|Credit Building Rating:
|3.9 / 5
|Cost of Membership
|Ease of Building Credit
In a Nutshell:
If you’re looking for an unsecured card that can help you build credit while earning rewards with no annual fee, the Mission Lane Cash Back Visa is a great choice, beating out plenty of competing unsecured credit-building cards.
Average cost of membership per year ($3,600 annual spend)
Security deposit required
Access to higher credit line?
Other notable features: Instant approval decision, free online credit education, soft pull preapproval
The Mission Lane Cash Back Visa Credit Card is a solid option if you have fair credit and want a chance to earn rewards on your everyday spending. Because there is no annual fee, the card starts rewarding you with cash back without having to offset the cost. Previously, the card came with a $19 annual fee meaning you needed to offset that with cash back before you started to earn more with your rewards rate than it cost to hold the card. Additionally, as an unsecured card, the Mission Lane Cash Back Visa reports your purchases and payments to the three credit bureaus, giving you the chance to improve your credit over time or rebuild after past financial missteps.
That said, the card is far from your only low-cost stopgap credit-building option. Read on to learn about the Mission Lane Cash Back Visa Credit Card, how it could help you reach your goals and where it falls short.
Why you might want the Mission Lane Cash Back Visa Credit Card
The Mission Lane Cash Back Visa Credit Card is far from the best cash back credit card on the market, but it does have plenty going for it — particularly since it is available to consumers with fair credit. For starters, the Mission Lane Cash Back Visa Credit Card lets cardholders earn an unlimited 1% to 1.5% cash back for each dollar they spend, all for no annual fee.
You can also apply for this card online and get an instant approval decision, so you won’t have to wait weeks to find out if you made the cut. You can even be automatically considered for a higher credit limit in as little as seven months, which could help you fast-track your credit-building efforts via lower credit utilization.
Solid cash back with no annual fee
To start, the Mission Lane Cash Back Visa Credit Card earns a flat 1% back for each dollar you spend, with some cardholders getting as much as 1.5% back based on their program terms. While a 1% rate is lower than you’ll find with the top cash back credit cards on the market today, it’s a decent rate for a credit-building card. Indeed, many credit-building cards – especially unsecured cards – offer no rewards program at all, earning the Mission Lane major perks.
This Mission Lane Visa’s lack of an annual fee also sets you up to earn more rewards annually without having to compensate for any dollar amount you might have otherwise spent just to hold the card. Comparatively, one of the card’s closest competitors, the Capital One QuicksilverOne Cash Rewards Credit Card has a flat cash back rate of 1.5%, but also comes with an annual fee of $39.
Now that it comes with no annual fee, instead of the card’s previous $19 annual fee, the Mission Lane Cash Back Visa is far more competitive in the market of unsecured cards that earn up to 1.5% cash back. Previously, the Petal® 2 “Cash Back, No Fees” Visa® Credit Card, which also charges no annual fee, was a more generous offer. If you want to keep costs low as you build credit, but still want to earn decent rewards, the Mission Lane Visa is a great option – especially if you’re assigned the 1.5% cash back rate.
Assuming an annual spend of just $8,000, you’ll earn $120 in cash back with the Mission Lane Visa at its 1.5% rewards rate while you build credit history – not a bad deal for simply using the card for the majority of your spending.
No security deposit required
Since the Mission Lane Cash Back Visa Credit Card is an unsecured credit card, you don’t have to put down a cash deposit as collateral. By contrast, secured credit cards for credit-building typically require you to tie up $49 to $200 or more off the bat as collateral, which typically doubles as your starting credit limit.
This gets you started with your line of credit without having to front a large sum of money that you might not be comfortable spending right away, even if it is refundable. According to Mission Lane, the starting minimum credit limit for this card is $300. While that’s low compared to cards for people with good or better credit, it’s pretty standard among unsecured credit-building cards. If you’re short on cash, this could also help you keep your credit utilization ratio in check, since most secured cards won’t offer a credit limit that high if you don’t have the funds for a matching deposit.
