The Ultimate Guide to Credit Cards
Friday, October 7, 2022

Cerulean Credit Card Review and Alternatives

Cerulean Credit Card Alternatives

credit card advice

Eric Bank

Written by: Eric Bank

Eric Bank

Eric Bank has been covering business and financial topics since 1985, specializing in taking complex subject matters and explaining them in simple terms for consumer audiences. In addition to his work on CardRates.com, Eric has appeared regularly on Credible.com, eHow, WiseBread, The Nest, Get.com, Zacks, Chron and dozens of other outlets. A former software engineer, Eric holds an M.B.A. from New York University and an M.S. in finance from DePaul University.

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Edited by: Lillian Guevara-Castro

Lillian Guevara-Castro

Lillian brings more than 30 years of editing and journalism experience. She has written and edited for major news organizations, including The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and the New York Times, and she previously served as an adjunct instructor at the University of Florida. Today, she edits all CardRates content for clarity, accuracy, and reader engagement.

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Reviewed by: Ashley Dull

Ashley Dull

With more than a decade of experience as a content manager and marketer, Ashley has specialized in finance coverage since 2015. She has worked closely with the world’s largest banks and financial institutions, up-and-coming fintech companies, and press and news outlets to curate comprehensive content and media campaigns. Her credit card commentary is featured on national media outlets that include CNBC, MarketWatch, Investopedia, and Reader's Digest, among others.

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Advertiser Disclosure

Continental Finance Company sponsors the Cerulean Credit Card, an unsecured credit card for consumers with bad credit. The card offers a mix of costs and benefits that make it a good choice for folks who’ve had trouble establishing a decent credit line. 

But before applying, check out our list of worthwhile alternatives that may provide you more value for your money. 

All About the Cerulean Credit Card

Consumers with FICO scores below 580 are the target audience for the Cerulean Credit Card. It is an unsecured Mastercard, so you don’t have to plunk down cash collateral to acquire the card. 

It is neither the best nor the worst choice for subprime consumers, but you owe it to yourself to check out Cerulean’s competitors before deciding which card to get.

– How It Works

You can use the Cerulean Mastercard for purchases up to your credit limit and stretch low monthly payments over multiple billing cycles.

The card provides a 25-day grace period that starts from the end of each billing period and allows you to avoid paying interest if you pay your entire balance by the due date. If you carried a balance coming into the most recent billing period, you must pay it off in full before the grace period will resume. 

Cerulean Credit Card

The card allows cash advance transactions starting 95 days after account opening. The transaction fee is the greater of $5 or 5%. The Cerulean Mastercard doesn’t offer balance transfers.

– Rewards and Benefits

Cerulean Mastercard does not offer rewards for purchases or signup bonuses. Nor does it provide any 0% introductory APR promotions for purchases.

The card’s most significant benefit is its credit limit policy. You can establish an initial line of credit between $300 and $1,000 that you can double by paying your bill on time for six consecutive months following issuance.

Otherwise, the benefits are meager. You receive Mastercard’s standard $0 fraud liability coverage. 

And the credit card issuer, the Bank of Missouri, reports your payments to all three major credit bureaus (TransUnion, Experian, Equifax), which can help you build credit. 

Each credit bureau publishes credit reports that detail your financial accounts. Unlike traditional credit card issuers, the Bank of Missouri only issues subprime credit cards.

You also get a free monthly credit score when you enroll in electronic statements, but the type of score you receive (FICO or VantageScore) is unclear.

You can manage the card through online account access or its accompanying mobile app. The card’s website features an informative knowledge base of credit-related articles.

– APRs and Fees

The Cerulean Mastercard’s variable APR and other terms can be found here. It charges an annual fee, a foreign transaction fee, and fees for returned or late payments. You can add an authorized user for a one-time additional card fee.

– How to Get One

Continental Finance must preselect you via a mailed offer before you can apply for the Cerulean Mastercard Credit Card, which you can do:

  • Via online account access at the Cerulean Credit Card login page
  • By returning your acceptance certificate in the mail
  • By calling Customer Service at (866) 513-4598

You seldom see invitation-only applications from traditional credit card issuers, but this issuer has no problem requiring invitations for Cerulean credit cards.

