Fortiva Mastercard Review
While it's generally easy for just about anyone to get approved, the card comes with high fees that have the potential to dig individuals deeper into debt.
Consumers should also be aware of the Fortiva card's negative customer reviews.
If you want to use a credit card to build or repair your credit, you might be better off with another option, such as a secured credit card with a lower interest rate and no annual fee.
In this Fortiva Mastercard review, we'll walk you through everything you need to know.
The Pros and Cons of the Fortiva Mastercard
The Fortiva Mastercard markets itself as a credit card for those with "less-than-perfect credit" who are looking for an "unsecured card." This can make it appealing to people who prefer an unsecured card to a secured card that requires an up-front security deposit.
However, a long list of fees can make the Fortiva card an expensive one to have in your wallet. Plus, the lower your credit score, the more you can expect to pay in annual fees, maintenance fees, and interest.
The Fortiva card is issued by the Bank of Missouri, but card services are managed by Atlanticus Services Corporation. Cardholders will see Atlanticus on their statements and other documentation.
According to reviewers, the Fortiva Mastercard has its share of pros and cons. If you're considering getting a Fortiva card, keep the following in mind.
Easy approval - Reviewers say that just about anyone can get approved, with some reviewers saying their credit scores were as low as 400 when they applied. If you've been turned down for other cards, you might have a better chance at getting approved for a Fortiva credit card.
Reports to credit bureaus - Atlanticus reports cardholder payments to all three credit bureaus. This is good news if you're using the card to repair your credit score, since you'll get credit for making regular on-time payments.
Free access to credit score - Fortiva cardholders get free access to their VantageScore credit score, which can help them monitor their credit. VantageScore is a competitor of the more widely used FICO score, but the two scoring models typically don't produce much of a difference in scores.
High fees - The Fortiva Mastercard comes with some pretty significant fees, including an annual fee that ranges between $49 and $175 for the first year, and then drops to anywhere between $0 and $49 in subsequent years. Borrowers will also pay an account maintenance fee, late fees for missed payments, authorized user fees, and an account activation fee.
High interest - Fortiva cardholders will also pay a variable annual percent rate (APR) that ranges between 22.74% and 36% depending on their credit score.While 22.74% interest is in line with plenty of other credit cards, the reality is that most people with very low credit scores will end up paying closer to 36%, which is quite high.
No rewards - The Fortiva Mastercard offers no rewards, which means you don't get cash back or other perks on the purchases you make.
Negative customer reviews - The majority of Fortiva's online reviews are quite negative. Cardholders regularly mention the card's high fees, and say they received bad customer service when interacting with the company.
Will not consider credit limit increases - In its cardholder agreement, Fortiva explicitly says "we do not accept credit limit increase requests."
If you're considering applying for the Fortiva Mastercard, it's a good idea to review the card's full terms and conditions. From there, you should compare the Fortiva card to other cards designed for people with bad credit.
Who Should Apply for the Fortiva Mastercard?
There are a couple reasons why it might make sense to apply for the Fortiva Mastercard. Here are two to consider.
1. Repairing Your Credit
The Fortiva Mastercard reports to all three credit bureaus, which can help you quickly boost your credit score. Once your score improves, you may be able to qualify for a better card with lower fees and a more manageable APR.
However, it's important to remember that a credit card will only help you improve your score if you pay your bill on time every month. Even one late payment can damage your score.
If you decide to open a Fortiva Mastercard, make sure you understand the fees and that you can handle the interest. In fact, you can avoid interest altogether if you pay off your full balance every month.
2. Easy Approval Even with Low Credit Scores
People with very low credit scores often find it difficult to get approved for a credit card. If your credit score is poor, this is a red flag to creditors that you've likely mismanaged your finances in the past.
The Fortiva Mastercard is a relatively rare unsecured credit card that takes on borrowers with scores on the low end of the credit spectrum. However, there are several secured credit cards that also accept people with lower scores — without the Fortiva card's high fees.
How to Apply for the Fortiva Mastercard
You can apply for the Fortiva Mastercard online, but only if you've received an offer in the mail. If you've received an offer, filling out the online application is easy.
1. Go to the Fortiva website - You can find it at myfortiva.com.
2. Click the mail offer section - Select "respond to your mail offer" to enter the code from the mailer.
3. Enter your offer acceptance code - Enter your acceptance code in the appropriate box to access the online application.
4. Fill out the application - Once you click "submit code" you'll get access to the online application. You'll need to provide some personal information, including your full contact details as well as your income.
Fortiva Mastercard Reviews
The Fortiva Mastercard gets some positive reviews online. For example, one reviewer from Credit Karma said they received a $2,500 credit limit and that Atlanticus reported their on-time payments to the three credit bureaus.
Another reviewer said they received a $5,000 credit limit and encountered "no issues" using the card.
Despite some good reviews, however, the majority of the reviews for the Fortiva Mastercard are less than favorable.
For example, one reviewer from WalletHub complained of the Fortiva card's high interest rate and maintenance fees.
Another reviewer called the fees "extremely high" and said there are "too many hidden fees."