Let’s say you had just $200 to deposit to open a line of credit on a secured credit card. If you spent $70 with that card in a month, your credit utilization would be 35%. Not only are you (temporarily) out $200 because you’ve deposited it as collateral to your issuer, but you’ve also used over a third of your credit limit. That’s a high rate of utilization and can impact your credit score negatively.
On the other hand, if you opted for the Mission Lane Cash Back Visa, got the minimum credit limit of $300 on your card and spent that same $70, your utilization would be just 23.3%. While that’s still a bit high, it’s at least below the 30% utilization rule of thumb advocated by many credit experts. Plus, you wouldn’t have had to tie up your own money only to borrow it back.
Higher credit limits over time
Your credit limit on the Mission Lane Visa will be determined by your credit history and score at the time you are approved. Although you won’t be able to know your line of credit until you’re approved for the card, cardholders get the chance to be automatically considered for a higher credit limit in as few as seven months. This benefit can be important if you want more purchasing power later on, or if you want a higher credit limit in order to keep your credit utilization low.
This added benefit is a great way for issuers to encourage and incentivize responsible credit card use. Not only will you be rewarded with a higher credit limit, but building your credit will become easier with more credit utilization flexibility.
Why you might want a different card
There are a few downsides of the Mission Lane Cash Back Visa Credit Card worth noting, including its incredibly high variable APR of 26.99% to 29.99%. Also note that the 1% rewards rate this card offers isn’t the highest among its competition, and that rewards earned with this card come with a single redemption option.
The high APR can become costly
This card’s variable interest rate is incredibly high at a minimum of 26.99% (variable). While this may not be a big deal if you pay your credit card bill in full each month, it can be quite costly you plan to carry a balance at any time. If you suspect you’ll need to carry a balance, you should seek out a different credit card with a lower APR.
Low starting credit limit
While this Mission Lane credit card does give you the chance to be considered for a higher credit limit in as little as seven months, your initial credit limit can still be quite low. According to Mission Lane, the minimum credit limit for this card is $300.
This may arguably be a decent limit for first-time credit card holders or those who just want the utility of a card to make small purchases and pay them off to build or rebuild credit, but if you plan to use the card for larger purchases, you may want to opt for either an unsecured card that offers a higher starting credit limit or a high-limit secured card that lets you set your own limit within a wider range.
Unknown rewards rate
This card’s issuer says you’ll earn 1% to 1.5% cash back on your spending, with your rate based on the program terms you’re assigned. In other words, you won’t know how exactly much cash back you’ll earn until you apply and get approved.
Cardholders who are making rewards their priority but have a spotty credit history, no credit history or past financial mistakes may be wary of this. If you’re applying for the Mission Lane Visa to get 1.5% cash back, you might be disappointed if the issuer doesn’t think you meet the criteria required to earn that rate. This is an unfortunate circumstance that makes this card a little less competitive. After all, a handful of secured and unsecured alternatives, such as the QuicksilverOne, guarantee a 1.5% cash back rate when you’re approved or once you’ve worked up to that rate via responsible card use.
Only one way to redeem rewards
Whether you earn 1% or 1.5% cash back with this card, your rewards will be automatically applied to your account on the seventh day of the next calendar month. By contrast, many other rewards credit cards (including cards for fair credit) let cardholders redeem their cash back for gift cards, merchandise, travel and more.
This drawback isn’t as bad as the unreliable rewards rate, but may be a bit frustrating for cardholders who want more options for redeeming rewards they earn. Redeeming rewards as a statement credit is a pretty common feature and while it’s still rewarding, making the most of it requires you to continue to use the card.
How does the Mission Lane Cash Back Visa Credit Card compare to other credit-building cards?
