Disclaimer: This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation (at no cost to you) when you click on links to those products. Read our Disclaimer Policy for more information.
If you have poor or no credit, it can be tough to find a good credit card. Most rewards cards require at least moderately good credit, and the cards you do apply for are likely to have a low limit and a high APR.
Still, a starter card is better than no credit card. If nothing else, you’ll have a way to pay for emergencies.
But the real goal of getting a starter credit card is to build credit and qualify for a better card. The Cerulean Credit Card is designed to do just this.
It reports monthly to all three major credit bureaus. So, if you’re using it and paying it off every month, you can build credit relatively quickly.
This can help raise your credit score and get you qualified for a rewards card or one with a better limit. Let’s take a closer look!
The Cerulean Credit Card is a Mastercard for individuals with poor credit who want to repair their score.
It’s offered by Continental Finance, a company that was founded in 2005 to help individuals with bad credit. Financing is provided by the Bank of Missouri, which has been in business since 1881.
Because it’s a Mastercard, it’s accepted just about everywhere, so you don’t have to worry about whether or not your card is going to be accepted.
That said, the credit limit is fairly low, and the APR of 25.9% is downright punishing. You definitely want to pay off the balance every month to avoid paying interest.
>> More: How to Fix Bad Credit
In the past, the Cerulean Credit Card was available by invitation only to pre-approved individuals. Unless you got a flyer in the mail, there was no way to apply.
Now, applications are open to the general public, so all you have to do is fill out a form and answer a few questions about your income and credit history.
As with many cards, you pay an annual fee – in this case, $99, which is fairly low. There are no rewards or points, but you won’t find those kinds of perks on any cards in this category. Instead, you get perks like free credit reporting, which can help you qualify for a better card.
The Cerulean Mastercard comes with an initial credit limit between $300 and $1,000. The exact number will depend on your credit score, income, and other factors.
The idea is simple. You use this card to pay regular monthly bills, eat out, and cover other everyday expenses.
Then, you pay it off religiously at the end of each month. By using your credit – and consistently paying your bills – you’ll be able to grow your credit score over time.
As your credit score increases, you can become eligible for a credit limit increase. In fact, you can qualify in as little as six months after obtaining a Cerulean Credit Card.
Eligibility will depend on your income, as well as where your score stands when you apply for your increase. If you’re approved, you can potentially increase your limit as high as $2,000 per month.
The most obvious benefit of a credit limit increase is that you can spend more money each month. But part of your credit score is based on credit utilization or the percentage of available credit that you’re using.
By having a higher limit – and only using a portion of it – you can further increase your credit score!
The Cerulean Mastercard comes with $0 fraud liability. This means you’re only liable for purchases you’ve actually made.
If someone steals your card number or hacks your Amazon account, you won’t be liable for their fraudulent charges.
Keep in mind that you may sometimes have to answer a phone call to approve unusual purchases, as with many zero liability cards. This is a minor inconvenience, and it comes with the territory of fraud protection.
As we’ve already discussed, the main point of the Cerulean Credit Card is to help you build your credit.
To do this as efficiently as possible, Continental Finance reports your status each month to all three major credit bureaus.
Provided you’re paying your bills, this will ensure that all the credit bureaus are seeing on-time payments every month.
In addition to monthly reporting, the Cerulean Mastercard also allows you to check your credit score once a month, for free, if you sign up for e-statements.
Signing up is easy since you have to create an online account to open your card. You’ll literally be prompted to sign up, so just do it.
You’ll get your statement online instead of via snail mail, and you’ll get to see your credit score every month. There’s literally no downside.
The OpenSky® Secured Credit Visa is a secured card. This means you make a deposit and borrow against that deposit.
So why not just spend your money directly? Simply put, a secured card allows you to build credit, even if your current credit score is downright awful.
The OpenSky® card doesn’t even require a credit check, and you choose your own limit. You can deposit as little as $200 or as much as $3,000, and that will be your limit.
The CITI® SECURED MASTERCARD® is a more flexible card that allows you to choose your own payment date.
There’s also no annual fee, so the card is effectively free as long as you pay your bill every month. The APR is slightly lower than the Cerulean Mastercard, at 23.49%. However, it’s a secured card, with all the benefits and drawbacks that it entails.
Other Secured Cards to Compare:
The Petal® 2 Card normally requires at least an average credit score. However, the issuing bank will also consider savings, income, and other factors.
If you have poor credit but plenty of savings and a reliable income, you should qualify. The credit limit is similar to the Cerulean card, but you get 1% cash back on all purchases – increasing to 1.5% if you pay your bills on time for a full year.
It depends on what you need. The Cerulean Mastercard is a good credit card for people with poor or no credit who need to build a better score. If you already have good credit, there are plenty of cards with higher limits, lower interest rates, and more rewards.
You can use your Cerulean Credit Card anywhere Mastercard is accepted. This includes both online and brick-and-mortar merchants.
The Cerulean Mastercard costs an annual fee of $99. In addition, there’s a $40 late payment fee and a $40 fee for any declined payments. Finally, there’s a $30 annual fee for each additional user.
The Cerulean Mastercard APR is 25.9%. That’s high but remember that you only pay interest if you carry a balance from month to month. If you pay your entire balance every month, the APR may as well be zero.
No, there is no introductory APR on the Cerulean Mastercard. The APR of 25.9% applies to all purchases, starting from day one.
As you can see, the Cerulean Mastercard is a great choice for anyone who needs to build better credit. With monthly reporting to all three major credit bureaus, you can potentially build your credit faster than with most other cards.
That said, keep in mind that this card is made for building your credit, not for delivering great rewards. If your credit score is already high enough to qualify for a rewards card, you’ll get a much better value that way.
But if you don’t qualify for a rewards card, the Cerulean Credit Card can help you build your credit until you do.