First Premier Bank Mastercard Review

Updated: August 13, 2020

first premier bank credit card review

The First Premier Bank Mastercard is an unsecured credit card aimed toward people with bad credit. Due to its high interest rate and long list of fees, the First Premier card offers little benefit, so you're probably better off looking for a more affordable alternative. 

First Premier Bank credit card overview

The First Premier Bank Mastercard is issued by First Premier Bank, which is headquartered in South Dakota and has been in the credit card business since 1989. It advertises the First Premier Bank Mastercard as made for those with "less than perfect credit." 

The Premier card is a rare unsecured credit card designed for people with low credit scores. In most cases, lenders willing to give credit cards to people with bad credit limit their offerings to secured cards. 

While you don't have to put down a security deposit with the Premier Bank card, you'll definitely pay in other ways. The card is riddled with fees, including an annual fee, program fee, monthly fee, and more. 

Due to its lengthy list of fees and 36% annual percentage rate (APR), the First Premier Bank Mastercard is a pricey card to have in your wallet. Unless you're absolutely out of options and desperate to get a credit card, it's wise to look elsewhere.

Is First Premier Bank legit?

First Premier Bank is a real bank based in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. It offers a number of financial products, from regular checking accounts and loans to brokerage services and credit cards.

Who is this card best for?

This card should really be a last resort for someone who has truly poor credit and can't get a credit card anywhere else. It's also an option if you have bad credit but don't have the cash to come up with the deposit for a secured credit card.

On the other hand, there are several secured credit cards that don't require a big up-front security deposit. In addition, you get your deposit back when you close your account, which is not the case with the "program fee" and other fees you'll pay when opening the First Premier card. 

However, if a secured card isn't an option and you want a credit card for rebuilding your credit, you could use the First Premier card as a stepping stone to a more affordable card. If you go this route, however, it's important to avoid carrying a balance and possibly racking up a lot of interest.

Pros and cons of the First Premier credit card

Unfortunately, the bad outweighs the good when it comes to the First Premier Bank Mastercard. Here's a breakdown of the pros and cons you should know before you sign up. 

Pros:

Despite its drawbacks, the First Premier card offers a few benefits. Here are some of the items in the plus column for this card. 

  • Easy to get - While acceptance isn't guaranteed, even people with very bad credit have been known to qualify for this card. According to several online reviews, a recent bankruptcy isn't necessarily an automatic disqualifier. 

  • Accepted most places - The First Premier card is a real Mastercard, which is accepted by most merchants around the world. 

  • Reports to credit bureaus - First Premier reports to all three major credit bureaus, so you get credit for your on-time payments. This can help you rebuild your payment history and boost your credit score.

  • Fast approval - According to First Premier, most people get a decision within 60 seconds.

  • Credit limit increases - First Premier offers credit limit increases after you've had your card for 13 months. However, you must demonstrate responsible credit use to qualify for a limit increase, and you'll pay a 25% fee on the amount of the increase.For example, if First Premier increases your credit limit by $100, you'll pay a $25 fee, leaving you with $75 in additional credit. 

  • Free FICO score - Cardholders get their FICO score on their statements once a quarter. There is no charge for this service. 

  • Credit protection available - The optional Premier Credit Protection program costs $0.89 for every $100 of your end-of-month balance. If you opt for this protection, First Premier will cover your payments if you have an emergency.These types of credit protection programs tend to be peppered with exclusions, however, so it's important to read the fine print before signing up.    

Cons:

The First Premier Bank Mastercard has a number of drawbacks. Here's a look at the negatives associated with this card.

  • 36% APR - The interest rate for the First Premier card is 36%, which is among the highest of any credit card on the market.

  • No rewards - It's rare for a subprime card to offer a rewards program, but there are a few that do. However, the First Premier Bank Mastercard is not one of them.

  • Excessive fees - The First Premier card is packed with fees, including a program fee, annual, and monthly maintenance fee. The amount you'll pay depends on your credit limit, which you won't know until you're approved for an account. Here's a detailed breakdown of the fees you can expect to pay if you sign up for the First Premier card.

Credit Limit

Program Fee

Annual Fee

Monthly Fee

$300

$95

$75 the first year then $45

$0 the first year then $6.25 a month

$400

$95

$100 the first year then $45

$0 the first year then $6.25 a month

$500

$95

$125 the first year then $49

$0 the first year then $10.40 a month

$600

$75

$79 the first year then $49

$5.85 a month the first year then $8.25 a month

$700

$55

$79 the first year then $49

$8 a month the first year then $10.40 a month

$1,000

$25

$79 the first year then $49

$8 a month the first year then $10.40 a month

Because these fees come out of your available credit, you're looking at your credit limit shrinking considerably right off the bat. For example, if you get approved for a card with a $300 limit, First Premier will subtract the $75 annual fee right away, leaving you with just $225 in available credit.

In addition, you have to pay the $25-$95 program fee out of your pocket before First Premier will open your account. If you don't pay it within 85 days of getting approved for a card, First Premier will withdraw your approval. 

Other fees include:

  • 25% credit limit increase fee - If you receive a credit limit increase, First Premier will charge you 25% of the limit increase. For example, you would pay a $25 fee for $100 in additional credit, reducing your credit limit increase to $75.

