If your credit isn’t in the best shape, you may have received some mail from Credit One (not to be confused with Capital One, a totally different card issuer).
Credit One issues subprime credit cards designed for people with bad credit. But unlike most other credit card companies, Credit One offers a confusing selection of cards with varying terms, making it tough to figure out exact card details.
You won’t know crucial terms — like annual fees, interest rates, and the presence of a grace period — until you go through the prequalification process. Even then, it’s easy to get mixed up about which card you’re actually applying for.
Credit One’s payment processing is notoriously slow, with many complaints about unfair late fees. More than a few cardholders have reported sending in payments on time, only to find them posted after the due date. Not good for a company that purports to want to help you rebuild your credit.
There are a host of other problems too, like unhelpful customer support and unusual fees (e.g., credit limit increase fees). You can use Credit One cards to build up your credit and improve your credit scores, but we suggest a thorough examination of the alternatives before going down that road.
It might be easy to mix up Credit One with Capital One — but they’re on opposite ends of the credit card spectrum, when it comes to quality and customer satisfaction. Capital One has many great credit cards, some for building credit and others for cash back or travel rewards.
Although there’s plenty to bash Credit One for, the issuer is sometimes unfairly maligned as a sneaky impersonator because its swoosh-like logo is very similar to Capital One’s swoosh-like logo (and their names are similar, too). But Credit One actually had this logo (2006) before Capital One (2008).
What Are the Best Credit One Credit Cards?
As we said, there are a confusing variety of Credit One credit cards, all similar and meant to help build your credit. But one stands out: the Credit One Bank® Platinum Rewards Visa. With 5% cash back on gas, groceries, mobile phone services, and Internet, it’s the most rewarding Credit One option.
But with a fairly low spending limit at that rate ($5,000/year, and after that you earn 1%) and an annual fee of $95, it’s not particularly valuable compared to many other reward credit cards.
Most of the other Credit One credit cards offer 1% cash back on those purchases. and come with a range of annual fees. Some are secured, which means they require a security deposit to fund the credit limit. If your credit is on the worse end, you may only prequalify for a secured card.
Here’s a smattering of card offers, but, as mentioned, you can’t apply for a specific card; you have to go through the prequalification process to see which card you can get.
|Credit One Bank® Platinum Rewards Visa||$95||
|Credit One Bank® Unsecured Visa® with Cash Back Rewards||$0 - $99||
|Credit One Bank® Platinum Visa® for Rebuilding Credit||$75 first year, then $99 annually||
|Credit One Bank® NASCAR® Credit Card||$39-$99||
Credit One Credit Card Features
- Cash back rewards: Several Credit One cards feature a cash back rewards program of some kind. The cash back you earn will be automatically redeemed each month in the form of a statement credit, which will reduce your account balance (be aware that statement credits don’t count as credit card payments).
- Credit One More Cash Back Rewards: With some cards, the More Cash Back Rewards program will provide up to 10% cash back at participating merchants.
- Free credit score: As a card member you can check one of your credit scores at no cost, based on your Experian credit report. This may be a VantageScore, or it may be the same FICO Score mentioned in the next item.
- Experian IdentityWorks subscription: Credit One provides you with Experian IdentityWorks for free (enrollment required). IdentityWorks includes daily access to your Experian credit report, a FICO Credit Score based on that report, credit monitoring, a variety of alerts, and up to $500,000 in identity theft insurance. As of 11/2020, it would normally cost $120 per year.
- Amex Offers: Amex-branded Credit One cards can access the Amex Offers shopping portal, which provides extra cash back at a changing selection of retailers.
- Zero Fraud Liability: Credit One cards come with the same solid fraud protections that most credit cards share. Contact the issuer ASAP if you notice unauthorized card activity.
- Optional Credit Protection program: The Credit Protection debt cancellation program currently costs $0.96 per $100, and covers up to six benefit payments in the event of involuntary employment or disability. The full balance of the card is canceled if you die, up to $10,000. We recommend skipping this “benefit” and paying your bill on time and in full each month.
- Credit One Bank mobile app: Access your account from your phone with Credit One’s mobile app; available for Android and iPhone.
How Do I Log In To My Credit One Account?
You can log in to your Credit One account on the Credit One Bank homepage. You can also set up your online account, if you haven’t yet, or check your application status if you’re still at that stage.
Or, if you have the Credit One app, you can easily log in via smartphone. You can set up fingerprint verification to access your account, or Face ID (iPhone only).
