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Total Visa Credit Card - Pros and Cons

By: George Allen

If you have a history of bad debt, slow or bad debt or have a limited debt history you may have to start with a limited credit card, one with a low limit. These cards generally carry an application fee, but they do allow you to establish (or re-establish) credit after it's been damaged. Consistent payments lead to an improved credit history.

The Total Visa® Card, issued by Plains Commerce Bank, is designed for those with limited or damaged credit.

Although the card does not require a security deposit, it does have various fees applied to new applicants, which for the first year alone equal $296 (of this amount, $152 is applied for the first year only). Some applicants may prefer to pay the upfront fees as opposed to a larger security deposit; however, it is important to note that most of the fees applied are non-refundable (security deposits are usually refundable).

Pros – Most Attractive Features:

Does not require a security deposit.
The rate for cash advances is the same as for purchases, which is a rare benefit as the interest rate for cash advances is usually much higher.
Those who become active members of the credit card will be glad to know that transactions will be reported to all major credit bureaus as an unsecured credit card.
Those who can afford to pay in full each month (to avoid finance charges) and do not mind paying numerous upfront fees may find the Total Visa® Card to be beneficial.
Basically a good way to start re-building your credit.
Can help obtain an unsecured Credit Card by paying Total Card on time each and every month.

Cons – Least Attractive Features

Various fees applied to new accounts for the first year.
The interest rate is above average for this type of card.
Not ideal if the cardholder plans to carry a balance.
Inability to have it become an unsecured card.
This card has a program fee of $96 and an account set-up fee of $56.
No additional cardholders allowed on this card.

Additional Perks

Various Internet account related services.
Fraud protection services.

Card Fees

Annual Percentage Rate (APR) for Purchases 19.92% Other APRs Cash Advance APR: 19.92%
Annual Fee: $48
Grace Period: 25 Days from Statement Date if prior month balance was paid in full by due date Method of Computing the Balance for Purchases Average Daily Balance (including new purchases)
Minimum Credit Limit: $250
Maximum Credit Limit: n/a
Late Payment Fee: $29
Over-The-Limit Fee: $25
Cash Advance Fee: $5
Minimum Finance Charge $.00
Easy Pay Fee $7.95
Closed Account Maintenance Fee $3.50
Application Fee: $96 + $56
Participation Fee: $96 ($8 monthly)
Total First Year Fees: $296

While you are trying to get a credit card, keep paying all your other bills on time.
You should have no more than three credit cards – one or two with a small credit limit and one with a larger limit for emergencies.
Don't overspend. Only buy something that you can pay for in cash. This will keep you from buying more than you can afford.
If you cannot pay off your balance every month, you are spending more than you can afford and need to stop using your credit card until you can pay off the balance.

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