  • 5% cash advance fee - First Premier charges $6 or 5% of the amount advanced, whichever is higher, for cash advances. You'll also pay 36% interest on the money advanced until you pay it off. 

  • 3% foreign transaction fee - If you use your card overseas, you'll pay 3% on all purchases.

  • $29 authorized user fee - If you want to add your spouse or a child to your account, you'll be charged $29 for every additional card you order.  

First Premier Bank credit card reviews

As you might expect, the First Premier card doesn't get rave reviews. The majority of reviewers give this card low marks for its high APR and excessive fees.

However, some reviewers say First Premier gave them a chance when other credit card lenders turned them down. For example, several reviewers said the First Premier Bank Mastercard helped them rebuild their credit, with one reviewer crediting the card with helping them raise their credit score after a bankruptcy.  

 

 It's worth noting that the majority of positive reviewers said they were aware of the card's high fees and APR before they signed up. To avoid any unpleasant surprises, it's always a good idea to thoroughly review a card's user agreement before you apply. 

How to use your First Premier credit card

Due to its high APR and long list of fees, it's best to limit yourself to using the First Premier card as a credit-builder card only. This means using it sparingly and paying it off every month. 

For example, make a few small purchases with your card each month and then pay them off in full. That way you don't accumulate any interest and you get credit for making your payment on time. 

If you make this a habit, you can improve your payment history, which accounts for 35 percent of your credit score and is one of five factors that affect your score.  

Alternatives to the First Premier Bank credit card

If you're wary of the First Premier card's high fees and 36% APR, there are several excellent alternatives available. Even if you have bad credit, the following credit cards may be within your reach.

1. OpenSky Secured Visa

The OpenSky Secured Visa is a secured credit card, which means you'll need to come up with a security deposit. You can choose to deposit anywhere between $200 and $3,000, and your deposit is 100% refundable.

There is no credit check required to apply for the OpenSky Secured Visa, making it a top choice for people with bad credit. The card also reports to all three credit bureaus, so you get credit for paying your bill on time

The OpenSky Visa has a $35 annual fee, but the APR is just 17.39%, making it a much more affordable card than the First Premier Mastercard. 

2. Indigo Platinum Mastercard 

The Indigo Platinum Mastercard is an unsecured credit card designed for those with less than perfect credit scores. There is no monthly service fee and the APR is 24.90%. 

On the downside, the Indigo Platinum card comes with an annual fee for most borrowers with bad credit. Depending on your creditworthiness, you'll pay $0, $59, or $75 the first year and then $99 in subsequent years.  

However, the card reports to all three credit bureaus, which makes it a good card for rebuilding your credit. It's also more affordable than the First Premier card. 

3. Discover it Secured Mastercard

The Discover it Secured Mastercard is a secured card, but it's a rare card for bad credit that actually offers a nice rewards program. Cardholders get 2% cash back up to $1,000 per quarter on food and gas purchases and an unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases. 

Even better, Discover matches your rewards the first year, so you get double rewards. Discover also starts automatically reviewing your account at eight months to determine if it will return your security deposit. 

There is no annual fee and no monthly fee with the Discover it card, and you can start with a security deposit as low as $200. The APR is 22.99%, and Discover reports to all three credit bureaus.   

First Premier credit card FAQs

The following are some of the most frequently asked questions and answers regarding the First Premier Bank Mastercard.

Does First Premier increase your credit limit?

Yes, First Premier offers credit limit increases after you've used your card responsibly for at least 13 months. However, there's a 25% credit limit increase fee on the amount of your increase. 

What credit score do you need for a First Premier credit card?

First Premier doesn't explicitly state what kind of credit score you need to qualify for a card. However, the card is specifically marketed toward those with bad credit, and several reviewers stated they were approved even with a recent bankruptcy.

Is First Premier a secured credit card?

No, the First Premier Bank Mastercard is an unsecured credit card, which means you aren't required to pay a security deposit to open your account. However, the fees associated with this card are comparable to the money you would pay for a secured card. 

What is the annual fee for the First Premier credit card? 

The annual fee for this card depends on your credit limit, which is determined by your creditworthiness. You'll pay anywhere between $75 and $125 the first year and then an amount between $45 and $49 in subsequent years. 

Can I withdraw money from my First Premier Bank credit card?

You can get a cash advance from your First Premier Bank Mastercard. You'll pay $6 or 5% of the amount advanced, whichever is higher, plus 36% interest on the balance. 

Should I close my First Premier Bank credit card?

Generally, you should avoid closing a credit card even if you no longer use it, as it's important to keep as much of your credit history intact as you can. The length of your credit history affects your credit score, so closing a card can lower your score.

However, cards with a high annual fee and expensive monthly fees like the First Premier card might not be worth keeping open. If you're paying hundreds of dollars of fees every year, it's probably best to try upgrading to a card with better terms.

Conclusion

Because it reports to the credit bureaus, the First Premier Bank Mastercard might help you improve your credit score, but the high fees and 36% APR make it an expensive card to own. If you need a credit-builder card to help rehab your bad credit, it's best to shop around for other options.


About the Author


Mike Pearson

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.

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