Show MasterCard? Show Me Better!

Recently a forum member received an application in the mail for the Bryant State Bank Show MasterCard. She wanted to know if it was worth applying for?

Bryant State Bank MasterCard

Well, it’s definitely not for me! But let’s see if it makes sense for you…

Who’s it for?

It’s an offer that’s marketed to people with no/bad credit. There are reviews/comments from people recently out of bankruptcy (like 18+ months) receiving “pre-approved” offers in the mail for the Show credit card. And once you see the terms and conditions for yourself, you’ll understand why!

What’s the offer?

Bryant State Bank is reportedly offering the Show credit card in a couple different tiers, each with different APRs and fees. Both of them are unsecured.

  • Offer #1: For a $50 annual fee, this card comes with a 21.99% interest rate and “at least a $500 credit limit.” After the account is opened – with good credit/payment history over time – you may qualify for credit limit increases up to a maximum of $2,500.
  • Offer #2: I’ve seen this one mentioned the most. For a $75 annual fee you get a whopping 35.9% interest rate and “at least a $300 credit limit.” Over time the limit can be raised up to a max of $1,500.

Show MasterCard credit limit

Although not quite as bad, the second version of the Show MasterCard appears to have taken a page out of the First Premier playbook – an issuer who is notorious for their credit card offers which give a measly $300 credit limit in exchange for a $75 annual fee (plus other fees).

As far as rewards, don’t expect any of that jazz. This is a very basic no-frills card. As you can see from the terms and conditions, it’s obviously for people who have bad credit and are unlikely to qualify for something better.

The answer is both yes and no

Depending on which camp you fall under, it may or may not be a bad idea to apply for a Show MasterCard account.

  • The first offer with better terms is actually quite good, all things considered, if you’ve recently come out of bankruptcy and have a credit score that’s in the toilet. Paying $50 per year for a $500 minimum credit limit isn’t a bargain, but I don’t think it’s a ripoff.
  • The second offer is hard to justify. The annual fee is 50% more and the APR is over 60% higher. To add insult to injury, the minimum credit limit is only $300. If that’s all you’re being promised, then you might as well get a secured credit card for rebuilding credit that comes with a relatively low annual fee of $29-39. Sure, it won’t be unsecured like the Show MasterCard is, but then again, scrounging up $300 for a security deposit isn’t that out of reach for most people.

Review written or last updated Jan 2013

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.

I have 675 Fico

Barclay Arrival Plus 4k
Chase Southwest Premier 5k
Chase IHG Select 5k
Citi AAdvantage Plat 3.5k
2 Cap 1 cards, and several others totaling about 25k. Nothing fancy but worked hard to rebuild in a year.

Point being… I got this letter, approved for $1500 @22.4% and $50 annual free. Of course I accepted! Paid the fee and done! Boosts my overall cl, drops my usage if I had any, builds another relationship and can sit in a drawer. No problems here. Lady I spoke with was very friendly and said that after 5-6 months of on time payments they auto upgrade the cl. Also 50% of cl for cash advances is handy for some in a pinch. (Pay off ASAP, I would never recommend an advance but if your rebuilding it’s way better than a title or pay day loan). A little outdated if you plan to use and pay frequently but otherwise no problems I see.

Judith KingPhillips

We I’m glad to have the show card I didn’t ask for a raise and they give it to me thank you when they tell me I’m pre approve I was but it cost me $75.00 it didn’t want that and she wave it for a year ,and I thank her for it. All these negative advise isn’t helping any one who is looking to get creditor help build their credit. I can definitely say don’t go to First Premier because if you want a raise in limit you have to pay for it even if you have good credit I don’t have any thing bad to say about show,I move from the orange card to the black .

Pre-approval…..PRE!! That does not say hey you’re approved!! Stop complaining about the letters. You have to apply for any other credit cared so why because you get a PRE-approval letter y’all think you are guaranteed the card?

Cheryl O'Brien

SCAM SCAM SCAM!! Stay Away from this bank. Even Legacy is better and they’re awful too!

To whom it may concern; I was asked to send in a copy of my electrical bill because I was pre-approved. I sent in two copies of the bill and I received another letter just now saying I missed the 30 day deadline. That is not true. My reservation number is #11196512. I received a number to fax that document again, but it is questionable to send it a third time. Can someone please look into this matter. It is greatly appreciated. Ms. Linda Jones

It seems that most have had a bad experience, but not me (so far). I received my Show MasterCard with more than $300, it was over double that. I’m rebuilding my credit. I will keep this for a year or so, if they offer better rate and cl I’ll keep it, if not I’ll close it. Pay before it’s due, pay off or at least double the minimum payment and you should be fine, time will tell.