Once logged in, you can check your credit card features, see your balance, and make payments.
How Can I Make a Credit One Payment?
- Online: On the Credit One Bank homepage or the mobile app:
- Standard Payment: No fee; must use a connected bank account; your available credit may take seven days to increase
- Express Payment: $9.95 fee; can use a debit/ATM card or bank account; available credit may increase by the next day (more terms here)
- By phone: At 1-877-825-3242
- By mail: At the address below; by check, money order, or cash (Credit One advises against using cash, but they don’t say they won’t take it)
Not sure how to pay your bill? Learn all about how paying a credit card works.
Credit One Payment Mailing Address
Credit One Bank
P.O. Box 60500
City of Industry, CA 91716-0500
How Do I Activate My Credit One Card?
You should call Credit One at the activation number printed on the sticker on your credit card to activate your card. You can’t activate your new card online.
If you lost the sticker (or your card), you can call the lost or stolen card number at 1-877-825-3242.
You won’t be able to use your card until it’s activated. If you don’t activate the card within 14 days of receiving it, your account may be closed (but not necessarily). This is in contrast to some other cards, where if you don’t activate your account can remain open. If your account remains open, with this or other issuers, you may be responsible for fees, like annual fees.
How Do I Contact Credit One Customer Service?
The quickest and most direct way to contact Credit One is by phone: 1-877-825-3242. This is an automated line, but if you enter your card information or stay on the line you should be able to speak to a live person.
If you’re outside the U.S., dial 1-702-405-2042.
There are a few other phone numbers for specific purposes (some have limited hours):
- Application information: 1-800-752-5493
- Lost or stolen cards: 1-877-825-3242
- Credit Protection: 1-877-825-3242
- Collections: 1-888-729-6274
- Website-related inquiries: 1-800-797-4299
Or, if you have to send Credit One some mail (we’re sorry for you):
|Payments||Credit One Bank
P.O. Box 60500
City of Industry, CA 91716-0500
Errors or Questions About Your Bill
Credit Protection Written Correspondence
|Credit One Bank
P.O. Box 98873
Las Vegas, NV 89193-8873
Problems With Credit One
Credit card companies don’t usually get a lot of love, as a rule, but some are better than others. Each year, J.D. Power ranks credit card issuers based on customer satisfaction. Guess where Credit One typically lands?
In 2020, and in every other year it was included, Credit One came in dead last. And by quite a distance, too. It wasn’t even close.
Credit One isn’t doing too well on the Better Business Bureau either, as you might imagine. As of November 2020 it has a customer rating of 1.12/5, and is the subject of thousands of complaints, although it still has an A- rating by the BBB. On Consumer Affairs, Credit One has one out of five stars.
All this probably has something to do with how Credit One caters to subprime customers, who have more credit problems in general. But the many complaints about confusing terms, slow payment processing, and poor customer support indicate serious problems with the issuer itself, and not its clientele.
Wondering about Credit One’s high interest rates? They are indeed high, but they’re not really any different from other cards designed for bad credit, so there’s nothing to complain about there. They’re in the normal range for cards like this.
Pick a Card, Any Card
Credit One offers a bewildering array of similar cards with similar names. To add to the confusion, each one may be available with various annual fees and interest rates.
But you won’t have to pick, because you can’t apply for specific credit card offers. Instead, you need to go through a prequalification process, and then Credit One will tell you which card you’re eligible to apply for.
This lack of transparency makes it hard to weigh your options, and it leads to many people thinking they’re applying for a certain card with certain terms, only to find an unpleasant surprise later on (like an unexpected annual fee).
Prequalification doesn’t hurt your credit, and it only requires a soft inquiry on your credit reports. Prequalification doesn’t guarantee approval, either. It basically means you’re quite likely to be approved, but not necessarily.
Credit One says they require this prequalification step to help protect their customers, because people will only end up applying for cards when they have a good shot at qualifying. When you apply for a credit card it usually results in a hard inquiry on your credit reports, which can bring your scores down a bit, so you want to avoid applying for cards and getting denied. You want to make the application worth the inquiry.
So, prequalification isn’t a bad thing. It’s actually helpful, letting you target your card applications more effectively, and we recommend using it for that purpose and also to find better signup bonus offers. But it’s an extra hoop you’ll have to jump through here, which most issuers don’t require.
