Is First Premier Bank a Scam?

Posted by CreditCardGuru

First Premier Bank parodyLoathed. Despised. Hated. Those are all words I’ve heard used to describe First Premier Bank credit cards. But is calling it a “scam” an accurate description or not?

2014 Quick Summary: The reason people have such a negative opinion about Premier is largely due to their insanely high fees: $170 during the 1st year alone! They’re not technically a scam, just a really sucker deal. If you have bad credit then you will be better off with this card instead.

What they do?

If you’re not familiar with First Premier, they are bank in South Dakota. A little history lesson: South Dakota was the very first state that had the darkly cynical idea to pass a law in the early 80′s to allow any bank headquartered there to charge whatever rates they please nationwide. This lured major banks like Citicorp to move their money-center credit card operations to the badlands and jack up their interest rates, which had previously been held down by New York usury laws. But I digress. Back to First Premier. They have a few brick and mortar locations there which offer full-service banking, however they’re much better known for their credit cards available nationwide. In fact, according to Wikipedia, First Premier is the 10th largest issuer of MasterCard and Visa cards in the US. There is big money in sub-prime credit cards.

But these aren’t just any credit cards. First Premier is famous for fees… lots and lots of fees! Which brings us to the next part…

Why are they dispised?

Yes, they are credit cards for bad credit. But even taking that into account, the fees and interest rates go above and beyond the status quo for this category. Here’s a run-down for one of their credit card deals to give you an idea:

First PREMIER Bank MasterCard

  • Interest rate = 36%
  • Processing fee = $95 (one-time)
  • Annual fee = $75 for first year, $45 thereafter
  • Monthly servicing fee = None for first year, $6.25/month thereafter

In their marketing bullets, they say “If approved, your $95 Processing Fee gets you a $300 credit limit.” So you are paying these fees for a minimum credit limit which is quite low.

In addition to this particular card, there are several other flavors marketed under different names such as Classic, Gold, Forward – and my favorite – Premier Possibilities. It’s my favorite because I have no clue what “possibilities” the card offers, other than the possibility of going broke by paying all those fees ;)

Despite the different names, the fee structures and APRs on these cards are all very similar. Upon studying their applications, I actually have a hard time differentiating between some of them, other than their names and designs.

So the question as to why so many people hate them, I think the answer is quite obvious. But is it fair to say that First Premier Bank credit cards are a scam?

What it comes down to?

Despite the outrageous fees they charge, when I looked at the application for the aforementioned card, the fees and interest rates were spelled out in black and white:

rates and fees on First Premier card

They are telling you upfront how they are gong to stick it to you. So technically speaking, they are not a “scam” since say upfront how much you will be charged. However, just because they are not a “scam” doesn’t mean they are a good deal. They are clearly taking advantage of those with few other options and even less financial literacy.

In my personal opinion, I think they are one of the worst choices you could make for building or rebuilding credit. Why? Simply because you can accomplish the same thing using other cards that cost a lot less.

For example if you went the route of a secured card, you could put up a security deposit as low as $200-300 and in exchange, get a card that may only have an annual fee as low as $30 or $40. Since the security deposit will be refundable when you close the account, it’s a much cheaper option than paying the processing fee + annual fee + servicing fee that First Premier Bank charges on their cards. Check out this page to see the top secured cards.

I just wish people would read the First Premier applications before applying, because I think it would save a lot of heartache, if people understood what they were committing to.

That said, I totally respect a person’s right to spend their money how they wish. If someone wants to apply for a First Premier Bank card and ship their hard-earned money off to South Dakota, I believe that’s their right. After all, there’s no law against someone overspending on say, a designer handbag, so if someone chooses a pricey credit card then I respect that as their right. Unfortunately, it seems like most people aren’t reading the application thoroughly, so they don’t understand why they’re having to pay exorbitant fees and interest rates. Caveat emptor.

Last updated August 5, 2014


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Editorial Disclosure: The editorial content on this page is not provided by any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities. Opinions expressed here are author's alone, not those of the bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

41 comments... read them below or add your own

  1. Jackie August 10, 2014 at 1:47AM

    So, I have a question. I got a letter from First Premier Bank saying I applied for a card and they want all this information from me: A copy of my driver’s license or birth certificate, documentation of my full social security number, verification of my physical address, such as a utility bill, but it has to be an original, not a copy. They say they can return none of these documents to me. This smacks of an identity theft scam to me. I am curious if anyone that has or had the card in the past was required to provide all this documentation. My other concern is that I never applied for this card, when I checked my current credit score/report (updated today)this company had made no inquiry into my credit history. I would think a company that is looking to give me a card would at least make a credit check?
    Thanks. Any insight would be very much appreciated.

  2. john August 2, 2014 at 5:20PM

    thanks for the info good people and in the trash the application goes.

