The Ultimate Guide to Credit Cards
Thursday, July 18, 2024

Aspire® Cash Back Reward Card Review

Eric Bank

By: Eric Bank

Eric Bank
Eric Bank

Eric Bank is an M.B.A. who has covered financial and business topics since 1985, appearing regularly on Credible, eHow, WiseBread, The Nest, Zacks, Chron, BadCredit.org and dozens of other outlets. Eric specializes in taking complex subject matters and explaining them in simple terms for consumer audiences, particularly in the world of personal finance. Eric holds a Master's in Business Administration from New York University and a Master's in Finance from DePaul University.

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Editor: Jon McDonald

Jon McDonald
Jon McDonald

Jon leverages 15-plus years of journalism expertise to inform financial consumers about emerging trends and companies making an impact in the industry. He is most knowledgeable in the areas of budgeting, credit card rewards, and responsible credit use. Jon has a passion for writing and editing, and his articles have appeared in publications produced by The New York Times.

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Reviewer: Danielle Spurlin

Danielle Spurlin
Danielle Spurlin

With more than 10 years of accounting experience, Danielle Marshall has a deep understanding of many financial disciplines, including personal and commercial lending, retirement annuities, financial forecasting, and general bookkeeping. She has a bachelor's degree from the University of Florida's Fisher School of Accounting and currently manages all accounts receivable and payable for the parent company of CardRates.com. She works directly with credit card issuers and advertising partners to ensure our content meets compliance expectations and regulatory standards.

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Aspire® Cash Back Reward Card Review

Our Rating 4.5 /5.0 ★★★★★

Fair credit isn’t exactly good and isn’t exactly bad. And the Aspire® Cash Back Reward Card is a leader in the fair credit card segment, offering good rewards and reasonable credit limits.

This credit card review takes a deep dive into the Aspire® Cash Back Reward Card and offers a glimpse at three of its closest competitors. One of these cards may be a perfect choice if you have subprime credit.

An Unsecured Card With Generous Cash Back

Rewards are the greatest attraction of the Aspire® Cash Back Reward Card. The bonus cash back rate applies to your gas and grocery purchases as well as your utility bill payments. All other eligible purchases earn 1% back.

You can apply for the card quickly and receive an instant response. If approved, you should receive the card within two weeks, and you can start using it after activating it online. You can access the bank’s application below:

Disclosure: When you apply through links on our site, we often earn referral fees from partners. For more information, see our ad disclosure and review policy.

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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.

Aspire® Cash Back Reward Card Review

at Aspire Card'ssecure website

BEST OVERALL RATING

★★★★★

4.5

OVERALL RATING

  • Earn 3% Cash Back Rewards* on Gas, Groceries and Utility Bill Payments
  • Earn 1% Cash Back Rewards* on all other eligible purchases
  • Up to $1,000 credit limit subject to credit approval
  • Prequalify** without affecting your credit score
  • No security deposit
  • Free access to your VantageScore 4.0 score from TransUnion®†
    *See Program Terms for important information about the cash back rewards program.
    ** Prequalify means that you authorize us to make a soft inquiry (that will not affect your credit) to create an offer. If you accept an offer a hard inquiry will be made. Final approval is not guaranteed if you do not meet all applicable criteria (including adequate proof of ability to repay). Income verification through access to your bank account information may be required.
    † Your credit score will be available in your online account starting 60 days after your account is opened. (Registration required.) The free VantageScore 4.0 credit score provided by TransUnion® is for educational purposes only. This score may not be used by The Bank of Missouri (the issuer of this card) or other creditors to make credit decisions.
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
29.99% or 36% Fixed
As low as $85
Fair

You’ll appreciate the card for its decent credit limit and credit score monitoring. But watch out for its high annual fee and account maintenance charges that begin after the first year of ownership.

The card may assess a potentially bruising interest rate of 29.99% or 36% Fixed, depending on your creditworthiness, the latter of which is much higher than the market average for fair credit scores.

Credit and Income Requirements

The recommended minimum credit score for the Aspire® Cash Back Reward Card is around 580. However, your credit score is just one part of the approval process. The card issuer, the Bank of Missouri, will also consider other aspects of your credit profile, including your debt, income, the length of your credit history, and other credit factors.

You must have enough income to afford the card’s monthly minimum payments. While the issuer does not reveal a required minimum income, the higher your income is, the better your approval odds.

Your income is a decisive factor for the size of your credit line. Naturally, higher incomes favor higher limits.

Benefits & Drawbacks to Consider

The Aspire® Cash Back Reward Card from the Bank of Missouri offers a range of benefits as well as some significant drawbacks. The card’s Achilles’ heel is its fee structure.

Benefits

    • Cash Back Rewards: This cash back credit card offers bonus rewards on gas, groceries, and utility bill payments. The bonus rewards can be a real plus if you regularly spend on these categories. The card pays standard cash-back rewards on all other eligible purchases.

    • Credit Building: Responsible use of the Aspire® Cash Back Reward Card can help you build or rebuild credit. To receive this benefit, you must pay your bills on time and keep your unpaid balances low.