You can browse a selection of cards on Credit One’s site, and you’ll get some idea of what you could get; but since you can’t apply for specific card offers, and it’s hard to make sense of all the different terms, it’s tough to compare cards from this and other issuers. But, once you go through the prequal process and see the card you’re eligible for, you can make those comparisons, so it’s not too bad overall.
The overwhelming assortment of card variations, and the inability to see what you can apply for until you prequalify, lead to several of the next problems.
Annual Fee Mystery
How much are you willing to pay for a credit card? If you have poor credit and few options, you may have to pay an annual fee for a basic no-frills card, simply for the opportunity to improve your credit scores. This isn’t too unreasonable, and it probably won’t break the bank (although you can find plenty of cards for building credit with no annual fees).
But you should be able to easily see what you’re getting for your money. Not so with Credit One, where the annual fees typically range from $0 to $99, and you won’t know what you’ll be charged until you prequalify. And given all of Credit One’s different card offers, you may very well apply for a card and not realize it has an annual fee. One more confusing piece of the puzzle.
The annual fee will be deducted from your starting credit limit, so if you apply for a card with an annual fee by accident, you’ll wind up with less initial spending power than you thought. You’ll need to make a payment to free it up, which could take quite a while.
Some people report that their new card took a long time to arrive, leaving them with one or more months of bills before they could even make a purchase.
Maybe No Grace Period
A grace period is an important (but arcane) credit card feature.
It’s the period of time between your statement period close date and your billing due date; during this period your purchases won’t be charged interest.
Grace periods are great because they allow you to completely avoid interest on your purchases, as long as you pay your statement balance in full each month. (There’s more to grace periods, but that’s the basic idea.)
You don’t hear about grace periods very much, probably because they’re standard for just about every credit card. So you don’t have to worry about it.
But with Credit One, you should worry — because you might not get one. Whether you get a grace period or not will depend on how Credit One evaluates your creditworthiness. You’ll probably be given this information after you prequalify.
With no grace period, your purchases will start accruing interest right from the posting date, giving you no chance to avoid those charges. This will make everything you buy more expensive!
This is more than a bit ridiculous, especially because there are plenty of credit cards for bad credit out there that will always come with grace periods. If you prequalify and find that you wouldn’t be given a grace period, we recommend not applying.
But you shouldn’t have to be on guard for this. How many people know what a grace period is anyway, and would be on the lookout for it? A lot of cardholders probably wind up without a grace period, and with no idea why they’re being charged interest.
The annual fee thing above is annoying, but not too bad; missing out on a grace period, however, is seriously not cool.
Slow Payment Processing, Available Credit Is Slow To Update
Here’s another one that’s seriously not cool.
Credit One’s payment processing is slow. Not only is it slow according to hundreds, maybe thousands, of customer reports, it’s slow according to Credit One itself.
As mentioned above, with the Standard Payment option it can take up to seven days for your available credit to update! That’s a long time if you’ve been saving up to make a credit card payment and now you’re waiting to use your card, but the credit line is still used up because the payment hasn’t processed.
An Express Payment can update your available credit as soon as the next day — but only if you make it by 2 p.m. PT, and only from a debit or ATM card, and only from Sunday to Friday. Otherwise it could take up to two days.
Oh yeah, and Express Payments cost $9.95 each! That’s not a rip-off or anything. And there’s more: If you make an Express Payment from a bank account, your available credit will update the next day — but only for the first $100 of your payment. The remainder of your payment could take up to seven days to be reflected in your available credit.
Sounds like a sweet deal. Make the Standard Payment take a long time, and then charge for Express Payments. Nice.
It’s not over: As if that weren’t long enough, here’s a line from Credit One’s card terms: “We may delay increasing your available credit by the amount of any payment that we receive for up to 12 calendar days.”
So, if they want, your available credit may take up to 19 days to update after sending in a payment (7 days for a Standard Payment, 12 days for Credit One being obnoxious). That’s over half a month. Hope you didn’t plan on using your card anytime soon.
Here’s another issue that compounds the slow processing problem: You’ll probably get a fairly low credit limit with your Credit One card. Low credit limits are par for the course when it comes to cards for bad credit, but in this case it just makes everything worse.
If your credit line is only $300, for example, you won’t have very much spending power. Even if you make payments throughout the month to lower your balance, if your payments always take a long time to process, having a low credit limit makes it easier to get stuck with a maxed-out card all too often.
Slow Payment Processing? A Little Too Slow
When everything goes right, payments can take a long time to process. But a lot of cardholders report that things don’t always go right.
