2014 Review: Is The Horizon Gold Credit Card Really a Scam?

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Have you had a bankruptcy, foreclosure, or just a history of bad debt? If so, be careful because there are lots of unscrupulous lenders and other predatory companies that will try to take advantage of you.

A prime example is the Horizon Gold card. If you currently have an account or you’re thinking about getting one, this review is a must-read.

Quick Overview for 2014: Horizon is NOT a real credit card. Instead, it is an account you can only use at once place (their website) to buy merchandise. This is absolutely the worst, most predatory kind of card to have. In total, the fees for the card can run as much as $300 or more per year, which is truly outrageous. They even say this on their website, here’s the fine print disclosure:Horizon Gold disclosure statement
If you have bad credit, you would be much better off getting a major credit card (like a MasterCard) that you can use for purchases everywhere. Here is one I highly recommend for bad credit:Alternately, you may want to try this out and see if you are matched for any offers…When you go to the homepage for Horizon card services, you are taken to a sales pitch for it. In big bold red font they tell you it’s possible to get:

  • $500 limit
  • Guaranteed approval
  • No credit check
  • Bad credit – OK
  • Fast online application
  • No employment check
  • Reports to major bureau

That sounds almost too good to be true, right? Well that’s because this is not a bank and you’re not getting a traditional credit card. You’re being sold a bill of goods, none of which is good.

How it really works…

1. This is an online retailer, not a bank or a regular credit card issuer

At the top of the page is the “pre-acceptance disclosure” and if you scroll through it (which is difficult to do by the way, since they only show 4 lines of text at a time) you will see for yourself who’s actually behind the so called Gold card:

Horizon Gold disclosure statement
(blue highlight added by me)

That’s right, this is not a bank, credit card company, or any other other type of financial services organization. What the Horizon Gold card offers you is merely a line of credit to shop at their own website, called Horizon Outlet (which I’ll discuss in a moment).

This is NOT a Visa, MasterCard, Discover or American Express. You can only use this card for shopping from their online catalog/store.

2. The plan costs $24.95 per month (that’s almost $300 per year!)

They don’t charge interest, instead they just charge you a bunch of fees and sell you overpriced merchandise.

My guess is that the reason they don’t charge interest is because if they did, it would probably expose them to various credit card regulations. And since they’re not an actual bank, that might make their twisted business model more difficult to get by the authorities that govern real banks.

Instead, it seems they skirt around by charging you a monthly “membership/benefits plan” of $29.95 per month:

the expensive $24.95 monthly fee

You get automatically enrolled in this upon activation. They say for “ease and convenience” the $24.95 will be auto-debited monthly from your checking or bank account on file. Convenient for them, anyway!

Keep in mind that $24.95 per month is a whopping $299.40 per year! But wait, there’s more…

3. Fees, fees, and more fees

As if paying almost $300 per year for the card wasn’t bad enough, there is a laundry list of other fees and charges which you might experience while using the account:

  • One time Card Issuance and Account Validation fee: $5.00
  • Fee for returned checks or debits, second NSF: $25.00
  • Outlet Store Residential Delivery: $2.00
  • Outlet Store Delivery Signature Verification: $2.50
  • Monthly maintenance fee: $6.00 (waived to all active Horizon Card Services members).

Even after I read all 5,000+ words of the “pre-acceptance disclosure” I’m still confused as to when/if each of these fees is charged. If you already have an account with them, call up their customer service (the phone number is 1-800-251-6144) to find out so you don’t get hit with them unexpectedly. Oh, and cancel the card while you have them on the phone.

4. It’s not guaranteed to show on your credit report

The reason a lot of people with bad credit will pay for things like this is because they want to get a fresh start with re-building.

Well, if you’re counting on the Horizon Gold credit card to do the trick it may help. Maybe. But make sure you read this fine print on the application:

T&C for reporting to credit bureau

As you see right there, they clearly say they do not guarantee “the posting of any positive references to any credit report.” Now in their defense, rumor has it that they do report the account to TransUnion (and then after a few months, the other two credit bureaus Equifax and Experian will pick it up after seeing it on TransUnion).