Yet another reviewer went so far as to call the Fortiva card "predatory."
Alternatives to the Fortiva Credit Card
If the Fortiva Mastercard's high fees make you wary, the good news is you probably still have other options — even if your credit score is low.
One of the drawbacks of the Fortiva card is that it markets itself to those with dismal credit scores, and then charges high fees that can make it difficult to use the card without incurring more debt. For people already struggling with their finances, exorbitant fees can make it tough to get much value out of the card.
If you want to improve your credit and avoid paying high fees and interest, here are three alternatives to consider.
The Capital One Secured Mastercard is a secured credit card, but it gives borrowers the flexibility to pick how much they want to put down as a security deposit. If you apply, you can choose to put down $49, $99, or $200.
Unlike the Fortiva Mastercard, the Capital One Secured Mastercard comes with no annual fee. Borrowers are also eligible to receive a credit limit increase after five months of responsible use.
The Discover it Secured Card comes with no annual fee, and it's a rare secured credit card that lets borrowers earn rewards on purchases. The minimum security deposit is $200, but cardholders have the option of putting down more if they would like a higher credit limit.
The card offers users 2% cash back on fuel and dining and 1% on all other purchases. Discover will also match your cash back rewards for the first year you have the card.
After eight months of responsible use, Discover generally gives borrowers the option to upgrade to an unsecured credit card.
With no credit check required, the Open Sky Secured Visa is available to just about every borrower. It requires a $200 security deposit, with the option to get a higher credit limit with responsible use.
The Open Sky card does come with a $35 annual fee, but there is no monthly maintenance fee. With an 18.89% variable APR, its interest rate is also lower than that of other cards marketed toward those with bad credit scores.
Fortiva Mastercard FAQs
Here are some of the most frequently asked questions and answers regarding the Fortiva Mastercard.
Where Can I Use My Fortiva Credit Card?
You can use the Fortiva Mastercard anywhere the Mastercard brand is accepted. This shouldn't be a problem, as Mastercard is accepted throughout the United States and in over 200 countries and territories around the world.
Does the Fortiva Mastercard Earn Rewards?
No, the Fortiva Mastercard doesn't offer any rewards, which means you can't get cash back or other perks on the purchases you make.
What Credit Score Is Needed for a Fortiva Credit Card?
Neither Atlanticus nor the Fortiva card website specify a particular credit score necessary to qualify for the card. However, the card is marketed toward those with very low scores, which means even applicants with poor credit scores should qualify.
Some online reviewers say they received an offer for a Fortiva card despite having credit scores as low as 400. In fact, given that Fortiva explicitly markets itself as a card for those with poor scores, you might only receive an offer letter if your score is quite low.
What Are the Fortiva Mastercard Fees?
Unfortunately, the Fortiva Mastercard comes packed with just about every kind of fee a credit card can have. While some of the fees vary based on your creditworthiness, this can end up being an expensive card if your credit score is very low.
Annual Fee - The annual fee varies from $49 to $175 for the first year you have the card, then it drops to anywhere between $0 and $49.
Maintenance Fee - Borrowers will also pay an "account maintenance fee" ranging between $60 and $159. This fee is billed annually for the first year and then assessed monthly (between $5 and $12.50) for subsequent years.
Account Activation Fee - It will cost you $25 just to open an account.
Authorized User Fee - Fortiva charges $25 for every authorized user you add to your account.
Late Payment Fee - The maximum amount allowed under federal law, which is $40 as of January 1, 2020.
Returned Payment Fee - The maximum amount allowed under federal law, which is $40 as of January 1, 2020.
Balance Transfer Fee - 3% of the amount transferred.
Cash Advance Fee - $5 or 5% of the amount advanced, whichever is more. Borrowers will also pay interest on cash advances at a variable rate between 25.74% and 36% depending on their creditworthiness.
Foreign Transaction Fee - 3% of the purchase amount.
With such a long list of high fees, you might wonder if the Fortiva card is worth it. Before you apply, it's important to shop around to make sure you find the best card for your needs.
What Is the Fortiva Mastercard APR?
The Fortiva Mastercard's APR is a variable rate between 22.74% and 36% depending on your creditworthiness.
Does the Fortiva Mastercard Offer an Introductory APR for Balance Transfers?
No, the Fortiva Mastercard doesn't offer any kind of introductory rates. The interest rate for balance transfers is anywhere between 25.74% and 36% based on your credit score.
Does the Fortiva Mastercard Offer an Introductory APR for New Purchases?
No, the Fortiva Mastercard doesn't come with an introductory APR for new purchases. The interest rate for purchases varies between 22.74% and 36% depending on your creditworthiness.
Because it reports to all three major credit bureaus, the Fortiva Mastercard could help you repair your credit. However, you'll likely accumulate significant fees in the process.
The Fortiva Mastercard might be attractive to some borrowers who prefer an unsecured credit card.
When you factor in what can quickly add up to hundreds of dollars in fees, however, you can probably save by opting for a secured credit card that gives you the option of upgrading to an unsecured card down the road.
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.