Review of the Fingerhut Advantage Credit Account
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The Fingerhut Advantage Credit Account is designed for people who shop at Fingerhut, but it’s also a decent option for anyone who has had trouble qualifying for credit cards. If you’ve been repeatedly denied for other cards made for bad or no credit, you may have better luck here.
Fingerhut is an online/catalog retailer, founded in 1948. Unlike most retailers it provides credit accounts for customers, and these are popular among people trying to build up their credit — whether they’re interested in shopping from Fingerhut or not.
The Advantage Credit Account is known for having relatively high acceptance rates, but Fingerhut is also known for having relatively high prices for merchandise. You may be glad to pay this price for the opportunity to improve your credit, however, especially if you’ve been turned down by other cards.
There’s no annual fee to pay, and no membership fee for Fingerhut either.
The Fingerhut Advantage Credit Account is a simple card, and its main purpose is to help people establish and improve their credit. Should you be using it as part of your credit building strategy? Read on to learn more and find out.
Fingerhut also offers the Fingerhut FreshStart® Credit Account, which is an installment loan used to make Fingerhut purchases. If you apply for the Advantage Credit Account but don’t qualify, you’ll automatically be considered for the FreshStart Credit Account.
Our Rating: 2 out of 5 Stars
We give the Fingerhut Advantage Credit Account 2 out of 5 Stars because it has high acceptance rates for people with bad or no credit, with no annual fee. But it doesn’t offer much outside of that.
Why We Like It
- Easy to qualify for people with bad, limited, or no credit
- SafeLine program provides insurance if you become unable to make payments
- No annual fee
Why It Could Be Better
- Fingerhut merchandise tends to be more expensive than usual
- Many reports of poor customer service
The Fingerhut Advantage Credit Account could be a good pick if you’ve had trouble being approved for credit cards, but there are some other options that could be more useful if you qualify. Check out some other cards designed to help improve your credit below.
Insider Advice: Getting the Most Out of Your Card
- Consider the SafeLine Plan: If you suspect that you may have difficulty making on-time monthly payments, consider enrolling in the SafeLine plan which provides insurance in the event of certain qualifying life events.
- Be responsible to build your credit: You’ll improve your credit by always paying your bills on time. We recommend paying the statement balance in full each month to avoid interest, rather than just making the minimum payment, but if you can’t manage that you should try to pay as much as possible each month.
- For Fingerhut only: This card can only be used for purchases from Fingerhut, or for offers from select Fingerhut partners.
- Comparison shop: Fingerhut is known for having high prices, although occasionally you can find a good deal. Before making purchases you should check with other retailers, like Walmart and Amazon, to make sure you’re getting the best available price.
How to Build Credit with Fingerhut
You can use the Fingerhut Advantage Credit Account to make purchases like any other credit card. You may be required to make a down payment of $30 when making your first purchase.
Your activity will be reported to the three major credit bureaus: Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion. Positive activity, like consistent on-time payments, will have a beneficial effect on your credit and credit scores. This is basically all it takes to build up your credit, although it will take some time.
Negative activity, like late payments, will have a strong detrimental effect on your credit. Late and missed payments are some of the most damaging actions you can take regarding your credit, so make timely payments a priority.
If you’re late on a payment or your account is not in good standing for any other reason, Fingerhut may prevent you from making purchases with your Advantage Credit Account until you remedy the situation.
You don’t necessarily need to make purchases to improve your credit, because this account will still show up on your credit reports either way. But if you don’t use the card you risk having it shut down for inactivity.
When shopping on Fingerhut you’ll see two prices for each item: one is a monthly price, and the other is the total price. The monthly price is the estimated monthly payment you’ll end up making for that particular item if you choose to pay it off over time.
You can carry a balance from month to month with the Fingerhut Advantage Credit Account, but we do not recommend doing so because you’ll incur very high interest charges. Instead, we recommend paying your statement balance in full each month. Even if you have low monthly payments to make at the start, interest charges can compound quickly and turn a good deal into an expensive mistake.
If you pay the statement balance in full, interest will not be charged on the balance. And not only will this prevent interest from accruing, helping you stay out of credit card debt, it will also be better for your credit because you’ll have more available credit open, which helps keep your overall credit utilization low. The lower your utilization, the better it is for your credit scores.