My sister worked for Bryant State Bank. Apparently they have been organizing a campaign to damage control the truth as evidenced by all the people commenting on this blog. I am not saying you are part of this or not a real customer and I’m happy you had a good experience but you are completely in the 2% of happy customers or haven’t been with them long enough to find out otherwise. It’s a total scam bank and if I were you I’d pay off the card and go to Capital One or at least a decent honest bank which this one is not.

Will lets just say I opened up my show MasterCard and fell onto hard times so I wasn’t able to pay. Never once did I receive a collection letter or anything stating I was being turned into collections this was Sept 2009. We are now in June 2015 I get a call from a process server stating he is going to be serving me within the next 24 hrs. Show MasterCard lets your balance sit there and acute interest and then they pursue legal and criminal charges. So my once $600 balance is now over $3000 plus criminal charges. They don’t even report on your credit until after they take you to court. So my advice is do not get the Show MasterCard.

Sorry to hear about your bad experience. So far I have read NOTHING BUT BAD EXPERIENCES on this blog. As to the criminal charges, they have no grounds unless there was fraud. Credit/debs are not a ‘crime’ so don’t worry. Better luck next time finding a better card, there are plenty to be found.

I have a credit score of 680 Transunion. Don’t know FICO score. I didn’t really need this card but thought what the heck, says preapproved. well guess what! It’s NOT PREAPPROVED. I received my denial letter in the mail stating I had too many inquiries on my credit report. Okay, fine, but then WHY DID YOU SAY I WAS APPROVED??? Scam — you bet.

It’s a preapproval…if you call and talk to them they will tell you that the show mastercard is an invitation only card. So receiving the pre-approval letter is the only way you can apply. Actually sending I the application one way or another is how you would be approved or declined.

SHOW me something worse than Barclay’s Bank. Wait I think I found it! Forget this bank, it’s a scam.

Leslie Gohring

Thank you for putting up this blog. I was about to make a major mistake and apply for this card. After reading all of your experiences with this bank I have decided to put my PREAPPROVED application where it belongs…in my shredder!

I got hit with an offer in the mail a week ago, called to find out my credit line because it said I was approved. The snotty customer service girl put me on hold for what seemed like 10 minutes and told me they could not find my application on file. After having to reconfirm all of my personal info, name, address, SS# the whole bit I started to get nervous. What if this was a scam? They now have MY ENTIRE IDENTIFICATION. Still no word on approval. It kind of creeped me out. I am considering putting a freeze on my credit reports just in case something isn’t right here!

Janice O'Brien

Add me to the list. A MILLION THANK YOUS FOR THIS BLOG!!! I was about to make a huge mistake and apply, then thought I should check these guys out.

After reading these posts, forget it.

Ah ha! With a little research and help from my friends in the credit industry it appears this bank USED to be used to help build your credit but now is nothing more than a data miner rejecting over 85% of its applicants! Get a secured card with BOA or Capital One. You’ll be glad you did!!

I fell right into the trap and feel like a fool. I should have known this card was a trick. My credit is less than perfect, okay really less than perfect but the information said I was approved. When I filled it out it said sorry, we are unable to approve your application at this time. STAY AWAY FROM THIS CARD. DON’T BE CONNED! Read the other reviews. Happy Ifound this site!

I received a preapproved offer in the mail a week ago. Out of curiosity I called their customer service line, which was like calling a boiler room or a closet somewhere with one guy in it that just answered “hello”. Completely unprofessional. When I asked to know the status of my application I had to verify a lot of information I really wasn’t comfortable with because of the unprofessionalism of the CS Rep. At any rate, I eventually did and was told “Oh, sorry your application was not approved.” What !!! I thought this was supposed to be a “PREAPPROVED APPLICATION” Now I am furious for having caused another inquiry on my credit report which will probably lower my score 5 points. Shame on you SHOW Mastercard!

The only things I got “SHOWN” was a rejection letter and my credit score is 658. I thought this card was supposed to help you built your credit not build your credit bureau inquiries!

Rebecca Woods

This card is not what you expect it to be. It appears to be. Maybe in the past it was legit, but I have been hearing and reading about more and more people offered “preapproved” offers by mail. These are usually targeted to people with poor credit or trying to rebuild their credit. Once the app is filled out and submitted they get a “declined” which only results in a credit bureau enquiry and further lower credit score. BEWARE!

I got a “pre-approved” mail offer so was very excited to apply to help rebuild my credit. 10 days later I found out I was rejected. No reason given. I would not recommend this card to anyone.

If trying to rebuild your credit this card should be your last choice. I am one of the mass-mailed “pre-approved” offers that have been circulating this year and I was turned down despite having a low/fair credit score with 3 other major credit cards reflecting excellent payment history. Don’t bother with this one. It will just bring your score down not up!

My sister works for Bryant State Bank. She told me the whole thing is a racket with 80% of the applicants turned down after receiving preapproval letters. They apparently buy up people’s names and information from data brokers as ‘potential’ candidates. They do not bother to pre-check your credit history.

