As if college wasn’t difficult enough, 1st Financial Bank USA tries to make it worse by offering one of the crappiest student cards ever.
This bank’s website describes themselves as being:
“a leading provider of financial services for college students and graduates — has helped thousands of students develop financial responsibility and manage college costs.”
I disagree with both of those claims. They’re hardly what I would consider to be a “leading provider” and their credit cards are far from being helpful in managing costs.
If you’ve recently graduated from high school or have started college, you may have received an application or “invitation” in the mail from 1st Financial Bank. Here’s my review of 3 reasons you shouldn’t bite the bait…
Warning #1: Rates and fees are higher than industry average
If you’re a college student, obviously you’re just starting to build credit and don’t expect to get the best APRs. I think we all expect that.
But what this bank does is give interest rates FAR higher than almost every other student card on the market.
You deserve better than almost 30% interest! Almost every student credit card I’ve looked at has a purchase APR in the neighborhood of 14% to 24% (with the average probably being around 19% to 20%).
To add insult to injury, they tack on an annual fee starting your second year with the card:
That’s bizarre, because most student cards don’t have an annual fee whatsoever.
Warning #2: Limited customer service hours
During the weekday you’re plenty busy with classes and homework, right? Inconveniently, that’s the only time you can call 1st Financial Bank’s customer service phone number:
Mon thru Fri 8-5 pm Central time… really?!
Where I’m at in SoCal, that would mean I would have to call before 3 pm my time. Not very convenient, huh?
If you went with almost any other card issuer, there’s a good chance you would be able to get 24/7 customer service. Not all of them offer it, but most do from my experience.
Warning #3: You don’t get rewards
Unless the “invitation” they mailed to you differs from the ones I’ve seen, the 1st Financial credit card does NOT offer cash back or any other kind of rewards.
Let’s see… high interest rates, high fees, and no rewards program. Sounds like a winning combo, right?
Conclusion? Caveat Emptor!
I think just almost any college student card you find will be a better deal than what they’re offering. In fact, if you’re smart enough to get into college, any college, then you should be smart enough to avoid a terrible option like this credit card. There are so many great and inexpensive alternatives out there if you are enrolled in a college or university.
My favorite is the new Discover it for students. Yes it’s one of the companies I advertise on this blog but that’s not the reason I think it’s the best. Don’t believe me? Compare for yourself…
Go here for more info about Discover it for students
I actually use the regular (non-student) version of this card since I’m no longer in college and it rocks. The student version is the exact same as the regular version, the only difference is that APRs are different and it’s a lot easier to qualify for.
But whatever you do, just don’t get the 1st Financial Bank credit card. It is undoubtedly one of the worst – if not the absolute worst – offer for students. If you already have their card, please post your reviews in the comments below.
Written or last updated August 2016