How to Cancel Your Fingerhut Account
Fingerhut’s terms state that you must send Fingerhut a written letter to cancel your account. However, we recommend giving them a call at 1-800-208-2500 to see if they can cancel your account over the phone. If that doesn’t work, you’ll need to send a letter to:
Fingerhut Credit Account Services
P.O. Box 0260
St Cloud, MN 56395-0260
You must cut your card in half and send it in along with the cancellation request.
Where Can You Use the Fingerhut Advantage Credit Account?
The Fingerhut Advantage Credit Account can only be used to make purchases from Fingerhut or select partners. More specifically, the account can only be used for:
- Purchases from Fingerhut.com
- Purchases through the physical Fingerhut catalog
- Fingerhut phone purchases
- Offers from select Fingerhut partners
This card does not offer any rewards.
Reports to Credit Bureaus
Your activity and payment history for the Advantage Credit Account will be provided to the three major consumer credit bureaus: Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion. This is the normal procedure for personal credit cards.
That means you can use this card to help build your credit. But it also means you can hurt your credit if you fail to pay your bills on time.
Free FICO Credit Score
Advantage Credit Account users can see one of their FICO credit scores for free after logging in. Your account must be at least 45 days old to use this service, and the score will be updated monthly.
We believe that Fingerhut will provide a FICO Score 8 based on your Experian credit report, but we haven’t been able to confirm this. Customer support wasn’t able to give us this information.
If you have a Fingerhut Advantage Credit Account and can confirm the type and source of the FICO score, please contact us to let us know!
Many credit cards today offer a free credit score of some kind, usually either FICO or VantageScore. You’ll get one with several of our top alternatives to this card, like the Discover it® Secured (Review), Capital One Platinum Secured Credit Card (Review), and the Citi® Secured Mastercard® (Review).
Zero Liability Protection
You won’t be held responsible for unauthorized purchases. Be sure to contact customer support as soon as possible if you suspect fraud, by calling 1-800-208-2500.
This is a typical benefit that you should expect to find on just about every credit card issued today.
SafeLine® Account Protection Plus Plan
SafeLine Account Protection Plus is an optional plan for Fingerhut Advantage Credit Account users. In the event of certain qualifying situations, SafeLine will provide assistance in making payments, or will even cancel outstanding balances.
After applying for this plan you’ll receive a contract which spells out all the details.
The SafeLine plan costs $1.19 per month per $100 outstanding on your credit card statement, as generated at the end of the month. So if you have a $75 balance at the end of the month, for example, the charge will be $0.89. If you have a $280 balance, the charge will be $3.32. If you have no balance there will be no charge for the service.
To figure out your SafeLine fee you can use the following formula, in which B is your outstanding balance: ($1.19 x B) / 100.
If you use SafeLine, we recommend aiming to have as low a balance as possible at the end of the month to keep the fees low, but to keep that balance above $0. We don’t recommend completely paying off your balance before your monthly statement is generated, because this can make it look like you’re not using the card from the perspective of the credit bureaus.
There are two types of benefits included in SafeLine:
- Monthly Payment
- Balance Cancellation
If you qualify for the Monthly Payment benefit, Fingerhut will credit your account with the minimum monthly payment due. Past due amounts and late fees will not be included. If you qualify for the Balance Cancellation benefit, Fingerhut will cancel your entire balance, up to your credit limit, and then cancel your account.
The qualifying situations for the Monthly Payment benefit are:
- Unpaid leave of absence
- Certain life events
- Hospitalization (up to three months)
- Disability (up to 12 months)
- Involuntary unemployment (up to 12 months)
The qualifying situations for the Balance Cancellation benefit are:
- Certain life events
- Hospitalization (more than three months)
- Disability (more than 12 months)
- Involuntary unemployment (more than 12 months)
Take note that you will not be able to make purchases with your Advantage Credit Account while SafeLine benefits are active. You will still earn Payment Rewards for any payments made, including monthly payments made by SafeLine. But you won’t be able to make new purchases or redeem those Payment Rewards until the SafeLine benefit period is over.
There are terms and limitations for when benefits can be activated for each situation, so be sure to carefully check your SafeLine contract if you plan to apply for benefits. Approved benefits will be retroactively applied to your account, for up to 90 days prior to the receipt of your benefit activation application.
You can enroll in SafeLine at any time, as long as your account is in good standing. Your plan fees will be refunded if you cancel SafeLine within 60 days of enrollment. SafeLine is not available to residents of AK, AS, FM, GU, MH, MP, PW or VI.
