First Premier Bank Credit Card review

May 16, 2020

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First Premier Bank Credit Card overview

The First Premier Bank Credit Card is designed for consumers with low credit scores who may not be approved for most other unsecured credit cards. You shouldn’t plan to use this card long term. Instead, this is a card to use for a short time to build your credit before moving on to a more traditional credit card that offers rewards, lower fees, a higher credit limit and lower interest rates.  Card rating*: ⭐½

*Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG’s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.

This page includes information about the Discover it Secured that is not currently available on The Points Guy and may be out of date.

If you have limited credit or are working to repair your credit, you may not have many appealing options when it comes to credit cards. Most rewards credit cards will want to see a higher credit score and stronger credit history before extending credit. So, if you have bad or poor credit, you may need to temporarily rely on a secured credit card or an unsecured credit card with high fees while you work to improve your credit score.

The First Premier Bank Credit Card is an unsecured credit card designed for consumers with low credit scores who otherwise may be turned down for a credit card. So, if you have good or excellent credit, or can be approved for a no-annual-fee credit card from other issuers, this card isn’t for you. But, if you have less-than-perfect credit and are struggling to get a credit card, you may be interested in the First Premier Bank Credit Card.

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In This Post

Who is this card for?

(Photo by John Gribben for The Points Guy)
(Photo by John Gribben/The Points Guy)

The First Premier Bank Credit Card is for consumers who are working to build or repair their credit and can’t be approved for most traditional credit cards. Due to the card’s high fees and lack of rewards, you will only want to get this card if you can’t be approved for a credit card with lower fees and aren’t willing to use a secured credit card.

If you opt to use the First Premier Bank Credit Card, you hopefully won’t need to keep this card for more than 18 to 24 months. This is because if you use the card responsibly during this time, you should be able to improve your credit enough to be approved for other cards.

This card isn’t available to residents of New York and Wisconsin. Additionally, this card isn’t available to active-duty military personnel and their dependents who are covered borrowers under the Military Lending Act.

Related reading: Secured vs. unsecured credit cards: What you should know

How to use this card

(Photo by Eric Helgas for The Points Guy)
When you apply, you choose your card design from these six options. (Photo by Eric Helgas/The Points Guy)

The First Premier Bank Credit Card is unsecured, so you’ll be assigned a credit limit by the issuer if you’re approved. This credit limit will be $300, $400, $500, $600, $700 or $1,000, depending on your creditworthiness. However, your annual fee will be deducted from this credit limit, so your initial available credit will be your credit limit minus your annual fee.

Your primary goal while using this card should be to improve your credit score so you can get approved for a credit card with rewards, lower fees and a higher credit line. Many different components go into calculating your credit score, but FICO — one of the primary formulas used to calculated credit scores — states that 35% of your score is based on your payment history and 30% of your score is based on your credit utilization ratio.

Payment history

If you get behind in making payments, this will harm your credit score. But, if you pay on time, this can improve your credit score. You’ll want to pay at least the minimum amount due each month by the due date to boost your payment history. It’s better to pay the statement balance by the due date each month, as this will allow you to avoid interest charges as well as keep your credit utilization low.

Related reading: Does it hurt to pay off your credit card balance before the billing cycle ends?

Credit utilization

Your debt-to-credit ratio is the total of your debts divided by the total amount of credit that you’ve been extended across all accounts. As a rule of thumb, it’s best to keep your debt-to-credit ratio below 20%. If you are using the First Premier Bank Credit Card, this will mean keeping your current balance below $60 if your credit limit is $300, and keeping your balance below $200 if your credit limit is $1,000. To do so, you may want to pay down your card balance multiple times throughout the month instead of only when your bill is due.

Related reading: Credit utilization ratio: What is it and how it affects your credit score

Fees and disadvantages with this card

(Photo by John Gribben for The Points Guy)
(Photo by John Gribben/The Points Guy)

The main reason I rated this card so poorly is the many fees that it charges and how confusing they can be, even to someone accustomed to reading credit card terms and conditions. Let’s go through all the fees and disadvantages so you can make an informed decision.

