Principal Platinum Card
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By : Mr Credit Card

What is the Horizon Gold Card and Who is it for?

The Principal Platinum Card is a merchandise store card that will extend an initial credit line of $750 that you can use to make purchase from their online store thehorizonoutlet.com. It is an online store card or catalog card and has a buy now pay later concept and hence the purchase APR is 0% should you decide to carry a balance. It comes with a monthly fee in return for certain benefits (which we shall highlight below)

The Principal Platinum also reports to one credit bureau (which is Equifax at the moment) and rebuilders can actually start the rebuilding process with this card. While there are many choices for rebuilders, the Principal Platinum will appeal to people
  • Who have been denied many credit cards and cannot afford another hard inquiry and cannot afford to put down a security for a secured credit card
  • Or simply wants need to increase their overall credit limit to improve their credit utilization ratio

The reason it is appealing is because there is no credit checks (hence no hard inquiry) and you will be approved as long as you have a debit card. Though they only start you off with a $750 initial credit limit (which is actually good for a bad credit card), they have been known to increase limits quickly and folks have reported increases to $1,800, $2,000 and even $3000. Though you have to pay a monthly fee of $24.95, you can actually downgrade to a basic membership for $6/month. To put this in context, $6/month for a $3,000 credit line is very worth it. Let's explore this card in greater detail.


TheHorizonOutlet.com

The Principal Platinum Card only can be used at thehorizonoutlet.com. The online store sells products like electronics, household goods etc. Below are a couple of screenshots of their store.

horizon outlet


Card Details

Here the key details and fees of this card.

Annual Fee $0
Regular Membership Plan $24.95/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


APR: 0% - You do not pay an interest if you carry a balance after you buy a product.

Annual Fee: $0.

Initial Credit Limits $500

Credit Bureau Reporting: Reports to One Credit Bureau - At this moment, it is Equifax

Membership Fees: $24.95 a month. You will get benefits like Road Assistance, Legal Assistance (more on that later).

NSF Check Fee: $25

Outlet Store Delivery Signature Verification: $3.50

Outlet Store Residential Delivery: $2.00


Regular Membership Plan and Benefits

When you get approved for the Horizon Gold Card, you are automatically enrolled as a member of the Horizon Card Services. You will get the following benefits:

  • Roadside Assistance - Under this program, you are allowed up to 1 service per month. The tow distance has to be within 15 miles and the cost must not exceed $50 (you have to pay any amount above that). You are allowed up to 3 service calls within a 12 month period.

  • Universal RX - You can get unlimited local participating pharmacy access and receive up to 40% off of covered prescription medications.

  • My Privacy Protection - It is a program that allows you to continuously access your credit report

  • My Legal Assistance - You get Toll free and Internet access to Legal resources. Your plan entitles you to one free 30-minute consultation with a legal professional in your area specializing in your area of law interest. Criminal cases are not covered.


Starter Membership Plan

This part is a little bit confusing so bear with me. When you apply for the Principal Platinum Card, you will automatically be enrolled in their Membership Program ($24.95/month), which gets you the benefits above that we just mentioned (Roadside Assistance, Universal RX, My Privacy Protection, My Legal Assistance).

In their terms and conditions, it states that there is a monthly fee of $6/month that is "waived" as long as you are "a member of the Horizon Card Services". What this means is that as long as you pay your $24.95 a month membership fee, the $6/month fee is waived.

What is actually interesting is that you can "downgrade" from the "membership level" to a "basic starter membership plan" and just pay $6/month monthly fee. You will get all the benefits of the regular Membership Plan except for the Roadside Assistance.

Their terms and conditions also states that if you fail to make three consecutive payments on your regular membership fees, you will be automatically downgraded to the "basic starter plan". I would suggest that if you are not concerned about having Roadside Assistance as a benefit, you should call customer service to downgrade to the start plan as it cost much less. Rebuilders should definitely that this route.


Purchase Payments Explanations

When you use the Principal Platinum Card 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.


