Obtaining a secured credit card is a great way to build your credit history. In fact, MyFICO (the consumer website for FICO credit scores) recommends it.
But even if this is your first time building credit – or you have bad credit – it’s important to pick the right secured card.
Finding a secured credit card with low costs and solid customer support is ideal. That way you can work towards the credit score of your financial dreams in a manageable way.
So if you’re shopping around for a secured credit card, check out our Primor Secured Visa Gold Card review below. This could be the secured card to help you take your credit to the next level.
Primor Secured Visa Gold Card review
There are several pros to using this secured Visa credit card:
- It has a very low purchase APR.
- There’s no fee to apply.
- There’s no penalty interest rate.
- If your income exceeds your expenses by at least $100 a month, you’ll have guaranteed approval.
However, there are also several cons to using this card:
- You can’t request a balance transfer with this card.
- This card has a relatively high annual fee.
- You’ll have to manage and pay your credit card on two separate online platforms.
Berkshire Bank products
The Primor secured card, managed by Berkshire Bank, is one of many products the bank offers.
Other services provided by Berkshire Bank include general banking, insurance, and wealth management. You can house all your banking needs in one place if you decide the Visa secured credit card is right for you.
However, keep in mind that Berkshire Bank is primarily in the Northeast. You might not want to do all your banking with them if you live elsewhere.
Using the Primor Secured Visa Gold Card online platform
If you sign up for this secured Visa credit card, you won’t be managing it on Berkshire Bank’s main website. Instead, you’ll have access to your card at firstchoicebankcc.com. To make a payment online, you’ll have to do it at fcbcards.com.
Some reviews on the card have pointed to confusion with the online management of the card, especially since you have to manage the card on separate websites.
Primor Secured Visa Gold Card interest rates and fees
This Primor Secured Visa Gold Card secured card comes with a low purchase APR but a high annual fee. Here’s a breakdown of costs and fees to consider:
- The purchase APR is 9.99%.
- The annual fee is $49.
- A replacement card or an additional card is $29.
- Late fees are $29.
- An increased credit limit or upgraded card is $49.
- The cash advance APR is 18.99%.
- The cash advance fee is either $5 or five percent, whichever is more.
- A three percent fee is charged for foreign transactions.
Since all fees are charged to your account, you will pay interest on them if you don’t pay them in full by the end of the billing cycle.
The interest rate on the fees isn’t the same as the purchase interest rate. Instead, the interest rate on fees is the same as the interest rate on cash advances, which is double the rate.
Primor Secured Visa Gold Card eligibility requirements
Like many other secured credit cards, it’s easy to be approved for this secured Visa credit card. All you have to do is show that your monthly income exceeds your expenses by $100 and pay the security deposit.
Since the annual $49 fee is charged to the card, you can either pay it off within the billing cycle at no interest or pay it off slowly if you need more time.
Remember, the credit limit on the card will equal the security deposit you put down. Additionally, your credit limit for cash advances will be half of the credit limit on your card.Check out the Primor Secured Visa Gold card
Berkshire Bank customer service
The Primor secured card is owned by Berkshire Bank. According to Better Business Bureau (BBB), the bank is doing quite well and has been given an “A+” score.
This score means Berkshire Bank has gotten more than three out of five stars based on specific factors. This includes complaint volume, unanswered complaints, transparent business practices, and more.
As for the Primor Secured Visa Gold Card secured card, the only negative review was from a customer who tried to increase his credit line. Though he sent the money for the increase, he wasn’t told until a few days later that an additional form had to be sent. Berkshire Bank commented on the complaint and sent a letter to the customer to apologize for the incident.
Credit Karma has a review of this Primor secured card and has also given it more than three out of five stars. Right now, 48 percent of the reviews are positive.
But there are some negative reviews. They mostly address issues such as the high annual fee, unhelpful or unfriendly customer service representatives, confusion in managing the card online, and unsophisticated online tools.
More about Berkshire Bank
Anyone who had this Visa secured credit card years ago knew it as the card developed by First Choice Bank. But when Berkshire Bank bought First Choice Bank at the end of 2016, it acquired this secured Visa credit card as well.
Berkshire Bank is headquartered at 24 North Street, P.O. Box 1308, Pittsfield, MA 01202-1308.
It also happens to be the largest banking institution based in Western Massachusetts. Established in 1846, it doesn’t seem like Berkshire Bank will be going anywhere soon.
Berkshire Bank and Primor Secured Visa Gold Card contact info
Berkshire Bank has a variety of branches concentrated in the Northeast.
If you have a Primor Secured Visa Gold Card, the number to call for customer service is 609-454-0337 or 800-768-9897. Customer service hours on this line are 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. EST, Monday through Friday.
You can also call Berkshire Bank’s customer call center at 800-773-5601. Just make sure to ask to be transferred to the support line for the Primor Secured Visa Gold Card.Get the Primor Secured Visa Gold today
Final word on using a secured credit card to establish credit
In case you’re interested in learning how to use a secured credit card to establish credit, here’s advice from the Director of Public Education for Experian, Rod Griffin.
- Make sure the secured card you want will be reported to at least one of the national credit reporting companies or else the card won’t help you build a credit history.
- Your account will need to be open and active for at least three to six months before it will be included in credit score calculations.
- Make a small purchase each month on the card and then pay it in full to build credit while avoiding debt.
- If you can’t pay off your card each month, don’t let your balances exceed 30 percent of your credit limit.
- Remember that failing to pay on your secured account will be reported as a delinquency on your credit report.
- The amount of time it takes for the secured account to help your credit score will depend on your unique credit history.
“Opening an account, whether secured or unsecured, may not be the best strategy if you’re trying to rehabilitate your credit history,” Griffin said. “Get a credit score and the risk factors that go with it. Those factors will tell you what you need to work on to improve your credit most quickly.”
And if you’re working to pay down high debt? Then you might want to think twice before getting a secured credit card, according to Griffin. Your score will improve more by paying your debt down.
No matter what you end up doing, just make sure it’s the right thing for your current needs and your future goals.
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