Petal Visa® Credit Card review

Published: October 16, 2019

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Published: October 16, 2019

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Ratings Policy
Credit Building Rating:
4.8 rating
4.8 rating
4.8 / 5
Cost of Membership 4.5
Ease of Building Credit 4.2
APR 3.6
Features 4.5

In a Nutshell:

The Petal Visa card offers a low entry barrier and the opportunity to earn cash back and avoid fees while building or rebuilding your credit history; however, you could face a high APR if you don’t pay off your balance in full by the due date each month.

Learn more about this card

Average Cost Of Membership Per Year ($3,600 annual spend)
$36

Security Deposit Required
None

Credit Limit
$500-$10,000

Access To Higher Credit Line?
Not available

APR
14.74%-25.74% (variable)

Annual Fee
$0

Other Rates And Fees

  • Foreign transaction fee: None
  • Late payment fee: None
  • Penalty APR: None 
  • Returned payment fee: None

Rewards
1% cash back on purchases right away. Up to 1.5% cash back on every purchase after making 12 on-time monthly payments

Other Notable Features: Cash flow technology can help applicants without credit history get approved, money-management app, free credit reporting, auto rental collision insurance, theft coverage, roadside dispatch, supports Visa Local Offers

When you’re building or rebuilding your credit, you’ll likely only be approved for certain credit building cards, many of which offer low credit limits and require a deposit or annual fee. You’ll also usually miss out on the bonuses and perks of more lucrative rewards cards.

That’s what makes the Petal Visa card such a great option. Not only can you build credit and earn cash back without dealing with the fees and limitations of other starter cards, the Petal Visa card’s unique cash back structure and money-management tools encourage you to pay on time and build good financial habits in the process.

However, if you have trouble keeping up with due dates or are prone to overspending, the Petal Visa may not be the best fit, as the tradeoff for its rewards and simplicity is a steep APR.

A unique cash back reward structure

Unlike many credit building cards, which generally offer little in the way of rewards, the Petal Visa card boasts a unique cash back program that incentivizes consistent on-time payment.

To start, you’ll earn 1 percent cash back on all purchases. This rate then increases to 1.25 percent after you make six on-time payments, and to 1.5 percent after 12 on-time payments, which is not far-off from the base rate of many of the best cash back cards available.

No deposit required

The Petal Visa card is unsecured and does not require any sort of deposit.

No fees of any kind

You won’t be charged any fees with the Petal Visa card: no annual fee, no late fees, no foreign transaction fees. As long as you keep up with your bills, it costs nothing to own this card.

Keep in mind, however, that unpaid bills could lead to your card being suspended. Petal also reports to the three major credit bureaus, so be sure to pay at least the minimum each month to avoid negatively impacting your credit score.

Credit scores are just one factor

As part of its stated mission to help the “credit invisible,” Petal evaluates more than just credit scores when making approval decisions and setting credit limits and interest rates. While a credit report, if available, is used in the decision-making process, it isn’t the only factor considered.

If Petal can’t make an approval decision based on your credit report, you’ll be asked to link your bank account. This allows Petal’s algorithm to evaluate other financial information like your income and bill payment history. While this may raise some privacy concerns, it could provide an option for applicants with limited credit histories or average credit scores who need alternative credit data to prove their creditworthiness.

Credit limit up to $10,000

The Petal Visa card has much a higher upper credit limit than most starter cards. Since Petal’s approval process can take into account your income and spending along with your credit score, you could qualify for a higher limit than you would with most credit building cards, without putting down a deposit.

A higher credit limit offers flexibility and could also help to keep your credit utilization ratio low, which could further improve your financial reputation.

Unlike some cards, though, the Petal Visa does not allow you to increase your credit limit over time. Your credit limit is set when you apply, and requests for credit line adjustments are not currently accepted.

Watch out for the high APR

The Petal Visa card’s unique perks come with a price, namely an APR of 14.74-25.74 percent (variable).

The high end is quite a bit higher than the average APR, and high even compared to many other credit building cards. After all, a secured card like the Green Dot primor® Visa® Gold Secured Credit Card – though it comes with an annual fee and requires a deposit – caps its APR at 9.99 percent.

If you have any doubt about your ability to pay off your balance by the due date each month, you might be better off opting for a secured credit card with a lower APR.

Redeeming cash back

Cash back redemption is pretty simple with the Petal Visa card: Simply request your cash back as either a statement credit or a check when it appears in your Petal account the following month.

Your cash back won’t expire as long as your Petal account is open and in good standing, but if your account is closed or suspended, you may lose any cash back you haven’t redeemed.

Money-Management tools

As part of its effort to help people build or rebuild their credit history, Petal offers cardholders some powerful money-management tools in its free app. The sleekly designed Petal app shows your account balance, spending, payment due date and exactly how much it will cost you in dollars to carry a balance. Having this information available at a glance could be very useful for someone who’s new to credit cards or hoping to build better financial habits.

Approval odds

You must be a U.S. citizen and at least 18 years old to be approved for the Visa Petal card. Other than that, there are no specific qualifications for this card. Petal’s approval decision is based on a variety of factors, including your credit score and, if requested, your income, bill payment history and other financial details.

You can check if you’re preapproved on Petal’s website without impacting your credit score, but it’s still possible you could fail to qualify after being preapproved. While the Petal Visa is geared toward those with limited credit histories or average credit scores, a history of missed payments or delinquency will negatively impact your application, so think carefully before applying and consider alternatives if you’re looking for a card for someone with bad credit.

Why get the Petal Visa card?

  • You have a limited credit history, but want the flexibility of an unsecured card.
  • You have an average credit score, but good bill payment history and income.
  • You don’t want to put down a deposit.
  • You’d like a chance at a higher credit limit than what’s offered by most credit building cards.
  • You’re confident in your ability to pay off your balance in full each month.

How to use the Petal Visa card:

  • Pay your bill on time every month to secure the maximum cash back rate.
  • Pay off your balance in full by the due date every month to avoid the card’s high APR.
  • Use the Petal app to build good financial habits by monitoring your spending, due dates and interest charges.
  • Take advantage of the Petal Visa card’s free credit score by regularly monitoring your credit.

Is the Petal Visa card worth it?

If you’re a responsible spender with a limited credit history or average credit score, there’s not much downside to the Petal Visa card. Given that most credit building cards offer little to no rewards, require deposits and fees or have low credit limits, the Petal Visa is an attractive option. As long as you commit to paying your balance in full by the due date each month, this card could be a great starting point on the path to building or rebuilding your credit.

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