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This article was last updated May 16, 2019. Terms and conditions may have changed. For the most accurate information, please consult the issuer website.
When you’re looking to apply for a credit card but lack a credit score, it can be tough to find a decent card. However, there’s the Petal® Visa® Credit Card that allows you to access credit without a credit history requirement or a security deposit — unlike typical secured cards or cards for bad and no credit.
There is no credit score required to qualify due to Petal’s different application process. Instead of relying on an applicant’s credit history to determine creditworthiness, Petal has customers link their bank accounts during the application process. Then, Petal’s algorithm will analyze bank statements and other data, such as the money you earn and spend each month, and the bills you pay. This helps create an alternative picture of an applicant’s credit eligibility and is especially helpful for consumers who lack a credit history or have bad credit and have struggled to find a credit card with good terms.
When we spoke with Petal’s CEO Jason Gross, he expressed the desire for the company to build a relationship with consumers and “help [cardholders] use their credit card responsibly.” Petal’s lack of a credit profile requirement, among other features like no fees whatsoever, are just some ways the company is trying to help credit-challenged consumers.
In this review, we’ll discuss how the Petal® Visa® Credit Card works, what the benefits and drawbacks are and how it stacks up against an alternative card.
How the Petal® Visa® Credit Card works
You can use the Petal® Visa® Credit Card just like you’d use any other credit card, but the application process and fees differ from what’s typical. This card is designed for consumers with no credit history who are looking to begin their credit journey and establish a good credit score. When you fill out an application, Petal requires the typical personal and financial information, but it has an added step — requiring you to link active bank and credit card accounts. This is easily done by logging into your bank account via the application. Once linked, Petal analyzes your financial record to determine your eligibility.
There are no fees associated with the Petal® Visa® Credit Card. That means there is no annual fee, late payment fee, foreign transaction fee or any other type of fee. This is helpful to cardholders and can minimize the cost of using a Petal® Visa® Credit Card.
Charging no fees has clear benefits for cardholders, but you may wonder how Petal can make money without charging fees. The Petal® Visa® Credit Card does have a 12.99% - 23.99% Variable APR, so when cardholders carry a balance month to month, Petal makes money. Overall, the company realizes it won’t make as much money compared with competitors that charge numerous fees, but Petal’s goal isn’t to make a lot of money right now. Petal wants to establish a positive relationship with cardholders, see them succeed and hope to become long-term partners.
Beyond no credit requirements and no fees, the Petal® Visa® Credit Card offers a simulation-like feature that tells cardholders what may happen if they take certain actions with their card. For example, if you’re considering carrying a balance, Petal will show how much you’ll incur in interest charges so you’re aware of how much you’ll be paying in interest charges. This helps cardholders better understand how their card works and make educated financial decisions.
What we like about the Petal® Visa® Credit Card
No credit history required. Unlike most credit cards that require you to have some sort of credit history, the Petal® Visa® Credit Card does not require applicants to have a credit history. This means if you lack credit history and have struggled with approval from other cards, you may have a better chance with the Petal® Visa® Credit Card. Beware, you will still need to meet certain qualification requirements that include a source of income.
No fees. The Petal® Visa® Credit Card is one of few completely fee-free credit cards on the market. The only other card we could find with no fees is the PenFed Promise Visa® Card. The lack of fees is especially helpful for people who are new to credit or have a history of paying late. A few situations where a fee-free card comes in handy include if you miss a payment, pay late, purchase outside the U.S., among others. The Petal® Visa® Credit Card won’t charge a fee for these actions, compared with other cards that will.
Rewards. Cardmembers can earn Up to 1.5% cash back after making 12 on-time monthly payments, 1% cash back on eligible purchases - right away .
What we don’t like about the Petal® Visa® Credit Card
This card is very basic — there are no standout perks that you would see with other cards, although it does offer a modest rewards program. So, if you’re looking for a robust card with travel credits, insurance and more, this isn’t the best option. However, the Petal® Visa® Credit Card is designed for people who are looking to access credit who don’t have a credit score, so it can actually be a good thing that there is nothing to distract you from your primary goal of establishing a good credit score.
Where the Petal® Visa® Credit Card stands out
Cardholders receive a minimum credit limit of $500 — and it can be as high as $10,000. These credit limits are often higher than what other credit cards are offering for people with less-than-perfect or nonexistent credit. Secured cards, for example, tend to have minimum credit limits of $200. Plus, you most likely will have to deposit $200 in order to receive your $200 credit limit. If approved, the Petal® Visa® Credit Card gives you a minimum credit limit of $500 with no deposit needed.
The Petal® Visa® Credit Card offers Visa Traditional perks, which include:
- Auto rental collision damage waiver: When you pay for an eligible car rental with your card and decline the rental company’s insurance, you may be covered for collision or theft to the rental vehicle.
- Roadside dispatch®: If you get a flat tire, are locked out of your car, need a tow or experience another qualifying issue, you can call roadside dispatch. They’ll send a tow operator or locksmith to help you. Note: This is a pay-per-use roadside assistance program.
Compare it with the Deserve® Classic Mastercard
Build a positive credit history with responsible use
Pay no foreign transaction fees and get a Refer a Friend bonus
Price Protection, Travel Assistance, Extended Warranty & more
- No Annual Fee
- Start building credit now (for people with No/Limited Credit or Good Credit)
- No Foreign Transaction Fees
- Cellphone protection up to $600 when you pay your monthly phone bill with your Deserve Mastercard
- Mastercard Platinum benefits
See additional details for Deserve® Classic Mastercard
The Deserve® Classic Mastercard is another credit card that does not require a credit history, similar to the Petal® Visa® Credit Card. It also comes with a $0 annual fee, like the Petal® Visa® Credit Card. However, it isn’t a completely no-fee card like the Petal® Visa® Credit Card — Deserve® Classic Mastercard holders may incur penalty fees for late or returned payments. Looking at the APRs, the Deserve® Classic Mastercard has a 24.49% Variable APR — that’s in comparison with the range of 12.99% - 23.99% Variable Variable APR provided by the Petal® Visa® Credit Card. So, if you want the chance to receive a lower APR, the Petal® Visa® Credit Card is a better choice — just note that the APR you receive depends on your eligibility.
Overall, if you’re looking to build credit and want to minimize fees, we recommend sticking to the Petal® Visa® Credit Card.
Here’s a breakdown of the key features of each card:
|Petal® Visa® Credit Card||Deserve® Classic Mastercard|
|Regular purchase APR||12.99% - 23.99% Variable Variable||24.49% Variable|
|Rewards||Up to 1.5% cash back after making 12 on-time monthly payments, 1% cash back on eligible purchases - right away||None|
If you’ve struggled with being approved for credit in the past due to lack of credit history or are tired of dealing with the numerous fees that credit cards charge, the Petal® Visa® Credit Card can be a great choice. You avoid fees such as foreign transaction, overlimit and late payment — since this card charges no fees at all. And, this card provides a way for people with no credit score to jumpstart their credit history. If you already have an established credit history and are looking for a card that earns rewards, check out our roundup of the best credit card offers.