Orchard Bank Mastercard Review: Is This The Savior For SubPrime Folks?
Intro Purchase APR
7.99% to 24.99%
$0 - $59
Reasonable fees and APR (relative to the sub prime space)
Could get either a secured or unsecured card depending on credit assessment
Laden with some fees (though much lower than competition
Executive Summary - One of the biggest subprime issuers in the market before being taken over by HSBC. Orchard Banks' credit card portfolio has been sold to Capital One. As of now, Capital One is not aggressively marketing this card (and who nows, they may stop marketing it going forward) and we are no longer offering this card on this site. This review is being kept for record and research purposes. If you have bad credit, you might want to consider the Credit One Platinum Visa®
Summary - We highly recommend the Orchard Bank Classic MasterCards or the Orchard Bank Visa Cards (both have same features) to those who have no credit or poor credit and for those who are recovering from bankruptcy filing. Orchard Bank is now part of Capital One, one of the largest and most reputable bank. Unlike other sub-prime credit cards, Orchard Bank screens your credit, and approves you for a card that matches your credit history. If your credit is really poor, then you are likely to be approved for a secured credit card. Unlike other sub-prime credit cards, Orchard Bank has very reasonable fees unlike the obscene fees charged by other issuers.
Different Fees and Rates Depending on Your Credit - When you apply for the Orchard Bank Classic MasterCards, your credit will be checked and based on that, you may be approved for either a secured credit card or an unsecured credit card, with different terms and conditions which will be disclosed to you before your application is processed. Compared to other sub-prime credit cards, Orchard Bank has the most reasonable rates and fees.
Orchard Bank Platinum - The Platinum version is for those who have better credit than they think. If you are approved for this card, the annual fee will either be $39 or $59. The APR will range from 14.99% to 24.99%.
Gold Version - Just below the Platinum version is the gold version. For the gold version, the annual fee is $49 or $59 for the first year. After that, it will be $59. You might be charged a one time processing fee of $19. The APR is the same as the Platinum version and is between 14.99% and 24.99%.
Regular Version - If you are approved for the regular version, the annual fee will be either $0 or $29 for the first year. After that, it will be $59. There is a one time processing fee of $39 or $59. The APR is the same as both the gold and platinum version.
Orchard Bank Secured Card - If you credit is really bad, chances are that you will be approved for the secured credit card. The secured version comes with an annual fee of $35 which is waived for the first year. The APR is pretty competitive at 7.99%.
Below is a screen shot of their fees and the different cards you may be approved.
Credit Bureau Reporting - Another great feature about this card is that it reports to the three major credit bureaus and hence will help you to improve your credit score (if you pay on time and do not go over your credit limit).
Orchard Bank Credit Card Peer Comparison
When we compare the Orchard Bank Card with its peers, we have to compare it with both regular unsecured credit cards that target those with bad credit and also secured credit cards. That is because when you apply for the card, you can either be approved for the secured card or one of their unsecured version.
Orchard versus First Premier Bank - The closest competitor today in the unsecured space is First Premier Bank. The first premier bank card charges a $95 processing fee before you even get your card. After you get your card, you will be dinged with their $75 annual fee. The initial credit limit you will get is $300. Hence, after the annual fee charges, your initial credit limit will be $225 ($300 minus $75). From the second year onwards, you will also be charged a monthly fee of $6.25 ($75 a year) in addition to the $75 annual fee. The APR is 36% at present (used to be 49.9%!) Compared to the ridiculously fee of First Premier Bank, Orchard Bank seems like an angel.
Aside from First Premier, most other subprime cards that used to exist prior to the 2008 financial crisis no longer exist. Hence, we shall now move on to comparing Orchard's secured card with other subprime secured cards.
Orchard Secured vs First Progress - First Progress is issued by Synovus Bank. It has a $39 annual fee and a 14.99% APR. It is slightly higher than Orchard Bank. But it is still pretty reasonable and a card that we would not mind recommending.
Orchard vs First Premier Secured - Yes, First Premier also has a secured card. It has a $50 annual fee, but a 19.99% APR. Hence compared to Orchard, both annual fees and APR are higher.
Aside from these comparables, mainstream banks like Citi, US Bank, Wells Fargo and BOA all issue secured cards. Many of them have lower annual fees but higher APR than Orchard. But if you have bad credit or have emerged from bankruptcy, these mainstream banks will never approve you even though the card is "secured"!
Verdict - If you have no credit, bad credit or have just been discharged from bankruptcy, the Orchard Bank Classic MasterCards is the card that we recommend. Most credit cards targeted at those with poor credit have high fees and cost like annual fees, application and processing fees. The Orchard Bank Classic MasterCards has more reasonable fees than most other sub-prime credit cards. It is also issued by one of the largest and most reputable bank. This is very important because having credit from "mainstream banks" is very important in building or rebuilding your credit.
For those of you who want a Visa rather than a MasterCard, Orchard Bank also offers their Orchard Bank Visa Cards
Orchard Bank's Application Page - Below are some screen shots of the application page and what you should do when you click on the Orchard Bank links on this page. The first page is shown below. You have to click the apply button to proceed. Clicking on the continue button takes you to the page where you have to fill in your details.
There is also a button where you can click and get detailed comparisons on the different cards that may be offered to you.