Fingerhut Review for 2021
Fingerhut is an online retail store that sells a wide range of merchandise, including clothing, home goods, and electronics. It also offers a store credit card that lets shoppers make online and catalog purchases.
If you've been turned down by other credit card issuers due to bad credit, you might have better luck getting approved by Fingerhut. Because Fingerhut reports to all three major credit bureaus, using your card responsibly can even help you repair your credit score.
However, the Fingerhut credit card comes with a high annual percent rate (APR), and the products the store sells are typically found elsewhere at a more affordable price. Unless you're truly out of options, you're probably better off getting a secured credit card with better terms.
How Does Fingerhut Credit Work?
If you enjoy online shopping and your credit score is too low to qualify for most credit cards, the Fingerhut credit card can be a way to buy products you need while rebuilding your credit.
Fingerhut is a store as well as a print catalog, although the Fingerhut website states that the catalog isn't always available. The online store sells thousands of products, including auto parts, household appliances, and toys.
While anyone can make purchases from the Fingerhut store, the company also offers a store credit card aimed at people with no credit history or less than perfect credit. Because Fingerhut caters to those with bad credit, most applicants will get approved for a store card.
However, the Fingerhut credit card is only good for making purchases in the Fingerhut store. It also comes with a high APR, which makes it an expensive card to use if you carry a balance.
When you apply for credit through Fingerhut, you're actually applying for two different types of accounts: the Fingerhut credit card from WebBank and a Fingerhut FreshStart installment loan.
Applicants who don't qualify for the credit card might be offered the installment loan instead. Unfortunately, there's no way to apply for one but not the other, and there's no way to know ahead of time if your credit is good enough to qualify for the credit card.
With both the credit card and the installment loan, you can make purchases now and pay them off over time. Both forms of credit also come with a 29.99% APR.
The WebBank/Fingerhut Advantage Credit Card
If you're approved for the Fingerhut credit card, you'll be issued an unsecured credit card that allows you to make purchases from the Fingerhut store.
While there is no annual fee, the 29.99% APR is considerably higher compared to other credit cards marketed toward people with poor credit. Depending on your creditworthiness, Fingerhut might require you to make a down payment on your initial purchase.
How Does the Fingerhut FreshStart Installment Loan Work?
If you don't qualify for the Fingerhut credit card, the company might offer you the FreshStart installment loan. This still allows you to make purchases, but it works a bit differently than the credit card.
If you choose to take advantage of the installment loan offer, you must make a one-time purchase totaling a minimum of $50 and pay a down payment of at least $30. Fingerhut won't accept credit card payments on the $30 down payment, which means you'll need to pay by check, debit card, or another form of payment.
From there, you can pay off the balance in six or eight installments. If you pay off the installment loan on time, Fingerhut might offer you an upgrade to a credit card.
It's important to note that Fingerhut does not report FreshStart installment loan payments to the credit bureaus. However, if you make all your payments on time, there's a chance you could upgrade to the Fingerhut credit card, which reports to all three major credit bureaus.
Pros and Cons to Using Fingerhut
The Fingerhut credit card comes with several pros and cons. Here's a recap of what to expect.
The Fingerhut credit card offers the follow benefits:
Easy to get - The Fingerhut credit card is marketed toward people with poor credit, which means most people who apply have a good chance of getting approved.
No annual fee - Unlike a lot of other credit cards that cater to those with bad credit, the Fingerhut credit card has no annual fee.
Reports to credit bureaus - Fingerhut reports to all three major credit bureaus, making it a good way to boost your credit score.
Wide selection from Fingerhut and partners - The Fingerhut store carries thousands of products. You can also use your Fingerhut card to make purchases at participating partners.
The Fingerhut credit card has some downsides. Keep these in mind before you apply.
High APR - At 29.99%, the interest rate is higher than other credit cards — even those aimed at people with bad credit. You can read the full terms and conditions by looking over the cardholder agreement.
Limited use - The Fingerhut credit card is a store card, which means you can only use it to make purchases from Fingerhut. The company says it offers the option to make purchases from select partners from time to time, but you have to wait for Fingerhut to notify you about these offers.
High prices - You can find many of the products Fingerhut sells for a lower price at other retailers. When you factor in the high interest rate, you can probably get a better deal shopping elsewhere.
How to Build Credit with Fingerhut
If your credit score is low, you can use the Fingerhut credit card to rebuild your credit. This is because Fingerhut reports your payment history to all three major credit bureaus — Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion.
To use your card to improve your score, simply make purchases and then pay them off on time each month. It's best to keep your purchases to a minimum so you don't run into a situation where you're carrying a high balance from month to month.
