Credit One Credit Cards Review: Beware High Fees and Confusing Terms

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When you have bad credit, qualifying for an unsecured credit card isn’t easy. But Credit One specializes in it, offering three credit cards targeted to people who want to rebuild their credit.

The offer sounds enticing, but it might not be worth it. Sure, you don’t have to put down a deposit like you would with a secured credit card. But Credit One’s fees are so high and its terms so confusing, that it can make your head spin.

What’s more, Credit One’s customer reviews tell a cautionary tale. Find out why.

Credit One review

Founded in 1984, Credit One Bank only offers credit cards to its customers. The bank serves seven million cardholders from its headquarters in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Credit One reviews

The bank gets a lot of its business through its website and by sending pre-approval offers in the mail to people who have bad credit.

Credit One credit card review

Credit One offers three credit cards:

  • Credit One Platinum Visa
  • Credit One Platinum Cash Back Rewards Visa
  • Credit One Official NASCAR Visa

Beyond those names, however, it’s not clear what you’re going to get as far as card terms and features until you apply.

Credit One credit card interest rates and fees

As of October 2017, Credit One charges an APR of 16.99% to 24.99%, depending on your creditworthiness. That’s not bad, considering the average interest rate for a secured credit card in September 2017 was 23.46%, according to CreditCards.com.

But here’s the kicker: You might not get a grace period between your statement date and your due date, which is a standard for all major credit cards.

If you qualify, and there are no criteria available to know whether you do or not, Credit One gives you 24 days to pay off your statement balance each month. But if you don’t, interest starts accruing on your transactions as soon as they post to your account. In other words, you don’t even get until the monthly statement closes to pay off your balance interest-free.

With Credit One’s fees, the terms get even murkier. The annual fee can range from $0 to $75 the first year, then $0 to $99 each year after that.

The problem is you won’t know what fee you’re getting until you apply because it’s based on creditworthiness. What’s more, some cardholders have to pay monthly installments for the annual fee rather than yearly, which can eat up a portion of your credit limit at the beginning of each month.

A few other fees to watch out for include:

  • Authorized user fee: $19 (for the vast majority of credit cards, adding an authorized user is free)
  • Cash advance fee: $5 or 8 percent of the cash advance amount, whichever is greater, or $10 or 3 percent of each cash advance, whichever is greater (the fee level depends on your creditworthiness)
  • Late payment fee: Up to $37
  • Returned payment fee: Up to $35
  • Credit limit increase fee: $0 to $49
  • Foreign transaction fee: 3 percent
  • Replacement card fee: Up to $25

Credit One credit card rewards

Although Credit One offers rewards on some of its cards, it’s not clear what you’re going to get before you apply. Based on your creditworthiness and the card you apply for, Credit One will offer you one of five rewards programs.

Cards Potential Rewards Programs
Cash Back Rewards Visa and
Platinum Visa
1 percent cash back* on eligible gas, groceries, mobile phone service, internet service, and cable and satellite TV service.
1.1 percent cash back on eligible dining purchases and 1 percent cash back on all other eligible purchases.
1 percent cash back on all eligible purchases.
Official NASCAR Visa 1 percent cash back on eligible gas and automotive purchases; double cash back on NASCAR.com purchases.
1 percent cash back on all eligible purchases, double cash back on NASCAR.com purchases.

*Cash back is applied as an automatic statement credit

To be fair, most bad-credit credit cards don’t offer rewards at all. But it’s nice to know what you’re getting before you apply.

For example, the Discover it Secured Credit Card offers 2 percent cash back at restaurants or gas stations up to $1,000 spent each quarter, and 1 percent cash back on everything else. If you qualify for the card, that’s what you get. No guessing game.

Credit One reviews: customer satisfaction

Credit One claims high customer reviews on its website (4.6 out of 5 stars, as of October 2017), with most of the short reviews lauding the card for helping them build or rebuild their credit. For example, here’s one review:

“I don’t have the best credit history but Credit One gave me a chance to help fix my credit. After a few months they even increased my limit for making payments on time.”

