First Access Visa® Credit Card Review

Advertiser Disclosure

This page includes analysis of our favorite cards from The Simple Dollar's advertisers and the marketplace. Visit our advertiser disclosure to learn more.


If you’re having trouble getting a credit card because you’ve got poor credit, then the First Access Visa® Credit Card can potentially offer you a second chance to rebuild your credit. With small starter and cash advance limits, you’re likely to stay on track with payments and become more confident with your finances. Additionally, First Access Visa® Credit Card reports to major credit agencies monthly, so you’ll be able to improve your credit rating relatively quickly.

However, a major drawback is the card’s high fees compared to other cards in the credit-building category. You can expect annual and even monthly servicing fees. The APR is hefty as well, so it’s important to repay outstanding balances each month to avoid high interest charges.

What we like about the First Access Visa® Credit Card

  • You may be approved even with poor credit, offering you a chance to build on limited credit history or rebuild damaged credit.
  • This card has friendly features to build credit, such as a low credit limit to start and cash advance limits. It is designed to make it easier to repay outstanding balances each month and demonstrate financially responsible behavior.
  • Monthly servicing fees and cash advanced fees are waived in the first year while you get into the rhythm of better financial habits. Fees are also clearly explained.
  • There’s a straightforward application process, with a quick decision in as little as 60 seconds.
  • It’s an unsecured credit card, meaning you won’t have to pay a security deposit.

Things to consider

  • There is no getting around the fact that there are a lot of fees with the First Access Visa® Credit Card. Once the monthly servicing fees kick in from the second year, this card becomes even more expensive to maintain.
  • You’ll have to wait for a year before you can access a higher credit limit, and it’ll cost another fee to have it increased.
  • Although using a credit card for a cash advance isn’t generally recommended, it’s still worth noting that you’ll have to wait at least 90 days or three billing cycles from the account opening before you can get cash out with your First Access Visa® Credit Card.

First Access Visa® credit-building details

Despite its steep fees, the First Access Visa® Credit Card can put you on a path to better credit if used the right way. By having a small credit limit to begin, there’s a lower risk of overspending and getting into debt. And as you get into the habit of repaying your outstanding balance in full each month, you’ll start to develop the kind of responsible behavior lenders look for when evaluating creditworthiness. First Access Visa® Credit Card reports to three major credit agencies monthly, so it won’t take long for your credit to improve.

Apart from having a waiting period before you can withdraw cash from your credit card, there is a further restriction to deter the regular use of cash advances — your unpaid cash advances cannot be more than half of your credit limit.

First Access Visa® Credit Card fees

The First Access Visa® Credit Card involves a painful number of fees, partly because the card issuer is exposed to higher risks by providing unsecured finance to people with poor credit history.

There are fees for late payment and return payments, depending on whether you’ve incurred similar charges in the previous six billing cycles. There’s also a credit card limit increase fee. However, you won’t be subject to over-limit fees or penalty APR.

How does it compare to other credit-building cards?

The First Access Visa® Credit Card is a worthy option if you have been struggling to get approved for a credit card. However, if you’re looking for a credit-building card with lower APR and no monthly servicing fee, the Indigo® Platinum Mastercard® is a top pick. Its annual fee is tiered according to creditworthiness, but even at a maximum annual fee of $99 per year, the Indigo® Platinum Mastercard®’s lack of monthly servicing charges still makes it a cheaper alternative.

If you’re looking to skip the annual fee altogether, the Capital One® Secured Mastercard® is the way to go. The downside is that you’ll get an even smaller credit limit of $200, and you’ll need to make a security deposit as well.

Card Purchase APR Annual Fee Intro Bonus Credit Needed Key features
First Access Visa® Credit Card See Rates & Fees APR See Rates & Fees See Rates & Fees Poor Widely accepted but can only be used in U.S.; Credit building: monthly reporting to major credit bureaus, small credit and cash advance limits; No overlimit fee or penalty APR
Indigo® Platinum Mastercard® 24.90% APR $0-$99 $0 cash advance fee, then $5 or 5% thereafter. Poor Widely accepted in U.S. and abroad; Credit building: monthly reporting to major credit bureaus, small credit limit; Pre-qualify without affecting your credit score
Capital One® Secured Mastercard® 26.99% (Variable) APR $0 None Limited, Bad Widely accepted in U.S. and abroad; Credit limit of $200 after you make the required refundable security deposit of $49, $99 or $200; Credit line increases after five months of paying on time

The bottom line

The First Access Visa® Credit Card comes with expensive fees and no rewards program, but if your sole purpose is to rebuild credit, then this card can help you do that. With monthly reporting to three major credit agencies, your on-time payments will be recorded and used to calculate your credit score. So as long as you remain diligent, you’ll qualify for cheaper financial products in the future.

Editorial Note: Compensation does not influence our recommendations. However, we may earn a commission on sales from the companies featured in this post. To view a list of partners, click here. Opinions expressed here are the author's alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by our advertisers. Reasonable efforts are made to present accurate info, however all information is presented without warranty. Consult our advertiser's page for terms & conditions.

The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

Loading Disqus Comments ...