The Ultimate Guide to Credit Cards
Tuesday, June 25, 2024

Reflex® Platinum Mastercard® 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: Lillian Guevara-Castro

Lillian Guevara-Castro
Lillian Guevara-Castro

Lillian Guevara-Castro brings more than 30 years of editing and journalism experience to the CardRates team. 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 journalism instructor at the University of Florida. Today, Lillian edits all CardRates content for clarity, accuracy, and reader engagement.

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Reviewer: 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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Reflex® Platinum Mastercard® Review

Rated 3.9 /5.0 ★★★★

Credit cards for consumers with poor credit compete in various ways. Some offer cash back rewards or consumer protections. The Reflex® Platinum Mastercard® is one of several subprime cards that promise to double your credit limit after six months of responsible use.

Which begs the question: Is a higher credit limit sufficient reason to choose this card? Before you answer, you’ll want to read about the alternative cards appearing in this review. For consumers with poor credit, these cards may offer better value and lower costs.

Main Things to Know About the Card:

  • You can quickly prequalify for the card without affecting your credit score.
  • It offers a generous initial credit limit that may double after six months if you pay your bills on time.
  • It provides $0 fraud liability and reports your payments to all three credit bureaus. However, the card assesses a high annual fee and 35.90% Fixed. But you can avoid interest charges by paying your entire balance each month.
  • You may be able to avoid the monthly maintenance fee that kicks in after the first year if you have a decent credit score. The card does not assess a setup fee, but it imposes a foreign transaction fee and charges for cash advances, additional cards, expedited service, and late or returned payments.

How to Qualify & Apply

The easiest way to apply is online. You can do so through the links below, and learn more about the card here:

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.

Reflex® Platinum Mastercard® Review

at Continental Finance'ssecure website

BEST OVERALL RATING

★★★★

3.9

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
  • 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
  • Fast and easy application process; results in seconds
  • Use your card at locations everywhere Mastercard® is accepted
  • Checking Account Required
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
35.90% Fixed
$75 - $125
Bad, Fair, or No Credit

To be eligible to apply, you must live in the United States, be at least 18 years old, prove you have enough income to afford the monthly minimum payments, provide your Social Security Number, and finally, have a bank account.

You can also prequalify on the issuer’s website by filling out and submitting an online form with the following items:

    • Name

    • Contact information

    • Social Security Number

    • Total monthly income

    • Job status

    • Date of birth

    • Whether you have an active checking account or debit card

    • Whether you want an additional card

Alternatively, can respond to a pre-approved offer you may have received in the mail. The offer means your ultimate approval is likely but not guaranteed.

Prequalification does not require a credit check. But if you are preapproved and choose to apply for the card, the issuer will then run a hard credit check that may slightly affect your credit score. Assuming all goes well, you can e-sign the cardmember agreement and expect your card to arrive within 10 days (sooner if you pay for expedited handling).

Benefits & Drawbacks

The Reflex® Platinum Mastercard® caters to consumers who want to rebuild their credit. It offers slim benefits beyond a credit limit increase, yet its interest rate and fees are substantial.

Benefits

    • Credit reporting: The bank reports your account to all three major credit bureaus, and consistently paying your bill on time is the most efficient way to build or rebuild credit.

    • Free credit scores: The card provides free access to your VantageScore from Experian when you sign up for electronic statements.

    • Potential for higher credit limit: Initial credit limits range from $300 to $1,000. Your limit may double after six months of responsible usage.

    • Fast Processing: You can apply quickly and receive an instant response.

    • Widely accepted: Merchants welcome this Mastercard worldwide.

    • Mastercard Zero Liability Protection: You don’t have to pay for unauthorized charges arising from card loss or fraudulent use.

    • High credit limit: The maximum credit limit is $4,000, which is pretty high for an unsecured card for bad credit.

These benefits, apart from credit-limit increases, are basic and available from most credit cards.

Drawbacks

    • High fees: The card charges an annual fee ranging from $75 - $125, which increases after the first year. There’s also a monthly maintenance fee after the first year. Reflex automatically assesses these fees, reducing your available credit limit until paid. Various additional fees apply.

    • High APR: The card charges a 35.90% Fixed. Though high, other subprime cards charge even higher interest rates.

    • No rewards: Unlike many other credit cards, this one offers no rewards program or cash back benefits. There is no signup bonus or introductory 0% APR, and it does not support balance transfers.

Given these disadvantages, it may be worth considering the following alternative credit cards.

Other Cards Worth Considering

The following three unsecured cards compete directly with the Reflex® Platinum Mastercard®. They are at least as attractive to subprime consumers and maybe even more so. Be sure to carefully compare the regular APRs, annual fees, and follow the links to the card’s terms for more details on potential fees.

Milestone® Mastercard® Review

at Milestone Mastercard®'ssecure website

BEST OVERALL RATING

★★★★
3.8

OVERALL RATING

  • Greater access to credit than before - $700 credit limit
  • Get a Mastercard accepted online, in store and in app
  • Account history is reported to the three major credit bureaus in the U.S.
  • $0 liability* for unauthorized use
  • Access your account online or from your mobile device 24/7
  • *Fraud protection provided by Mastercard Zero Liability Protection. If approved, you'll receive the Mastercard Guide to Benefits that details the complete terms with your card.
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
See terms
See terms
Fair/Good

If you qualify for the Milestone® Mastercard®, you can gain access to an initial credit limit of $700. The issuer designed this card for consumers looking for an accessible, no-frills product.

The card offers a few essential benefits, such a mobile app, $0 liability protection, fraud protection, and reporting to all three major credit bureaus.