But the fact remains that paying almost $300 per year for the “membership plan,” not to mention all the other fees, is a ripoff price to pay just to get another account for your credit report. There are much cheaper options elsewhere, which I’ll discuss in a minute.

5.  The merchandise is insanely overpriced

Personally, I can’t access their shopping site, called “Horizon Outlet,” because in order to see the products you need enter your Horizon card number.

But based on the reviews and feedback I’ve seen posted on the net, their merchandise sounds like it has ripoff prices. Here’s what one customer alleged in a forum post:

customer review of card

Of course I have no way of verifying the accuracy of his or her claims, but it does sound comparable to what a number of people say about this company.

What should you do?

You will see many complaints posted online where people allege that the Horizon card is a scam or fraud. Technically speaking, it isn’t. There’s nothing illegal about what this company is doing. Immoral? Perhaps, but it’s not illegal. So it’s not technically a “scam” but rather just an extremely overpriced credit account designed to take advantage of those without other options. Not to mention that it also has very limited use.

When compared to “real” bank-issued credit cards for bad credit, I see little reason why you would get this quasi-credit card from Horizon Gold. Even the most overpriced cards from an unscrupulous bank like First Premier will still probably end up costing you less than this.

But the best option for you is to get a secured credit card. With those, you put up a security deposit which is fully refundable when you close the account (assuming you don’t have any outstanding obligations on the account).

My recommendation? If you wanted to apply for the Horizon card, don’t do it. Just walk away. If you already have one, cancel it as soon as you can. Instead, try out this sponsored tool to see if there are any credit card offers you are pre-selected for. Click below, fill out the form, and see your results. Then you can get a real credit card that can be used anywhere – just use it responsibly and you can grow your credit over time.

This article was written or last updated August 4, 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.

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

  1. Derek Brown November 15, 2014 at 3:00PM

    I applied for and got the horizon gold card, I have a basic membership…the fees are less than $7 a month, they report to transunion every month, which is good for people such as myself who just need so e open lines of credit. There are no interest fees , I think people are expecting to Get a card that they can use anywhere, but for a merchandise card this is a great idea….I ordered and had my merchandise in 2 days, Li couldn’t be more pleased , thank you Horizon Gold for helping me build a credit profile !

  2. Turnit November 5, 2014 at 2:02PM

    Got the card and was charged the 29.95. There is nothing good in the store except maybe a couple of obscure items you may never need, and they are over priced. I called today to cancel, and after 45 minutes of being on hold, being trasfered three times and having to give my information all three times, they finally cancelled my account. But first, the first person hounded me with about 7 different come-backs after I said I wanted to cancel. The “let me up your limit” “let me lower your fee” etc etc. After being very nice through all of this she started to ask why I wouldn’t accept any of her offers so I finally told her I didn’t want to hear one more thing come out of her mouth other than she was canceling my card. At which time she transfered me to someone else who tryed again, then to another person who finally canceled my card, and gave me a confirmation number. He then also tryed to sell me a legal service and a cash advance. GEEEEEEZ these pepople are relentless!! STAY AWAY!!

  3. Barbara October 22, 2014 at 2:16PM

    I’ve got my order ready and need to check out but my card don’t have exp date or code on back. What do I do to check out?

  4. Parisa Dixon September 29, 2014 at 12:31AM

    DID ANYONE EVER ORDER ANYTHING & GET THE PRODUCT ORDERED???

  5. DeAndre September 27, 2014 at 10:08AM

    I’ve had the card for two months and I haven’t used it yet. I called to cancel my membership about three and half weeks ago but they talked me into keeping it and raised my credit limit from $500 to $1000 along with the promise that even if unused and payments are made on time it would reflect a positive standing on my credit report… Well I just check my credit report through experian and nothing showed about horizon gold or the $1000 credit limit. I’m canceling today.

