If you go on Applied Bank’s website you will see reviews which lay claim to being “one of the highest rated banks in America.”
Most of those reviews/rankings are referencing the financial strength of the bank (in other words, your money is quite safe there). Ranking good for financial strength does NOT necessarily mean their credit cards a good deal!
2 cards with 1 dirty little secret
The Applied credit card is available in 3 different versions, but 2 in particular should be avoided at all costs.
Applied Bank Secured Visa Gold Card
This is a secured account which at first glance, might sound like it’s a half-way decent offer that’s worth considering…
- $50 annual fee
- $200 minimum security deposit is required to open an account (max deposit of $5,000 is accepted).
- The APR on purchases is 9.99% fixed.
- The application says there’s “no minimum credit score required” but in reality, that’s how most secured cards work anyway.
Sounds like an OK offer, right? Well scroll down to the fine print in the application and you will discover the nasty:
Yep that’s right, this credit card has no grace period! That means your purchases accrue interest, even if you pay your bill in full every month. The second you buy something with this Applied Bank card, interest charges begin.
The vast majority of credit cards don’t work this way. Normally if you pay your balance in full when the bill comes, you won’t get charged any interest. If you need a secured credit card, choose a different one like this which has a grace period:
Applied Bank also has an unsecured card for business owners, but this one is even more disastrous.
Applied Bank Visa Business Card
This is probably the worst business credit card I’ve ever seen in my entire life. Given the high fees and the fact that it is basically a personal card, it serves very little purpose. I’m not even a big fan of prepaid cards but even those are better than this, since at least the amount of fees you would probably be less.
- There is a one-time $125 “account origination fee” for opening the card.
- Plus, there is a $9.95 “monthly maintenance fee” (that’s $119.40 per year).
- The APR is relatively high at 23.99%
- There are no rewards and almost no benefits (just the basic minimum benefits thru Visa Business).
- Very low credit limits. The card’s application doesn’t tell you what the minimum is, but according to customer reviews I’ve read it can be in the low hundreds.
- Personal guarantee required. This is basically a personal credit card since you have to apply using your Social Security number. Since their application doesn’t ask for your LLC/corporate tax ID number, my guess is that this card probably won’t even help you build business credit.
- No grace period on this one either!
There 3rd offer is only a slight improvement
Those first two credit cards from Applied Bank should be avoided like the plague. But there is one which might be appropriate, but only in a specific circumstance (which I’ll explain in a moment).
Their “Platinum Zero” card is the only one they offer that comes with a grace period. But you pay a steep price for that: a $9.95 monthly fee, which means $119.40 per year. Furthermore it’s a secured card and the minimum required deposit is rather high; $500.
For probably 95% of people, the Platinum Zero is a bad choice. But if you plan to carry a balance on it, then it might make sense since there is 0% interest. But my question is… why would you want to carry a balance while you’re rebuilding credit? Contrary to popular belief, carrying a balance won’t help you build credit faster.
Conclusion? Applied probably isn’t the way to go
2 out of their 3 cards should always be avoided no matter what. With no annual fee, it’s no wonder that a couple years ago, there was an article on CNN which dubbed one of them “the credit card from hell.”
Meanwhile their 1 other card – which does have a grace period – also comes with high fees, so it’s not very competitive.
That leaves us asking the question… is Applied Bank a good credit card to have? Probably not.
Written or last updated November 17, 2013