The Ultimate Guide to Credit Cards
Saturday, June 22, 2024

Fortiva® Mastercard® Credit 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: Ashley Fricker

Ashley Fricker
Ashley Fricker

Ashley Fricker has more than a decade of experience as a finance contributor and editor, and has specialized in the credit card industry since 2015. Her credit card commentary is featured on national media outlets that include CNBC, MarketWatch, Investopedia, and Reader's Digest, among many others. 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. Ashley holds a bachelor's degree in multimedia journalism from Florida Atlantic University.

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Reviewer: 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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Fortiva® Mastercard® Credit Card Review

Rated 4.5 /5.0 ★★★★★

There is a famous saying: “What the right hand giveth, the left hand taketh away.” That’s the Fortiva® Mastercard® Credit Card in a nutshell. On the one hand, it provides lucrative cash back rewards on select purchases; on the other, it imposes eye-watering fees and a punishing APR.

Our review takes a close look at this Jekyll-and-Hyde product and compares it to three close competitors. These cards all target consumers with fair or bad credit. Let’s see whether any of them fit your needs.

General Overview of the Card

The Bank of Missouri issues the Fortiva® Mastercard® Credit Card. The card offers cash back rewards on all purchases, with a higher bonus rate applying to select purchases. This is an unsecured credit card for people with subprime credit that provides Mastercard zero liability protection, transaction alerts, and an instant credit decision.

More about the Fortiva® Mastercard® Credit Card:

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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 card reports your payments to at least one major credit bureau, which means you can build credit by paying your bill on time. Fortiva helps you monitor your progress by providing free online access to your VantageScore credit score after 60 days of card ownership.

Your credit limit determines your annual fee as well as maintenance charges, which the card waives for the first 12 months after account opening. The credit limit can range from $350 to $1,000, depending on your credit profile.

How to Qualify

The Fortiva® Mastercard® Credit Card accepts applications from those with “less than perfect credit.” We interpret this euphemism to mean you need fair credit to qualify.

You must first go through a prequalification step that doesn’t require a hard credit check. During this initial step, Fortiva will collect the following information:

    • Name

    • Contact information

    • Social Security Number

    • Date of birth

    • Whether you own or rent your home

    • Monthly housing payment

    • Employer name

    • Business phone number

    • Annual net income

You’re eligible for the card if you’re a US resident, 18 or older, with a SSN, email address, and enough income to pay your monthly bill. Fortiva also mails out invitations for its card. You automatically prequalify if you receive and accept the invitation.

If you successfully prequalify, Fortiva will specify your APR and credit limit, which will not change for the first 12 months unless you violate the cardmember agreement. As is true of all credit cards, prequalification does not guarantee final approval. To be approved, you must undergo a hard credit check.

Upon final approval, you should receive your card within 10 days. The card’s initial unpaid balance will reflect the annual fee. You’ll have access to your entire credit line once you pay the fee.

Benefits & Drawbacks

A good credit card offers benefits whose value outweigh its drawbacks. Here’s what you need to know about the Fortiva® Mastercard® Credit Card so you can make an informed decision:

Benefits

    • Cash back rewards: The card offers two reward tiers. The top tier applies up to 3% back on select purchases, whereas all other eligible purchases earn 1% back.

    • Free credit score: You’ll get a free VantageScore 3.0 credit score provided by Equifax after 60 days of account ownership.

    • Transaction alerts: The card can alert you to your payment due date and amount, your current balance, new transactions, and more.

    • Mastercard zero liability protection: This is standard on all Mastercards. You are not liable for a card loss or theft, but you must report it promptly.

    • Credit reporting: The card reports your payments to at least one major credit bureau. You can access a new score online every month, beginning two months after you open the account.

Drawbacks

    • Excessive costs: You’ll face fees of various kinds, including annual, monthly, additional card, cash advance, balance transfer, foreign transaction, and late/returned payment. Its APR can reach the maximum allowed under the law, depending on your credit history.

    • Limited redemption options: You can redeem your cash back rewards once per year, only as a statement credit. The bank only guarantees the rewards program for the first year, which is a bit odd.

    • Credit limit: The available credit limit is relatively low, and you cannot request a higher limit.

The bottom line is that card’s cash back rewards are one of its only redeeming qualities, but responsible use can help you build credit over time so you can transition to another card for better credit histories.

Other Cards For Fair or Worse Credit

These three cards are also unsecured, so you don’t have to pay a security deposit for a secured credit card. Two have no annual fees, unlike the Fortiva® Mastercard® Credit Card. And two are issued by a major bank, which may provide more peace of mind.

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

We rate the Capital One Platinum Credit Card as one of the best credit card offers available to consumers with fair credit. The standard Capital One eligibility requirements apply, including bank account, employment status, income, and monthly housing payments. As with most Capital One credit cards, your monthly income must exceed your housing payments by at least $425.

You can receive preapproval from this card without impacting your credit score because the issuer doesn’t do a hard credit check during prequalification. Preapproval does not guarantee final approval. Capital One may offer you different credit cards if you don’t prequalify for this one.