Annual fee, monthly fees and program fee

As mentioned earlier, your credit limit with the First Premier Bank Credit Card will be $300, $400, $500, $600, $700 or $1,000 depending on your creditworthiness. The card’s annual fee, monthly fees and program fee vary based on your credit limit.

Credit limit Program fee (one-time fee) Annual fee Monthly fee
$300 $95 $75 the first year, then $45 annually None the first year, then $6.25 per month
$400 $95 $100 the first year, then $45 None the first year, then $6.25 per month
$500 $95 $125 the first year, then $49 None the first year, then $10.40 per month
$600 $75 $79 the first year, then $49 $5.85 per month the first year, then $8.25 per month
$700 $55 $79 the first year, then $49 $8.00 per month the first year, then $10.40 per month
$1,000 $25 $79 the first year, then $49 $8.00 per month the first year, then $10.40 per month

The program fee must be paid in full before the credit account is opened. If you are approved but don’t pay the program fee in full within 85 days from the date the application was approved, your application will be withdrawn.

The annual fee will be charged once your credit account is opened, and then in about the same billing cycle of each following year. The monthly fee will be billed until your credit account is closed and the balance is $20 or less.

No benefits — besides the benefit of having access to a credit card — are provided for these fees. Instead, First Premier says the program fee is “to offset the risk associated with the credit account.”

Related reading: The best no-annual-fee credit cards

Interest rates and interest charges

If you pay your statement balance in full each month and don’t use cash advances, you should be able to avoid interest charges. But it’s a good idea to at least know what the interest rates and interest charges are on your card.

The First Premier Bank Credit Card has one of the highest annual percentage rates (APR) for purchases as well as cash advances that I’ve seen, at 36%. Luckily, your due date is at least 27 days after the close of each billing statement, and you won’t be charged interest on purchases as long as you pay your entire balance by the due date each month.

You’ll be charged interest on cash advances starting on the transaction date, though. So, if you use a cash advance (which you should generally avoid), you should pay off your entire balance as soon as possible after doing so.

Related reading: The top no-annual-fee credit cards with a 0% intro APR

Other fees

There’s an assortment of other fees charged by the card, such as the following:

  • Cash advance transaction fee: Either $8 or 5% of the amount of each cash advance, whichever is greater
  • Foreign currency transaction fee: 3% of each transaction amount in U.S. dollars
  • Additional card fee: $29 per year per additional card
  • Late payment penalty fee: Up to $39
    • If you do not pay the minimum payment plus the past due amount by the payment due date, you’ll be charged a late payment fee of $28
    • If you do not pay the minimum payment plus the past due amount by the payment due date again in the next six billing cycles, you’ll be charged a late payment fee of $39
    • The late payment fee will never exceed the minimum payment plus the past due amount shown on your statement
  • Return item charge penalty fee: Up to $39
    • If a payment you make is returned unpaid, you’ll be charged a return item charge of up to $28
    • If another payment is returned in the next six billing cycles, you’ll be charged a return item charge of up to $39
  • Credit limit increase fee: 25% of the amount of the credit limit increase
    • This fee is assessed to your credit account each time your account is approved for a credit limit increase
    • This fee is automatically assessed upon approval of a credit limit increase
    • The fee will be refunded (and your credit limit increase reversed) if you reject the credit limit increase within 30 days after the date of the billing statement on which the fee is billed
  • Copying fee: $3 per copy for any statement, sales draft or other documents you request
  • Express delivery fee: $35 for express delivery due to lost, stolen or replacement cards
  • Wire transfer fee: $5 per transaction

Related reading: Common credit card mistakes and how to avoid them

Other cards to consider

(Photo by Orli Friedman / The Points Guy)
(Photo by Orli Friedman/The Points Guy)

If you’re looking for a credit card to help improve your credit score, you may want to consider a secured credit card. Secured credit cards require that you put down a deposit equal to your credit line, but the fees on many secured cards are much lower than those on the First Premier Bank Credit Card. Some secured credit cards like the Discover it Secured and BankAmericard Secured credit card don’t charge an annual fee and may even move you to an unsecured credit line as your credit score improves. The Discover it Secured even provides cash-back rewards.

