The Total Visa is a credit card for consumers with poor credit.
Its best feature, though far from a unique one, is that it reports your payments to the three major credit bureaus.
With timely payments every month, you can quickly improve your credit score.
Without them, your score will get worse, and you’ll owe a late payment fee of $38.
To help your score, even more, limit your card use to 20% to 30% of your credit limit.
On-time payments and credit utilization together make up about half of your credit score.
The Total card makes it hard to keep your credit utilization down, though. Here’s why.
Total Visa Credit Card Limit and Fees
For starters, if approved, Visa charges an $89 application-processing fee to open the account.
You must pay this fee upfront from another source before you can use your card.
On top of that, the Total card has a $75 annual fee that’s subtracted from your initial credit limit of $300.
After the annual fee, your credit utilization will already be 25% — and the annual fee means you’ll be limited to spending $225 during the first billing cycle.
If you want a second card for someone else, the fee is $29 per year, dropping your first-cycle credit limit to $196.
With such low initial and ongoing credit limits, you could easily reach your limit if two people use the account.
The Total Visa credit card is also expensive in year two. You won’t owe the processing fee, and the annual fee drops to $48, for a savings of $27.
But a monthly servicing fee of $6.25, or $75 per year, kicks in, more than offsetting the savings from the lower annual fee.
This is a card you want to use to improve your credit as quickly as possible so you can move on to a less expensive option with a higher limit.
Benefits and Drawbacks of the Total Visa Credit Card
Credit limit increases are available every 6 months if your card has not been past due during that period and is not currently over the limit.
You must request the increase; it’s not automatic.
Typical for cards of this type, there is no rewards program with the Total Visa.
You can’t use the card at automated fuel pumps, for gambling transactions, or with foreign merchants.
The APR for purchases and cash advances is high at 29.99%.
Carrying a credit card balance is always costly, but it’s especially costly with the Total credit card.
That being said, there’s no cash advance fee for the first year.
After that, it’s $5 or 5% of the transaction, whichever is greater.
Given what we’ve uncovered in this review, we don’t think the Total Visa is the best option for most consumers because of its low limit and many fees, but it may help you out if your credit has tanked and you use it carefully.
It’s also good for anyone who can’t afford the deposit that secured cards require.
Other Factors to Keep in Mind
While this card can be helpful for quick access to cash to pay for minor money emergencies there is one place it can’t help you – the fuel pump.
It is not accepted at gas stations that use automated fuel pumps, which place a hold on your credit line.
Applicants are also required to have a checking account to even qualify for this card.
If a cardholder wishes to add someone to their account, there is an additional $29 fee tacked on each year.
This is one of the few credit cards that charge to add an additional user and is something borrowers should keep in mind.
Borrowers are also charged up to $38 for late payments.
This isn’t much higher than the average late fee but is something to keep in mind when deciding whether or not this card is the right fit.
The bottom line – the Total Visa card can be a good way for consumers in 2019 to rebuild credit by demonstrating an ability to make on-time payments, but it doesn’t offer any perks, such as rewards or savings.
When you compare this option vs. almost any other card available to people with poor credit, it doesn’t have a lot of advantages.
This could be a good starter option, but not one that is the best long-term fit for most borrowers due to its high fees and low credit limit.
What If I Don’t Qualify?
If you don’t qualify for the Total Visa card, you might feel frustrated.
It’s OK though, there are still other options for building or establishing credit, like secured credit cards or even a personal loan.
Consider all your options before making a decision, and you’ll be well on your way to building credit and even accessing rewards!
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