First Progress Secured Credit Card(s) are offered by Synovus Bank, which is based in Columbus, Georgia. The bank was started in 1888 and has a long history over its 125-year existence. Synovus Bank is one of the largest community banks in the Southeastern United States, operating under 28 different trade names. First Progress has been a Better Business Bureau (BBB) accredited business since 2013 and has a BBB rating of A+ based upon the length of time it has been in business and its response to and resolution of BBB complaints filed against it.

 

Rank Chart
APR
Reward Options
Our Score
#1
8.24 - 18.0%
8.3
#2
11.24 - 23.24%
8.0
#3
11.24 - 23.24%
7.9
#25
first_progress
11.99 - 19.99%
6.4

The Good

APR Range

Collectively, First Progress’ Credit Cards offer an APR ranging from 11.99% to 19.99%. This is a variable rate depending on market activity-which means your interest rate can fluctuate and even skyrocket to a rate that makes the card too expensive to pay off. All accounts require you to maintain a security Deposit of at least $200 in a non-interest bearing Deposit Account at Synovus Bank as a condition for them to approve your Account. Compared to other secured credit cards offered by other companies, First Progress’ APR range is more affordable. For example, First PREMIER® Bank MasterCard® has an APR starting at 36%.

Annual fee range

Annual fees for all of First Progress’ credit cards range from $29.00 to $44.00. This is competitive for secured credit cards in the industry, with $45.00 being the average annual fee rate in a wide variety of fees, ranging from $18 to $500 per year. In effect, First Progress comes in on the lower end of this spectrum, making it more affordable for secured credit card users.

Foreign Transaction Fees

Customers using their card in other currencies will pay a 3% Foreign Transaction fee. This fee applies to all of First Progress’ secured credit cards. This fee of 3 percent is on par with all other companies in the credit card industry who also offer a 3% foreign transaction fee as well. This foreign transaction fee is applied to all transactions posted to your account in a foreign currency including all purchases, cash advances or returns.

Cards Offered

First Progress offers customers a total of 3 secured credit cards (listed from cheapest to most expensive):

  • Platinum Elite MasterCard®
  • Platinum Select MasterCard®
  • Platinum Prestige MasterCard®

All of these cards have the following:

  • No Minimum Credit Score
  • No Credit History Required
  • Accepted Nationwide
  • Cash Advance Transaction Fee is $10 or 3% of each Cash Advance, whichever is greater

First Progress offers a greater number of cards than some secured credit card companies, many of whom only offer one card.

Unique Features

Unlike other companies that offer credit cards only for those with good credit scores or a strong credit history, all of First Progress’ credit cards are designed to help consumers establish credit records with the major consumer credit bureaus. Credit improvement information on each active card account is reported monthly to each of the three major credit bureaus—Experian, TransUnion, and Equifax. When cardholders post a security deposit to establish their credit line , their security deposit serves as collateral for his or her obligations on the secured credit card account.

Building Credit/Student Cards

First Progress helps customers build their credit with a lower annual fee and no credit score. Some companies have cards specifically for building credit, (like a student card or pre-paid card) but First Progress makes all of their cards for this purpose. This is superior to some companies who don’t offer cards for building credit at all.

The Bad

Customer support

Customer support with First Progress is lacking. There is no phone number on their contact page, only a physical address to mail correspondence to. This is inferior to many credit card companies in the industry who offer toll free phone support. First Progress does have an online portal for those who have signed up for a card on their website. If you are a potential customer, however, there is no way to contact a live representative to ask questions.

Note: Upon further review, First Progress does have toll-free phone support numbers for customers wanting to apply for one of their credit cards by phone by clicking on the “How to Apply” tab for details on each of their three First Progress Card programs. However, this number is designated for those ready to sign up for a card, not for general inquiries.

Late Payment

Penalty charges for a late payment for all of First Progress’ credit cards range up to “as much as” $27.00 but can be as much as $38.00 if a late payment was made in recent billing cycles. Customers’ due date is at least 25 days after the end of each billing cycle. Late fees can be avoided by paying the entire balance by the due date each month (if possible); however, if a lesser payment is made by the due date, a late fee will be avoided also. First Progress’ late fee violates the $25 cap on late fees, which was declared mandatory by the Credit Card Act in 2010 to protect consumers.

Options for Rewards

While other companies offer credit cards with rewards options such as cash back, points for purchases like gas points, First Progress only offers secured credit cards for those with low credit and/or no credit history. Most Secured credit cards inherently do not come with rewards.

Security

In cases of fraud, First Progress does not openly disclose their security measures and policies in their website pages or in their fine print documents. Nor does the company discuss customer liability in case of fraud. They do not even mention an 800 number to call if your card is lost or stolen. It appears that these things exist, but is not easily available for prospective customers. Most companies have a toll free phone number in case of fraud or if the card is lost or stolen. First Progress falls short in this area.

The Bottom Line

The Credit Cards offered by First Progress would appeal to consumers who either have a bad credit history they are trying to rebuild or who don’t have a credit history and who are trying to establish one. Synovus Bank requires cardholders to make a security deposit in a non-interest bearing account in order to qualify for one of the credit cards. In addition to not being able to earn interest on their deposits, cardholders’ credit limit is restricted to the value of the money they have deposited in their Synovus Bank account less any outstanding balances and fees owed to the bank. Customers’ initial credit limit may not exceed $2,000.

All of the First Progress Secured Credit MasterCards offer the same features. Customers decide whether they want a lower annual fee and a higher APR or vice versa when selecting which MasterCard to apply for. The three MasterCards offered by First Progress have no rewards program and these credit cards are not available to consumers in Arkansas, Iowa, New York, or Wisconsin.

With no rewards, a low credit limit, and the requirement that they deposit money into a non-interest bearing account to cover their credit limits, the MasterCards offered by First Progress would not be useful for consumers with a good credit history; however, it is a better option for “unsecured” customers compared to other secured credit cards on the market.

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