    • No Security Deposit Required: This unsecured card does not require a security deposit, which is great if you don’t have the immediate funds for a deposit. It also doesn’t charge a program fee, unlike many cards for poor credit.

    • Credit Monitoring: You have free access to your VantageScore 4.0 score from TransUnion, which can help you understand your credit status.

    • Prequalification Option: You can prequalify for up to a $1,000 credit limit without affecting your credit score. The issuer also distributes prequalifying mail offers to select consumers.

    • Mobile App: The card’s mobile app lets you make payments, set up account alerts, lock a lost or stolen card, check account balances, and see transaction details. You can download it from the Apple Store or Google Play.

    • Credit Protection Option: You can apply for the Aspire Credit Protection Plan when you receive the card. In return for a monthly premium, it cancels minimum payments or balances as a result of a protected event (including loss of life, involuntary job loss, disability, or hospitalization).

These benefits are OK, but you may do better with a competing card.

Drawbacks

    • Annual Fee: The card charges an annual fee. The card also charges a monthly account maintenance fee starting in the second year.

    • High APR: The APR is 29.99% or 36% Fixed, which is relatively high. You can avoid interest charges by paying your entire balance every month.

    • Limited Reward Redemption: You can redeem your cash back only on an anniversary date and only as a statement credit.

The card’s fees are high but depend on your credit profile. Your APR, annual fee, and monthly maintenance charges will be lower if you have credit near the top of the fair range. Still, you can find similar cards that don’t charge a maintenance fee.

Best Alternatives Worth a Look

These three cards are either less costly or may offer better perks. Two are from Capital One, one of the country’s largest banks, which has products you can grow into as your financial picture changes.

BEST OVERALL RATING

★★★★★
4.5

OVERALL RATING

  • Earn unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase, every day
  • No rotating categories or limits to how much you can earn, and cash back doesn't expire for the life of the account. It's that simple
  • Be automatically considered for a higher credit line in as little as 6 months
  • Enjoy peace of mind with $0 Fraud Liability so that you won't be responsible for unauthorized charges
  • Help strengthen your credit for the future with responsible card use
  • Enjoy up to 6 months of complimentary Uber One membership statement credits through 11/14/2024
  • Earn unlimited 5% cash back on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel, where you'll get Capital One's best prices on thousands of trip options. Terms apply
  • Monitor your credit score with CreditWise from Capital One. It's free for everyone
  • Check out quickly and securely with a contactless card, without touching a terminal or handing your card to a cashier. Just hover your card over a contactless reader, wait for the confirmation, and you're all set
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
29.99% (Variable)
$39
Average, Fair, Limited

The Capital One QuicksilverOne Cash Rewards Credit Card is an excellent option for consumers with fair credit. It offers unlimited cash back on all purchases, and you can redeem rewards via a statement credit or check.

Before getting the card, ensure you will earn enough in rewards to exceed the $39 annual fee. Otherwise, the no-annual-fee Capital One Platinum Credit Card may be a better choice.

Fortiva® Mastercard® Credit Card Review

at Fortiva'ssecure website

BEST OVERALL RATING

★★★★★
4.5

OVERALL RATING

  • Earn 3% Cash Back Rewards* on Gas, Groceries and Utility Bill Payments
  • Earn 1% Cash Back Rewards* on all other eligible purchases
  • Good anywhere Mastercard® is accepted
  • $0 fraud liability**
  • Free access to your VantageScore 4.0 credit score from TransUnion®†
    *See Program Terms for important information about the cash back rewards program.
    **Fraud liability subject to Mastercard® rules.
    † Your credit score will be available in your online account starting 60 days after your account is opened. (Registration required.) The free VantageScore 4.0 credit score provided by TransUnion® is for educational purposes only. This score may not be used by The Bank of Missouri (the issuer of this card) or other creditors to make credit decisions.
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
29.99% or 36% Fixed
As low as $85
Fair

The Fortiva® Mastercard® Credit Card requires a fair credit score for approval. It offers cash back rewards similar to those of the Aspire® Cash Back Reward Card and free access to your VantageScore 4.0 credit score.

You can prequalify for an initial credit limit of up to $1,000. Fortiva will review your account regularly to determine your eligibility for a higher credit line.

BEST OVERALL RATING

★★★★★
4.5

OVERALL RATING

  • No annual or hidden fees. See if you're approved in seconds
  • Be automatically considered for a higher credit line in as little as 6 months
  • Help build your credit through responsible use of a card like this
  • Enjoy peace of mind with $0 Fraud Liability so that you won't be responsible for unauthorized charges
  • Monitor your credit score with CreditWise from Capital One. It's free for everyone
  • Get access to your account 24 hours a day, 7 days a week with online banking from your desktop or smartphone, with Capital One's mobile app
  • Check out quickly and securely with a contactless card, without touching a terminal or handing your card to a cashier. Just hover your card over a contactless reader, wait for the confirmation, and you're all set
  • Pay by check, online or at a local branch, all with no fee - and pick the monthly due date that works best for you
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
29.99% (Variable)
$0
Average, Fair, Limited

The Capital One Platinum Credit Card is another Capital One offering that reports your account activity to all three credit bureaus, which can help you efficiently build a solid credit history through responsible card use. It has no annual fee, but it doesn’t offer rewards, either.

