Reflex Mastercard® Review
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A bit different than other credit cards on the market, the Reflex card can be an unsecured or secured card depending on your credit score.
However, this card comes with a relatively high interest rate, as well as a number of fees. While it's worth a look for those with low credit, there might be better options available.
We take a look at everything you need to know in this Reflex Mastercard® review.
The Pros and Cons of the Reflex Mastercard®
Issued by Continental Finance Company, the Reflex Mastercard® is marketed toward people who might otherwise struggle to qualify for a credit card. Like all credit cards, it has its share of pros and cons.
Generous credit limit - The Reflex Mastercard® starts users out with a $500 credit limit. This is higher than most cards designed for people with poor credit scores.
Reports to all credit bureaus - If you're using your credit card to rehabilitate your credit, you want it reporting to all three major credit bureaus. The Reflex card reports to Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion.
Free access to your Vantage score - Reflex cardholders who sign up for electronic statements get free access to their Vantage score through TransUnion.
Mobile account tools - The Reflex Mastercard® gives you the ability to manage your account from your smartphone. There is also an option to control your account online.
Credit limit increases after 12 months - Continental Finance Company reviews accounts for a possible credit limit increase after 12 months of responsible use.
Annual fee - The Reflex Mastercard® has a $99 annual fee, which is higher than most credit cards.
Monthly maintenance fee - After the first 12 months, users must pay a monthly maintenance fee ranging from $0 to $10 per month.
Other fees - In addition to the annual fee and monthly maintenance fees, the Reflex card charges a host of other fees.There is a 3% foreign transaction fee on overseas purchases, a $30 fee every time you add an authorized user, a maximum $40 late payment fee, and a max $40 returned payment fee. If you need to make an expedited payment over the phone, Continental Finance Company will charge you $10.95.In addition, you'll pay two types of fees for every cash advance: 5% or $5, whichever is greater, along with an interest charge that is calculated by multiplying the monthly periodic rate by the average daily balance of cash advances.
Checking account required - Applicants must have a checking account to apply for the card.
Perhaps the biggest drawback to the Reflex card is that you don't always have the option of getting an unsecured card.
If your creditworthiness doesn't meet their standards, they will limit you to a secured card with a required up-front payment of $50, $100, $150, or $500. You can review the full terms and conditions before you apply.
Who Should Apply for the Reflex Mastercard®
The Reflex Mastercard® is best suited to those who can't qualify for a traditional credit card.
If your credit score is very poor, the Reflex card can be a good rebuilding tool as long as you take steps to avoid incurring interest.
While the card's fees are high, it might be the only option if your score is holding you back. Five factors determine your credit score, with your payment history making up 35 percent of your total score.
Having bad credit can make it tough to find a credit card. Although the Reflex Mastercard®'s fees and APR are on the high end, this is generally to be expected with a secured credit card.
How to Apply for the Reflex Mastercard®
Applying for the Reflex Mastercard® is an easy process. You can even see if you prequalify without worrying about any hard inquiries on your credit report.
Continental Finance Company lets you apply online, over the phone, or by mail if you received a pre-selected offer. If you choose to apply over the phone, you can call 1-866-513-4598 to speak with a customer service representative.
To apply online, follow these four steps:
1. Open the Application
You can access the online application from the Reflex Mastercard® website.
2. Submit Your Information
Continental Finance Company will ask for several types of personal information, including your name, social security number, date of birth, phone number, and home address. You must also provide information about your employment and monthly income.
3. Confirm Your Security Code
Some online reviewers say Reflex will send a verification code to your smartphone after you submit the first page of the application. This is just an added security measure, so be sure to have your phone handy if you plan on applying online.
4. Wait for a Decision
In some cases, Continental Finance Company will make an instant decision to approve you based on your application. However, the bank says it can take up to 30 days to hear back.
Assuming your application is approved, you must activate your card before you can use it. Once you receive your card in the mail, activate it by calling the toll-free number on the back of the card.
Reflex Mastercard® Reviews
The reviews for the Reflex Mastercard® are mixed, with some reviewers saying the card helped them rebuild their credit and others claiming the high fees made the card difficult to use.
One WalletHub reviewer said the card isn't worth it once you factor in the monthly interest and fees.
Another WalletHub reviewer said they're on the fence about the card due to its $99 annual fee.
The Reflex card also receives its share of positive reviews. On WalletHub, one reviewer liked the card overall but complained about a lack of credit limit increases despite making on-time payments for over two years.
Another reviewer said the card does its job as a credit-building tool and noted the importance of paying off the full balance every month. By doing this, cardholders can avoid the high APR.
Alternatives to the Reflex Credit Card
If you have bad credit, the good news is there are a number of credit cards aimed at people in the same boat. If you're put off by the Reflex card's high fees, here are three other cards to consider.
The Discover it Secured credit card requires an up-front security deposit of $200, but it has no annual fee and gives you access to your FICO score for free.
One of the main perks of this card is its rewards program. It's unusual to find a secured credit card that offers rewards, but the Discover it Secured card will give you 2% cash back on a maximum of $1,000 in total purchases for fuel and dining every quarter plus 1% cash back on other purchases year-round.
It's rare to find a credit card aimed at those with low credit that also offers rewards. If you qualify, you can earn 1% cash back on qualified purchases with the Credit One Bank Platinum Visa with Cash Back Rewards card.
The Credit One Bank Platinum Visa is also an unsecured card, so you don't have to worry about putting down a deposit. The annual fee ranges between $0 and $99, but you can avoid this if your credit score is high enough.