The Terms & Fees
|Purchase APR||Balance Transfer APR||Cash Advance APR|
|29.99% Fixed||Not Available||Not Available|
|Annual Fee||Foreign Transaction Fee||Balance Transfer Fee||Cash Advance Fee|
|$0||Not Available||Not Available||Not Available|
|Penalty APR||Late Fee||Returned Payment Fee|
|None||Up to $39||Up to $39|
You’ll notice that the Fingerhut Advantage Credit Account has a very high purchase APR, which will be applied to any balance you revolve from month to month. This rate is fixed rather than variable (variable APRs will vary with the federal prime rate, while fixed APRs do not).
We recommend always paying the full statement balance on your bill. This will prevent interest from accruing, and it makes this card basically free to use because there’s no annual fee. This strategy is also better for your credit utilization, a major factor in your credit scores, and it helps you stay out of costly credit card debt.
You can see the complete terms and conditions of the Fingerhut Advantage Credit Account.
What is the Credit Limit of the Fingerhut Advantage Credit Account?
The Fingerhut Advantage Credit Account comes with a credit line of $200–$800. Your credit line will be based on your overall creditworthiness, including your credit scores and other finances (especially income).
We’ve seen reports of people getting automatic credit line increases after making timely payments. In some cases these increases may only be temporary, and require you to make purchases up to the new limit to make the increase permanent. So if you don’t use it, you could lose it.
You may also be able to request a credit limit increase from Fingerhut. If you want a larger credit line we suggest making on-time payments for 6 to 12 months before making a request.
Fingerhut’s customer support has many bad reviews online, so you may experience some frustration if you need to get in touch with them.
We contacted Fingerhut to learn which credit report is used for the free FICO credit score. However, customer service wasn’t able to provide us with this information. It wasn’t the case that they aren’t allowed to tell us; they just couldn’t figure it out.
It’s also worth noting that Fingerhut will ask for your personal and account information when you call. If you don’t have a Fingerhut account you can make up some information to satisfy the prompts, and it will eventually connect you with a human representative.
If you need to contact Fingerhut we suggest being patient, trying to explain yourself as clearly as possible, and documenting all communication so you can show proof later on.
You can send an online message to Fingerhut using either the web form or email address linked above. We recommend using the web form, because this is the method Fingerhut will prompt you to use on its website.
The Bottom Line
The Fingerhut Advantage Credit Account can be a good option for people who have had a hard time being approved for other credit cards. If you have bad credit and need a way to start rebuilding, it could be a good fit for you.
Other than for building credit, however, we typically wouldn’t recommend using this card for most people, with the exception of regular Fingerhut customers.
The SafeLine insurance plan is an interesting feature that most cards don’t have, which can help out with payments if life throws you a curveball. If you make payments early so you have a very low outstanding balance at the end of the month, you can use this service for less than a dollar per month.
With no annual fee, the Fingerhut Advantage Credit Account can be a cost-free way to establish and build your credit (as long as you avoid interest and fees). But there are quite a few other options that could work for you as well, including cards that you can use anywhere. Take a look at some of those alternatives below.
How To Apply for the Fingerhut Advantage Credit Account
You can apply for the Fingerhut Advantage Credit Account by selecting the Apply Now button below. You’ll be taken to Fingerhut’s website to complete the application process.
If you’re not approved for the Advantage Credit Account, you’ll automatically be considered for the Fingerhut FreshStart® Credit Account. This is an installment loan account rather than a revolving account, but it can be used in a similar way.
Most applications will be processed quickly, within a minute or two. But in some cases it could take longer, and Fingerhut may request more information.
Qualifications and Requirements
- Must be 18 to apply
- Personal identifying information, including SSN, email address, and phone number
- Total annual income, and source of income
- Monthly mortgage/rent payment
Alternatives to the Fingerhut Advantage Credit Account
Unlike the Fingerhut Advantage Credit Account, the following cards can be used anywhere credit cards are accepted. They’re secured credit cards which will require a refundable security deposit upon approval.
- Discover it® Secured (Review): No annual fee; security deposit of $200 to $2,500; 2% cash back at restaurants and gas stations; double cash back in the first year
- Capital One Platinum Secured Credit Card (Review): No annual fee; security deposit of $49 to $1,000
- Citi® Secured Mastercard® (Review): No annual fee; security deposit of $200 to $2,500
The Discover it® Secured (Review) is the best secured card available, offering rewards in addition to the ability to improve your credit. That’s a rare find on secured cards, which tend to cost more than what you get out of them.