Before you sign up for the Mission Lane Cash Back Visa Credit Card, you should really compare it to a few other similar cards. The chart below shows how three other credit cards for credit-building stack up.
1.5% cash back on all purchases
Earn 1% cash back rewards on eligible gas, grocery purchases and mobile phone service, internet, cable and satellite TV services (Terms apply)
Earn 1% cash back on every purchase
$75 the first year, then $99 billed at $8.25 per month
|Other things to know
|Other things to know
|Other things to know
Mission Lane Cash Back Visa vs. the Capital One QuicksilverOne
While the Capital One QuicksilverOne Cash Rewards Credit Card charges a $39 annual fee, all cardholders get the chance to earn a flat 1.5% back for each dollar they spend without having to qualify based on program terms. Also note that rewards can be redeemed for several flexible options including cash back in the mail, statement credits or gift cards. This card offers automatic credit line reviews in as little as six months.
This card is much more flexible for redemption and potentially (based on program terms) more rewarding than the Mission Lane Cash Back Visa card. If you don’t feel confident about qualifying for the 1.5% back with Mission Lane, The QuicksilverOne is a better, more reliable choice if you’re looking for that higher rewards rate.
Mission Lane Cash Back Visa vs. Credit One Bank Platinum Visa for Rebuilding Credit
The Credit One Bank Platinum Visa for Rebuilding Credit charges a high annual fee of $75 the first year (then $99 per year), and you earn a lower rewards rate of 1% back in specific categories only. However, this card makes it easy to see if you pre-qualify online, and without a hard inquiry on your credit report. Keep in mind though that just because you can see if you’re pre-qualified doesn’t necessarily mean it’s your best option. A $75 annual fee is substantial when compared to the $0 annual fee on the Mission Lane Cash Back Visa and could be hard to offset with rewards because you only earn 1% back in specific categories.
Mission Lane Cash Back Visa vs. the Chase Freedom Student card
Finally, consider the Chase Freedom® Student credit card if you’re trying to build credit and you’re also a student. This card offers a flat rate of 1% back, as well as $50 in bonus cash when you make a first purchase within three months of account opening. You can even get an additional $20 reward each year you keep your account in good standing (for up to five years).
While the rewards rate on this card is only 1%, you can benefit from a much lower variable APR if you have to carry a balance. Like the Mission Lane Cash Back Visa, this card also comes with no annual fee, meaning you won’t have to offset a lump sum of a money by spending to earn rewards.
However, you can’t qualify for this card unless you’re a student, making it a pretty limited option – but one that is incredibly beneficial to college-aged students starting to build their credit profile.
How to use the Mission Lane Cash Back Visa Credit Card:
- Use your Mission Lane Visa for regular spending throughout the month in order to earn 1% or 1.5% in cash back on everything you buy.
- Pay your credit card bill in full each month to avoid racking up interest at the high variable APR.
- Pay your credit card bill early or on time each month in order to increase your credit score.
- Use your card responsibly and you will be automatically considered for a higher credit limit within seven months.
Is the Mission Lane Cash Back Visa Credit Card right for you?
The Mission Lane Cash Back Visa Credit Card is marketed toward cardholders with a “fair” credit score, or a FICO score from 580 to 669. If you check your credit score and it falls within this range, picking up this card could help you work toward a higher score over time.
However, this card is best suited to help you build credit if you know you can pay your credit card bill on time each month, and if you have the discipline to keep any revolving balances low. If you have a habit of paying your credit card bill late or if you tend to max out any available credit you qualify for, there’s a chance having this card could leave your credit in worse shape than when you started.
Finally, only consider picking up this card to earn rewards if you plan to pay your credit card bill in full each month. If you carry a balance even part of the time, the high interest charges you pay will wipe out your rewards.
*All information about the Credit One Bank Platinum Visa for Rebuilding Credit card and Chase Freedom Student credit card has been collected independently by CreditCards.com. The issuer did not provide the content, nor is it responsible for its accuracy.
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