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Horizon Gold Credit Card
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Horizon Gold Credit Card
REVIEW

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This is essentially a paid membership shopping card which extends a credit line. Key features include:
  • Reports to one major credit bureau - TransUnion
  • Requires membership fees
  • 0% APR financing
  • No credit checks

By : Mr Credit Card

What is this card about?

Horizon Gold is a catalog online store that extends a credit line to their members. Their website is www.thehorizonoutlet.com (see screen shot below). On their website, they claim to report to "a major credit bureau". And if you have bad credit and are a rebuilder, you might have gotten mails from them. On that mail, you will find highlights of the offer like 0% APR, no credit checks or employment checks. The offer is just a credit line to shop at their online store and is not a Visa or MasterCard. And while there is no credit check and the APR is indeed 0%, there are some fine prints that you are probably not aware of. We will be looking these in detail below.

picture of the horizon outlet online store

Card Details

APR : 0% - Yes, when you purchase any products from Horizon's online store and decide to carry a balance, you will not be charged any interest.

Minimum Payment : If you carry a balance, your minimum monthly payment will be the higher of 10% of outstanding balance or $25.

Monthly Membership Fee - The catch to the 0% APR is that to get a credit account, you will have to be a participating member. And this cost $24.95 a month. Once you are approved for the card, you will be automatically enrolled in a "monthly membership benefit plan". This includes a $500 Unsecured card, access to My Privacy Protection, My Universal RX, My Roadside Protect and My Legal Assistance benefits. The $19.95 benefits plan membership fee will be auto-debited monthly and will show on your bank statement as Horizon Card Services.

Late Fee $20

Credit Bureau Reporting : On their main application page, it says they will report "one major credit bureau". If you read enough forums or research the web, it appears that that credit bureau is TransUnion.

Initial Credit Lines : $500

No Credit Checks : Applying for this card or account will not result in any credit checks.  

Peer Comparison

Card Fees Upfront Fee APR Credit Checks Credit reporting Credit Lines
Horizon Gold $24.95/m N.A. 0% No Credit Checks 1 Major Bureau
(TransUnion)
$500
Fingerhut N.A N.A 24.90% Yes 3 Credit Bureaus Depends
On Credit
Gettington N.A. N.A. Easy Option:
19.90%
Fast Option:
14.90%
Yes 3 Credit Bureaus Depends
On Credit
Net First Platinum $24.95/m N.A. 0% No Credit Checks 1 Major Bureau
(TransUnion)
$500
Freedom Gold $24.95/m N.A. 0% No Credit Checks 1 Major Bureau
(TransUnion)
$500
Group One Freedom $24.95/m N.A. 0% No Credit Checks 1 Major Bureau
(TransUnion)
$500
Vast Platinum $19.95/m $29.95 0% No Credit Checks N.A. $1,000
Unique Platinum $19.95/m $29.95 0% No Credit Checks N.A. $1,000
Next Millennium $19.95/m $29.95 0% No Credit Checks N.A. $1,000


The table above highlights some key features of cards in this space. However, before we compare them, it is worth nothing that a couple of the cards there are also from Horizon Gold even though they are not branded under the same name. They are the Net First Platinum and the Freedom Gold Card. Both the Vast Platinum and Next Millennium Card are by the same company Unique Card Services and both Fingerhut and Gettington are from the same company Bluestem Brands. The cards from the same company tend to have almost identical features so most of our comparisons will be between the three companies.

Now, I did say that the cards from the same company tend to have the same features. But good old Horizon Gold has slightly different fees from their own other brands. The first difference is the monthly fee. Horizon Gold has the highest monthly fee at $24.95. This is higher than their own other brands Freedom Gold and Net First Platinum (both at $19.95) and also Vast Platinum and Next Millennium (also $19.95). Both Fingerhut and Gettington does not require any membership fees at all.

In terms of credit reporting, Horizon Gold (in their application page) says they report to one major credit bureau. Feedback from consumers is that it is TransUnion. The Freedom Gold and Net First Platinum are also the same. It is not clear to me if Vast Platinum or Next Millennium actually reports to any bureau. Both Fingerhut and Gettington report to all three credit bureaus.

In terms of credit checks, all cards with the exception of Fingerhut and Gettington do not perform any credit checks. So barring any mistakes on your application form, you should be able to get most of these cards. Even though Finger and Gettington check your credit, folks with bad credit have successfully been approved for their cards.
 

Verdict and Opinion


Before we even get to discussing whether Horizon Gold is good or not, it is worth revisiting the strategies to rebuild your credit when it has been damaged. If you have bad credit and still have baddies in your credit report, then the first thing I would do is to get a secured card. Cards we would recommend include the First Progress secured card as it is very reasonable and has good customer service. After about six months, a card like Credit One should be next on your list. Then I would consider adding a couple of other credit lines like Fingerhut or Gettington as these two come with no annual fee. If possible, add a personal line of credit into your credit mix. With a combination of these cards, you will get more credit lines and yet minimize fees as you rebuild.

Though this is a general plan, sometimes, things to not go according to the script. For example, you may have been declined for numerous secured credit cards. Or you really have a hard time getting approved for even sub-prime high fee unsecured cards. If this describes you and you really do not want any hard pulls done on your credit report, then perhaps Horizon Gold might be a short term alternative. There are membership fees you have to pay that are not trivial and it is best to quickly build some history and move on to a lower cost card.  

Application Forms

Below are screen shots of the application page (just so you can see what's going on). One of the things you have to be aware of when you apply is that they will try to upsell you a Netspend Prepaid Card. Just do not tick the check box. You will also have to agree to their privacy policy but at the same time agree to let them send you daily emails!

horizon gold application page horizon gold application second page horizon gold application second page


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