    • Parisa Dixon September 29, 2014 at 12:30AM

      I JUST WENT THRU THE SAME EXACT THING. I WANTED IT CANCELED & MY $29,95 BACK ON MY DEBIT CARD & SHE UP MY CREDIT LINE FROM $500 TO $1000. I WAS ABOUT TO BUY A TV I NEED BADLY NOW BUT STARTED READING ALL THE BAD THINGS ABOUT THIS DAMN CARD.. OMG.. CALLING & CANCELING
      IN THE MORNING.. SHE AIN’T TALKING ME OUTTA THIS NOW…
      THANX FOR THE INFO…

    • Parisa Dixon September 29, 2014 at 12:36AM

      THEY DID THE SAME EXACT THING TO ME ON SEPT. 26, 2014 UP MY CREDIT LINE FROM $500 TO $1000
      I NEW SOMETHING WAS WRONG TO UP CREDIT LINE DOUBLE & THEY GAVE ME $10 BACK FROM PROCESSING FEE TO KEEP IT & USE IT… WELL I WON’T BE DOIN THAT… BAD AS I NEED A TV.. I WILL BE CALLING IN A FEW HRS TO GET THE HELL AWAY FROM THIS SHHHHH… THANX…

  6. Bonnie September 9, 2014 at 12:27AM

    Well they just got me real good. Was actually shopping and had some things selected. Suddenly I got a message saying that my adapter modem cable/what the hell ever was broke. At the same time my pc froze up and I couldn’t get back to my shopping cart or anything. after doing a complete security/virus scan…The dam website had left my computer a few gifts…Spyware, multiple and 23 infected files. Thank God I have the best protection and am now rid of them. BUT There is one thing they don’t know. And that is that I have a close friend who shuts stupid shit like Gold Horizon down!! All the way guys. So it wont be long til you see the name gone and the pages will say nothing but THIS SITE WAS FOUND TO BE INFECTED AND COULD CRASH YOUR SYSTEM!! AND IT WILL GIVE YOU INFO PHONE # FOR A LAWSUIT THATS GOING TO MAKE THEM REFUND ALL THE PEOPLE THAT THEY MISLEAD. iN ADDITION THEY WILL BE cHARGED THEMSELVES AND POSSIBLY PROSICUTED!! THEY DIDNT REALIZE…NOT ALL SCAMMERS SLIP BY WITHOUT SOMEONE INVESTIGATING THEM AND JUST HOW THEY DO THINGS.

  7. kiumy August 12, 2014 at 12:44AM

    I have not recieve any card yet but please cancel my applicat I dont want of this anymore

  8. josie July 21, 2014 at 2:17PM

    I got the card, I leave it closed and pay the $4.95 a month it reported to my credit the day I got it and reports every month so I think its actually pretty great my score has improved in all three reports so thanks to horizon!!!!

  9. walter July 18, 2014 at 1:59PM

    I’ve been with them for over a year now and don’t use card but they still report to credit bureau that im very good in paying…..if it works for me it will work for you so please dont talk bad about them cause it’s a fact that they do work.

  10. tom hallett June 28, 2014 at 8:25AM

    I did not ask for this card so I would like to cancel it and get all of my money back asap please I do not know who ask for lit but I did not so please cancel it asap and give me all of my money thank you

    • Angela November 25, 2014 at 3:18AM

      First of all, who are you talking to? This is not the Horizon customer service. Second, this site is run by Capital One obviously-wait Tom, maybe you’ll see Samuel J. Jackson running around with his pimp outfit on – red pants and blue velvet jacket.