The sleazy wording of “PRE-APPROVED” is quite misleading. If you are willing to take your chances and dump your credit score a few points to find out in the process, only to be rejected, go for it but don’t say I didn’t warn you.

Wish I had read this before. I was just denied a card after receiving their “pre-approved” notice. There is no customer service line. You have to keep pressing “0” to get a real person on the line and they told me “you will be getting a letter. We are not told if you are approved or denied.” Obviously whenever CS agents say this, you’re pretty much NOT approved. Guess what? I was NOT approved. My credit score is 702. Go figure!

Sally Anderson

Stay away from this card!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

You will receive a letter stating you are “PRE-APPROVED” and all you have to do is go online or mail it off to accept the offer. You will meticulously read the offer and everything on it SEEMS LIKE it is in fact a done deal and you will think this is different from those “PRE-SELECTED” offers. It is NOT and this cared is a LIE. You are NOT “pre-approved.” How do I know? Because they told me I was pre-approved at the time they received my name to mail mail off the offer letter to. “Oh, sorry you aren’t pre-approved now.”


Go to Capital One. They are great and don’t play games like this joke of a bank.

About 18 months after my discharge from bankruptcy I received this card offer for the Show card. I held on to the paperwork but didn’t accept at the time because of better offers from Capital One and Barclays. However, for someone trying to rebuild their credit, it is definitely a better option than Premier Bank. I received an offer with a $350 initial credit line, but of course the $75 annual fee comes from that balance; and interest rate of 29.9%. Of course none of that is a spectacular offer, but what does someone expect after bankruptcy. One thing I liked was there are no additional monthly fee charges for carrying a balance, and the available credit increases.
It may be taking a play from the Premier playbook, but certainly doing a better job at it. My last offer from Premier was as follows: $500 open line, $75 annual fee the first year, then $8.50 a month afterwards, plus a monthly fee of $6.50 every month you carry a balance and an interest rate of 36%!!
For someone that waits to obtain credit after bankruptcy and wants to establish a way to increase their credit score and keep the balance low, while making payments on time, and over the minimum…Show could be one of the better options because of the increase they offer in the credit line and no additional monthly fees. If you can get a credit offer w/ interest rates under 25% then I say it definitely could be more beneficial than harmful. A higher interest rate offer may take more consideration and research because of other offers that may be available.

You’re correct. I couldn’t have written it better myself. However, I don’t understand why people aren’t getting approved after receiving PRE-APPROVAL letters…

I have had this card sometime. Like everyone else had lousy credit after divorce. I got a Show Mastercard but I pay a 6.00 , monthly acct fee, and the annual fee. However using the card wisely, making more than minimum payments, paying early my credit limit has grown to 1600. Since my credit is now better I a doing a balance transfer to Chase Slate card with 0%fee for 6 months and closing my Show. I never had any issues with it and it did me well for some time, but now I can move on.

I got a pre-approved offer from them and applied online. I got a $1500 line of credit with a $50/year AF. So far so good! I am rebuilding my “fair” credit, I am very please at this offer!

Just when I thought there weren’t other variations of this card, I get another offer in the mail from them. It’s pretty much the exact same offer as the ‘Legacy Visa’ ‘Blaze MasterCard’ and ‘First Savings MasterCard’. Low limit, $75 annual fee card. One notch above the First Premier or Continental Finance. Not sure what CLI’s they give if any. At least this offer doesn’t portend to give a $1500 CL like the Show Cards other sister companies. Again if you have Cap One or Barclay’s I would promptly dump this offer in the trash. 29.9% APR and a $75 annual fee with a website that looks like it was built in the 90’s… No thanks…

My initial reaction to the Show credit offer was to reject it. Not as bad as First Premier, but the annual fee, credit limit, and interest rates are not attractive at all. Then I hit a short term cash crisis, and the $75 fee was better than other short term loan offers, and would give me a credit card, which I did not have again yet.

$75 for $350 credit is a high fee, but isn’t more than double many other entry level card’s fees. I used it and paid in full for a few months. One of Bryant’s sister companies (First National Credit) gave me another offer,and got a $700 credit limit for $75.

A month after that, I got another offer, a rewards card with twice the credit, no fees, and lower interest. I don’t think I would have received that offer without having and using the Show card. A secured card would have cost more money up front. Would it have given me a new, no fee card offer within six months?

Show Card’s online services are very limited (also for all of its sister cards). No pay from savings account, one or two payments per month (they may allow more, but have disallowed it when I tried), but functional.

Now, when my renewal comes up, paying another $75 isn’t going to be so attractive. Would it be worth paying for a few month’s credit history? Maybe they’ll allow a no annual fee upgrade when I renew, otherwise, it may just be a one year credit card for me.