You’ll need to supply the number on your acceptance certificate when you submit your application. Required data includes your name, address, date of birth, and Social Security number. 

The credit card issuer does a hard credit pull that may lower your score by a few points and remain in your credit history (on your credit report) for two years. You should get an immediate approval decision, but some applications may take up to 30 days if additional information is required. 

Once approved, you should receive your new card within three business days.

You can pay your card online or by check. The credit card payment address is:

Cerulean Card
P.O. Box 6812
Carol Stream, IL  60197-6812

While you could send a check to the credit card payment address, online payments are processed much faster.

Best Cerulean Credit Card Alternatives

Here are some more unsecured credit cards for bad credit you can consider. You can get these without an invitation, and some may offer features you won’t find on Cerulean credit cards.

Surge Mastercard® Review

at Celtic Bank’ssecure website

  • Up to $1,000 credit limit doubles up to $2,000! (Simply make your first 6 monthly minimum payments on time)
  • All credit types welcome to apply!
  • Free access to your Vantage 3.0 score From Experian* (When you sign up for e-statements)
  • Initial Credit Limit of $300 – $1,000* (subject to available credit)
  • Monthly reporting to the three major credit bureaus
  • See if you’re Pre-Qualified without impacting your credit score
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
See website for Details
See website for Details
24.99% – 29.99% (Variable)
See website for Details
See website for Details*

Surge Mastercard® from Celtic Bank provides Mastercard Zero Liability Protection to guard you against charges you didn’t make. The accompanying mobile app lets you pay bills, view statements, specify direct deposits, and check payment due dates. Surge Mastercard’s purchase APR is below that of some competitors, and the card doesn’t punish late payments with a penalty APR.

Reflex Mastercard® Review

at Celtic Bank’ssecure website

BAD CREDIT RATING

★★★★

4.4

OVERALL RATING

  • Up to $1,000 credit limit doubles up to $2,000! (Simply make your first 6 monthly minimum payments on time)
  • See if you’re Pre-Qualified with no impact to your credit score
  • All credit types welcome to apply
  • Free access to your Vantage 3.0 score from Experian* (When you sign up for e-statements)
  • Initial Credit Limit of $300 – $1,000* (subject to available credit)
  • Monthly reporting to the three major credit bureaus
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
24.99% – 29.99% (Variable)
See Terms
Bad, Fair, or No Credit

Reflex Mastercard®, also from Celtic Bank, is a carbon copy of the Surge Mastercard®. It doesn’t impose a monthly maintenance fee for the first year and offers Mastercard fraud protection. The card may double your credit limit if you consistently pay your bills on time.

Milestone® Mastercard® - Less Than Perfect Credit Considered Review

at Milestone Mastercard®’ssecure website

BAD CREDIT RATING

★★★★

4.3

OVERALL RATING

  • Prequalify for a card today and it will not impact your credit score
  • Less than perfect credit is okay
  • Mobile account access at any time
  • Protection from fraud if your card is stolen
  • Account history is reported to the three major credit bureaus in the U.S.
  • *Dependent on credit worthiness
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
24.9%
$35 – $99
Poor/Bad

Milestone® Mastercard® – Less Than Perfect Credit Considered targets consumers who don’t have good credit. It takes only a minute to prequalify, and the card issuer may recommend other cards to consider if it rejects your current application. This unsecured credit card does not charge a monthly maintenance fee and offers mobile access.

Best Alternatives If You Don’t Qualify For an Unsecured Card

These secured credit cards deserve your strong consideration if you don’t have good credit. They collect a security deposit upfront, but the deposit money — unlike fees — is refundable. These secured cards have better terms and conditions than similar unsecured cards, and some even offer cash back rewards. 

