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Total Visa Credit Card Review 2024 | TIME Stamped – TIME

February 29, 2024

Our evaluations and opinions are not influenced by our advertising relationships, but we may earn a commission from our partners’ links. This content is created independently from TIME’s editorial staff. Learn more about it.
Have you ever flown a low-cost airline that nickel-and-dimes you for every little thing (a printed boarding pass, a carry-on bag, even inflight water)? The same maddening emotions are invoked when you hold the Total Visa credit card. Its endless fees are bewildering. You’ll pay an annual fee; you’ll pay a monthly fee; you’ll pay a program fee; you’ll pay a credit limit increase fee. The card does earn 1% cash back, which is nice, but those rewards will almost certainly be negated by all those fees.
No credit card comes without its foibles. Even the highest-rated cards tend to offer steep interest rates and annual fees. Still, the Total Visa credit card is different. It’s aggressively bad, with overtly predatory fees. To make matters worse, you get almost nothing in return.
To be fair, the card doesn’t claim to be great. It’s a stepping stone aimed at those with poor (or no) credit. Still, the faster you can quit it, the better.
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If you have poor credit and no real savings to speak of, the Total Visa credit card could be for you. It’s a card with extremely lenient application standards. If you’ve been denied for many other credit-building credit cards and are of the opinion that you’re a lost cause, the Total Visa credit card is still likely to approve you.
If you have no credit and can spare a few hundred dollars as a security deposit, you’re better off opening a secured credit card, such as the card_name. It offers a lower annual percentage rate (APR), no annual fee, and far fewer ancillary fees. It also provides 1.5% cash back on every purchase. You’ll need to provide a refundable security deposit of at least $200 to open it.
In comparison, the Total Visa costs $170 to open, and it’s not refundable. It is, however, unsecured.
The Total Visa credit card also restricts your spending to inside the U.S. You can’t use your card internationally, and you can’t make any purchases in foreign currencies. This includes any online purchases from another country.
One other note: You must have a checking account to be approved for the Total Visa credit card.
The Total Visa credit card earns 1% cash back on all purchases (excluding the card’s one-time program fee, which you’ll pay when opening the card). The rewards you earn can only be used as a statement credit to offset your account balance. Your account must be open for at least six months and in good standing before you’re able to redeem your cash back, which you can do in increments of $5.
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For your first account year you’ll be charged no cash advance fees, though you’ll be charged a cash advance APR of 35.99%, which will begin to accrue immediately after your first transaction. After the first year you’ll be charged either $10 or 3% of your cash advance, whichever is greater.
This is an unsecured credit card, which means you don’t have to submit any collateral to get the card. However, you’ll only receive a $300 credit limit to start. It’s possible to increase the limit after one year, but it’ll cost you (as we’ll cover shortly).
The Total Visa credit card shows your credit score for free, updated monthly. This is a great way to track your progress and see your score grow as you exhibit good credit habits (paying your card on time, keeping your balance low, etc.).
With the Total Visa credit card, expect to pay fees for the usual suspects, such as late payments and returned payments. However, those are just the beginning.
The Total Visa credit card charges an absurd 35.99% APR. That’s one of the highest you’ll find on any credit card. If you don’t pay your balance off every month,you could flush over $100 in interest charges down the commode each year (depending on your balance).
You’ll pay a one-time $95 program fee after your application is approved and before you can use your card. You must pay within 60 days of approval. In short, this is an arbitrary cash grab for which you receive nothing.
When you open the Total Visa credit card you’ll pay a $75 annual fee for your first year. Combined with the one-time $95 program fee, that’s a total of $170 in fees during your first year.
For each following year you’ll pay a $48 annual fee. However, beginning with your second year of card membership, you’ll have to pay $8.25 in servicing fees each month. In other words, you’ll pay a total of $147 each year you keep the card.
These fees make the fact that this card earns cash back virtually irrelevant. You’d have to spend $17,000 with the card during the first year before beginning to make a profit, and $14,700 during each following year.
After holding the card for 12 months, you may be eligible for a credit limit increase. If you request one and are approved for it, you’ll be charged a fee equal to 25% of the increase. For example, if your credit limit is increased by $200, you’ll pay a $50 fee.
Clearly designed for those who have bad credit, the Total Visa credit card is determined not to lose money on subprime borrowers. It’ll shake you down for a considerable amount of money and keep your credit limit low to ensure that you’re a profitable customer and a minimal risk to its bottom line.
That’s fair enough, but the amount of money you pay in fees for the first year is nearly the amount of money you’d pay in a refundable security deposit for select secured credit cards. The Total Visa credit card needs to get rid of its $95 initial program fee. It also needs to shed either its annual fee or its monthly servicing fee to become even marginally competitive.
Anyone who opens the Total Visa credit card should plan to close it as soon as it has served its purpose. The card may be a necessary evil to overcome the messy credit history you’ve accumulated. Once you’ve arrived at a credit score that can get you approved for a card with fewer fees, get rid of the Total Visa credit card. Every month you keep it after that is a waste of your money.
The Total Visa is issued by the Bank of Missouri.
The Total Visa credit limit is $300 upon account opening.
After 12 months you’re eligible to request a credit line increase beyond the initial $300. The amount of your credit limit will ultimately depend on how healthy your credit habits are.
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