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If you’re looking to build your credit score, you may be stuck in a vicious cycle. Good credit scores are typically required to get approved for credit cards. The problem is, you need to use credit cards if you want to build your credit score.
Today, we’ll be looking at one credit-building card in particular: the Merit Platinum credit card.
If you want to improve your credit score, it is essential that your activity is reported to the major credit bureaus.
These bureaus are the ones who determine your credit score, so if they can’t access your credit use, nothing you do will impact your score.
The Merit Platinum credit card reports to one of the three major bureaus. This means that your use of the card will have some impact on your credit score.
That said, there are plenty of credit-building cards on the market that reports to all three major bureaus. Reporting to just one puts this card at a significant disadvantage when it comes to helping you boost your credit score, as you have no way of knowing how much of an impact your actions will have.
If you want to maximize your credit-building efforts, a different card will probably help you much more than the Merit Platinum card will.
The Merit Platinum card offers you an initial $750 merchandise credit line. This is a decently sized line of credit that can help boost your score by allowing you to keep the proportion of utilized to available credit down.
That said, you can’t use this card wherever you would like. The credit is only good at Horizon Outlets.
This severely limits the usefulness of the card. You have to go out of your way to purchase Horizon Outlet products if you want to see any benefit from this card.
Not only is this inconvenient, but it also lends itself to frivolous spending. Where other cards would allow you to use them for daily purchases you’d make anyway, this card requires you purchase additional items.
Overall, this is just a generally not preferred credit building method, as it’s both less convenient and carries increased risk.
One of the biggest perks of the Merit Platinum credit card is that it’s extremely easy to qualify for.
The application process has no minimum credit score requirement. Regardless of your credit history, you have a strong chance of approval.
Additionally, the card doesn’t do a hard inquiry when you apply. This means you can get approved without having to further harm your credit score.
The application process is simple, and you can be approved instantly.
The Citi® Secured Mastercard® is a secured credit card aimed at helping you build up your credit.
The Merit Platinum card is limited to Horizon Outlets only. The Citi® secured card can be used wherever Mastercard is accepted. This gives you a much broader range of options when building your credit.
This card also reports to all three major bureaus, meaning your efforts will have a greater impact on your credit score.
The Citi® Secured Mastercard® requires an initial deposit of $200. This is cheaper than what you’ll pay for a year of using the Merit Platinum card, and you can get it back so long as you use the card responsibly.
The APR for the Citi® Secured card is 22.49 %. While this is higher than the Merit Platinum card, you can avoid paying interest, whereas you must pay the annual fees for the Merit Platinum card.
Overall, the Citi® Secured Mastercard® is better in almost every way.
Another secured credit card, the Capital One Secured credit card, requires an initial deposit of $49. This grants you access to an initial credit line of $200.
While that is a bit less than the Merit Platinum cards merchandise credit line, it’s far more useful, as you can use it wherever you’d like.
The Capital One card has no annual fees, making it much cheaper to use than the Merit Platinum card.
While the Capital One card does have an APR of 26.99, that can be avoided entirely by paying off your balance each month.
The OpenSky® Secured credit card allows you to choose how much you’d like to deposit initially. The minimum deposit is $200, but you can deposit more to increase your credit line.
There is an annual fee of $35 with the OpenSky® credit card, but it’s next to nothing compared to the $299.40 fee for the Merit Platinum card.
Though the OpenSky® card carries an APR of 17.39 %, this can be entirely avoided, whereas the steep annual fees of the Merit Platinum card cannot.
Neither card does a hard inquiry upon application, so you won’t face a credit score drop when applying.
The Discover It® Secured credit card is also flexible in its initial deposit. You can deposit the $200 minimum or increase the deposit to get an extended line of credit.
The Discover It® secured card also has the enormous benefit of offering 1 to 2 % cashback on purchases. This applies to all purchases made with the card.
This alone makes it a far better choice than the Merit Platinum card, as you can use it for free if used properly and earn cashback on your purchases, all while having your activity reported to all major credit bureaus.
In most cases, the Merit Platinum credit card isn’t worth the sky-high fees you must pay. It has limited use, doesn’t offer rewards, and only reports to one major credit bureau.
There is no minimum credit score needed to qualify for the Merit Platinum card.
The annual fee for the Merit Platinum credit card is $299.40. This is well above the market average.
While the Merit Platinum credit card is easy to qualify for, its usefulness is extremely limited.
You can only use the card at Horizon Outlets, and even if you do, your activity is only reported to one major credit bureau.
That coupled with the insanely high annual fee makes it a very poor choice for most people. If you want to build your credit, we highly recommend you look elsewhere.