SECURED RATING

★★★★★

4.8

OVERALL RATING

4.0/5.0
  • No annual or hidden fees, and you can earn unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase, every day. See if you’re approved in seconds
  • Put down a refundable $200 security deposit to get a $200 initial credit line
  • Building your credit? Using a card like this responsibly could help
  • Enjoy peace of mind with $0 Fraud Liability so that you won’t be responsible for unauthorized charges
  • You could earn back your security deposit as a statement credit when you use your card responsibly, like making payments on time
  • Be automatically considered for a higher credit line in as little as 6 months with no additional deposit needed
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
28.49% (Variable)
$0
Limited, Bad

The may be the best secured credit card for rebuilding credit. It provides unlimited cash back rewards on all eligible purchases without charging an annual or foreign transaction fee. You can earn a credit limit increase or card upgrade by consistently paying your bills on time.

SECURED RATING

★★★★★

4.7

OVERALL RATING

4.0/5.0
  • No annual or hidden fees. See if you’re approved in seconds
  • Building your credit? Using the Capital One Platinum Secured card responsibly could help
  • Put down a refundable security deposit starting at $49 to get a $200 initial credit line
  • You could earn back your security deposit as a statement credit when you use your card responsibly, like making payments on time
  • Be automatically considered for a higher credit line in as little as 6 months with no additional deposit needed
  • Enjoy peace of mind with $0 Fraud Liability so that you won’t be responsible for unauthorized charges
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
28.49% (Variable)
$0
Limited, Bad

You may be eligible for the Capital One Platinum Secured Credit Card even if your credit is awful. The $200 initial credit line may be available for a deposit of as low as $49, a unique feature of this card. The card issuer may grant you a credit limit increase if you consistently pay your bills on time. 

Discover it® Secured Credit Card Review

at Discover Card’ssecure website

SECURED RATING

★★★★★

4.7

OVERALL RATING

  • No credit score required to apply.
  • No Annual Fee, earn cash back, and build your credit with responsible use.
  • Establish your credit line by providing a refundable security deposit of at least $200. That means a $200 deposit for a $200 credit line. Or a $500 deposit for a $500 credit line. Bank information must be provided when submitting your deposit, and the security deposit equals your credit limit.
  • Automatic reviews starting at 7 months to see if we can transition you to an unsecured line of credit and return your deposit.
  • Earn 2% cash back at Gas Stations and Restaurants on up to $1,000 in combined purchases each quarter. Plus, earn unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases – automatically.
  • NEW! Discover helps remove your personal information from select people-search websites. Activate by mobile app for free.
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
10.99% Intro APR for 6 months
25.99% Variable APR
$0
New/Rebuilding

The Discover it® Secured Credit Card is an excellent credit card option for folks with bad or no credit. The card rewards you with cash back on eligible purchases, and new cardmembers receive an introductory Cashback Match at the end of the first year. With this card, you get free FICO Score tracking and a likely refund of your deposit if you consistently pay your bills on time. In addition, the card frequently offers an introductory balance transfer promotion.

7. Secured Sable ONE Credit Card

This card is currently not available.

Secured Rating

★★★★★

N/A

OVERALL RATING

N/A
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A

The Secured Sable ONE Credit Card doesn’t perform hard credit inquiries and has no minimum credit score requirement. You don’t need to prequalify for the card. This is probably the best credit card to rapidly build credit, with milestones that may earn you an unsecured card (a refund of your deposit) in only four months.

SECURED RATING

★★★★★

4.5

OVERALL RATING

  • The Citi® Secured Mastercard® is a no annual fee credit card that helps you build your credit when used responsibly.
  • Unlike a debit card, it helps build your credit history with monthly reporting to all 3 major credit bureaus. Once available, you will also have free access to your FICO score online.
  • Use your card anywhere Mastercard® is accepted — worldwide.
  • A security deposit is required. Once approved, your credit limit will be equal to your security deposit (minimum of $200).
  • Get help staying on track with Auto Pay and account alerts.
  • With Flexible Payment Due Dates, you can choose any available due date in the beginning, middle or end of the month.
  • Manage your account 24/7 online, by phone, or in our mobile app.
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
25.49% (Variable)
$0
Limited History, No Credit, New-to-Credit

Additional Disclosure: Citi is a CardRates advertiser.