Many people have said that their payments, which were made on time, didn’t post to their accounts until after the due date — even though Credit One says those payments should be back-dated to when they were initially made. Most other credit card issuers don’t have this problem.
Some customers report trying to make online payments only to find the website down, forcing them to pay extra for a phone payment. Another nice tactic.
These delays in payment processing can lead to serious problems, namely…
Paying on time, but still want late fees? Credit One can deliver.
As mentioned, you might make a payment several days before your due date, assuming you’re in the clear. But since payments can take so long to process, your efforts to be a prompt and responsible lendee may not just go unnoticed — they may actually be punished.
The payment might process and post after your due date, leading to a late fee even though you sent the money in time. This can be costly, as late fees typically run about $40.
Delinquent accounts can’t be reported to the credit bureaus until they’re 30 days late, so a delay of a few days probably won’t hurt your credit scores. But with Credit One’s slow payment processing, along with whatever other problems might crop up, you run the risk of having seriously delinquent accounts that could wind up on your credit reports.
Annual fees, balance transfer fees, cash advance fees, and foreign transaction fees are all common. You’ll find these on Credit One cards, and many other cards.
But Credit One includes a few extra barbs to snag more digits from your bank account, which most major issuers don’t have. You’ll find fees like:
- Credit limit increase fee: May be assessed for processing a credit line increase request (you can opt out before accepting the increase and fee)
- Express Payment fee: A $9.95 fee for a speedier payment, which could still take a while, as explained above
- Replacement card fee: You might be charged up to $25 if you lose your card and need a replacement (this is usually free with other issuers).
- Duplicate statement fee: Unless you’re asserting a billing error, it’ll cost up to $10 to get a duplicate copy of your monthly statement (check it online instead).
- Sales slip request fee: You probably won’t need to do this much, if ever, but if you need a copy of a sales slip it’ll cost $6 (no charge if you’re trying to resolve a dispute about your account).
Credit One Customer Support (Or Lack Thereof)
All of the above problems are exacerbated by Credit One’s poor customer support. Dealing with credit card customer service can be a headache on a good day, but again, some issuers are better than others.
Credit One’s customer support is plagued by reports of various kinds, including but not limited to:
- Unskilled customer support agents, with some reports of rudeness, who don’t always follow through when resolving problems
- Difficulty reaching an actual human customer support agent, rather than a robot
- Billing disputes, like problems dealing with unauthorized charges or unwarranted late fees
- Problems setting up autopay, leading to issues sending payments
- Trouble closing accounts, with lingering fees that result in accounts being labeled delinquent instead of closed
Rewards aren’t as important as the problems above, but again, you spin the wheel to see what you’ll get. Credit One outlines six different reward programs you may qualify for.
|Credit One Bank Credit Card||Rewards Program|
|Credit One Bank® Platinum Visa® for Rebuilding Credit||1.0% Cash Back Rewards on eligible Gas, Groceries, Mobile Phone Service, Internet Service, and Cable & Satellite TV Services purchases|
|Platinum Visa||1.0% Cash Back Rewards on eligible Gas, Groceries, Mobile Phone Service, Internet Service, and Cable & Satellite TV Services purchases|
|Platinum Rewards Visa with No Annual Fee||2.0% Cash Back Rewards on eligible Gas, Groceries, Mobile Phone Service, Internet Service, and Cable & Satellite TV Services purchases|
|Credit One Bank® Platinum Rewards Visa||
|Credit One Bank® NASCAR® Credit Card||
|Vegas Golden Knights Credit Card||1.0% Cash Back Rewards on eligible Gas, Groceries, Mobile Phone Service, Internet Service, and Cable & Satellite TV Services purchases|
|Credit One Bank American Express Card||1.0% Cash Back Rewards on all purchases|
Alternatives to Credit One Credit Cards
There are a lot of good alternatives to Credit One credit cards. If you’ve got poor credit and are looking to rebuild, or you’re establishing a credit history from scratch, start with these cards:
- The Best Credit Cards for Bad Credit
- The Best Secured Credit Cards
- The Best Credit Cards for Rebuilding Credit
And here are some of our favorites cards for rebuilding credit:
Brendan has been writing about personal finance for over eight years, and is now taking on the challenge of bringing high-quality credit education to the masses. He makes sure that Credit Card Insider is covering the most important credit topics transparently and precisely, and that we have up-to-date reviews of credit cards so you can find cards that are right for you.
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