Total Visa® Credit Card Review
The Total Visa® card is an unsecured credit card made for people who want to raise their credit score but might struggle to qualify due to past money management mistakes. While the Total Visa has a straightforward application process and easy approval, it also comes loaded with fees, including a high annual fee.
If bad credit is holding you back, using a credit card to establish a positive payment history can be a good way to boost your score. The Total Visa card reports to all three credit bureaus, but the high fees might cancel out any credit building benefits this card offers.
Is the Total Visa Card Legit?
The Total Visa credit card is a real credit card offered by the Bank of Missouri, which is a well-established and FDIC insured bank. The Bank of Missouri offers a number of credit cards marketed toward people with less than perfect credit scores.
While the Total Visa card is certainly legit, it's also riddled with a number of fees. For this reason, it's hard to recommend this card as a good option for people looking to improve their credit score.
When you have bad credit, it can be tough to find a credit card company willing to take you on. However, having bad credit doesn't mean you have to settle for high interest rates or outrageous annual fees.
Not only does the Total Visa card charge an annual fee, it assesses a one-time program fee just to open your account. You'll also pay a monthly service fee after the first year.
There are also several restrictions that can make the Total Visa a pain to own. For example, you can't use it at fuel pumps, and you can use it to make purchases outside the United States.
On the other hand, the Total Visa is easy to get, and most people shouldn't have a problem getting approved. The Bank of Missouri also reports to all three credit bureaus, so you'll get credit for your on-time payments every month.
Total Visa Snapshot
There's no getting around the fact that the Total Visa card is an expensive credit card to own. It's not a secured card, which might appeal to some people, but any savings you net by avoiding a security deposit will probably disappear once you start paying the card's range of fees.
For starters, there's an $89 program fee, which is a one-time charge just for the privilege of opening your account. From there, you'll pay a $75 annual fee for the first year, followed by $48 in subsequent years.
In addition to the annual fee, cardholders must pay a monthly maintenance fee of $6.25 per month ($75 annually) after the first year. When you combine the annual fee and maintenance fee, this adds up to $123 per year.
Besides the high fees, the Total Visa also comes with a relatively high annual percentage rate (APR) of 34.99%. You can avoid the high interest rate by paying off your balance every month.
If you're willing to take on the fees, you'll receive a $300 initial credit limit. You can ask for a credit limit increase after one year, but the Bank of Missouri charges you 20% of the limit increase, so that's another fee to watch out for.
However, the Total Visa card does come with one important perk. The Bank of Missouri reports your payment activity to the three major credit bureaus, so you can use the card to help improve your credit score.
Who Is the Best Fit for This Credit Card?
The Total Visa is designed for individuals whose poor credit scores make it difficult for them to qualify for a credit card. If you've been consistently turned down for cards from other issuers, you probably have a good chance of getting approved for the Total Visa.
However, there are other credit cards marketed toward people with bad credit. For example, there are several secured credit cards that let you rebuild your score without charging you expensive annual and monthly fees.
Pros vs. Cons of the Total Visa Credit Card
The Total Visa credit card has its pros and cons. Before you apply, it's a good idea to get familiar with the benefits and drawbacks.
Despite its high fees, the Total Visa offers a number of positives. Here's what you need to know.
- Easy approval - The Total Visa card doesn't run a credit check, so your bad credit history won't necessarily hold you back from getting approved, and you won't have to worry about racking up a hard inquiry on your credit report.
- No security deposit required - The Total Visa is an unsecured card, which means you're not required to come up with a security deposit. If your budget is tight, this gives you the ability to get a credit card without any money up front.
- Monthly reporting to all credit bureaus - If you want to use your card to raise your credit score, the Total Visa card can help you do that. It reports to all three major credit bureaus: Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion.
- Widely accepted - The Total Visa is a real Visa credit card, which is widely accepted at retailers within the United States. Keep in mind, however, that you can't use the Total Visa to make purchases in other countries.
- Choose your card design - It's arguably a small perk, but the Total Visa features several design options, so you can select one that fits your personality.
Despite its perks, the Total Visa has several drawbacks. Here's a look at the downsides.
- Annual fee - The annual fee is one of the highest out there for any credit card. It starts out at $75 for the first year and then drops to $48 in subsequent years.
- Program fee - If the annual fee wasn't enough, you'll also pay an $89 program fee when you open your account.
- Monthly fee - There's no monthly fee for the first year, but you'll start paying $6.25 a month after you've had the card for one year. This adds up to $75 in monthly fees every year.
- High APR - The interest rate for the Total Visa is 34.99%. This is high for any credit card.
- Low credit limit - If approved, you'll receive a credit limit of $300, which is immediately reduced by the annual fee. You can request a credit limit increase after the first year, but Total Visa will charge you 20% of the limit increase.
- Restricted use - You can't use the Total Visa as gas pumps, which is something of an unusual restriction among credit cards. You're also out of luck if you want to use your card outside the United States.
- Checking account required - While the Total Visa doesn't run your credit when you apply, you must have a checking account to submit an application.
- Authorized user fee - Want to add an authorized user to your account? You'll pay $29 for each additional card.
- No rewards - The Total Visa doesn't offer a rewards program. While this isn't uncommon among subprime credit cards, it's worth noting, as some secured cards designed for those with bad credit offer attractive rewards programs.
Key Features for Cardholders
Unfortunately, the Total Visa card doesn't offer many perks to cardholders. The main feature of this card is that it reliably reports to all three major credit bureaus.
If you've applied for several credit cards elsewhere and been turned down, the Total Visa may be a last resort. As long as you pay your bill on time every month, the card will report your positive payment history to the credit bureaus.