The reviews on neutral, third-party websites aren’t as rosy. For example, the bank gets 2.3 out of 5 stars on Credit Karma, with 56 percent of users giving it just 1 star as of October 2017.

Users who gave the bank 5 stars wrote about how their card helped them rebuild their credit. In contrast, those who left bad Credit One reviews complained of poor customer service and delayed payment processing:

“The amount of time it takes for a payment to post and become available is disgusting. A whole week before funds are available unless you pay for express payment.”

Credit One contact information

If you have any questions about your Credit One account, you might have a hard time. The only phone number it lists on its website for account-related inquiries is an automated line (1-877-825-3242).

You can also try to reach the bank’s support team through its Twitter and Facebook pages.

Consider these alternatives to Credit One

Based on the Credit One credit card reviews by consumers and the bank’s high fees and confusing terms, you might want to consider a secured credit card to start rebuilding your credit.

For example, the Discover it Secured Credit Card offers cash back rewards, no annual fee, and your security deposit might be refundable if they deem your account in good standing after eight months.

Alternatively, you can check out the Capital One Secured Mastercard. Depending on your creditworthiness, your starting deposit can be $49, $99, or $200 for a $200 credit limit – it’s almost unheard of to get a higher credit limit than your deposit amount.

Plus, you can get access to a higher credit line with no additional deposits after five on-time payments. The card has no annual fee.

Check out these and other secured credit cards before you consider a Credit One card. Even with the security deposit, you’ll save a lot more not having to deal with high fees and opaque terms.

Interested in refinancing student loans?

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1 Important Disclosures for Laurel Road.

Laurel Road Disclosures

  1. VARIABLE APR – APR is subject to increase after consummation. The variable interest rates are based on a Current Index, which is the 1-month London Interbank Offered Rate (LIBOR) (currency in US dollars), as published on The Wall Street Journal’s website. The variable interest rates and Annual Percentage Rate (APR) will increase or decrease when the 1-month LIBOR index changes.

2 Important Disclosures for SoFi.

SoFi Disclosures

  1. Student Loan RefinanceFixed rates from 3.999% APR to 7.804% APR (with AutoPay). Variable rates from 2.480% APR to 7.524% APR (with AutoPay). Interest rates on variable rate loans are capped at either 8.95% or 9.95% depending on term of loan. See APR examples and terms. Lowest variable rate of 2.480% APR assumes current 1 month LIBOR rate of 2.07% plus 0.91% margin minus 0.25% ACH discount. Not all borrowers receive the lowest rate. If approved for a loan, the fixed or variable interest rate offered will depend on your creditworthiness, and the term of the loan and other factors, and will be within the ranges of rates listed above. For the SoFi variable rate loan, the 1-month LIBOR index will adjust monthly and the loan payment will be re-amortized and may change monthly. APRs for variable rate loans may increase after origination if the LIBOR index increases. The SoFi 0.25% AutoPay interest rate reduction requires you to agree to make monthly principal and interest payments by an automatic monthly deduction from a savings or checking account. The benefit will discontinue and be lost for periods in which you do not pay by automatic deduction from a savings or checking account. *To check the rates and terms you qualify for, SoFi conducts a soft credit inquiry. Unlike hard credit inquiries, soft credit inquiries (or soft credit pulls) do not impact your credit score. Soft credit inquiries allow SoFi to show you what rates and terms SoFi can offer you up front. After seeing your rates, if you choose a product and continue your application, we will request your full credit report from one or more consumer reporting agencies, which is considered a hard credit inquiry. Hard credit inquiries (or hard credit pulls) are required for SoFi to be able to issue you a loan. In addition to requiring your explicit permission, these credit pulls may impact your credit score
  2. Terms and Conditions Apply: SOFI RESERVES THE RIGHT TO MODIFY OR DISCONTINUE PRODUCTS AND BENEFITS AT ANY TIME WITHOUT NOTICE. To qualify, a borrower must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident in an eligible state and meet SoFi’s underwriting requirements. Not all borrowers receive the lowest rate. To qualify for the lowest rate, you must have a responsible financial history and meet other conditions. If approved, your actual rate will be within the range of rates listed above and will depend on a variety of factors, including term of loan, a responsible financial history, years of experience, income and other factors. Rates and Terms are subject to change at anytime without notice and are subject to state restrictions. SoFi refinance loans are private loans and do not have the same repayment options that the federal loan program offers such as Income Based Repayment or Income Contingent Repayment or PAYE. Licensed by the Department of Business Oversight under the California Financing Law License No. 6054612. SoFi loans are originated by SoFi Lending Corp., NMLS # 1121636. (www.nmlsconsumeraccess.org)

