Aspen Credit Card Review | Discontinued - Which Card to Get

Aspen Credit Card Review

aspen visa credit cardSummary - The Aspen Visa Card is designed specifically for those with poor credit. This is an unsecured credit card issued by CompuCredit. Like most sub prime cards, this card comes laden with high fees. We do not recommend this card, but provide an alternative for people with poor credit as well as a comparison of the Aspen Visa Card to other sub prime cards.

Fees - Typical of sub-prime cards, the Aspen Credit Card charges various fees. You have to pay an account opening fee of $29.00. The annual fee is a whopping $150.00. There is also a monthly maintenance fee of $6.50, which works out to $78.00 a year. The APR is Prime Rate plus 19.5% (miss a payment and it goes up to 25.75%).The grace period is at least 25 days (longer than the usual 20 days given by most card issuers). The average daily balance method (including new purchases) is used to calculate monthly balance. In total, you will pay at least $257.00 per year to have this card (not including the interest on purchases).

Aspen Visa Peer Comparison

Alternatives to the Aspen include secured credit cards and unseucred ones (like Aspen). Let's now look at an example of a secured card like the Public Savings Bank, which is cheaper (ie lower fees and rates), but also because you could have a much better credit utilization ratio which will improve your credit score much faster.

Let's illustrate this with an actual example and compare the Aspen Visa card to the Public Savings Bank Secured Card.
Card 1st Year Fees 2nd Year Fees 3rd Year Fees 4th Year Fees 5th Year Fees Total Fees Paid
Aspire Visa $257.00 $228.00 $228.00 $228.00 $228.00 $1169
Public Savings Bank Secured Card $79 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0
Over the course of 5 years, you would end up paying over a thousand dollars more with the Aspen Visa card than you would with a secured credit card. Furthermore, with the Public Savings Bank Secured card, you can deposit up to $5,000. Hence, if you use say $200 of your available credit, you will have a much better credit utilization ratio (i.e. debt over available credit).

Aspen Visa vs. First Premier Bank

A comparison with the First Premier Bank card will give you an idea of what exactly is/was being offered to consumers with bad or no credit. The First Premier Bank Card provided a limit of $300 but with the fees involved (annual fee and monthly fee) you ended up paying around almost $200 per year to have the card. On top of that, the APR for the First Premier card was 49.9% and at one time was actually as high as 79.9%. This is one example of where the Aspen Visa would be the better selection.

Aspen Visa Card vs. Orchard Bank

If you have a slightly higher credit score and do not want to bother with a secured card, you may want to look into the Orchard Bank Mastercard. For consumers who aren't sure of their credit score (and just have a feeling it's low) or think they may have a shot at a better card, Orchard Bank by HSBC provides a pre selection process where you can enter your information and they will tell you which cards you may qualify for. This is before your credit report is even pulled so you can make a decision based on what you are offered.

Depending on the card you are approved for, annual fees for the Orchard Bank card range from $39-$79 for the unsecured cards and an annual fee of $35 for the secured card which is waived the first year. Processing fees for Orchard Bank cards range from 0-$49 for unsecured cards and a $200 security deposit for the secured card. The APR is also much more reasonable and may be anywhere from 7.9% to 19.9%. This is clearly a card to check out when deciding which one will assist you in rebuilding or repairing credit.

Conclusion - The Aspen Credit Card is laden with ridiculously high fees and high APR. In fact, CompuCredit was actually charged by the FTC and agreed to a settlement because of deceptive marketing. If you are looking to rebuild your credit, we suggest that you consider other cards. A secured credit card is a low cost alternative to rebuilding your credit history. If you are looking for an unsecured credit card, the best card in the market at the moment is probably the Orchard Bank Credit Card, which have much lower fees and rates.

Note:- The Aspen Visa is currently not available due to the CompuCredit complaint filed by the FTC for deceptive credit card marketing practices. The FTC alleged that CompuCredit "violated the FTC Act by misrepresenting the amount of credit that would be available immediately to consumers, failing to disclose up-front fees, failing to disclose that certain purchases could reduce a consumer's credit limit, and misrepresenting a debt collection program as a credit card offer."