Verve Credit Card Review - Be Very AWARE
 

Verve Credit Card

Picture of Item Reviewed
Editor's Rating: 3.0/5.0
If your credit is poor, you may have gotten mails and offer from this card. The name sure sounds swanky and so is the card design. But before you get too excited, it always pays to find out what the fees and rates are. Read on to find out what we think about this card.
Intro Purchase APR Regular APR Intro Balance Transfer Annual Fee Issuer
N.A. $125 (Y1)-->$95 Continental Finance

Alright, so Continental Finance, the folks that brought you the Matrix and Cerulean credit card have come out with a third card called the Verve (which is a rather swanky name if you asked me). And the design of the card is black with a hint o blue and purple on it. Like their other cards, this is a credit card for bad credit scores. Question is, how do the fees look like? And should you get this card even if your credit sucks? This review aims to explore this and will also compare it to it's peers. At the end of the review, we will also be suggesting some card strategies depending on what is on your report and how bad your credit really is.
 

Fees and Rates

When you get approved for this card, you will be charged an annual fee of $125 right off the bat. That means that your credit line will be deducted by this amount straight away. From the second year onwards, the annual fee is reduced to $96, which is lower than the first years' fee (why do they have to charge a higher first year fee? I do not know? I guess it is to get more upfront in case you cancel after a year).

I would not really mind it too much if all this card charged was any annual fee. But that is not the case. In addition to that, they also charge a monthly maintenance fee of $5, which works out to $60 a year.

The APR is an eye popping 29.9%. Ironically, it is not as high as First Premier (now at 36%!). The bottom is this: DO NOT CARRY ANY BALANCE.

If you need to get an additional card for say your spouse, you have to cough out an additional $30 a year. I suggest that if you do get this card, just get it for yourself.

When you get approved, your credit limit will most likely be $500. But since $125 is deducted for the first year annual fee, you will be left with $375.
 

You May Be Approved For a Secured Version

Depending on your credit profile, you may be approved for a secured credit card instead of an unsecured version. After looking through the terms and conditions, it appears that you will still have to pay for the same fees even if you are required to put down a security deposit. You will be notified of this in your approval letter

After 90 days, you will be be able to increase your deposit by up to $2,000. Once your have made three timely payments, your credit limit will be the full amount of the deposit. Bear in mind that this deposit could be on hold for up to 10 days. And payments will only be processed on business days. Your deposit cannot be withdrawn unless your card is closed and you have made all payments. They have up to 90 days to return the deposit to you either after you have returned the card or it has been officially closed by them.
 

Peer Comparison

Cards Annual Fee Monthly
Maintenance Fees
One-time
Processing Fee
APR
Verve 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%
Credit One $35 to $99 N.A. N.A. 17.9% to 23.9%
Milestone $35, $59 or
Y1 = $75, then $99
N.A. N.A. 23.9%
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%

The Verve is actually a card from Continental Finance and they are have two other very similar cards (the Matrix an Cerulean). In the market for annual fee sub prime cards, there are really three cards to compare them with.

The first is the First Premier Bank Card. Applicants who are approve for FP will be charged a one-time fee of $95. The annual fee for the first year is $75. From the second year onwards, the annual fee drops to $45 but in addition, you will have to pay a monthly processing fee of $6.25 or $75 a year. From the second year onwards, you are paying $110 in annual fee. The interest rate on FP is 36%, which is higher than Verve. FP also has a separate secured card which comes with a $35 annual fee.

The next card to compare with is the Milestone Gold MasterCard by Genesis. Unlike the Verve, Milestone only charges an annual fee. You could either get a card with a $35 or $59 annual fee. Or you could get one with a $75 annual fee for the first year (which increases to $99 for the second year). The APR is 23.9%, much lower than the 29.9% of Verve.

Another unsecured card to compare with is Credit One. Credit One only charges an annual fee (which ranges from $35 to $99). The APR is 23.9% (lower than the Verve). In addition, you can actually earn reward points for gas purchases and you also get free credit score monitoring.
 

Should You Get This Card? What Are The Alternatives?

After looking at the fees of the card versus it's peers, I would not recommend this card at all. The fees that you have pay every year is simply ridiculous. And if you do get approved for the secured card, you still have to pay fees that are equivalent to a sub prime unsecured card.

So if we are asking you to avoid this card, what should you be considering? Well, it really depends on your specific credit situation.

If you have just emerged from bankruptcy or if you have very recent unsettled charge offs and collections, unsecured sub prime cards (even high fee ones) is not a slam dunk. In fact, many folks have been declined because of this. A secured card like First Progress would be a great starting point.

If you have charge offs and collections that have been mostly settled, then you might have a shot at unsecured cards. It is worth giving the Credit One or the Milestone Gold MasterCard a shot. Both these cards will make you go through a pre-qualification process (with a soft pull) first. For best chances of approval, it is best that you score is above 550, you have a checking account (folks have been declined because of this) and also existing credit lines like secured cards and auto loans. If you have a history with the CHEX system, you should consider looking at second chance checking accounts before getting any card.

If you do not have any charge offs or collections, or they have been settled long ago, you should try getting no annual fee unsecured cards. It is worth checking out a couple of cards from Barclays like their Rewards MasterCard and NFL card. You should see what sort of scores and limits cardholders are getting for them (check them out here and here).