Cerulean Credit Card Review
Offered by Continental Finance, the Cerulean Mastercard is marketed toward people with poor credit. The Cerulean Mastercard is an invitation-only card, which means you must receive a pre-qualification offer to apply.
The Pros and Cons of the Cerulean Mastercard
Unlike most credit cards, the Cerulean Mastercard isn't very forthcoming online about its terms and conditions. While one part of its website instructs users to enter part of their social security number and card number to locate the cardholder agreement, another part of the website navigates directly to a cardmember agreement showing a 25.90% interest rate.
This makes it hard to know exactly what kind of terms and conditions the card actually offers. It also makes it tough to compare the Cerulean Mastercard to other credit cards on the market.
However, it's possible to gather some important details about the card based on info posted on the Continental Finance website. Here's a quick rundown of what you need to know before you accept an offer.
No maintenance fee - While the Cerulean card comes with a $99 annual fee, it doesn't appear to charge a monthly maintenance fee.
Reports to all three credit bureaus - Continental Finance states that it reports cardholder activity to all three credit bureaus. This can help individuals with bad credit boost their scores by making regular on-time payments every month.
Initial credit limit of $750 - Cardholders get a $750 credit limit to start. While you won't be able to make big purchases, this credit limit is higher than many other cards geared toward those with bad credit.
Free online account access - Get free online access to your account 24/7.
Possibility of an increased credit limit after six months - The Cerulean website says cardholders may be eligible for a credit limit increase after six months. According to the cardmember agreement available online, however, the card has a maximum credit limit of $2,000.
Widely accepted - The Cerulean is a Mastercard, which means it's widely accepted throughout the United States and around the world.
Annual fee - The Cerulean Mastercard comes with a $99 annual fee.
Fee for additional cards - If you want to get an additional card for an authorized user, Continental Finance will charge you $30.
High late and returned payment fees - Continental Finance charges up to $40 for every late or returned payment.
No rewards - The Cerulean Mastercard doesn't offer any kind of rewards program.
Invitation-only - Because the card is only available to those who receive a pre-selected offer, you can only apply if you get an offer in the mail.
Who Should Apply for the Cerulean Mastercard?
So how do you know if the Cerulean Mastercard is right for you? If you have bad credit and you're looking to rebuild, the Cerulean card might be worth a second look.
When you have bad credit, it can be difficult to find a credit card issuer willing to give you a chance. This is because credit card companies assess an individual's likelihood of future default based on the person's past credit use.
If you're committed to repairing your credit, however, using a credit card responsibly can be a great tool for raising your score. While you're unlikely to qualify for the cards with the best terms and conditions, cards like the Cerulean Mastercard can be a good stepping stone on your way to better credit.
Because Continental Finance reports to all three major credit bureaus, you can use the card to repair your payment history. You do this by making small purchases and then paying them off every month.
By doing this every month over several months, you'll see your credit score start to rise. This can help you qualify for better offers down the road.
At the same time, you should keep in mind that it's always a good idea to shop around for a credit card that offers the best terms for your goals. If you sign up for a card with high fees, it could be more trouble than it's worth.
How to Apply for the Cerulean Mastercard
Assuming you've received an invitation offer, applying for the Cerulean Mastercard is easy.
1. Go to the Offer Website
First, you should go to the Cerulean Mastercard offer website, which gives you a place to enter your reservation number. You'll also need to enter your social security number to access the application.
2. Fill Out the Application
Once you enter your reservation number and social security number, you'll be able to access the card application. On its FAQ page, Continental Finance states that applicants will need to provide the following personal information:
3. Wait for a Decision
After you submit your application, your last step is to wait for Continental Finance to review it and make a decision. In some cases you might receive an instant decision online, but Continental Finance says it can take up to 30 days to hear back in some cases.
Cerulean Mastercard Reviews
You'll have a hard time finding user reviews specific to the Cerulean Mastercard. However, there are plenty of reviews online for Continental Finance in general.
This is probably because Continental Finance as a whole serves the "bad credit" market. Each of its cards has similar terms, such as a high annual fee, which you can check out on its list of card offerings.
Overall, reviews are mixed, with some users saying the high fees made the cards a bad choice and others reporting that the cards helped them build their credit.
For example, these positive reviewers had good things to say about their card issued by Continental Finance, with one reviewer reporting they received a $300 credit limit increase after the first six months.
