First PREMIER Bank is one of the largest providers of Visa and MasterCard services in the country, with a special emphasis on providing credit cards to people with less than perfect credit. The company was founded by South Dakota businessman T. Denny Sanford. The goal of the company was to provide credit cards with low limits so that customers needing to improve their credit would have the chance to do so. Sanford was quoted in Forbes magazine in July, 2015 as saying, “We provide a lifeline for credit-impaired people.” Despite these good intentions, First PREMIER Bank has been the subject of scandal in recent years, including a number of lawsuits over deceptive practices. They settled a case with the New York Attorney General in 2007, and they were cited by Consumers Union for offering the worst credit card in the nation. Senator Bernie Sanders has accused them of extortion and loan sharking for their high rates and fees.

 

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
#26
first_premier_bank
36 - 59%
5.9

The Good

Customer support

Customers can access their online account through PREMIER 24/7. If contacting them by phone, their customer service representatives are available Monday – Friday 7:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. CT and 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. CT on Saturdays. There is also a fax number available as well as a postal mailing address for payments.

Foreign Transaction Fees

Cardholders who are traveling overseas or out of the country will be charged a foreign transaction fee of 3% (in U.S. dollars) for each purchase. This percent can be found with some of Premier’s competitors as well.

Cards Offered

Premier offers several credit cards for users with poor credit:

First PREMIER® Bank MasterCard® Credit Card

  • Checking Account Required
  • May approve those currently building their credit history
  • The activity on its manageable credit limit products is reported to all major Consumer Reporting Agencies on a monthly basis.
  • Good credit not required

First PREMIER® Bank Classic Credit Card

  • Checking Account Required
  • Offers those with below average credit a second chance for a credit card
  • Previous bankruptcy OK

First PREMIER® Bank Gold Credit Card

  • Checking Account Required
  • Approves those currently building their credit history

AccountNow® Gold Visa® Prepaid Card

  • With free direct deposit for paychecks or benefit checks, get paid up to 2 days before your payday
  • 100% Approval subject to ID verification
Options for Rewards

Premier Bank offers these bonuses for all of their cards:

  • Free texts or email alerts: lets you set up alerts for purchases over a selected dollar amount, before your payment is due or when you are approaching your credit limit. Their text messaging option allows you to check your available credit, recent transactions, payment history or make a payment right from your mobile phone
  • Free electronic letters: offers customers the ability to view letters and other communications electronically.
  • PREMIER MasterPass: a free digital wallet service intended to make shopping safer and easier. Cardholders can shop, click and checkout faster online.

All of Premier’s cards have the following rewards options:

  • T-Mobile Phone discount
  • Free renter’s quote with Allstate Insurance
  • Free Freedom Term Life Insurance quote

As a “credit building” card, Premier’s credit cards don’t offer rewards such as miles, cash back, or gas points the way other credit cards offered by other companies do.

Security

Premier offers cardholders 2 main protection features:

  • Premier Credit Manager: helps protect customers from fraud by letting them stay on top of their credit through viewing their Experian Report every month for a monthly fee of $3.99/month. It would, however, be best to offer access to all 3 credit bureaus (Experian, Transunion and Equifax).Credit Manager scans cardholders’ credit reports daily, alerting them of key changes in their credit report that may indicate possible fraudulent activity via email. This daily monitoring notifies customers of new inquiries, new accounts, public records, potentially negative information, and address changes posted to their Experian credit report.
  • PREMIER Credit Protection® is another benefit of First PREMIER Bank Credit Card. It protects them from going into debt during hard times when they cannot afford to keep making payments. Cardholders pay $0.89 per $100 of their outstanding ending monthly balance each month. Covered events include Disability, Involuntary Unemployment, Unpaid Family Leave, Hospitalization and Loss of Life.If your card is lost or stolen, Premier has a toll free 800 number to call to report it. You have to let their representative know the time and date the card was lost or stolen for Premier’s records to shut down the card as not to be held responsible for the payments placed anytime thereafter.

    According to their user agreement, all Premier cardholders are 100% liable for any damages, indirect or direct, special, incidental, or consequential damages, losses or expenses arising in conjunction with this site or use thereof or inability to use by any party, or in conjunction with any failure of performance, error, omission, interruption, defect, delay in operation or transmission, computer virus or line or system failure, even if PREMIER Bankcard is advised of the possibility of such damages, losses or expenses.

Unique Features

Most companies have introductory offers and bonuses for their cardholders. Premier’s unique feature is their Premier Credit Manager, which lets you monitor your Experian credit scores twice a month with alerts and texts/emails.

Building Credit/Student Cards

Premier’s entire line of credit cards are for building credit. It benefits people who have poor financial histories and have trouble getting credit card approval. They offer features that let you manage your credit and tips on their website to provide relevant information for those wanting to effectively improve and manage their credit.

The Bad

APR Range

There’s no way around it- First PREMIER Bank offers some of the worst rates of any credit card company in the nation. The APR starts at 36% but has been known to get as high as 59%. The idea, according to Premier, is that their cards are intended to help people build their credit, so the customer would only have the card for a short time period, which theoretically means they would avoid paying too much with their rates. You have until the closing date of the billing cycle to pay your entire balance each month to avoid paying interest on purchases. This is at least 27 days from the start of each billing cycle. There are also a list of other fees that make using Premier’s cards more expensive, such as a

Annual Fee Range

Premier Bank’s credit card annual fees range from $75.00 for the first year and $45.00 annually thereafter. This appears to apply to all of their credit cards. Although this fee goes down after the first year, it is inferior to credit card companies that don’t charge an annual fee at all.

Late Payment

In the instance that you make a late payment, Premier charges cardholders a Late Fee of up to $37.00 for that billing cycle. It is unclear what determines the exact amount you will be charged in that open pricing fee range.

The Bottom Line

Premier’s Bankcard is designed to help customers build their credit, so its rates and fees are best for those with low credit scores and/or a bad credit history. They offer a high APR at 36%, which goes up to as high as 59%. Even worse, there is a list of additional fees with all of their cards and most benefits offered come with an additional fee per month. We cannot recommend one of their cards, except if someone is in desperate need of credit and has a very low credit score. But they will pay more than necessary for fees.

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