Net First Platinum Card Review
At first glance, the NetFirst Platinum credit card may sound like a good deal for people who want to build or rebuild their credit.
However, the card comes with some serious limitations and high membership fees.
On the other hand, there are no credit checks, and even those with bad credit are guaranteed automatic approval. Before you apply, it's important to weigh the pros and cons.
NetFirst Platinum Overview
In other words, you can only use the NetFirst card to shop at the Horizon Store. This is similar to a department store credit card, which can only be used as a specific retailer.
The NetFirst card is issued and managed by Horizon Card Services, which makes it clear on its site that it's not a bank or credit services organization and that the NetFirst Platinum card isn't a Visa, Mastercard, or debit card.
Unfortunately, the card's limitations aren't immediately apparent until you read the fine print.
Because the NetFirst card sounds like a typical unsecured credit card, many reviewers report being lured in by the promise of a credit-builder card, only to realize they had severely restricted options for actually using their account.
Pros vs. Cons of the NetFirst Platinum Card
Like all cards, the NetFirst Platinum credit card has its pros and cons. Here's a rundown of the benefits and potential drawbacks.
If you're interested in the NetFirst Platinum card, here are four positive features to keep in mind.
1. Easy to Get Approved
The NetFirst Platinum credit card is marketed specifically toward people with bad credit, which means just about anyone can get approved. Horizon Card Services doesn't verify your employment or pull your credit report, so you don't have to worry about a hard inquiry lowering your credit score.
Once you're approved, you'll receive a $500 credit limit. However, you can only use this credit toward purchases made from the Horizon Outlet Store, which features a limited selection of various household goods, clothing, toys, and other items.
2. Reports to Credit Bureaus
According to the terms and conditions posted on the Horizon Card Services site, Horizon reports users' payment history to at least one credit bureau. However, Horizon doesn't disclose which bureau it reports to, nor does it promise to report to all three.
It's also important to note that Horizon explicitly states that it "does not guarantee aid in building or re-building credit, or to the posting of any positive references to any credit report."
3. Member Benefits
The NetFirst card also comes with an optional "monthly membership" plan that gives users access to privacy protection, prescription discounts, legal assistance benefits, and roadside assistance. However, the plan costs $24.95 per month.
Additionally, Horizon Card Services says members "are automatically enrolled" in the membership plan when they open an account, so it's important to be vigilant about canceling those benefits if you don't want to pay a monthly fee.
4. No APR
The NetFirst Platinum credit card has no annual percentage rate (APR) on purchases. However, there is a $6 monthly maintenance fee unless you enroll in the monthly membership plan (which also comes with a $24.95 per month fee).
Unfortunately, the NetFirst Platinum credit card has its share of drawbacks. Here are four to consider before signing up.
1. Limited Options
As many online reviews point out, the NetFirst Platinum card is a line of credit rather than a traditional credit card. Cardholders can only make purchases at the Horizon Outlet Store.
2. High Membership Fees
While the NetFirst Platinum card has a 0% APR, it does come with other fees. Most notably, Horizon automatically enrolls everyone in its $24.95 per month membership plan, which totals almost $300 per year.
If you opt out of the monthly membership plan, you lose access to its benefits. Once your membership ends, you must pay a $6 per month maintenance charge.
Additional fees include shipping and handling on all purchases made in the Horizon Outlet Store, $20 late payment fees, a $5 fee when your card is issued, and a $25 fee for insufficient funds or returned checks.
3. Limited Reporting to Credit Bureaus
Horizon Card Services says it reports cardholders' payment activity to at least one credit bureau, but it fails to disclose which one.
If you're looking for a credit card that helps you build credit, it's probably best to stick with one that reports to all three major credit bureaus: Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion.
4. Automatic Enrollment in Monthly Membership Plan
Several online reviews give the NetFirst card and Horizon Card Services low marks for their practice of automatically enrolling applicants in a membership plan that costs $24.95 per month. Many reviewers state that they weren't aware they were being added to the plan when they signed up for the card.
It's also difficult to get information about what benefits members receive for their $24.95 per month fee. The Horizon Card Services terms and conditions directs users to a member benefits site that requires a login and password.
Horizon Card Services mentions that the monthly membership plan includes privacy protection, prescription discounts, legal assistance benefits, and roadside assistance. However, it contains very limited information about where users can claim these benefits.
- Privacy Protection - The Horizon Card Services site refers to this as "unlimited internet access." It also says that members can view their credit report once their account is activated.
- Prescription Discounts - Members receive "up to 40%" off on covered prescriptions, but only at participating pharmacies.
- Legal Assistance Benefits - Excluding criminal law cases, members get one free 30-minute call with a "legal professional."
- Roadside Assistance - Members receive a maximum of three calls or towing requests not to exceed 15 miles or $50. This benefit is limited to one call every 30 days. The roadside assistance benefit can't be used for motor vehicle accidents. Additionally, if members use their benefit for fuel delivery, they're limited to two gallons of gas and must cover the cost of the fuel.
Does the Net First Platinum Help Build Credit?
In theory, the NetFirst Platinum credit card might help you build credit and improve your credit score. This is because Horizon Card Services says it reports account activity to at least one credit bureau.
However, Horizon makes it clear in its terms and conditions that it doesn't "guarantee aid in building or re-building credit, or to the posting of any positive references to any credit report."
If you're shopping for a credit card that helps you improve your credit score or establish credit, you're most likely better off with other options.