On the other hand, there are also negative reviews. Some cardholders complain about Continental Finance cards' high fees, and others say they were disappointed with the customer service.
Alternatives to the Cerulean Credit Card
Having bad credit will restrict your options when it comes to credit cards, but you probably have more choices than you realize. For example, here are three credit cards to consider if you're not quite ready to move forward with the Cerulean Mastercard.
As the name indicates, the Capital One Secured Mastercard is a secured credit card, which means it requires a security deposit. However, you can choose to put down $49, $99, or $200 depending on your creditworthiness.
The Capital One Secured Mastercard also comes with no annual fee, which can be a big help when your budget is tight and you're trying to rebuild your credit.
On the other hand, be wary of carrying a balance. With a 26.99% annual percentage rate (APR), the Capital One Secured Mastercard can be expensive to use if you don't plan on paying off your balance each month.
The Discover it Secured credit card is one of just a handful of secured credit cards that also offers a rewards program. Cardholders can earn 2% cash back up to $1,000 on dining and fuel plus 1% cash back on all other purchases.
Even better, the Discover it Secured credit card has no annual fee and no monthly maintenance fee, making it one of the most affordable cards for people with bad credit.
Because it's a secured card, however, the Discover it Secured credit card requires an up-front security deposit. You'll need to put down $200 to get started, but you can ask for a higher credit limit after eight months of responsible use.
The Discover it Secured card's APR is 24.49%. Cardholders also have the option to upgrade to an unsecured card after a period of responsible use.
With no annual fee and the option to choose your own payment date, the Citi Secured Mastercard is another card to consider if you have bad credit.
Depending on your creditworthiness, you can deposit between $200 and $2,500 to get started. The Citi Secured card's APR is 23.49%.
Cardholders can choose a payment date that suits their needs, whether that's at the beginning of the month, toward the middle, or near the end. You also get free access to your FICO score, which can help you stay on top of your credit as you work toward rebuilding.
Cerulean Mastercard FAQs
Here are some of the most commonly asked questions and answers about the Cerulean Mastercard. You can find even more info on Continental Finance's FAQ page.
Where Can I Use My Cerulean Mastercard?
The Cerulean card is a Mastercard, which is widely accepted in the U.S. and around the globe. Visa and Mastercard are the two largest payment processing networks in the world, and the two cards are accepted just about everywhere.
Does the Cerulean Mastercard Earn Rewards?
No, the Cerulean Mastercard does not offer any kind of rewards program.
What Credit Score Is Needed for a Cerulean Credit Card?
Continental Finance doesn't specify what kind of credit score is needed to apply for the card.
However, the card is only available to those who are pre-selected to apply. If you received an invitation offer in the mail, it's probably safe to assume Continental Finance has determined your score is high enough to meet their threshold.
What Are the Cerulean Mastercard Fees?
Unfortunately, the Cerulean Mastercard does come with some pretty significant fees.
Annual fee - $99
Authorized user fee - $30
Late payment fee - Up to $40
Returned payment fee - Up to $40
What Is the Cerulean Mastercard APR?
According to the cardmember agreement available from the Continental Finance website, the Cerulean Mastercard's APR is 25.90%.
Does the Cerulean Mastercard Offer an Introductory APR for Balance Transfers?
No, the Cerulean Mastercard doesn't offer an introductory APR for balance transfers. Furthermore, nothing in the cardmember agreement mentions balance transfers, which could mean the card doesn't allow them.
The cardmember agreement also states the card has a maximum credit limit of $2,000, which could make it impractical to transfer a balance from another card.
Does the Cerulean Mastercard Offer an Introductory APR for New Purchases?
No. Like most cards designed for people with bad credit, the Cerulean Mastercard doesn't offer an introductory APR.
If you're trying to repair bad credit or you're new to the world of credit and need to establish a payment history, the Cerulean Mastercard might be a decent choice. However, the $99 annual fee can make this card pricey to own.
The good news is there are plenty of secured credit cards out there with no annual fee. As long as you pay off your balance each month, you can avoid interest charges while establishing yourself as a responsible user of credit.
About the Author
Mike is a recognized credit expert and founder of Credit Takeoff. His credit advice has been featured in CNBC, Investopedia, CreditCards.com, Bankrate, Huffpost, The Simple Dollar, Reader's Digest, LendingTree, and Quickbooks. Read more.