3 Important Disclosures for CommonBond.

CommonBond Disclosures

  1. Offered terms are subject to change. Loans are offered by CommonBond Lending, LLC (NMLS # 1175900). The following table displays the estimated monthly payment, total interest, and Annual Percentage Rates (APR) for a $10,000 loan. The Annual Percentage Rate (APR) shown for each in-school loan product reflects the accruing interest, the effect of one-time capitalization of interest at the end of a deferment period, a 2% origination fee, and the applicable Repayment Plan. All loans are eligible for a 0.25% reduction in interest rate by agreeing to automatic payment withdrawals once in repayment, which is reflected in the interest rates and APRs displayed. Variable rates may increase after consummation. All variable rates are based on a 1-month LIBOR assumption of 2.08% effective July 25, 2018.

4 Important Disclosures for Citizens Bank.

Citizens Bank Disclosures

  1. Education Refinance Loan Rate DisclosureVariable rate, based on the one-month London Interbank Offered Rate (“LIBOR”) published in The Wall Street Journal on the twenty-fifth day, or the next business day, of the preceding calendar month. As of August 1, 2018, the one-month LIBOR rate is 2.07%. Variable interest rates range from 2.72%-8.17% (2.72%-8.17% APR) and will fluctuate over the term of the borrower’s loan with changes in the LIBOR rate, and will vary based on applicable terms, level of degree earned and presence of a cosigner. Fixed interest rates range from 3.50%-8.69% (3.50% – 8.69% APR) based on applicable terms, level of degree earned and presence of a cosigner. Lowest rates shown require application with a cosigner, are for eligible, creditworthy applicants with a graduate level degree, require a 5-year repayment term and include our Loyalty discount and Automatic Payment discounts of 0.25 percentage points each, as outlined in the Loyalty and Automatic Payment Discount disclosures. The maximum variable rate on the Education Refinance Loan is the greater of 21.00% or Prime Rate plus 9.00%. Subject to additional terms and conditions, and rates are subject to change at any time without notice. Such changes will only apply to applications taken after the effective date of change. Please note: Due to federal regulations, Citizens Bank is required to provide every potential borrower with disclosure information before they apply for a private student loan. The borrower will be presented with an Application Disclosure and an Approval Disclosure within the application process before they accept the terms and conditions of their loan.
  2. Federal Loan vs. Private Loan Benefits: Some federal student loans include unique benefits that the borrower may not receive with a private student loan, some of which we do not offer with the Education Refinance Loan. Borrowers should carefully review their current benefits, especially if they work in public service, are in the military, are currently on or considering income based repayment options or are concerned about a steady source of future income and would want to lower their payments at some time in the future. When the borrower refinances, they waive any current and potential future benefits of their federal loans and replace those with the benefits of the Education Refinance Loan. For more information about federal student loan benefits and federal loan consolidation, visit http://studentaid.ed.gov/. We also have several resources available to help the borrower make a decision at http://www.citizensbank.com/EdRefinance, including Should I Refinance My Student Loans? and our FAQs. Should I Refinance My Student Loans? includes a comparison of federal and private student loan benefits that we encourage the borrower to review.
  3. Citizens Bank Education Refinance Loan Eligibility: Eligible applicants may not be currently enrolled, must be in repayment of their existing student loan(s) and must make the minimum number of payments after leaving school. Primary borrowers must be a U.S. citizen, permanent resident or resident alien with a valid U.S. Social Security Number residing in the United States. Resident aliens must apply with a co-signer who is a U.S. citizen or permanent resident. The co-signer (if applicable) must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident with a valid U.S. Social Security Number residing in the United States. For applicants who have not attained the age of majority in their state of residence, a co-signer will be required. Citizens Bank reserves the right to modify eligibility criteria at anytime. Interest rate ranges subject to change. Education Refinance Loans are subject to credit qualification, completion of a loan application/consumer credit agreement, verification of application information, certification of borrower’s student loan amount(s) and highest degree earned.