Net First Platinum Reviews: Is It Worth It?
Overall, reviewers have generally poor things to say about the NetFirst Platinum credit card. The majority of reviews flag the card's limited uses and high membership fees as problematic.
According to one reviewer at Credit Forums, Horizon's terms and conditions are misleading, as they do a bad job of letting people know the card can only be used at the Horizon Outlet Store.
Another reviewer at Sitejabber tells others to be wary of the card's limitations, noting that it's not a true credit card.
Does Net First Platinum Report Your Account Activity to Credit Bureaus?
Horizon Card Services says it reports account activity to at least one credit bureau, but it doesn't identify which one. If you're looking to build your credit with a credit credit, you're probably better off going with another option.
How to Apply for a NetFirst Platinum Credit Card
Applying for the NetFirst Platinum credit card is a straightforward process. Applicants must be U.S. citizens who are at least 18 years old.
Step 1: Go to the application page. This requires you to provide your email address and zip code.
Step 2: Fill out the application
Step 3: Submit your application and activate your card
Because application approval is automatic, applicants don't have to wait to find out if they're approved. However, it can take anywhere between five days and two weeks from account activation to receive your physical card in the mail.
How to Cancel Your NetFirst Platinum Credit Card
According to Horizon Card Services, there is no fee to cancel your NetFirst Platinum credit card.
To cancel, cardholders must call member services at 1-800-251-6144. The member services department is available Monday through Friday between 8:30 a.m. and 9:00 p.m., as well as Saturday between 9 a.m. and 4:00 p.m.
Best NetFirst Platinum Alternatives
For people interested in using a credit card to build or repair their credit, there are several good alternatives to the NetFirst Platinum card.
The Capital One Secured Mastercard is a real credit card, which means cardholders can use it to make purchases anywhere Mastercard is accepted. Depending on your credit score, you'll pay an upfront security deposit of $49, $99, or $200.
- No annual fee
- Get a higher credit limit after five months of timely payments
- Pick your payment due date
- Reports to all three credit bureaus
- High variable APR of 26.99%
- No rewards
- Takes 2-3 weeks to receive your card
The OpenSky Secured Visa doesn't require a credit check, which means even people with little credit or very poor credit can qualify. However, the card comes with a $35 annual fee.
- No credit check
- Pick a secured deposit from $200 to $3,000 subject to approval
- Reports to all three credit bureaus
- $35 annual fee
- Minimum security deposit is $200, which might be out of reach for some people
- No ability to upgrade to an unsecured card
With an 18.89% APR, the OpenSky Secured Visa has a lower interest rate compared to some other secured cards. However, the annual fee is a bit higher than that of similar cards.
The Deserve Pro Mastercard is an unsecured credit card, which means you aren't required to put any money down. It also comes with no annual fee and cash back rewards on purchases.
- No annual fee
- Variable APR ranging between 17.49% and 24.49%
- No foreign transaction fees
- Available for U.S. residents as well as non-citizens with certain visa statuses
- Earn 3% cash back on travel, 2% on restaurants, and 1% on all other purchases
- Requires a higher credit score, with most reviewers saying they needed a score of at least 690 to qualify
- No sign-up bonus, but cardholders can get a one-year membership that gives you priority access to participating airport lounges if you spend $1,000 within the first 90 days. However, you still have to pay $27 per lounge visit.
Quick Tips for Building Your Credit
If your credit score is low or you need to build credit from scratch, there are several things you can do to boost your score and establish yourself in the credit world. Here are four options to consider.
1. Check Your Credit Report
Your first step should be getting a copy of your credit report and reviewing it for accuracy. This is an easy and free step anyone can (and should) take on the road to building good credit.
Under federal law, you're entitled to one free credit report from all three major credit bureaus every 12 months. You can get your free report by visiting annualcreditreport.com.
2. Get a Credit Builder Loan
With a credit builder loan, you essentially pay yourself. Unlike a traditional loan, which gives you money up front, a credit builder loan requires you to make monthly payments into a type of savings account.
After a certain period of time, the lender considers your "loan" paid in full. At that time, you receive all the money you paid into the loan plus any interest you earned.
While you're making payments toward your credit builder loan, the bank reports your monthly payments to the credit bureaus. This allows you to build a positive payment history over time.
3. Become an Authorized User
If you don't have any credit history to speak of or your credit score is very low, you can try piggybacking on someone else's good credit by asking them to add you as an authorized user on one or more of their credit accounts.
If you opt for this route, just make sure the cardholder's creditor reports authorized user activity to the credit bureaus. That way you'll get credit for your on-time payments.
4. Get a Secured Credit Card
Unlike unsecured credit cards, secured credit cards require you to make a security deposit up front. This protects the creditor in the event you stop making payments.
Secured credit cards are typically designed for people with bad credit, which makes them much easier to get compared to unsecured cards. Fees and terms vary, so it's important to do your homework before signing up for a card.
In most cases, security deposits don't exceed more than a couple hundred dollars, which also serves as the card's credit limit. Additionally, many secured cards give cardholders the option to upgrade to an unsecured card with a higher credit limit after a period of responsible use.
With no credit checks and guaranteed approval, the NetFirst Platinum credit card may look like a promising way to boost your credit score.
Because it's a line of credit and not a real credit card, however, it's probably worth looking into a card that offers more flexibility and lower fees.
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.