The Citi® Secured Mastercard® can build credit when you have no, limited, or poor credit. The card doesn’t provide rewards like some comparable secured cards but is still a good option for improving your credit score through responsible use.

Is Cerulean a Real Credit Card?

Yes, Cerulean Mastercard Credit Card is genuine and can help you rebuild your credit without demanding a security deposit. Its credit-building features include payment reporting to all three major credit bureaus and free monthly credit scores from one credit bureau. 

You can double your credit line in only six months, and the card allows you to make cash advance transactions.

Less advantageous are the card’s steep annual fee and murky application process. You can’t access the Cerulean Credit Card login unless you receive an invite. 

The marketing strategy behind invitation-only applications isn’t clear, but Continental Finance Company must think it is a practical approach. We’d like to see lower costs and the addition of rewards or introductory promotions.

Which Type of Credit Card Is Better For Bad Credit — Secured or Unsecured?

We vote for secured cards. Here’s why:

  • Easier to get: It’s generally much easier for subprime consumers to qualify for a secured card. The security deposit makes all the difference. Amazingly, some secured cards don’t even check your credit. You will own a working credit card that happens to be secured — without any outward hint to the rest of the world.
  • Best of both worlds: Most secured credit cards will upgrade you to an unsecured version if you pay your bills on time over a set period. That means you’ll have your deposit returned and own an unsecured card despite your bad credit score.
  • Lower costs: Secured cards don’t charge signup or maintenance fees. They have no or low annual fees, and their APRs are usually several percentage points lower than the rates similar unsecured cards charge.
  • Better perks: You can get a secured card that pays rewards. That’s unheard-of among subprime unsecured cards. You may also get other benefits, such as rental car collision damage waiver or cellphone insurance.

Remember, security deposits are refundable, but fees are not. In the long run, secured credit cards are the better choice for folks with credit problems.

Which Card Is the Closest Alternative to the Cerulean Credit Card?

Surge Mastercard®, which is also from Continental Finance, is very similar to the Cerulean Mastercard. It has the same card offer to double your credit limit in six months, and the costs are about the same.

Surge Mastercard® Review

at Celtic Bank’ssecure website

BAD CREDIT RATING

★★★★★

4.6

OVERALL RATING

  • Up to $1,000 credit limit doubles up to $2,000! (Simply make your first 6 monthly minimum payments on time)
  • All credit types welcome to apply!
  • Free access to your Vantage 3.0 score From Experian* (When you sign up for e-statements)
  • Initial Credit Limit of $300 – $1,000* (subject to available credit)
  • Monthly reporting to the three major credit bureaus
  • See if you’re Pre-Qualified without impacting your credit score
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
See website for Details
See website for Details
24.99% – 29.99% (Variable)
See website for Details
See website for Details*

We assume that their Customer Service operations are similar since Continental Finance sponsors both cards. The most significant difference between the two cards is their availability. You need an invitation to get the Cerulean card, but not the Surge credit card.

 We don’t see why anyone would wait for an invitation to a subprime card, which makes the Surge credit card a better choice for most consumers with bad credit.

Subprime Consumers Have Many Credit Card Options

CardRates.com has reviewed more than two dozen credit cards for bad credit, including the ones in this article. You undoubtedly have a wide array of credit card choices despite your low credit score, so you should look for the card offer that best matches your needs.

The Cerulean Mastercard deserves consideration if you receive an invitation, but it’s hardly worth the wait. You can get more information about the readily available credit cards reviewed above by clicking on the APPLY HERE links above. 

Advertiser Disclosure

CardRates.com is a free online resource that offers valuable content and comparison services to users. To keep this resource 100% free, we receive compensation for referrals for many of the offers listed on the site. Along with key review factors, this compensation may impact how and where products appear across CardRates.com (including, for example, the order in which they appear). CardRates.com does not include the entire universe of available offers. Editorial opinions expressed on the site are strictly our own and are not provided, endorsed, or approved by advertisers.