That said, the bank may send you unsolicited offers to upgrade to a better card with rewards after a period of responsibly using this one.

Cardholder Reviews Around the Web

MusicRough7902 applied for the Aspire® Cash Back Reward Card and wasn’t sure whether it would pull his credit before it arrived. He subsequently wrote:

“Yes, I received it. Nope, they never did a hard pull. The starting credit limit was $1,000. Not shabby.”

An anonymous consumer first obtained a non-cash back version of the Aspire card and then the Aspire® Cash Back Reward Card:

“The fees are high, but I’m the one with poor credit, having higher limit credit cards thanks to Aspire. I will keep the cards until their expiration date, if not longer.”

zirko23 canceled the card when the monthly maintenance fee kicked in:

“This company is basically a white-collar scam. They are getting rich from this shady practice, preying on ordinary people who have to watch every dime. Imagine how much they are raking in stealing $5 a month from thousands of people.”

Most of the reviews I encountered disparaged the card for its high fees. A few criticized the Bank of Missouri for issuing the card and several similar ones.

FAQs: What is the Card’s Credit Limit?

The card offers an initial credit limit of $350 to $1,000. We don’t expect many cardholders to have higher credit limits, and you cannot request a limit increase.

The cardmember agreement states: “We reserve the right to change (to set, increase, decrease or remove) the credit limit for your account from time to time in accordance with this agreement and applicable law.” 

The credit card issuer may change your credit limit based on your record of timely payments and staying within your established limit, as well as information from your credit reports and your bank.

How Do I Earn and Redeem Cash Back?

This cash back credit card pays a bonus rate on eligible gas, grocery, and utility bill payments. All other eligible purchases earn the standard rewards rate. You’ll accrue cash back when a transaction posts to your account, and will remain as long as you don’t return the purchase.

cash back card categories

Purchases do not include fees or interest charges, balance transfers, cash advances, or purchases of other cash equivalents.

The card automatically redeems all rewards in the form of an annual statement credit against your purchase balance in the anniversary month of your account opening — as long as your account is in good standing. You lose any unredeemed rewards when you or the issuer closes the account.

Annual statement credits lower your account balance but do not apply to your monthly payment. You cannot request that the card provide the rewards in cash.

Is It a Good Card For Bad Credit?

No, the Aspire® Cash Back Reward Card caters to consumers with fair credit — which is a FICO score of 580 to 669. The issuer may occasionally accept applications from consumers with lower scores.

You can test the waters by prequalifying for the Aspire Mastercard without impacting your credit score. Doing so will tell you whether approval is feasible. Remember, preapproval does not guarantee final acceptance.

We also provide credit card recommendations for consumers with bad credit. These cards are a more appropriate choice if your credit score is below 580.

You may want to consider a secured credit card if your credit is poor. You’ll need to lay out a refundable deposit equal to your credit limit. But the typical secured card imposes lower fees and interest rates. A secured card may also provide better benefits than its unsecured equivalent.

This Card May Be For You If…

    • You have fair credit: The card caters to consumers with fair, average, or limited credit. It can be a suitable option if you are in the process of building or improving your credit score and have achieved a fair credit score.

    • You regularly spend on gas, groceries, and utilities: Since the card offers bonus cash back on gas, groceries, and utility bill payments, it is beneficial if you regularly spend in these categories. Doing so can help you maximize your cash back rewards.

    • You’re looking for cash back rewards without a security deposit: The card provides cash back rewards and does not require a security deposit, which may suit you if you don’t want to tie up funds in a deposit.

    • You want to monitor your credit: You have access to your VantageScore 4.0 from TransUnion. This information helps you monitor your credit score for educational purposes.

    • You can manage higher APRs: Given the card’s potentially high APR, it is more suitable if you plan to pay your entire balance each month.

    • You can benefit from prequalification: You’ll find this a useful feature if you prefer to check your eligibility without a hard credit pull. This allows you to gauge your odds of approval without impacting your credit score.

Consider the costs and limited reward redemption options when deciding whether to get the Aspire® Cash Back Reward Card. Checking out the three alternatives described in this credit card review before making a final decision is an excellent idea.

About the Author

Eric Bank
Eric Bank Finance Expert

Eric Bank is an M.B.A. who has covered financial and business topics since 1985, appearing regularly on Credible, eHow, WiseBread, The Nest, Zacks, Chron, BadCredit.org and dozens of other outlets. Eric specializes in taking complex subject matters and explaining them in simple terms for consumer audiences, particularly in the world of personal finance. Eric holds a Master's in Business Administration from New York University and a Master's in Finance from DePaul University.

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Eric Bank