  3. Paulette H July 31, 2014 at 10:17AM

    Please, never take this card. I did and what a mistake. Not only is the interest 36% but the monthly fee just to have the card is 14.50 per month. So, along with the monthly interest charge and the monthly fee for the card it averages to around 50% per year in interest. I cancelled the card and have it almost paid off and I will never, ever deal with these people again. By the way, when I called to cancel the card the woman on the other end argues with me as to why I was cancelling it and it took 10 minutes of arguing to get her to cancel it. NEVER ACCEPT THIS CARD IT IS WAY TOO MUCH MONEY FOR ANYONE TO PAY MONTHY IN STUPID CHARGES. TRY FOR THE CREDIT ONE-THEY ARE PRETTY LEGIT.

    • rudy m August 6, 2014 at 12:21PM

      Hi Paulette i am in the same boat as you. I Pay my monthly fee and a bit more than what is asked and noticed i have been getting fee 14.50. awful its like nothing lowering my balance. MY question is when you called to cancel were they still going to charge you 14.50 until balance is paid. I mean im up for canceling it as long as they stop the 14.50 and i can just continue to pay off my balance til im done. I hate this card never again.thanks

  4. Im Good July 30, 2014 at 11:35PM

    Man, I dont need another credit card this bad. Anyone applying for this card should try all other options first.

  5. Rodney Britton July 17, 2014 at 7:52PM

    FIRST PREMIERE BANK IS WORSE THAN A LOAN SHARK. Never get a CC from these sharks. They will rip you off big time in all kinds of ridiculous fees. They are predatory lenders.

  6. Boss July 10, 2014 at 12:38PM

    I think premier bank is a good bank, they just want you to be responsible on your monthly obligations, like bills etc.pay everything on time, that’s why PB is for bad credit, and by paying monthly bill on time your credit score will increase… hmmmmmmmm. High fees?? Like what I’ve said, pay everything on time and everything will be settled and will be on its right place. Don’t blame them, you guys also applied at PB and then you just keep on complaining, if so then don’t apply.

    • Paulette H July 31, 2014 at 10:26AM

      You must work for them because they raise the monthly fee every year. I have made my payments above and beyond the amount due. I have been responsible with this card never going over or right up to the limit so don’t give people the crap about being responsible. Yes this was to build credit but raising the monthly fee to 14.50 a month for a good customer is wrong. This company is slime. Total slime balls.

  7. RLT July 9, 2014 at 12:40PM

    Bad Bad Deal, their fees make it not worth it!

  8. Michael Baxter July 1, 2014 at 6:24PM

    The article is not entirely accurate, but close enough. I DID NOT have to pay a upfront fee of $95 prior to using my card. I was given a card with a $700 limit and a $175.00 annual fee for the first year. That amount was subtracted from my available credit when I activated the card. So they did get their $95 bucks fro me, but I did not have to pay them up front before using the card to make purchases.

  9. Purple 7 June 9, 2014 at 6:52PM

    Worst credit card company .. They are crooks .Without you even using the card they send you a big bill. If you cancel the card with using it they report it to the credit bureaus as negative ..T

  10. Patricia Tursi May 23, 2014 at 3:33AM

    First Premier opened up an online account and my credit tanked because I don’t have a job. I am a identity fraud victim and no credit card company should have issued credit…another company, Capital One, refused the fraudulent application.

    The address on the application is 3 doors down from me and our mail is stolen routinely. The postman knows me and delivered the bill and refused application because he delivered by name and not by address. But in spite of bad credit, I was billed for a credit card that First Premier issued to an identity thief.

    First Premier was named worst credit card by consumer’s union. The founder is a self-styled philanthropist who robs the poor and gives to organizations so he can be seen as a philanthropist. Bizarre.

  11. Chill Williams May 5, 2014 at 10:46AM

    Everything you folks mentioned is true. No one has mentioned anything about a recourse of actions to prevent such scamming practices. I see nothing wrong with making money, but we must take action as a society of not being prey upon of such unethical behaviors. Any suggestions?

  12. Chris C April 15, 2014 at 5:49PM

    tHEY ARE JUST LIKE CROSS COUNTRY BANK,WHO LOANED GAVE CREDIT CRDS TO PEOPLE WITH HORRIBLE CREDIT.THEN CHARGE YOU A LARGE ACTIVATION FEE AND GIVE YOU EXTREMELY HIGH RATES.do not do business with this company.Wait for 4 -5 years if you have bad credit and begin applYing,with perhaps a 39 yearly fee to begin with at capital one,discovery or American Express.Pay them off on tIme,above the minimum amount and before you know it,keep the total below 50% of the credit limit and you will be notified of a credit raise without even applying for one.Finally negotiate the yearly fees AWAY and your back in business.This Bank,First Premier, is garbage.

