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Merit Platinum
REVIEW

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By : Mr Credit Card

What is the Merit Platinum Card and Who is it for?

The Merit Platinum Card is an online merchandise catalog card issued by Horizon Card Services that allows you to shop at their online store www.thehorizonoutlet.com. You will start off with an initial unsecured credit limit of $750 which can increase by to $3,000 over time. Merit Platinum does no credit checks and no employment checks so you will be instantly approved as long as you have a debit card and fill in the correct information on an easy online application form. You are also given a 7-day free trial so you could cancel the card within 7 days if you change your mind. Merit Platinum reports to one major credit bureau (Equifax) from the 10th to 15th of each month so rebuilders can use this card to rebuild their credit. As a pay-as-you-go card, you get 0% APR for your interest rate so you pay zero interest if you decide to carry a balance.

The Merit Platinum is great for those of you who have been denied time and again every rebuilder credit cad you have applied for (including secured credit cards). Because Merit Platinum does not perform any credit checks, you will be spared a hard inquiry. This is a good rebuilder card for those of you with really bad credit to tie you over until you can get a regular low fee credit card.



Card Can Be Used At Horizon Outlet

It is very important to know that the Merit Platinum Card is not a Visa or Mastercard and can only be used at their online store thehorizonoutlet.com. Horizon sells a variety of goods including electronics, apparel, beauty products, jewelry, kids and baby products and home products as well. Below is a screenshot of their online store.

horizon outlet


Buying and Paying with Merit Platinum

When you make a purchase from thehorizonoutlet.com, you can either pay in full or carry a balance. One of the nice things about carrying a balance is that the APR is 0% so you will not be paying any interest for any of your purchase. In this sense, the Merit Platinum Card is really a Buy Now Pay Later Store Card.

You do know however, have to pay a $3.50 charge for shipment verification. This has to be paid with a debit card before it will be shipped to you. The minimum payment is either 10% of the balance or $25. If you buy something that is $25 or less, you have to pay in full.


Card Details

Annual Fee $0
Regular Membership Plan $14.77/month
Starter Membership Plan $6/month
Regular APR 0%
Minimum Payment $25 or 10% of Balance
late Fee $20
Outlet Store Delivery Signature Verification $3.50
Outlet Store Residential Delivery $2.00
Credit Bureau Reporting Reports to One Credit Bureau


Annual Fee : $0

Monthly MembershipFee : $14.77

Interest Rate (Regular APR) : 0%

Minimum Payment : $25 or 10% of balance.

Late Fee : $20

Outlet Store Delivery Signature Verification: $3.50

Outlet Store Residential Delivery : $2.00

Membership Plan Benefits

As you can see from the details above, you have to pay $14.77 a month to join the Group One Platinum membership shopping portal. You get benefits like

  • Free roadside assistance - Benefit coverage begins following a 5-day waiting period from date of enrollment or reinstatement. You are allowed up to 3 service calls or towing requests up to 15 miles not to exceed the operator cost of $50.00. You have to pay for any additional mileage and associated towing costs at the time of service. In addition there is a limit to 1 service call per month.

  • My Universal RX - You can receive up to 40% discount on prescription drugs.
  • My Legal Assistance - Free 30 minute consultation with legal professional in your area (it does not include criminal defense).

  • Credit-Hawk Free Credit Report - You can get a free credit report (called Credit-Hawk) with this program (and you can access it any time).


Starter Membership Plan

When you get approved for the Merit Platinum, you are automatically enrolled in the regular Membership Plan (whose benefits I just described above). What most folks do not realize is that there is another "cheaper" Starter Membership Plan which is only $6 a month. The plan is nearly identical to the regular membership plan except that it does not have the Roadside Assistance as a benefit. But you get the rest (Universal RX, Legal Assistance etc).

You can call Merit Platinum to request that you downgrade to the starter plan. In fact, if you miss three payments for the regular plan, you will be automatically downgraded to the starter plan. I am not asking you to miss payments since this may impact your credit score. But you can call them up and asked to be downgraded to the cheaper plan.


Purchase Payments Explanations

When you use the Merit Platinum to buy products from www.thehorizonoutlet.com, you can choose to pay in full or over time. However, you have to pay the shipping and processing fee in full. A $3.50 charge will be added for shipment signature verification.

The minimum payment you have to make is the greater of either 10% of the balance when you first made the purchase or $25. The minimum payment does not decrease over time. If your purchase is $25 or less, then you have to pay in full.

You can set up auto-payments.


Comparables and Comparison With Other Cards

Card Details
Merit PlatinumMonthly Fee=$14.77
Upfront Fee=N.A.
APR=0%
No Credit Check
Reports to 1 Credit Bureau
Starting Limit=$750
Net First PlatinumMonthly Fee=$14.77
Upfront Fee=N.A.
APR=0%
No Credit Check
Reports to 1 Credit Bureau
Starting Limit=$750
Freedom Gold CardMonthly Fee=$14.77
Upfront Fee=N.A.
APR=0%
No Credit Check
Reports to 1 Credit Bureau
Starting Limit=$750
Principal Platinum CardMonthly Fee=$14.77
Upfront Fee=N.A.
APR=0%
No Credit Check
Reports to 1 Credit Bureau
Starting Limit=$750
Unique PlatinumMonthly Fee=$19.95
Upfront Fee=N.A.
APR=0%
No Credit Check
Reports to 1 Credit Bureau
Starting Limit=$1,000
Opensky Secured VisaMonthly Fee=$0
Upfront Fee=N.A.
APR=See Website*
No Credit Checks
Reports to 3 Major Bureaus
Starting Limit=$200-$2,000