  4. Loyalty Discount Disclosure: The borrower will be eligible for a 0.25 percentage point interest rate reduction on their loan if the borrower or their co-signer (if applicable) has a qualifying account in existence with us at the time the borrower and their co-signer (if applicable) have submitted a completed application authorizing us to review their credit request for the loan. The following are qualifying accounts: any checking account, savings account, money market account, certificate of deposit, automobile loan, home equity loan, home equity line of credit, mortgage, credit card account, or other student loans owned by Citizens Bank, N.A. Please note, our checking and savings account options are only available in the following states: CT, DE, MA, MI, NH, NJ, NY, OH, PA, RI, and VT and some products may have an associated cost. This discount will be reflected in the interest rate disclosed in the Loan Approval Disclosure that will be provided to the borrower once the loan is approved. Limit of one Loyalty Discount per loan and discount will not be applied to prior loans. The Loyalty Discount will remain in effect for the life of the loan.
  5. Automatic Payment Discount Disclosure: Borrowers will be eligible to receive a 0.25 percentage point interest rate reduction on their student loans owned by Citizens Bank, N.A. during such time as payments are required to be made and our loan servicer is authorized to automatically deduct payments each month from any bank account the borrower designates. Discount is not available when payments are not due, such as during forbearance. If our loan servicer is unable to successfully withdraw the automatic deductions from the designated account three or more times within any 12-month period, the borrower will no longer be eligible for this discount.
  6. Co-signer Release: Borrowers may apply for co-signer release after making 36 consecutive on-time payments of principal and interest. For the purpose of the application for co-signer release, on-time payments are defined as payments received within 15 days of the due date. Interest only payments do not qualify. The borrower must meet certain credit and eligibility guidelines when applying for the co-signer release. Borrowers must complete an application for release and provide income verification documents as part of the review. Borrowers who use deferment or forbearance will need to make 36 consecutive on-time payments after reentering repayment to qualify for release. The borrower applying for co-signer release must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident. If an application for co-signer release is denied, the borrower may not reapply for co-signer release until at least one year from the date the application for co-signer release was received. Terms and conditions apply.
  7. Average savings based on 18,113 actual customers who refinanced their federal and private student loans through our Education Refinance Loan between January 1, 2017 and December 31, 2017. The calculation is derived by averaging the monthly savings of Education Refinance Loan customers whose payments decreased after refinancing, which is calculated by taking the monthly student loan payments prior to refinancing minus the monthly student loan payments after refinancing. The borrower’s savings might vary based on the interest rates, balances and remaining repayment term of the loans they are seeking to refinance. The borrower’s overall repayment amount may be higher than the loans they are refinancing even if their monthly payments are lower.
2.57% – 5.87%Undergrad
& Graduate
Visit Earnest
2.80% – 6.38%1Undergrad
& Graduate
Visit Laurel Road
2.48% – 7.52%2Undergrad
& Graduate
Visit SoFi
2.47% – 7.99%Undergrad
& Graduate
Visit Lendkey
2.57% – 6.65%3Undergrad
& Graduate
Visit CommonBond
2.72% – 8.17%4Undergrad
& Graduate
Visit Citizens
Our team at Student Loan Hero works hard to find and recommend products and services that we believe are of high quality and will make a positive impact in your life. We sometimes earn a sales commission or advertising fee when recommending various products and services to you. Similar to when you are being sold any product or service, be sure to read the fine print understand what you are buying, and consult a licensed professional if you have any concerns. Student Loan Hero is not a lender or investment advisor. We are not involved in the loan approval or investment process, nor do we make credit or investment related decisions. The rates and terms listed on our website are estimates and are subject to change at any time. Please do your homework and let us know if you have any questions or concerns.