Applications for the Blaze credit card are being mailed to people with histories of charge-offs and bankruptcies, but what’s in the fine print?
From our research, First Savings Bank only markets this card through targeted snail mail. In fact, when visiting their website consumers are not able to access the application without providing the “reservation number” and “access code” which is included in the mailings.
Why are they so secretive? That’s probably because they know that if their card was compared side-by-side to other credit cards for bad credit their offer wouldn’t look too good given the terms:
- Annual Fee: $75
- Authorized User Fee: $20 annually if applicable
- Credit Limit: $350 minimum
- Interest Rate: 29.9%
With bad credit, it’s to be expected that you will probably have to pay an annual fee in order to get an entry level Visa or MasterCard. But in this scenario you are paying $75 only to get a credit limit as low as $350. That’s highway robbery.
That means just the price of the annual fee alone might be over 20% of your card’s limit. Seems a bit excessive, right? In fact it gets very close to the 25% limit that was imposed by the Credit CARD Act of 2009 to curb abusive subprime lender practices.
However, it’s not as bad as the First Premier cards which charge a $100 annual fee and $95 processing fee for a measly $400 credit limit. Regardless, paying $75 for a $350 limit is still a waste of money.
Don’t apply unless you get this version…
The aforementioned sounds like it’s the most common version being sent to people, at least based on the Blaze MasterCard reviews that are out on the web. However some people do end up receiving a better offer:
- Annual Fee: $0
- Interest Rate: 15.6%
If you received an invitation for that version, it’s a better deal for people with low credit scores than most.
But unfortunately not many people receive this offer. Their website still has the T&C’s for it online but that is probably just have it up for old accounts who were grandfathered in with those better terms.
Some even receive worse terms than the first version, as a few years ago Blaze was mailing out offers with $95 “issuance fee” and a $25 fee for the first time you increase your credit limit.
What are your other options?
Just because your credit is in the dumps, it doesn’t mean you have to pay nosebleed prices to rebuild.
Option 1: Get a partially or fully secured card
With these types of credit cards you can put up a refundable security deposit as low as $200 and pay an annual fee less than half of what the Blaze card charges. That will save you money.
Option 2: Try for entry-level unsecured
Is your credit not good enough to get “normal” cards for prime credit, but it’s not downright terrible either? Then consider these offers and see if you can get approved for something basic to begin the rebuilding process. Regardless of how bad your credit is you can turn it around without too much effort.
This review was written or last updated August 20, 2014