Where Can You Use a Fingerhut Credit Card?
One of the main drawbacks of the Fingerhut credit card is that you can only use it to make purchases from the Fingerhut store. While Fingerhut says it offers the opportunity to buy from "select partners" from time to time, the company's website doesn't offer a list of these partners beyond saying they include "florists, insurance companies and others."
Alternatives to Fingerhut
The Fingerhut credit card isn't the only option available to people with bad credit. There are several credit cards that offer a high likelihood of approval even if your score could use some work.
1. OpenSky Secured Visa Credit Card
The OpenSky Secured Visa credit card requires a $200 security deposit, but you don't need a credit check or a bank account to qualify. OpenSky also reports to all three credit bureaus, so you can use your card to repair your credit score.
Even better, the OpenSky credit card is a Visa, which means you can use it to make purchases wherever Visa is accepted. The annual fee is $35, and the APR is 18.89%, which is low compared to most cards marketed toward individuals with bad credit.
2. Discover it Secured Credit Card
If you're looking for a credit card with no annual fee, the Discover it secured credit card is worth checking out. You can deposit $200 or $500 as a security deposit, which also acts as your credit limit.
The Discover it card's interest rate is 24.49%. According to Discover, you can upgrade to an unsecured credit card if you pay your bill on time and use your card responsibly.
3. Capital One Secured Mastercard
The Capital One Secured Mastercard is another credit card with no annual fee. The 26.99% APR is a bit high, but you can avoid interest by paying off your balance each month.
You can also choose the security deposit that fits your budget by paying $49, $99, or $200. According to Capital One, you can get access to a higher credit limit after five months of on-time payments.
How to Apply for the Fingerhut Credit Card
The Fingerhut credit card application is available online, and Fingerhut says you'll receive an instant decision once you submit your application.
To apply, go to the main Fingerhut website and click on the "apply now" button in the upper portion on the main page.
This takes you directly to the credit application. Keep in mind that submitting an application means you're applying for both the credit card and the installment loan, as there is no way to apply for the credit card by itself.
When you've filled out the application, just click "submit" at the bottom of the page. According to Fingerhut, you'll receive an instant decision.
Here are some of the most common questions and answers regarding the Fingerhut credit card.
Does Fingerhut Really Help Your Credit?
Yes, but only if you use your card responsibly. Because Fingerhut reports your payment activity to the credit bureaus, you get credit for your on-time payments.
Does Fingerhut Pull Your Credit Score?
Yes, Fingerhut will pull your credit score when you submit a credit application, which results in a hard inquiry on your credit report. This is why you should avoid applying unless you're certain you want a card, as accumulating too many hard inquiries on your credit report can pull down your score.
What Is the Average Fingerhut Credit Limit?
Online reviewers say they were approved for a credit limit ranging anywhere from $200 to $800. According to Fingerhut's credit account agreement, Fingerhut assigns initial credit limits based on an applicant's creditworthiness.
According to Fingerhut's credit tips page, cardholders are eligible for credit limit increases as long as they pay their monthly bill on time. However, Fingerhut doesn't offer any additional information about how much of an increase you can expect to receive.
What Are the Fees for Using Fingerhut?
The Fingerhut credit card has no annual fee, which is something of a rarity among cards marketed toward people with bad credit. The APR is 29.99%.
Fingerhut's credit account agreement also states it will charge up to $40 per late or returned payment.
Does Fingerhut Offer Rewards?
No, the Fingerhut credit card does not come with a rewards program.
How to Cancel Your Fingerhut Account
Canceling your Fingerhut credit card seems to be a straightforward process. According to Fingerhut, you must cut your card in half and send it via regular mail to Fingerhut.
The mailing address to return your card and cancel your account is:
Fingerhut Credit Account Services
P.O. Box 0260
St. Cloud, MN 56395-0260
Your credit history is a measure of how long you've been using credit. It's one of five factors that determine your credit score, and it makes up 15 percent of your score.
Because the Fingerhut credit card doesn't have an annual fee, it won't cost you anything to keep it, even if you decide not to use it. You can simply throw it in a drawer and preserve your credit history without paying any fees.
With no annual fee and an easy approval process, the Fingerhut credit card can help people with poor credit get access to a real credit card that lets them repair their payment history.
At 29.99% APR, however, there's a danger of accumulating debt if you don't pay off your balance each month. Additionally, the products Fingerhut offers tend to be priced higher than you'll find in other stores.
The bottom line is that the Fingerhut credit card may be a good choice if your choices are severely limited. Just make sure you're committed to paying off your purchases each month so you avoid racking up interest.
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.