The information for the BankAmericard Secured credit card and Discover it Secured has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

Even if you want to stick to unsecured credit cards, there may be better options than the First Premier Bank Credit Card. For example, the Indigo Platinum Mastercard is designed for consumers with bad to fair credit, but it has lower fees and you could pre-qualify without needing a hard credit pull. Credit One offers some credit cards that have modest fees and offer limited cash-back earning for consumers who are rebuilding their credit.

Related reading: How to earn points and miles with fair to poor credit

Frequently asked questions

Does First Premier increase credit?

First Premier cardholders may be eligible for a credit limit increase once their credit card account has been open for 13 months. But, each time your account is approved for a credit limit increase, you’ll need to pay a fee of 25% of the amount of the credit limit increase.

Related reading: How to increase your credit limit

What credit score do you need to get a First Premier credit card?

First Premier credit cards are designed for consumers with bad or poor credit, so there’s no minimum credit score required. However, not all applicants will be accepted.

Related reading: 7 ways to maximize your chances of being approved for a credit card

Can I withdraw money from my First Premier Bank credit card?

You can withdraw money from the First Premier Bank Credit Card as a cash advance. Once your account is open, your initial cash advance limit will be 10% of your credit limit. But, once your account has been open and active for at least 90 days, has two consecutive months of current payment history, is not delinquent and has had no return payments for the past 60 days, your cash advance limit may be increased to 50% of your credit limit.

If you take a cash advance, you’ll need to pay a cash advance transaction fee of $8 or 5% of the cash advance, whichever is greater. And, you’ll start accruing interest on cash advances immediately. So, it’s best to avoid taking cash advances.

Related reading: 7 ways to save on overseas ATM withdrawals

Should I enroll in First Premier’s credit protection program?

The First Premier Bank Credit Card offers optional credit protection, which may pay the minimum payment due on your billing statement if the primary cardholder enrolls and then experiences involuntarily unemployment, disability, unpaid family leave, hospitalization or loss of life. The monthly cost of optional credit protection is $0.89 for each $100 of your outstanding ending monthly balance.

If you enroll in optional credit protection and then need to use this benefit, you’ll continue to accrue interest and other fees during the benefit period but you will not be able to use your account for any purpose. So, for most cardholders, it will be best to turn down the optional credit protection program and instead work on creating an emergency fund.

Related reading: Which budgeting technique is right for you?

Should I close my First Premier Bank credit card?

Generally, it’s best to keep credit card accounts open to increase your average account age. But, unless you can downgrade to a no-fee card with First Premier Bank — which doesn’t seem to be an option — it will likely be best to close your card account once you’ve been approved for a more traditional credit card with lower fees.

Related reading: How to find the best pre-qualified credit card offers

Is First Premier Bank legit?

First Premier Bank is located in South Dakota. Its sister organization, Premier Bankcard, issues the First Premier Bank Credit Card and is the 12th-largest issuer of Mastercard credit cards in the U.S. Both organizations are held by United National Corporation.

Related reading: The best national banks — and the perks of banking with one of them

Bottom line

(Photo by John Gribben for The Points Guy)
(Photo by John Gribben/The Points Guy)

The First Premier Bank Credit Card serves a particular subset of consumers who need an unsecured credit card but have bad or poor credit. It’s unreasonable to expect this card to offer the same benefits, rates and fees as credit cards that require excellent credit. But, this card charges exceptionally high fees — including a monthly fee, annual fee and program fee — while offering a low credit limit of $300 to $1,000 that’s based on creditworthiness.

The First Premier Bank Credit Card can be a useful product if you don’t want to use a secured credit card and aren’t able to be approved for an unsecured credit card with lower fees. But I wouldn’t recommend applying until you’re debt-free and actively working to improve your credit. This way, you can focus on using the card responsibly before switching to a lower fee card with a higher credit limit once you see that your credit score has improved enough.

Featured photo by John Gribben/The Points Guy.

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: 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.