This card requires a refundable security deposit of $200 to $2,500 when you’re approved. Your credit line will be equal to the down payment you make.
Discover will review your account every eight months. If it finds that you’ve been managing your credit responsibly, with this card and otherwise, it may decide to refund your security deposit and let you continue using this card.
Spending Rewards Introductory Bonus
Most secured cards don’t offer any rewards at all, but at first glance the Discover it Secured would look like a solid cash back card (until you notice the security deposit).
Where many cards make you pay an annual fee to improve your credit, this card actually offers rewards for common, everyday purchases. Not only will you get restaurants and gas stations as cash back categories, your rewards will be doubled during your first year.
That means you’ll be earning the equivalent of 4% cash back at restaurants and gas stations, with 2% back for every other purchase. Those are excellent reward rates, even for typical reward credit cards.
Compare that to the Fingerhut card, which does not offer rewards.
Discover has been removing benefits from its cards, leaving you with an ever-shrinking selection. But it still provides more than you’ll get with the Fingerhut card.
- FICO Credit Scorecard: Check your FICO Score 8 for free whenever you’d like, based on your TransUnion credit report.
- Cash at Checkout: Get cash back when checking out at participating merchants, which will be counted as part of your purchase rather than as a cash advance.
- Social Security Number Alerts: Discover monitors thousands of risky websites, and will alert you if your SSN is found being used on any of them.
Terms & Fees
The Discover it Secured has no annual fee, and there are no foreign transaction fees.
It’s rare to find a secured card with rewards, but this card even includes an intro APR on top of that: Cardholders get an APR of See Terms for See Terms for balance transfers. It’s not a 0% rate like you’ll find on some other cards, but it’s an impressive offer for a secured card.
After that intro period, the regular rate will be See Terms.
Read more in our Review of the Discover it Secured Card
Cardholders will be required to pay a security deposit of $49, $99, or $200 when approved. No matter which amount is required and paid, the starting credit limit will be $200. That means you could be approved for a $200 credit line by paying just $49. This is a change of pace from most secured cards, which provide a credit line equal to the deposit made.
If you choose to deposit more your credit line will be increased. You can deposit up to $1,000, which will provide a $1,000 credit line. Deposit payments can be made in partial installments, but the full deposit must be made within 80 days of approval.
- Access a higher credit line: You may be automatically considered for a higher credit line after six months.
- Capital One CreditWise: The Capital One CreditWise service lets you monitor your VantageScore 3.0 credit score, based on your TransUnion credit report. This is a great feature to have because it gives you a way to track your progress as you improve your credit, which is one basic goal of a secured card.
- Mastercard ID Theft Protection: Get help if your identity is compromised, at no cost.
- No foreign transaction fee
- Annual fee: $0
The Citi Secured Mastercard requires a refundable security deposit of $200 to $2,500 when approved. Your credit limit will be equal to the amount you deposit.
When applying for this card you’ll be able to specify how much you want to deposit, in increments of $100. You won’t be able to deposit more later on, like some other secured cards, so it’s important to make a good decision when you apply.
Citi may offer an upgrade to an unsecured card after you show that you can use this card (and credit in general) responsibly. We’ve heard from a reader who was upgraded to the Citi® Diamond Preferred® Card (Review), so the same may happen to you.
There are no rewards for using this card.
There may not be any rewards, but the Secured Mastercard from Citi offers more benefits than you’ll get with the Fingerhut account. These include some shopping and travel protections that could help you save money in specific situations, although you may not have many opportunities to use them.
- Free FICO Credit Score: Check your FICO Score 8 for free, based on your Equifax credit report.
- Purchase Protection: If an eligible item you buy is damaged or stolen, you can be reimbursed up to $1,000 per item, up to $50,000 per year.
- Extended Warranty: Eligible warranties can be extended up to 24 additional months.
- Citi Identity Theft Solutions: Citi will help if you become a victim of identity theft, with assistance contacting credit bureaus and filing police reports.
Terms & Fees
You’ll pay no annual fee for the Citi Secured Mastercard. Foreign transactions will be charged a fee of 3%.
Read more in our Review of the Citi Secured Mastercard
If you found this review helpful, feel free to share it with a friend! If you’ve been using the Fingerhut Advantage Credit Account to improve your credit, let us know how you like it by leaving your own review!
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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