  11. Polar Bear 6969 June 24, 2014 at 1:01AM

    SON OF A GUN!!! THIS STUPID CARD IS A SCAM!! I BELIEVE PEOPLE SHOULD GET TOGETHER WHO SHARE A COMMON LIST OF PROBLEMS WITH HORIZON AND GET A INVESTIGATION GOING TO SEE IF THE POSSIBILITY EXISTS TO GET THEM TO GET IT TOGETHER!! THERE IS GOVERNMENT AGENCIES THAT WOULD LOVE TO HEAR ABOUT COMPANIES LIKE THIS WHO PREY ON PEOPLE FOR COMPANY GAIN AND CUSTOMER MISERY. I SUGGEST CONTACTING THE SENATE IN YOUR STATE AND/OR A LAW PROFESSIONAL TO GET THE BALL ROLLING!!THE MORE PEOPLE THAT COMPLAIN THE MORE LIKELY THE GOVERNMENT AGENCIES WILL HAVE TO ACT!! ONE SCAM AT A TIME!!! LETS START WITH HORIZON. TKS

  12. keeks June 10, 2014 at 3:31PM

    They charged my account 29.95 and I called and raised hell and they refunded me the money and still sent me the card with an extra $60 on it!

  13. Marvin May 4, 2014 at 6:30AM

    If you are tired with your current hair style and want to change it as soon as possible then hair extensions can help you solve your problem. A notable fact about these hair extensions is they will cannot be treated and also colors nor can they be employed with any heat styling tools. If you are interested in having your extensions bonded, make sure you have them done by a top notch professional who specializes in hair extensions.

    • Rachel September 21, 2014 at 9:25AM

      Are U serious??????

    • Angela November 25, 2014 at 3:19AM

      Marvin – totally out of it.

  14. jcounter April 11, 2014 at 6:44AM

    Pay the 29 bucks. Don’t use the card. And if its not showing on your credit write to the bureaus. If you have shitty credit your gonna have to pay either way. I have 2premier ccards and have had them for years for the both of them I pay almost 200 bucks in annual fees plus interest. And they have caps on your credit limit along with charging you a late of 25 bucks if you are 1 day late and if you use there customer service to pay the same day you pay over 12 bucks. If you want to build your credit open a card but don’t use it. You take control you dont have to be rude or nasty. Just simply tell them the problem or threaten to cancel and companies will pretty much bend over backwards for you. Its not hard its common sense.

  15. Liza March 26, 2014 at 6:34PM

    I just applied fir the card and got approved but i can’t access the catalog

    • nick August 26, 2014 at 11:26PM

      Me to they told me use regular computer with girewall connection nothing is good up there at all.

  16. reggie March 19, 2014 at 2:27AM

    hi can anybody can answear me … i never activate the account or the horizon card do i need to cancel it even i never activate it..thanks

    • nick August 26, 2014 at 11:28PM

      Its already done wen they send it to you…

  17. Saabu March 16, 2014 at 4:59PM

    Someone illegally opened a account in my name with this bogus company. They need to be shut down. Thank god for life lock.

  18. Kimmy V. March 16, 2014 at 4:30PM

    This was a very misleading application. I applied and when I relized that is was a shopping card that is not what I needed at all. Called to cancel card and after talking to a manager she went into a long speach of how this card would help me. Raised my limit to 1500. I said I would check out the merchandise. Well I looked at it today and everything is way over priced and they really did not have anything I needed or wanted to buy. So I will be calling first thing in the morning to cancel the card and get my deposit back.Let you know how it turns out.Thank You

    • Steph April 10, 2014 at 5:36PM

      You will usually Recieve ur card.. I did and it cost me the application fee to get it. Very misleading it is but I called to make sure anything monthly wasn’t taken out? I wasn’t charged a automated monthly fee. But I still canceled the card anyway cause I don’t have credit problems that bad to where this card gonna do me any good. But they do act like it’s a card you can use anywhere so def a waste of time for sure..

    • nick August 26, 2014 at 11:31PM

      Thank you i thought i was the only one thought they didn’t have nothing plus over priced they got me to i thought it was a money card first..

  19. Rosa Davis March 8, 2014 at 11:18PM

    OMG so they taking my money I won’t ever receive
    The card.

  20. amanda March 3, 2014 at 12:34PM

    RIP OFF!