Show master card is great for rebuilding credit. I had cancer/hi paying job loss. Everything went to hell quickly. But they are good people to work with; I try to pay in full when possible. Going to stay with them.

I have a similar tale of financial woes that led to bankruptcy, which was discharged in January, 2011. So almost 3 years for me. I started with the really high risk credit cards, because that’s all you can get after BK unless you got a really high paying job after the BK. It you suddenly have a lot of money in investments or bank accounts, you’d better sit on them, or you’ll get a bankruptcy court audit with possible federal fraud charges if you hid assets or income.

Otherwise you’re like the rest of us. We consider those outrageous fees and interest rates to be a fee to start rebuilding your credit. You have to look at it like that – a fee to get a card you need to rebuild credit, not typical credit card fees and interest. There’s just no comparison to someone with good credit.

What does my credit situation look like after 3 years? I’m retired and living on Social Security and a small pension so I’m still considered to be a risk, although a smaller risk than before. Why? I took every credit offer I received that looked reasonable. I charged some on each card and ALWAYS paid on time and as often as possible, more then the minimum due. I paid off and closed out a couple of those cards and opened cards with better terms. This has slowly let me rebuild my credit to 613. It got to 635 once, but I had unexpected medical expenses (because I can’t get insurance due to pre-existing conditions) that has put a big crunch on my monthly budget. So my credit score dropped about 50 points and I had to rebuild again.

I recently received the same Show offer. After a lot of research and consideration, including an in depth financial analysis, I took the offer. Reflecting on my greatly improved credit rating from when I started out, they gave me a $2500 credit limit, which more than justifies the $50 annual fee. Compare that to my first card after my BK – $300 limit with $99 annual fee!

Good luck to fellow debtors struggling to rebuild your credit, your life, and your self esteem. Just remember:
– ALWAYS pay on time
– Try to pay more than the minimum (they send that to the credit bureaus)
– Try to keep your ratio of total credit card debt (owed) to total credit (the sum of the credit limits on all your cards) under 40-50%. Credit advisors recommend under 25%. But I can never do that with a retirement income and lots of expenses. So I won’t improve my rating with 50% but at least I’ll stay neutral in that one category they use to determine credit score.

I had a credit score 780+ and 10 investment properties before crisis.
All went with the wind, over 20 yr hard work and dream of happy retirement.
Bryant bank gave me a card of $1500 credit. That was a fresh start and feels good that there are people who really care about you.
It’s very risky for the bank and I don’t care about annual fee. Trust – that important. Will keep my good record and move on.
Thank you, bank – people, for trust.

Let’s face it, the Show credit card is for rebuilding of credit. I’m one of the millions who got screwed hard when the financial crunch hit. I lost my BMW, my home in Laguna Beach, every credit card I had…and it’s not an unusual story. I’m now at the point where I can try to rebuild my 800+ FICO, and it’s going to be a slow and painful process. Show offered me a $50 yearly fee, and an APR of 21.90% with an opening line of credit at $500. I think that’s pretty fair for an unsecured card. Obviously, this isn’t for everyone; but EVERYONE needs good credit, and it’s got to start somewhere.

I’m sorry that you feel this is a horrible credit card offer. However, I have something to say in response to this article.

1. Whose fault is it if the person receiving the offer for such a card is only getting these kinds of offers? Obviously, in my own case, it was my fault. I either refused to pay some and/or could not afford to pay other medical bills, credit cards, etc. However, a card issuer comes along and offers me a 300 or 500 limit, no questions asked,that’s risky for them.

2. The reason why the interest rate is high, AND there is an annual fee, etc thrown into the mix (which they only make you pay as part of the monthly bill) for getting a card that reports to ALL 3 bureaus, is that the risk falls completely onto them.

At least with 75 dollar annual fee, they have already recuperated their first 1-3 months of payments, should you not pay…

3. At least with Applied Bank’s Business (unfortunately, they don’t report) and Show Master Card (the one we’re speaking of), someone was willing to offer me credit which can help me when I don’t have cash on hand, without making me feel like I gotta go get a payday or installment loan at 357% APR.

4. Show Card is willing to give you a 33% increas in credit after the first 6 months of good solid payments. I’ve had my big bank, low interest secured AND unsecured lines (US Bank) for over 2 years, and they haven’t bothered to even let me a) convert the secured to a unsecured and return my deposit check AND b) have refused MULTIPLE attempts to increase my limit on the card, despite a near flawless payment record with the bank.

The big banks promise that you are building credit with them personally, but they only go solely based on your credit history, and if there is even one smudge, they WILL NOT allow you to increase.

P.S. I am due up for my next increase from Show Card, AND just got my first $300 credit line increase on my Applied Bank Business card. Of course, the Business one cost me a 100$ fee to increase. But, that’s not so bad, since i can keep paying the minimum OR pay off in full.