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 offers cash back rewards too, but it charges an annual fee. You also get a complimentary Uber One membership and consideration for a credit limit boost without an additional deposit after a certain period. As with the other “One” cards (i.e., VentureOne, SavorOne) from Capital One, this card is easier to get approved for than its One-less partner, the Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit Card.

Despite its easy credit requirements, the card subscribes to the issuer’s standard prohibitions against potential borrowers submitting two or more card applications within 30 days. Other scenarios that could disqualify you include overdrawn credit lines, non-discharged bankruptcies, charge-offs in the last year, and residency in a correctional institution.

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

The Aspire® Cash Back Reward Card offers rewards, flexibility, and a quick prequalification process. This Mastercard caters to a wide range of consumers, even those with less-than-perfect credit.

The card offers 3% cash back rewards on gas, groceries, and utility bill payments, in addition to 1% cash back on all other qualifying purchases. Cardholders also gain free access to their VantageScore 4.0 and a credit limit of up to $1,000, but the card does charge an annual fee — which starts at $85.

FAQs: Does this Card Offer Any Rewards or Cash Back?

The Fortiva® Mastercard® Credit Card offers tiered, unlimited cash back rewards. The higher tier provides bonus cash back on eligible gas, grocery, and utility purchases and payments. A 1% reward rate applies to all other eligible purchases.

You receive cash back on payments for goods, services, and bills minus returns and other credits. You earn rewards when a transaction posts to your account unless you return the item or receive a credit.

Purchases do not include fees or interest charges, balance transfers, cash advances, or purchases of other cash equivalents. You do not earn rewards for pending transactions, and certain expenditures, including those for gambling, are exempt.

Fortiva will automatically redeem all cash back rewards as 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 can redeem rewards only as a statement credit; you cannot request the rewards in cash. A statement credit lowers your account balance, but you cannot use it toward your minimum payment due or your monthly payment.

Fortiva states on its website that it may alter the terms and conditions of its cash back program or terminate your participation at any time after the first anniversary date of your account.

What is the Minimum Required Credit Score?

The card’s issuer does not disclose a minimum credit score for its Mastercard, but it clearly designed the card for consumers with fair or poor credit.

FICO credit tiers
FICO Score ranges.

The card most likely accepts FICO scores from 500 to 669, whereas the VantageScore range is 500 to 660. If your score is below 500, you may have better approval odds with a secured credit card.

How Do I Increase My Credit Limit?

The card’s initial credit limit ranges from $350 to $1,000. The issuer does not accept requests for a higher limit, nor does it guarantee it will boost your limit over time. It does guarantee not to lower your limit during the first 12 months (assuming no violations of the cardmember agreement).

The issuer evaluates several factors when considering a change to your credit limit, including the following:

    • Its anti-fraud policies and procedures

    • Your record of making timely payments and staying within your established credit limit

    • Your credit score and information in your credit reports

    • Your proper maintenance of any checking account you use to make automatic payments

The bank reserves the right to change your credit limit without prior written notice.

Who Issues the Fortiva® Mastercard® Credit Card?

The Bank of Missouri, in business for 133 years, issues this card. The bank collects your personal information when you apply. The types of data it collects include your:

    • Social Security Number and transaction history

    • Account balances and payment history

    • Credit history and credit scores

It shares this information with non-affiliates, including other financial and non-financial companies such as retailers, marketing companies, and service providers.

The bank enumerates several reasons why it shares your information:

    • For its everyday business purposes, such as processing your transactions, maintaining your account(s), responding to court orders and legal investigations, or reporting to credit bureaus

    • For marketing its products and services to you

    • For joint marketing with other financial companies

    • To help non-affiliates market to you

You can limit information-sharing only for the last bullet point. The states of California, North Dakota, and Vermont place some restrictions on the information that financial services providers can share.

Bauer Financial, Inc., an independent bank rating company, awarded the Bank of Missouri a 5-star rating. The Better Business Bureau has not accredited the Bank of Missouri.

Can this Card Help Me Build or Rebuild Credit?

The issuer reports your payments to at least one of the major credit bureaus. This practice can help you build or rebuild credit if you make timely payments and keep your credit utilization ratio (CUR) relatively low (i.e., below 30%).

Your CUR represents the relationship between your credit card balances and your credit card’s credit limits. In other words, CUR is the percentage of your credit card limit that is in use as an unpaid balance.

CUR is one of the metrics within the amounts owed category, which composes 30% of your FICO credit scores. The same metric is highly influential for your VantageScore credit score.

FICO and VantageScore factors
FICO and VantageScore credit score factors.

The chart above shows an example of how to calculate the CUR for a consumer with three credit cards. Credit bureaus base your CUR on the balances that appear on your credit reports, regardless of whether you pay them in full each month.

Main Takeaways

The card’s cash back rewards are its strongest suit, against which you must weigh its high fees and APRs. But you can avoid the latter by paying your entire balance each month. If you do get the card, consider upgrading to another before the end of the first year so that you can avoid monthly maintenance charges in the second year.

The two Capital One cards in this review cost less. Give them thoughtful consideration if you’re seeking a credit card for fair credit. But if your credit is terrible, you may prefer a secured credit card, as they require a security deposit that makes them easier to obtain and is fully refundable, unlike any fees you pay for the Fortiva® Mastercard® Credit Card.

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