The Capital One Secured Mastercard is another secured card that doesn't charge an annual fee. You also have the option to deposit $49, $99, or $200 to get started.
Capital One will also give you a higher credit limit as long as you make five months of on-time payments. This can help boost your credit utilization, which is the ratio of how much available credit you have compared to how much you're currently using.
Quick Tips on How to Get a Credit Card with Bad Credit
If your credit score is very poor, don't lose hope. While you might have to shop around a bit, there's probably a credit card that will work for you.
Keep in mind that you might have to start with a card with less than favorable terms and then work your way up to a better card. Here are six quick tips for finding a credit card with bad credit.
1. Know Your Credit Score
According to one survey, 1 in 8 Americans don't know their credit score. If you've been turned down for credit but you don't know why, a bad credit score is probably the reason.
Keep in mind, though, that this won't show you your credit report. But there's good news there, too, because you're entitled to one free credit report from all three credit bureaus every 12 months under federal law.
To get your free credit report, visit annualcreditreport.com and submit your information. From there, you can review your report for any mistakes that might be pulling down your score.
2. Be Wary of Prepaid Cards
If you search around for "credit cards for bad credit" you're bound to turn up offers for prepaid credit cards. However, these aren't really credit cards, which means they won't help improve your credit.
Instead, a prepaid card requires you to load money onto the card before you can use it. As you spend, purchases are deducted from your balance.
3. Move on to Better Credit Cards
Just because you start out with a credit card made for people with bad credit doesn't mean you're stuck with it forever. Rather, think of your "starter" card as a stepping stone to better cards in the future.
For example, establishing a positive payment history with a secured credit card can boost your credit score enough to help you qualify for an unsecured card with better terms and conditions. Some secured cards even give you the option of upgrading to an unsecured card after a certain period of time.
4. Educate Yourself About Good Credit Habits
Rebuilding your credit is a process that takes time. If you're diligent about improving your score, however, you can speed up the process by practicing good credit habits.
Educate yourself about credit and what factors make up your score. As you start to see your score improve, you'll be motivated to keep doing better when it comes to managing your finances.
5. Don't Bother with Cards Designed for Good Credit
You might be tempted to apply for cards marketed toward those with excellent credit scores, but this is generally a bad strategy. At best it's a waste of your time and at worst it can hurt your credit score.
If your score is very low, you're very unlikely to get approved for a credit card aimed at those with good or excellent credit scores. Worse, submitting an application usually results in card issuers pulling your credit, which can cause hard inquiries to accumulate on your credit report.
6. Consider Credit Cards from Retail Stores
If you've searched and searched and still can't find a credit card company willing to take you on, it might be worth applying for a store card.
Some retailers have more flexible approval criteria compared to credit cards issued by the larger banks. However, they also tend to charge higher interest rates, so it's best to pay off your full balance every month.
Keep in mind that you'll only be able to use your card to make purchases from the store. You should also confirm that the card issuer reports to the three credit bureaus so you get credit for your on-time payments.
Reflex Mastercard® FAQs
Here are the answers to some of the most commonly asked questions regarding the Reflex Mastercard®.
How Long Does It Take to Approve My Application?
Some applicants will hear back instantly after submitting the online application. In other cases, it can take longer, with some decisions requiring up to 30 days.
When Will I Get My Card?
According to Continental Finance Company, you'll receive your card in the mail within three business days after being approved.
How Do I Activate My Card?
For security reasons, you can only activate your Reflex Mastercard® by phone. The toll-free activation number is located on a sticker on the back of the card.
Can I Manage My Account Online?
Yes, you can access your account and make payments both online and with the card's mobile app. However, you can only get access to these features if you sign up for online banking.
What Is My Initial Credit Limit?
To start, you'll receive a credit limit of $500. However, you can request an account review and credit limit increase after six months of responsible card use.
Does Continental Finance Company Report to the Credit Bureaus?
Continental Finance reports to all three major credit bureaus, so you can rest easy knowing you're getting credit for your positive payment history.
What Credit Score Is Needed for a Reflex Credit Card?
The Reflex Mastercard® doesn't list a minimum credit score requirement on its website. However, several online reviewers say they were approved despite having credit scores under 500.
For example, this reviewer had a score of 490.
Another reviewer had a score of 495.
Here's another reviewer who had a score of 495 yet secured an approval.
What Are the Reflex Mastercard® Fees?
The Reflex Mastercard®'s high fees are probably its biggest drawback. Higher than average compared to other credit cards, they can make the card expensive to use.
Type of Fee
$0 to $99
25.90% to 29.99% variable
Cash Advance Fee
Interest plus 5% or $5 of the cash advance amount, whichever is more
Foreign Transaction Fee
Up to $40
Returned Payment Fee
Up to $40
Add Authorized User Fee
$30 per authorized user
What Is the Reflex Mastercard® APR?
The Reflex Mastercard® APR is a variable rate that ranges between 25.90% and 29.99% depending on your creditworthiness.
Does the Reflex Mastercard® Offer an Introductory APR for Balance Transfers?
The Reflex Mastercard® does not offer an introductory APR for balance transfers.
Does the Reflex Mastercard® Offer an Introductory APR for New Purchases?
The Reflex Mastercard® does not offer an introductory APR for new purchases.
While the Reflex Mastercard® comes with high fees and rates compared to other cards aimed at people with low credit scores, it might be the only option for those looking to rebuild a very poor score.
You can sidestep the high APR entirely by paying off your full balance each month.
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.