By paying your bill on time consistently over several months, you'll see your credit score improve. In this way, the Total Visa can be a stepping stone to a credit card with better rates and conditions.
Another feature, albeit a small one, for the Total Visa card is that cardholders get to choose from six different card designs. If you like the idea of personalizing your credit card, the Total Visa offers a little bit of variety.
Total Visa Credit Card Fees
The Total Visa credit card's fees are the main drawback of this card. Before you apply, you should know what you'll end up paying.
Type of Fee
$89 (one-time fee)
$75 first year, then $48
$0 first year, then $6.25 a month
Authorized user fee
Cash advance fee
$10 or 3% of the amount advanced, whichever is greater
Credit limit increase fee
20% of the limit increase
Express card delivery fee (if you want your card delivered to you faster)
Late and returned payment fee
Up to $40
While an annual fee isn't all that uncommon among subprime credit cards, the Total Visa's additional fees are what make it such a pricey card to have in your wallet.
Some cardholders might be willing to pay a little extra in fees in exchange for receiving cash back rewards or other perks. However, the Total Visa card doesn't offer any benefits to help offset its high fees.
For a comprehensive look at the Total Visa's fees and other details, you can check out the card's terms and conditions.
Total Visa Reviews
The Total Visa card gets mixed reviews, which isn't much of a surprise considering the card's high fees. Some users say it's good for credit building, while others point to customer service problems and issues with payments processing on time.
If you need a credit card for repairing your credit, these users say the card can be effective as long as you don't carry a balance.
However, other reviewers say the Total Visa's high fees and high interest rate make the card one you should avoid. Several reviewers also mentioned encountering difficulty accessing the website when they wanted to make a payment.
How to Build Credit with the Total Visa Unsecured Card
The Total Visa credit card can be an effective credit building tool, but only if you're diligent about paying off your balance each month. With its 34.99% APR, you won't be doing yourself any favors by carrying a balance that accumulates interest.
Instead, you should make small, manageable purchases each month and then immediately pay them off. Keep in mind the Total Visa card has a 21-day grace period, so you'll need to make sure your payment posts within this time period.
The idea is to use the card sparingly, making the occasional small purchase and then paying off the balance before it can roll over to the next month. Because Total Visa reports to all three credit bureaus, you'll start to accumulate a positive payment history.
Factor & Percentage of Score
Payment history (35%)
Paying your bills on time
Credit utilization (30%)
Ratio of available credit vs. how much you're using
Credit history (15%)
How long you've had credit
Credit mix (10%)
Having various types of credit accounts
New credit (10%)
How many brand new credit accounts you have
Unfortunately, there's no way to escape the Total Visa card's high fees. However, you can make the most of the card's credit building benefits by committing to paying your bill in full each month.
If you can stick to this plan, you can use the Total Visa to improve your credit score. Given enough time, this should raise your score enough to help you qualify for a credit card with more favorable terms.
Alternatives to the Total Visa Card
Bad credit can make it hard to qualify for a credit card, but this doesn't mean there are card issuers out there willing to work with you. If you're put off by the Total Visa card's high fees, check out these alternatives.
The Discover it® Secured credit card is a rare secured card that offers an attractive rewards program. Cardholders receive 2% cash back up to $1,000 per quarter on fuel and dining purchases, plus unlimited 1% cash back on everything else.
Because this is a secured card, you have to put down a $200 security deposit to get started. However, Discover also matches any cash back you earn, making the perks far outweigh the inconvenience of a security deposit.
There's also no annual fee and no monthly service fee. At 22.99% APR, the Discover it® Secured credit card is far more flexible and affordable compared to the Total Visa.
While the Capital One® Secured Mastercard is another secured card, it gives you a lot of flexibility when it comes to the security deposit. You can pay $49, $99, or $200 depending on your creditworthiness.
No matter which level of security deposit you choose, you'll receive a $200 credit limit, and you can ask for an increase after five months of regular, on-time payments. The Capital One® Secured Mastercard has no annual fee and no monthly maintenance fee — two perks the Total Visa card lacks.
As a cardholder, you can also select a payment due date that works best for you. The interest rate is 26.99%, which is considerably lower than the 34.99% you'll pay with the Total Visa card.
The OpenSky® Secured Visa has a $35 annual fee, but there is no monthly maintenance fee or program startup fee with this card. At 18.99% APR, you'll be hard pressed to find a credit card with such a competitive interest rate.
Like the other secured credit cards on this list, the OpenSky® Secured Visa requires a security deposit. However, you can start at a minimum $200 and go all the way up to $3,000 if you need a higher credit limit.
The OpenSky® card reports to all three major credit bureaus, so you'll get credit for your on-time payments. As long as you're careful to pay off your full balance each month, you can avoid paying any interest.
Total Visa Credit Card FAQs
Here are some of the most commonly asked questions and answers about the Total Visa credit card.
Where Is the Total Visa Card Accepted?
The Total Visa credit card is accepted at any store or retailer that takes Visa. However, keep in mind that, per the terms of the Total Visa cardholder agreement, you can't use the Total Visa card to buy gas at an automated fuel pump or to make purchases outside the United States.
Is the Total Visa a Secured Credit Card?
Yes, the Total Visa Secured credit card requires a security deposit of $200.
How Do I Check the Balance of My Total Visa Credit Card?
You can check your Total Visa credit card account balance by logging into the Bank of Missouri's customer portal. You can also check your balance, make a payment, or speak to customer service by calling (844) 548-9721.
If you want a credit card for rebuilding your credit but a low credit score has made it hard to qualify, the Total Visa might be a good fit for your needs. Unfortunately, the card's high interest and long list of fees can far outweigh its credit building benefits, so it's worth looking around for a better deal.
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.