We mentioned right at the beginning of the review that Merit Platinum is issued by Horizon Gold and since Horizon Gold has a few other cards, they are all similar with the same fees and rates. If you look at the comparison table above you can compare and see that the Merit Platinum has the same features and fees as the Net First Platinum and the Freedom Gold CardM (two other cards issued by Horizon Gold). Their closest competitors is Unique Card Services, who also has their line up of catalog cards. In the table above, we used Unique Platinum Card as an example. The main differences are the monthly fee and the fact that Unique Platinum gives a higher limit ($1,000 vs $750).

The Merit Platinum also competes with other online store cards like Fingerhut. Online store cards like Fingerhut do not charge any annual fee or membership fees. But, although it is very easy to get the Fingerhut credit account, your credit report will experience a hard pull during the application process whereas Merit Platinum does not perform any credit checks or employment checks.

What We Like About Merit Platinum - No Credit and Employment Checks, Reports to Equifax

  • 7-Day Free Trial - Merit Platinum will give you a free 7-day trial before charging you the monthly membership fee. You can cancel anytime before 7 days.

  • Unsecured $750 - $1,500 Credit Limit - While Merit Platinum says that you will get a $750 unsecured starting credit line, many folks have gotten credit lines anywhere between $750 and $1,500. This is a rather generous credit line for subprime credit cards. And need I remind you that large credit lines help in maintaining a low credit utilization ratio.

  • 0% APR On Purchases - Merit Platinum is a "buy now pay later online store" credit card and hence, your APR is 0%. That means that you do not accrue an interest charges even if you do not pay in full for your purchases immediately. However, as mentioned earlier, you will have to pay a minimum payment that is the greater of either 10% of the purchase price or $25. If you buy something that is $25 or less, then you have to pay in full.

  • No Credit, No Employment Check- Guaranteed Approval - When you apply for the Merit Platinum, you will not experience a hard pull on your credit report. That is because they do not check your credit report or employment. You will definitely be approved for the card as long as you have either a debit card or checking account to pay for your monthly membership fee.

  • Reports to Equifax - Merit Platinum reports to at least one credit bureau and at this moment, it is Equifax (according to cardholders). It used to be TransUnion though. But regardless, they do have a track record to reporting to at least one credit bureau as per their terms and conditions.

  • Can Downgrade $14.77/month Membership to $6/month Standard Membership - Though you will start out on their Membership Plan with the $14.77 fee, you can actually call Merit Platinum and ask to downgrade to their $6 a month basic membership plan (which excludes the Roadside Assistance Plan). This makes the monthly fee so much more reasonable for a rebuilder.


What We Do Not Like About Merit Platinum - Can Only Be Used at TheHorizonOutlet.com

  • Can Only Be Used At thehorizonoutlet.com - You can only use this card at Horizon's online store www.thehorizonoutlet.com. This is not a regular Visa or Mastercard so you cannot use this card anywhere else.

  • Membership Fee - As mentioned earlier, you do have to pay a $14.77 a month membership. However, you can call Merit Platinum and ask them to downgrade you to the "basic version" for just $6 a month.


Our Take: Merit Platinum Is For Those Who Have Been Denied Every Card

It sucks when you credit score is low and you keep gettign denied for credit cards that you apply for. You try to apply for unsecured credit card offers in your mail and get rejected. You try to apply for some secured credit cards and you also get rejected. So what do you do when you get rejected for everything and get hard pulls for nothing.

A catalog card like Merit can potentially offer someone a route back to his or her credit rebuilding efforts. They do not perform any credit checks or employment checks. So approval is almost guaranteed. Though there is no annual fee, there is a monthly fee though there are some benefits that comes with the membership fee. However, you can downgrade to the Starter Membership Level and pay only $6 a month rather than $24.95 a month. This makes having this card much more affordable from a rebuilding perspective. You also get a $500 starting credit line which is really decent when you have bad credit.

But the most important thing is that this card reports to at least one credit bureau and this will help to rebuild your credit or at least give it an initial boost. At the moment, they are reporting to Equifax though they have reported to TransUnion in the past. My advice for those thinking of getting this card is to use it for maybe a year and then try getting a secured credit card or an unsecured credit card.



Application Page

Here is a screenshot of the Merit Platinum application page.
merit platinum application

On the next page, you will have to fill in your name, address, phone number, monthly pay, how often you are paid, your next pay date, your credit score range and whether you receive direct deposit. Once you submit this information, you will get the offer and confirmation. You will be instantly approved (within 60 seconds) once you submit your online application.

merit platinum application merit platinum application merit platinum application


expand text FAQS


Customer Service Information

Mail

Horizon Card Services
P.O. Box 1275
Indiana, PA 15701

Customer Advocacy

1-800-837-4997
5 days a week from 8:30 a.m. until 9:00 p.m

Cancel Membership

1-800-251-6144
Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. EST, and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. EST (excluding holidays)
Or online at www.memberbenefitaccess.com.