  13. LSW April 3, 2014 at 7:42PM

    I think this credit card is good for someone with really bad credit. After all, people with bad credit pay more for loans, and a credit card is basically a loan. Would you turn down a car loan because the interest is high but the payment is affordable? You need that car, right? I noticed that when I paid twice as much as my monthly payment, I received a credit towards my account. I thought that was nice. What I did not like is when I asked for a credit limit increase, they denied me but in turn offered me another credit card with a higher limit. I am not sure how that works but I will deal with it. I think you need to pick the top 3 credit cards you would like to have and research them. I am 3 years in and I am happy with my cards and their limits.

    • Robert July 6, 2014 at 3:32PM

      Good? They are fraudulent.

  14. heather mease March 18, 2014 at 8:11PM

    what can I get since even capitol one denied me?

  15. Mari March 14, 2014 at 5:15PM

    THIEVES !!!! it is not worth it !!! Build your credit else where RUN AWAY !!!!!!!!!!

  16. Ruby March 14, 2014 at 4:01PM

    NEVER sign your LIFE away to this AWFUL SCAM CREDIT CARD, you’ll REGRET for the rest of your LIFE! Even if you have bad credit never don’t ever get this credit card either! STAY AWAY FROM THESE HUNGRY MONEY PIGS!

  17. nick jones March 13, 2014 at 9:09AM

    DO NOT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! GET THIS CARD THEY ARE THE WORST IM 30 AND NEVER HAD A CREDIT CARD UNTIL THE END OF 2013 THEY DO ANY AND EVERYTHING TO MAKE YOU PAY EXTRA MONEY I TRIED TO MAKE PAYMENTS THOUGHT THE PHONE SYSTEM AND THEY KEPT SAYING MY CARD NUMBER IS WRONG BEFORE I EVEN GOT THE LAST NUMBER OF MY CARD TYPED IN. THEN WHEN TALKED TO A REP THEY CHANGED ME A LATE FEE AND $11 EXTRA BECAUSE I PAID LATE… BUT I WAS TRYING TO PAY BILL FOR 3 HOURS THE WEBSITE DOES NOT WORK. THEY DONT SEND YOUR BILL ON TIME AND…….! THEY CALL YOU WITH A UNKNOWN NUMBER AND DONT EVEN LEAVE A MESSAGE!!! THEY SUCK THIS WAS MY FIRST CARD AND NOW I DONT EVEN WANT TO GET A NEW CARD IF I CANT PAY A BILL IS JUST WONT GET PAID …… THIS IS A SCAM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  18. ANDRE DEAN March 6, 2014 at 9:09PM

    OK WHY IS AM HEARING SUCH BAD THINGS ABOUT YA TELL ME SOMETHING GOOD ABOUT THIS BANK

  19. Ashley February 18, 2014 at 1:24PM

    Wow I just got this card after reading these comments about premier it makes it very discouraging to know how they really are. I’ve done payed the fee and everything now I don’t know what to do.

    • a.y.harrison April 1, 2014 at 11:33AM

      Ashley,

      Just make sure you make your payments on time and pay more than the minimum amount, do this for six month to a year, and apply for another credit card, once you get another credit card, pay them off and move on.

    • LSW April 3, 2014 at 7:49PM

      I think some people are overreacting. If you have bad credit you are going to pay more. With the limits they are offering, the interest really is not that high. The best thing you can do is spend wisely and pay your bill on time. I noticed that when I payed more than the minimum amount, I received a credit on my account. I do admit that if you miss a payment, they will lay on the fees.

  20. M.MORGAN February 10, 2014 at 12:58PM

    *BEWARE!* this place is really a scam! DO YOUR RESEARCH!!

    ***DO NOT GIVE THEM YOUR PRIVATE INFORMATION!!!*****

    $300 (limit) – $95 (process fee) – $75 (annual fee) – $20 (sneaky monthly maintenance fee) – $6.00 or 5% whichever is greater(cash advance transaction fee) – $35 (late fee) – $35 (returned item charge) – 36% APR of 300 is $108 = DO THE MATH! YOU WILL NEVER COME OUT HAPPY!

    i spoke to a woman.. a rude snotty bitch i might add! she instantly asked for my social which i politely declined (i never just give my SS# out without knowing more about the company) and she instantly changed the tone of her fake happy marketing voice ..she said with a attitude “okay fine” then proceeded on to the part where i must pay the 95 before i find out if i am approved.. gave me the guilt trip and said i will not find a deal like this! i laughed and said im not paying that for a 300 credit line..(keep in mind this was a lengthy phone call im just cutting it short lol) i asked her how this really helps build credit? she basically told me to pay the 95 and to find out my self and to stop making stupid choices like Ive made in the past to be in this position(HOW RUDE!)and would not let up on asking for my bank information, how im going to pay and social number again.. i told her no, just stop! this “offer” is bull shit. i feel bad for the people you con into joining. she then snickered “ugh so your not going to pay the fee? im going to cancel your account and you will never be accepted!” HA i said please do!! bye

    well i hope my experience prevents it from happening to someone else! AVOID THIS COMPANY DO NOT EVEN CALL THEM!