Cards Like Principal Platinum Card

Card Monthly Fees Annual Fee Fee Credit Reporting Credit Lines
Principal Platinum$24.95 or $6$01 Credit Bureau$750
Net First Platinum$24.95 or $6$01 Credit Bureau$500
Innovation Platinum$24.95 or $6$01 Credit Bureau$500
Boost Platinum$24.95 or $6$01 Credit Bureau$500
Pulse Platinum$19.95$0No$1,000
Unique Platinum$19.95$0No$1,000


The Principal Platinum is issued by Horizon Card Services, which also has a few similar store cards. Examples include the Boost Platinum and Net First Platinum. Though they are very similar, Principal Platinum has one advantage over other Horizon Card Services other cards in that it has a higher starting limit of $750 vs $500 for their other cards.

Their main competitor is Unique Card Services, who have their own online store and issues cards that are similar to Horizon Card Services. An example is Unique Platinum. As you can see in the table above, it has a lower monthly fee of $19.95. But they not have a starter membership plan which you can downgrade to. However, their starting limit is slightly higher at $1,000 vs $750 for the Principal Platinum Card.


Pros and Cons

Pros

  • 0% APR On Purchases - You will not be charged any interest rate on your purchases. 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. But you will not accrue interest over time so that is a good thing compared to making a purchase on a credit card and carrying a balance.

  • Unsecured $750 Starting Credit Limit - When you are approved for the card, you will be given at least $750 credit line that is unsecured. $750 is at the upper end of the range for starting credit lines when you are comparing bad credit cards

  • Record of Credit Limit Increases - Horizon Card Services has a track record of credit line increases. Consumers have reported credit limit increases as fast as three months. Credit limit increases to $1,800 or $2,000 and even $3,000 are not unheard of.

  • No Credit Checks - Principal Platinum, does not check your credit report or your income so you will not experience a hard pull. You do need a debit card or a checking account to pay your membership fees. As long as you have a debit card, you will be approved.

  • Reports to Equifax - On their terms and conditions page, Horizon Gold says they report to at least one credit bureau. In the past, cardholders have reported that they report to TransUnion. Recently, it appears that they are now reporting to Equifax.

  • Can Downgrade $24.95/month Membership to $6/month Starter Membership - When you get this card, you will be charged a monthly fee of $24.95. What most people do not realize is that you can downgrade from regular membership to the starter membership plan, which is $6/month rather $24.95/month for regular membership plan. The basic plan is essentially the same as the Regular Membership Plan except that it has no Roadside Assistance Plan. It turns out you can also call them to switch to the starter plan. This makes carrying the card much cheaper.

Cons

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

  • Membership Fee - As we have mentioned earlier, you do have to pay a $24.95 a month membership. Although having said that, you could call customer service and ask them to downgrade you to the "basic starter version" for just $6 a month.


Our Take

Most rebuilders will start off with either a secured credit card or an unsecured credit card. Many of you will be successful in getting approved for a couple of cards. However, there are some of you will really bad scores that have been denied for every card you applied for and you do not have or do not want to put down a security deposit for a secured card. If this describes you, then the Principal Platinum Card might be the card to jumpstart your rebuilding effort.

As we have mentioned earlier, there is no credit checks so you will get approved as long as you have a debit card. I would pay the regular membership fee for a couple of months and then call customer service to downgrade to the starter basic membership for only $6/month. If you keep the card even without using it, there is a good chance that you will get a credit increase.

This is not a card you want to hold on to forever. Once you have built up a good enough score to get a couple of unsecured credit cards, you can then cancel this card for it has served it's purpose.

Pro Tip

Like we mentioned before, when you get approved for the card, you will automatically be enrolled in their $24.95 a month membership plan. After a couple of months, you can actually call Horizon to downgrade to the basic starter plan and just pay $6 a month in fees. This is much cheaper and most of you should consider this.


How To Apply?

Here is a screenshot of the Principal Platinum Card application page. You have to fill in your email address and your zip code. It will then take you to the next application page.
principal platinum application principal 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.

principal platinum application page 2 principal platinum page 2 application principal platinum application page 2


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