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Cerulean Credit Card Review
REVIEW

Advertiser Disclosure
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The folks who brought you the Matrix Card (Continental Finance) has come up with a new card called the Cerulean. It is targeted to those of you who have bad credit. As you may be beginning to suspect now, there are quite a few fees that are attached to this card. Better read about it before you take any action. In this review, you will find out

  • How much fees you do actually have to pay
  • Why you may be asked to put up a deposit
  • Can you get a lower fee card even if your credit is shot to pieces

By : Mr Credit Card

Introduction

The issuers of the Matrix card have now introduced another card in their offerings, called Cerulean. Applicants could either be approved for an unsecured card or a secured version. Like the Matrix card, this offering is targeted at those with bad credit. But should you jump on this? Let's find out.
 

Card Details

Rates and Fees - When it comes to sub-prime credit cards for people with bad credit, the thing we have to look out for is the fees. For the first year, the annual fee is $75. And the APR is 29.9%. From the second year onwards, the annual fee is also $75 but in addition to that, there is a $144 monthly maintenance fee that is billed at $12 a month. Hence, the total fees for the second years onwards is $219. If you get an additional card (perhaps for your spouse), you will have to pay a $30 annual fee for that as well. To put this into perspective, this annual fee is more than the Amex Premier Rewards Gold Card!

The initial credit limit is $300. However, since you will be billed the $75 annual fee on your first billing statement, your real initial credit will be $225. It will only be $300 if you pay off their $75 fee in full.

You May Get a Secured Card - If you do not get approved for the unsecured version, you might get approved for a secured card. It might be a fully or partial secured card. Since the initial credit limit is $300, it means that you may have to cough up an additional $300 deposit.

Credit Line Increase - For the first twelve months, you will get no credit line increases. After that, you may be eligible for CLI in increments of $100. However, if you do get a $100 credit line increase, you will have to pay a $30 fee. Yes, you've read that right. You actually have to pay a fee just to get an increase.
 

Peer Comparison

Cards Annual Fee Monthly
Maintenance Fees
One-time
Processing Fee
APR
Cerulean Y1 = $125
Y2 Onwards = $96
Y1 = $0
Y2 Onwards
$10 monthly
$120 annually
N.A. 29.9%
Matrix Y1 = $125
Y2 Onwards = $96
Y1 = $0
Y2 Onwards
$10 monthly
$120 annually
N.A. 29.9%
Surge Y1 = $125
Y2 Onwards = $96
Y1 = $0
Y2 Onwards
$10 monthly
$120 annually
N.A. 29.9%
Verve Y1 = $125
Y2 Onwards = $96
Y1 = $0
Y2 Onwards
$10 monthly
$120 annually
N.A. 29.9%
First Access Y1 = $75
Y2 Onwards = $48
Y1 = $0
Y2 Onwards
$6.25 monthly
$75 annually
$89 29.9%
Total Visa Y1 = $75
Y2 Onwards = $48
Y1 = $0
Y2 Onwards
$6.25 monthly
$75 annually
$89 29.9%
First Premier Y1 = $75
Y2 Onwards = $45
Y1 = $0
Y2 Onwards
$6.25 monthly
$75 annually
$95 36%
Credit One $0 to $99 N.A. N.A. 15.90% to 24.40%


There are a few sub-prime cards today (though much few than before the 2008 financial crisis) that we should compare this card to.

The first is Continental's own Matrix card. It turns out that the Matrix card has the same identical rates and fees as this card. In fact, this card has nearly identical features and fees of most of other Continental Finances' cards like Reflex MasterCard, Surge MasterCard and Verve Credit Card. So what you would be getting is simply a different design.

Another card to compare with is the Total Visa that is marketed by Total Card Inc. It has a $75 annual fee during the first year. During the second year, the annual fee drops to $45, but they add an additional $6.25 monthly maintenance fees which works out to $75 a year. So the total fees are lower for the Total Card. The APR is identical at 29.9%. However, you have to pay an additional $89 fee just to "activate" the card.

The First Premier Bank is another well-known sub-prime card (more for it's outrageous rates!) to compare with. This card has been going through some changes and here is their updated fee structure. It turns out that if you get a higher credit limit, your fees go up more! Firstly, you have to pay a one time of $95 (they call it the activation fee). You can be given three credit limits - $300, $400 and $500. If your credit limit is $300, your first year annual fee is $75 and it drops to $48 from the second year onwards. But you have to pay a monthly maintenance fee of $6.25 (or $75 monthly). If your credit limit is $400, the first year annual fee is $100 and from the second year onwards, it drops to $45 again. But the monthly maintenance fees are higher ($8.30 a month or $99.60) a year. If your credit line is $500, the first year annual fee is $125 (which once again drops to $45 from the second year onwards). But the monthly maintenance fees are even higher ($10.40 a month or $124.80 a year). The interest rate is 36%! So compared with the First Premier Card, the interest rates are higher though the fees are still lower!

Our next two comparisons (fortunately) bring some relief in terms of fees. One of the more popular unsecured cards today is the Credit One Bank. It does not charge any activation or monthly maintenance fees. Instead, an annual fee is charged (ranges from $35 to $99). The APR is also much more reasonable (between 17.9% and 23.9%). Furthermore, you earn reward points for using your cards at gas stations.
 

Pros and Cons

Pros
  • Accepts applicants with bad credit
  • May get credit line increases

Cons
  • Very High Fees - including annual fees and monthly fees
  • Low Limit
  • High APR

Our take: Should You Get The Cerulean Card?

After looking at what other sub-prime issuers are offering, I am afraid that I have to give this card a thumbs down. The main reason is really the fees. I do understand that if you have bad credit and really want an unsecured card, you might be willing to cough out the fees. But having to pay over $200 in fees annually is really excessive. With a card like the Credit One Bank credit card, you would end up paying less than half (or even less) in annual fees than the Cerulean with lower rates and gas rewards. There are also other lower fee cards like Milestone credit card and Indigo MasterCard that have lower fees and rates as well.

If you have bad credit (whether you have emerged from bankruptcy or even have a few charge offs and collections in your report), your first course of action in the recovery process is to get a secured card like the OpenSky Credit Card that performs no credit check. You should also get a store card like Fingerhut, who according to many consumer reviews, approves folks even with a recent bankruptcy and with scores in the 400s. Once you have a couple of those under your belt and have at least 6 months of reporting history, then this is the time to consider moving up to the world of unsecured credit cards again. When you make your choice, fees are a big factor. We would suggest a card like the Credit One Bank Visa because of the relatively lower fees and report. In addition to that, you might want to consider joining a buying club that provides you with credit (and make sure they report to the bureaus) as they usually have to fees to join. Something like fingerhut might be worth checking out.

If your credit is already in the mid 600s and you have very few inquiries in the last 6 months, you might want to check out a couple of cards from Barclays like their Rewards MasterCard or the NFL card.



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