If you have poor credit, the Total Visa credit card may be an option. However, it is not ideal.

It’s an unsecured Visa Card, which doesn’t require a security deposit upfront. This card will be widely accepted. It also reports payment activity to all three major credit bureaus so that it can help you build your credit.

The Bank of Missouri issued the Total Visa credit card. It charges a slew of unnecessary fees and a staggering interest rate. The Total Visa credit card is a credit card for people with bad credit scores (FICO scores below 629) that has high interest rates and annual fees.

You can also get credit cards that will help you build your credit, but the fees won’t be quite as high.

Five things you need to know about Total Visa credit cards

1. It comes with a lot of fees

You will need to pay these fees in order to use and carry the Total Visa credit card:

  • Program fee. This $89 fee must be paid within 60 days after your application is accepted. Once you have paid the $89 fee, your card will not be activated. Program fees are generally not an issue for most credit cards, even those with bad credit.

  • Annual fee. The first year’s card is $75 and the second year it is $48. The Total Visa is more costly than other cards of its class, even though annual fees are more common with credit cards.

  • Monthly service fee. The first year is free and the monthly fee is $6.25. This is $75 per year. It’s not a fee that you would have to pay for other cards with bad credit.

  • Additional fees. Other fees may apply depending on how you use your card. These fees include late payment fees and cash advance fees. You might also be charged a fee for another card that an authorized user uses, or a fee to increase the credit limit. If you feel fancy, you can choose a premium plastic card design for $6.95. You can save money by choosing one of the basic designs for free, or you could choose a completely different credit card.

This card will cost you at least $164 the first year, and then $123 each year thereafter, assuming that there are no other fees.

2. Alarmingly, the interest rate is high

Consumers with poor credit scores are not known for their high interest rates. However, the Total Visa credit card is able to push the limits. The interest rate on this card was 34.99% as of January 2023.

This is how it works: If you make minimum monthly payments on a $1,000 credit-card balance, you will pay an additional $2,045 interest with the Total Visa card. If you had the balance on a card with a 29% annual percentage or APR, and paid the same monthly payments, you would pay $963 in interest.

3. Credit limit increases require a wait and cost.

The Total Visa credit card must be used for at least one year. This is an unreasonable wait considering that you may be eligible for credit limit increases with other cards in less time. You can apply for credit line increases with the Capital One Platinum Secured Credit Card in as little as six month.

Let’s not forget about fees. If your Total Visa credit limit is increased, you will be charged another fee. You’ll be charged 20% for each credit limit increase. According to the terms of the card, if your credit limit increases by $100, you will have to pay $20. It’s really a credit limit rise of $80.

This fee is not common even for cards with bad credit.

4. A checking account is required

You will need to have a checking account in order to be eligible for this card, as well as many others available for people with poor credit. Anyone who does not have a checking account, but wishes to build a credit history, this can be a problem.

OpenSky(r), Secured Visa(r), Credit Card: If you don’t have checking accounts, this secured credit card allows you to pay a deposit with money order or Western Union transfers. The $35 annual fee is higher than the Total Visa credit cards, but it’s still cheaper than this card.

5. Some cards are much cheaper

Other credit cards that are designed to build credit won’t add a lot of expensive fees if you have that goal.

Let’s start with secured credit cards. They require an upfront deposit. This can be problematic. However, unlike the Total Visa credit cards, this is not a recurring fee that you have to pay each year. You can get the money back if you close your card in good standing. (What fees do you have to pay for the Total Visa card? Non-refundable. Secured cards can earn rewards.

The Discover it(r), Secured Credit Card, is another option with $0-annual-fee that earns 2% cashback at gas stations and restaurants on up to $1,000 combined purchases each quarter and 1% cashback on all other purchases.

New cardholders can even get a bonus: INTRO OFFER – Unlimited Cashback Match – only from Discover Discover will match any cash back earned during your first year. There is no minimum spend or maximum reward. Only a dollar-for–dollar match.

These cards offer the possibility to upgrade to unsecured cards in the future.

You might consider an “alternative credit card” if you don’t have the funds to hold $200-300 in security deposits for at least a year. These cards are for people with low or no credit. While they may not be flexible and may have some restrictions, most don’t require an upfront deposit, credit check, or an annual fee. Some even earn rewards.