  21. amanda March 3, 2014 at 12:28PM

    Its a freakin scam. First they charged my member ship fee then I placed a order that I never recieved, and they told me I’m still responsible for payment of the order I never received, told them to cancel my member ship and 4 months later they are still charging me 24.95 membership fee when I told them to cancel my member ship

  22. Veronica Munoz February 25, 2014 at 4:47PM

    I don’t reccomend opening an account with them at all. I checked my credit report and I never once received a card or filled an application out and I called them immediately and the woman I’m customer service was mad because I insisted to close the account it’s a scam folks. Don’t open an account here I suggest you get a real credit card elsewhere. I have great credit I don’t need cards such as this one.

    • Tee March 15, 2014 at 3:50PM

      @Veronica, if you have great credit, why would you even look at these folks, let alone get their services?

  23. Ariel ROSENTHAL February 15, 2014 at 6:06PM

    I agree be carefully selecting take my advise go to fingerhut they will give u credit for merchandise and credit cards go to credit one you get credit $300 limit on a visa not secure and built on credit

  24. Brittany Smith February 15, 2014 at 7:28AM

    There are a couple good and a few not so good about Horizon.
    I received mine 3 months ago. You can have the monthly fee lowered to $4.95 all you do is opt out of the roadside 24 hr assistance etc. The monthly fee comes with quite a few benefits such as that. My credit limit i had increased to $1000. I have not used the card not once, i just have paid the $4.95 monthly membership & my credit has gone up 46 points in 3 months. If you wanted to use the card for the Horizon online store,,well,,there are about 20 items in the entire store :(. BUT, say you could use one of the items, buy it on your horizon card & IMMEDIATELY pay it off. Like i said, i plan to use it for the first time. The line of credit with Horizon DOES CREDIT REPORT. It has been on my credit in a positive+ light since i got it, with all lines of credit card, your credit report shows your “UTILIZATION” of the card as well as timely pay off. I say if you can afford $4.95 a month & pay a few bucks extra for a product say, hand towels or bed linens, Id say Horizon will help you raise your score even without using it & with small, every now & then usage w/ immediate payoff ($0 balance), over each buy & payoff-will credit report usage + good faith=better credit score in short time period. IN MY EXPERIENCE :) I called customer service when i 1st got the card & again to pay my monthly 5 bucks, they have always been helpful & humble.

    • joshua brown February 18, 2014 at 1:59PM

      Hi brittney, what’s the other benefits that I can opt out to get the same monthly fee as you?

    • Jeff Whitaker February 21, 2014 at 6:35PM

      I had a bad experience with Horizon card. First, they failed to report any activity to the credit bureau. Second, wnen I attempted to place a merchandise order on their website…they would say “the item is out-of-stock…Third, they charge a monthly fee for no reason…Fourth,when I called to cancel they give me the run around….one lady said shee would raise the credit limit to $1500….WHAT-EVER..THEY DONT REPORT TO THE CREDIT BUREAU…RIPOFF with a capital “R”.

    • Marlene June 23, 2014 at 11:15AM

      Thank you for your comments on Horizon card. I was going to cancel my membership, but they did lower my payments each month to $4.95 per month. I do need to get my credit score raised. I just recently moved so I do need things like towels and bed linens. I will take your advice and when purchasing items I will pay them off immediatly. Thanks for your help

  25. raquel February 11, 2014 at 9:16AM

    thank you i too applied for a horizon card. the thing is i don’t remember filling the application. now i can’t get them to cancel it and refund the money they already took.

  26. Jess February 11, 2014 at 12:18AM

    Horizon gold is a ONLINE STORE Credit card! For people with BAD CREDIT – yes, get charged the first 29.95$ and DON’T USE IT. Simply keep it open and it will keep a 0$ balance on your credit report which looks good. I don’t suggest you use it esp. If you have bad credit… you have bad credit for a reason.

