable bank. His only options for credit rebuilding plastic were all First Premier Bank cards…Centennial too. He actually made the mistake of getting a First Premier card and then didn’t ever pay off the $200 balance on the card. Last I checked he still owes them upward of $1000 in fees and charges. He’s an extreme example of how to NOT handle your credit, but he’s hardly a rare case these days.

    • sp00nix says:

      I’m one. Only ones to give me one. But now its opened me up to more, and better options.

  4. DanKelley98 says:

    Why does MasterCard let this happen/let them use their logo. Shame on them!

    • mac-phisto says:

      lol. you make that sound like they care. mastercard (like any card network) is a whore. they will take money from whomever gives it to them.

  5. Jimmy60 says:

    I’ve often made the joke of a high interest rate being “usury – 1” but I believe that 59.9 on cash advances is actually “usury – .1”

    For some reason I am imagining a rather burly collections department who prefer to speak to you in person.

  6. Blueskylaw says:

    This actually seems to be part secured card:

    You understand that prior to the issuance of your Secured Card, you must deposit a minimum of $200.00 into a security deposit account with the Bank, which will act as collateral for your credit limit.

    • Gulliver says:

      Premeire has both secured and unsecured cards.

      The people who lived in my townhouse before us get mailers from them all the time. In looking at one right now, they are offering them a $700 line of credit with $175 ANNUAL fee. A $75 “enrollment fee” AND no grace period on purchase that have an interest rate of 29.99%

      I would like to be kissed if somebody is gonna fuck me like that.

  7. dulcinea47 says:

    I had one of those after I’d ruined my credit and was starting to rebuild. Kept it for a couple of years and then cancelled it. It was worth the $75 to have something non-negative on my credit report and get back on track.

  8. dpeters11 says:

    Wow, I went to their site, I had to see the terms for myself. I’m surprised they don’t say “Forget to make a payment? You’re in luck, we won’t raise your APR.” 59.9% is insane for default APR. I guess it’s a good thing they have the grace period, but no one that uses credit responsibly would apply for this card.

    And it looks like they charge a $3.95 Internet access fee. Fortunately, it’s a one time fee, not per month.

  9. 420greg says:

    I was under the impression the new credit card rules did not allow them to charge a fee to pay by phone. Are they somehow exempt?

  10. peebozi says:

    serves those losers right for not reading or clicking on the website at the most opportune times. this is simply the free market at work….actually, this is not anything like the free market because, if it were, the legal loan sharks (banks) would have to compete against the illegal loan sharks.

    unfortunatley, the legal loan sharks (banks) bought off all the politicians before the illegal loan sharks could…amnd continue to buy off our current politician fucks.

  11. Clyde Barrow says:

    Well I am assuming that this cc is for those who have shown society that they are incapable of paying their bills, and I am not even talking about paying them on time. I mean, PAYING them at all. I think that these types of cc are for those who even a politician couldn’t trust. I guess in the end, if a company is willing to take a chance on dead-beats, the excessive charges are to pay for the higher risks. That’s a fact in life.

    My first cc back in ’96 was a high-risk type but that was all I could get. These days, the sky’s the limit because I have proved thru the years that I was reliable in paying my bills on time, every time.

  12. DeeJayQueue says:

    Wow. A while ago I got an offer from these guys, and submitted the gist of the offer here asking for advice. It ran, and most of the commenters said that I should run screaming from this card offer. I did, and now thankfully so. I’m glad that I don’t have to worry about being a member of such a scummy card company.

  13. SynMonger says:

    I’ve got crappy credit. I could never get anyone to give me a shot at a credit card so I went hunting a secured card. Ended up with one from applied bank. $500 line, charges no interest, and charges no late fees. Didn’t charge me to set up the account. $10/mo fee. Reports to all three major bureaus.

  14. SWBLOOPERS says:

    But, but, but I financed my degree at Everett using this card…

  15. Crazytree says:

    There is a market for this type of card: deadbeats who can’t handle a regular card.

  16. zantafio says:

    Do they charge a fee to update your mailing address?