  21. Aaron January 26, 2014 at 6:16PM

    Wow, thanks you guys. When they accepted my application i got so excited. But before spend any money espically online, I always do a back grand check on the company. As far as building creidt goes they seem legitimate, but all those fees?!. I think I’ll try few other places before I try them. My main goal is to build credit. And I gotta start some where

  22. Rodger Rhone January 15, 2014 at 1:38PM

    This company is a predatory credit card company that takes advantage of people desperate for any kind of credit card. These people are scum. Their fees are comparable to a loan shark’s. Any card offers I get from them get trashed but I let them know they can Kiss MY Ass. Beware of these banks my friends.

  23. LW January 14, 2014 at 12:05PM

    Don’t go there!!!! Fees !!! Bad service. BS

  24. John Forrer December 11, 2013 at 10:09AM

    First premier credit card sucks!!! I never ever applied or received a credit card from this place but they continually call me telling me I didn’t make my payment, I didn’t make a payment because I didn’t get a credit card from them… Who in their right mind would even apply for a credit card from this place with a 36% interest… Don’t apply for credit with these people and if you already have a credit card with them cut it up…. How can they allow someone to apply, receive, and use a credit card with someone else’s identity?

  25. mv December 11, 2013 at 12:42AM

    These are not scams if you read it right there
    Giving you $300.00 credit application fee $95.00 technology you getting credit its not like your making Deposit of $300.00 down and they tell you to pay on time then you wouldn’t have to worry about interest .

  26. Fred R. November 9, 2013 at 12:36PM

    Received their solicitation today and burned it after reading it. It makes less sense than one of those Cash Advance places.

    • Rodger Rhone January 15, 2014 at 1:39PM

      Your exactly right, Fred. The trash is where these cards can go.

  27. John Mackey November 5, 2013 at 6:02PM

    I bought into the First Premiere system and totally regret the move. There needs to be someway that consumers are made aware of their tactics. But as the old saying goods, “Let the customer beware.”

  28. nobi2060 October 7, 2013 at 6:52PM

    These people are okay. But I know after the first year I want nothing to do with them. Pay your balance in full each month and don’t use more than 20% of your credit limit and you will be fine. After you start qualifying for better credit cards drop these guys seriously.

    • Jiz November 7, 2013 at 6:04AM

      That is exactly my plan! The intrest rates and annual fees are absolutely INSANE!!!!!

  29. Youniq August 23, 2013 at 11:12AM

    First Premier is in business to make money, period. Don’t buy into the “help build credit” hype. They prey on individuals with bad credit in order to make money. I agree with this statement this is a terrible company who really don’t disclose the true charges that you are going to be paying and that is to me a scam.

  30. Alex July 30, 2013 at 1:59PM

    Great job here bringing the truth! I have never personally dealt with First Premier Bank because I’ve never heard anything positive about them ….period! Even though it’s listed as a good card for bad credit, it’s still something you want to be aware of. At the end of the day it’s your credit so it’s always a good idea to keep a heads up for predatory lenders. Thanks.

  31. DRC July 25, 2013 at 6:45PM

    I have had this card for over a year, paid on time, and responsibly used. They told me I would be eligible for a credit limit increase on my 13th month of on time payments, and on my 13th month I applied for one. DECLINED. Instead they started billing me $20 a month for a ‘maintenance fee’ plus interest.

    I’m not blaming them, because I knew they were a high interest credit card to begin with, but, as soon as I get a few hundred bucks, I’m paying off and closing their card. VERY expensive, and hasn’t done jack to rebuild my credit. Waste of money, stay away!

  32. Robert Storm June 8, 2013 at 1:16PM

    I applied for this card and after being immediately approved, I was sent to the next step in the process which was their $95.00 processing fee. I opted not to pay the up front fee and closed my browser. Two days later I got a call from these people, trying to get me to pay them the $95.00. When I informed the woman on the other end I was not paying an up front fee, she actually tried to GUILT me into paying it.

    As it says in the article, the card may not be a “scam” but at 36% APR and the other fees involved, this card is not worth the time and effort.

  33. Mogul_Racer May 17, 2013 at 2:10PM

    This company is in business to make money, period. Don’t buy into the “help build credit” hype. They prey on individuals with bad credit in order to make money.

  34. Judie Lindstrom March 3, 2013 at 5:16PM

    stay away from these pigs..a credit report from these guys means nothing..

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