    • reese February 19, 2014 at 4:02PM

      I did the same thing and my credit has gone up 53 points

  27. HENRYK MECHLINSKI OSSOWSKI February 5, 2014 at 10:34PM

    HORYZONT GOLD SENDING ME A DAY MESS.AND ASKING ME TO FINISH MY PAPER WORK AND DEBIT CARD INFORMATION.I,M GLAD I FIND YOU MY FRIENDS,YOU SAVE ME OF GETING WORST CREDIT AND PROBLEM WITH MY BANK.THANK YOU GOOD PEOPLE FOR ALL HELP AND I LOVE YOU,VERY TRULY HENRYK,I,M POLISH AND YOU AMERICAN SAVE POLAK ASS THANKS A LOT,SEE YA…

  28. HENRYK MECHLINSKI OSSOWSKI February 4, 2014 at 8:15PM

    IF EVERY PLACE IS SCUM SO WHAT I SHOULD DO? I GOT NO CREDIT AND MY SCORE IS 495. THAT REALLY BAD ALL DOORS ARE CLOSED FOR ME. I GUESS I’M SCREWED TO THE DAY I DIE. I HATE BEING POOR. NO LIFE NO FUTURE,IT SUCKS HA.HA.THANKS FOR SAVING ME FROM HORIZONT GOLD,GREETINGS HENRYK…

    • james July 6, 2014 at 12:36AM

      If you can file for bankruptcy, it is a last resort but I did it and within 2 months of the final discharge I was able to get a real Capital One credit card

    • james July 6, 2014 at 12:37AM

      I got a capital one credit card 2 months after my bankruptcy was over. its a last resort but it sounds like you are at where I was

  29. veronica brathwaite February 3, 2014 at 5:15PM

    I had put in an application for a credit card from horizon gold they did go to my account for the money but there was insurficient funds so they then told me I can submit a date as to when they can withdraw the funds so I did enter a date wil the money be still withdrawn on that day ?

  30. TDRAMA February 1, 2014 at 6:36AM

    Big ripoff. I ordered the card and then recieved on my mobile bank app I was charged 29.95$I immediately cancelled 3 days ago and I’m still waiting to get my money back.You can’t even check the site out unless you have the card. When you call they try to raise your limit up to 1,500 so you don’t cancel. I told them I read the fine print where it says they dont promise it will raise your credit or fix after the operator said it would. I said this and was redirected three times. Run…

  31. mike January 29, 2014 at 8:10PM

    Thank.god i.read.was about to get that cars after lookin into tgem more huge scam and major ripoff noone get this card !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  32. CajunJason January 28, 2014 at 9:42AM

    This is a nightmare!!! you would be better off getting a fingerhut account. Leave these rippoffs alone or you gonna wish you did!!

  33. jon January 21, 2014 at 2:49PM

    Horizon gold card is a major scam. They charge you 29.95 and when you cancel they say there going to refund the money but instead they charge you another 29.95 and tell you it was refunded and they keep charging you.

  34. Cynthia January 20, 2014 at 7:39AM

    Thank goodness I read this because I Google to get to the outlet site . But something told me to click on this site. So I read it and it’s giving me enough info to cancel my account before I purchase anything from their website. Seriously Thank You!

  35. grace January 10, 2014 at 9:03AM

    I got my card but haven’t activated it. Do I still need to cancel it?

  36. Charles January 3, 2014 at 7:35PM

    Go to your bank and get a secured card. After a year you’ll get an unsecured card. I did and I also got 2 other UNsecured credit card offers. Just make sure you ALWAYS read the details. And if u get any make sure u pay it off. In the year since my unsecured card acquisitions by paying my bills my scores have risen 30 points.

  37. Christian rota December 19, 2013 at 4:26PM

    Any credit card that knows you have bad credit and would rather give you more then just let u cancel
    JUST SAYING!!! Hmm.

  38. rip off December 6, 2013 at 7:56AM

    Glad i read this…just canceled mine, and they were rude refund me my money…dont fall for this…

  39. midsis November 4, 2013 at 10:31AM

    This is a huge whooping rip off. Get it cancelled as quickly as yo can.

  40. Jetplane October 18, 2013 at 5:44PM

    I would recommend getting a secured credit card from a regular bank, preferably the one you have a checking account.

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