    • mianne prays her parents outlive the TSA says:

      Would they send court summons to your old address after you paid for the change of address?

  17. loueloui says:

    I got scammed by these idiots years ago courtesy of Yahoo. It was circa 1995, and I was naive enough to think that a major company like Yahoo wouldn’t let just anybody with 5 cents advertise on their homepage.

    I as in the Army at the time, and thought my credit was lousy (it really wasn’t). I applied for, and got a credit card with a $250 limit that came pre-loaded with $165 in fees, and a 39.9% APR. It finally cost me over $1200 to get away from these thieves.

    *&$^ you First Premier, and

  18. TasteyCat says:

    As bad as this card may be, it has a purpose. People who can’t get anything else can get this if they’re willing to pay for it. It’s a stepping stone for use while rebuilding credit. Use it for a couple years and move on, hopefully having learned your lesson.

  19. jiubreyn says:

    I signed up for this card several years ago but quickly realized it was not what I was looking for and cancelled it immediately. Now, they are STILL sending me marketing emails telling me they want me back.

    It’s like Chase, i don’t opt-into their overdraft “protection” scam and they keep sending me marketing communications via post telling me not to [miss out] on this great opportunity.

  20. AllanG54 says:

    Providian used to do this too. There were about $75 in fees charged to the card from the day it was issued. I think they ended up getting purchased by another bank. I haven’t seen their ads for a few years.

  21. Bagumpity says:

    Did anybody else pay attention to the advice at the end of the link?

    From TFA: If you want to repair or to build your credit history, a better option is the Citi Secured Mastercard. That card has a $29 annual fee, but the $200 to $5,000 that you deposit (and that sets your credit limit initially) goes into an 18-month CD, currently earning 4.07 percent. After 18 months, you become eligible for an unsecured Citi card. Also, consider the Orchard Bank Secured Mastercard, which waives its $35 annual fee in the first year and has a 7.9 percent APR.

    4.07 pct for an 18mo CD? My bank only pays 0.60% for a $5000 CD. Seems like a good investment to just plop $5K in there for 18 months, use the card like a debit card until the money runs out, and then cancel it.

  22. noggenuser says:

    I had this card one time years ago. Lost my job. They refused what I considered resonable payments. ($50 a month on a $250 balance with a limit of $300). Admittedly I was almost 2 months behind when I offered the arrangement. I ended up paying almost exactly 3 times what I owed when it went to collections and I was employed.

  23. MFfan310 says:

    A classmate who got wiped out by them told me his 2 cents (before 59.99% APR): that First Premier Bank was “the biggest scam-artist(s) in America”. Need I say more?

    And yes, I got a “you’re pre-approved!” application for the “Platinum MasterCard” version of this card in the mail once. Yet I have also received “pre-approved” American Express and Capital One applications.

  24. howtobuildcredit says:

    The truth is unsecured credit cards were given to people with no jobs, no income,etc and the cards were insured by AIG!!!!!!! when the jobless and moneyless couldn’t pay back the credit cards the issuer was given a big fat check for the loss, and the bad debt is sold to collection agencies and you get harrassed for 3 yrs while the original issuer is happy cuz he got paid twice, once by AIG and once by the buyers of the bad debt.. WHAT A SCAMMING BUNCH OF THIEVES!!!!!! arrest and jails them..

  25. downphoenix says:

    It is a pretty bad card as far as fees are concerned (The late fee is the only one reasonable) but I can attest that they do have good customer service and have worked with me, and their interest rate after the introductory rate is very good as long as you are on time with your payments compared to most cards. However, it IS an expensive card to keep, and up until recently, they charged you $7 just to pay your damn bill. I do not recommend this card at all unless you are trying to establish credit and I would just use it for maintaining a small balance and making regular payments to build up your credit then dumping it after you can get a better card. I probably will end up dropping them soon since last month I onyl had a 40$ balance with payments, and it just so happened this was the month for the annual fee which is ridiculously high for a credit card, so as soon as I pay it off I’m done with it since I got a capitalone also which is better in every way except interest rate.