*Editorial Note: The content of this article is based on the author’s opinions and recommendations alone. It may not have been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuer. This site may be compensated through a credit card issuer partnership.
This article was last updated Oct 11, 2019. Terms and conditions may have changed. For the most accurate information, please consult the issuer website.
If you’re on the lookout for a credit card to help you build or establish credit, you may be wondering if the Horizon Gold Card is the right card to do so. The short answer is: Absolutely not. In fact, the card — which is not actually a credit card at all — is loaded with fees and can only be used to purchase merchandise online at the Horizon Outlet.
In this review, we’ll break down the pros (spoiler alert: there aren’t many) and cons of the Horizon Gold Card , as well as show which cards we do recommend to help you build or establish credit.
Who the Horizon Gold Card is best for
Consider other options before applying for this card. People who are unemployed or have bad credit may look toward the Horizon Gold Card to improve or build credit since there are no credit checks. However, this card does have restricted use and a high $24.95 monthly service fee among other fees that add up over time.
An alternative for people looking to build or improve their credit are secured cards, which often have no or low annual fees. They do require an upfront deposit to open; however, that deposit will be returned so long as you pay your bill regularly. If your credit is good or better, we rounded up some of the top credit cards that can earn you a wide range of benefits including rewards and discounts.
Where the card falls short in its category
That monthly fee will hurt. This card has a monthly service fee of $24.95 that will be auto-debited. This comes out to an alarming effective $299.40 annual fee ($24.95 x 12 months) that tops many rewards cards. At that price, you should seriously consider opening a secured card before applying for the Horizon Gold Card , since many secured cards have low fees or none at all.
Also, there is a one-time $5 account validation fee.
You can’t use the card at just any store. In addition to high fees, the Horizon Gold Card has limited use — you can only use it at thehorizonoutlet.com to buy select merchandise including clothes, appliances, electronics and more. And, after you place your order, you will not only need to pay shipping fees but also a $2 delivery fee and $2.50 fee to verify your signature upon delivery.
Decision in 60 Seconds
Applying Won't Negatively Impact Your Score
Build Credit With Responsible Account Management
Where the card stands out in its category
There isn’t much to get excited about. The Horizon Gold Card doesn’t have any features that make it particularly worthwhile, though there is no credit check during the application process. That means you have better approval odds compared with other credit cards that require minimum credit scores or employment — but keep in mind while this card has a simpler application process, the card itself has several drawbacks, which are discussed above.
There are better cards for rebuilding credit. The Horizon Gold Card has higher fees even when we compare it with other cards for people seeking to rebuild their credit, like the Credit One Bank® Platinum Visa® with Cash Back Rewards . For example, the Credit One Bank® Platinum Visa® with Cash Back Rewards has a lower annual fee of $0-$99 — though you won’t know your annual fee until after you apply. But even if you get stuck with the highest fee possible, you’ll still pay less than the $24.95 monthly service fee Horizon Gold Card charges. In addition to having lower fees, the Credit One Bank® Platinum Visa® with Cash Back Rewards has a rewards program where you can earn 1% on eligible purchases, terms apply.
1% on eligible purchases, terms apply
17.99% to 23.99% Variable
View your Experian credit score and credit report summary online
- Qualified applicants will receive exclusive benefits such as 1% cash back rewards on all purchases, no annual fee, and a competitive APR. Terms apply.
- Manage your account quickly and easily from your mobile device by using the Credit One Bank mobile app
- Use your Apple device to make purchases securely through Apple Pay®. Apple Pay is a registered trademark of Apple, Inc.
- Your account is safeguarded against unauthorized charges with Zero Fraud Liability at no additional charge.
- Take advantage of free online access to your Experian credit score and credit report summary so you can track the key factors impacting your credit health. Terms apply.
See additional details for Credit One Bank® Platinum Visa® with Cash Back Rewards
Additional card benefits
The Horizon Gold Card has several additional card benefits:
- Universal Rx: For select local participating pharmacies, you receive up to 40% off covered prescription medications.
- Roadside protection: If you run out of gas, are locked out of your car or get a flat tire, you may be covered for the cost, up to $50 in 12 months. Maximum one call within a 30-day period and a total of three calls within 12 months. Additional terms apply.
- Legal assistance: You can receive one office or telephone consultation per separate legal matter at no additional cost when you use a network attorney.
How to use it most effectively
Avoid fees at all costs. A few fees can be avoidable like the late payment fee and NSF fee. If you pay on-time each month (even if it’s just your minimum payment) you can avoid the late fee and have good payment history reported to a credit bureau — not necessarily all three credit bureaus. Horizon Card Services™ states they will report to at least one major credit bureau. To avoid the NSF fee, make sure you have the money in your account that you’re paying from so the check or payment isn’t insufficient.
Follow the shopping rules. Fees that you can minimize are those that result from your online purchases. Since you need to pay shipping fees, a $2 delivery fee and $2.50 signature verification fee for each order placed, try to consolidate your orders so you only place minimal orders. For example, if you need to order a shirt and jacket, don’t place separate orders two days apart since you’ll have to pay separate shipping fees as well as the $4.50 signature fees.
Compare it with the Discover it® Secured
2% cash back at Gas Stations and Restaurants on up to $1,000 in combined purchases each quarter. 1% unlimited cash back on all other purchases - automatically
Credit line will equal your security deposit of $200 or more*
No annual fee, no late fee on your first late payment. No penalty APR*
- No Annual Fee, earn cash back, and build your credit with responsible use.
- It's a real credit card. You can build a credit history with the three major credit bureaus. Generally, debit and prepaid cards can't help you build a credit history.
- Establish your credit line by providing a refundable security deposit of at least $200 after being approved. Bank information must be provided when submitting your deposit.
- Automatic reviews starting at 8 months to see if we can transition you to an unsecured line of credit and return your deposit.
- Earn 2% cash back at Gas Stations and Restaurants on up to $1,000 in combined purchases each quarter. Plus, earn unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases – automatically.
- Get 100% U.S. based customer service & get your free Credit Scorecard with your FICO® Credit Score
- INTRO OFFER: Unlimited Cashback Match – only from Discover. Discover will automatically match all the cash back you’ve earned at the end of your first year! There’s no minimum spending or maximum rewards. Just a dollar-for-dollar match.
- Get an alert if we find your Social Security number on any of thousands of Dark Web sites.* Activate for free.
- See Rates & Fees
See additional details for Discover it® Secured
A better alternative to the Horizon Gold Card is a secured card like the Discover it® Secured.
Secured cards require a minimum security deposit to fund your account and are a great way to build credit. The Discover it® Secured requires a refundable $200 security deposit and also has more rewards than the Horizon Gold Card .
With a $0 annual fee and a cashback rewards program, the Discover it® Secured provides you the opportunity to build credit and earn rewards. The Discover it® Secured lets you earn 2% cash back at Gas Stations and Restaurants on up to $1,000 in combined purchases each quarter. 1% unlimited cash back on all other purchases - automatically Plus, you can use the Discover it® Secured anywhere Discover is accepted without being restricted to an online website like the Horizon Gold Card . If you’re looking for a well-rounded card to build credit and also benefit from additional perks, the Discover it® Secured is one of our favorites.
The Horizon Gold Card is laden with fees and although you have the potential to build credit with this card, we recommend considering opening a secured card that won’t charge a monthly membership fee, and can provide more benefits.