Refresh Financial offers a new secured card in light of the fact that credit conditions are tightening in Canada, especially for customers with fair and poor scores and average and low income. Many Canadians use credit cards in emergencies, to pay for car rentals and hotel bookings, to make in-store and online purchases, and so on. Some of them have poor credit and access to fewer options than those with stellar scores. The Refresh Financial credit card is one option for customers with less than perfect scores and stable income.
The largest player in the market, People’s Trust discontinued their secured card while other providers tightened up conditions, making it more difficult to qualify with bad credit. People’s Trust is no longer accepting applications but existing holders can still use their cards. This is unfortunate given the low interest rate of 12.99 percent and low minimum deposit of just $500. The Affirm MasterCard Credit Card is another product suitable for borrowers with a poor or fair score. Similar to People’s Trust, the company stopped issuing new cards. The only option that borrowers with poor credit have is the secured Visa offered by Home Trust. The card goes with no annual fee and a minimum deposit of $500. Customers need a bank account to apply but borrowers with poor credit have better chances to qualify compared to unsecured varieties. In reality, however, Home Trust does not approve many applications. The fact that Refresh Financial offers a secured card is good news for applicants with poor credit. As we all know, there are many ways to get bad credit, including divorce, items in collections, identity theft, bankruptcy, consumer proposal, and loss of job. Other reasons include car repossession, late or missed payments, mortgage foreclosure, and high card balances. People end up with a poor credit score when they cosign, fail to pay bills on time, have a seasonal or part time job, and have low income and too many commitments.
Who Is This Card for?
A secured Visa from Refresh Financial is ideal for borrowers with a blemished credit score. Whether applying for the Refresh secured credit card or another product offered by the company, approval requires banking verification (a bank account), a Canadian ID, and minimum monthly income.
Security Deposit, Perks, and Other Features
The card goes with a security deposit of $200 – $10,000, which is less or equal to the credit limit. Customers are offered free access to a program called Financial Intelligence Training. This is a financial education program to help customers gain basic skills and learn how to set financial goals. Borrowers learn how to save money, avoid credit traps, and build personal wealth. They are offered free short videos which are divided into 7 series. The short videos feature money tips and advice to get a better idea how credit works. In addition, customers are offered access to convenient tools such as credit builder calculators to find out how their credit score impacts the interest rate on their card, vehicle or personal loan, or mortgage loan.
There are further benefits for customers, one being that borrowers have access to more than 1 million ATM locations across the globe. They are also free to make online purchases and shop at more than 24 million in-store locations in Canada and abroad. What is more, the card goes with all benefits of Visa and helps customers build or rebuild their credit. Visa benefits include roadside dispatch, zero liability, rental collision damage waiver, and reporting for stolen and lost cards. Cardholder inquiry service is an added benefit for Visa holders. The rental collision damage waiver, for example, is a beneficial feature in case of damage due to theft or collision. The coverage is offered to all standard Visa holders. The secured Visa from Refresh Financial also comes with standard benefits such as emergency cash disbursement and card replacement and other convenient features.
- Interest rate: 17.99 percent
- Purchase rate: 17.99 percent
- Annual fee: $48.95
The Refresh secured credit card is advertised as the lowest cost card on the market, and no credit is required. All payments are reported to the major bureaus to help borrowers rebuild credit. Customers have the chance to rebuild credit over time provided that they make on-time payments. Like other secured cards, maxing out and missing payments has an adverse effect on the customer’s score.
Other Products Offered by Refresh Financial
The company offers a credit building program as well, which is an alternative to secured cards. There are several benefits for participants, and one is that they do not need up-front money. On-time payments are reported to the major credit bureaus which helps borrowers improve their scores. On the downside, there is an initial commitment fee. In fact, customers can choose from different solutions to rebuild credit. One alternative for borrowers with poor credit is the Fresh Start program offered by Refresh Financial. Customers get approved regardless of their score and provided that they are committed to rebuilding credit. The amount available varies depending on the borrower’s requirements. Payments are reported to the bureaus like payments on an installment loan. Timely payments prove potential lenders that applicants are trustworthy and responsible. A portion of the money paid goes toward fees and interest charges, and borrowers are free to use the remaining amount in any way they like after they finish the program.
Keep in mind that the company does not offer credit repair services but only the Refresh credit card and short term secured savings loans. Repayment terms vary from 36 to 60 months and loan amounts are in the range of $1,200 to $5,500. There is a loan set up fee that can be as low as $200 and as high as $400.