BEST OVERALL RATING

★★★★
4.0

OVERALL RATING

  • 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
  • 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 to access your account from your desktop or smartphone, with Capital One's mobile app
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
29.99% (Variable)
$0
Limited, Bad

The Capital One Platinum Secured Credit Card requires a refundable $49 security deposit for an initial credit line of $200. It comes with a mobile app, $0 fraud liability, and no annual fee. You can avoid the card’s high interest rate by paying your entire balance each month.

The initial credit limit is modest, but the issuer will automatically consider cardholders for an increase in as little as six months — with no additional deposit required.

Surge® Platinum Mastercard® Review

at Continental Finance'ssecure website

BEST OVERALL RATING

★★★★
4.1

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!
  • Monthly Credit Score – Sign up for electronic statements, and get your Vantage 3.0 Score Credit Score From Experian
  • 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
  • Fast and easy application process; results in seconds
  • Online account access 24/7
  • Checking Account Required
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
See website for Details
See website for Details
35.90% Fixed
$75 - $125
See website for Details*

The Surge® Platinum Mastercard® is the very definition of a no-frills, low-cost, unsecured credit card. The card offers a prequalification process that does not impact your credit score. It also reports your payments to all three credit bureaus.

The card’s introductory credit limit is up to $1,000 and doubles when you make your first six monthly payments on time. The card has an annual fee and an APR on the higher end, but can be a good unsecured option for someone looking to rebuild their credit.

Real Reviews From Cardholders

Reviewers have mixed opinions about the card. Lora is a fan:

“I have nothing bad to say. They helped me out tremendously. And I would recommend this company to anybody. My experience was wonderful.”

Lina L. has a different opinion:

“Terrible experience with this card. They start hounding for payment days before it is due. Annual and maintenance fees are expensive. Card insurance is the worst! [I had to] close the account to correct my personal information.”

Read through the cardmember agreement carefully to understand its fees and decide whether the card makes sense for your wallet.

FAQs: What is the Credit Limit?

The card’s initial credit limit is $300 to $1,000, depending on your creditworthiness. You can double your limit in as little as six months by paying your bills on time. After that, the issuer will review your account periodically for future limit increases.

Its maximum credit limit is $4,000, and it does not charge a credit limit increase fee.

What are the APR and Annual Fee?

The Reflex® Platinum Mastercard® charges a 35.90% Fixed for purchases and cash advances. The APR varies with the market based on the Prime Rate.

The card provides a grace period between the close of each billing cycle and the subsequent payment due date. You will not accrue interest on purchases if you pay your entire balance by the due date. The card charges interest on cash advances beginning on the transaction date.

The initial annual fee ranges from $75 - $125, depending on your creditworthiness. After the first year, the card’s annual fee increases, and the optional monthly maintenance fee will begin.

The card assesses the annual fee before you begin using your card and will reduce the amount of credit you initially have available. For example, your initial available credit will be $225 or lower if the card assigns you a $300 credit limit. The card will reduce your available credit even further if you order an additional card.

This card is ideal for someone who can pay on time, build up their credit score, and move on to a better card after a year.

How Does the Mobile App Work?

The Reflex® Platinum Mastercard® offers Android and iOS versions of its mobile app, which you can use to manage your credit card and make payments. You set up the app by entering the account information for your credit card and checking account.

The app displays your payment due date, current balance, and recent activities. You can make a credit card payment by transferring money from your bank account. You cannot use the app to pay with a debit card, although you can do so over the phone.

The app lets you set various alerts, including the following:

    • Balance exceeds threshold

    • Balance is within a specified amount of your credit limit

    • Credit card payment due date

    • Credit limit reached or exceeded

    • Payment post to account

    • Statement available

Certain features are missing from the app. You cannot use it to set up automatic payments, although it will tell you whether you established autopay. As mentioned, you cannot make a debit card payment with the app, and you can only view one credit card per login session.

In addition, you cannot freeze your card from the mobile app, order a replacement card, or chat with a customer representative. These will need to be done on the bank’s website or over the phone.

Can I Withdraw Cash Advances?

You can get cash advances from your card at an ATM or from a bank teller. The card charges a transaction fee for each advance, and you accrue interest daily on the advance until you repay it. There is no interest-free grace period as there is for purchases.

But you cannot take a cash advance during the first 95 days your account is open. Unlike some competitors, the card does not waive the cash advance fee for the first year.

Who Issues the Reflex® Platinum Mastercard®?

Celtic Bank issues the Reflex Credit Card on behalf of Continental Finance Company, LLC, the card’s marketer and servicer. CFC, founded in 2005, manages several credit card brands for more than 2.6 million consumers with less-than-perfect credit.

CFC received accreditation from the Better Business Bureau in 2017. It has a BBB rating of A+, but its customer review score is only 3.31 out of five. The company has closed 177 complaints in the last 12 months.

Trustpilot gives Continental Finance a “Poor” rating of 1.8 out of five. The rating service reports that CFC hasn’t replied to negative reviews for the past 12 months.

In 2015, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau ordered CFC to “refund an estimated $2.7 million to approximately 98,000 consumers who were charged illegal credit card fees.” The CFPB found that the company misrepresented certain fees and charged consumers illegally. CFC paid a civil penalty of $250,000.

Note that the CFPB charges pertained to CFC’s Cerulean, Matrix, and Verve subprime credit cards, not the Reflex® Platinum Mastercard®.

Salt Lake City’s Celtic Bank was incorporated in 2000 and began operating the following year. It is not BBB-accredited, and its rating is B. Its BBB customer review score is poor: 1.32 out of five. Customers have filed 175 complaints against the bank in the last three years.

The bank receives an “Average” rating of 2.9 from Trustpilot.

How Does it Compare to a Secured Credit Card?

The Reflex® Platinum Mastercard® and the typical secured card cater to consumers with limited or poor credit. Both can help you build or rebuild credit by reporting your payments to one or more credit bureaus.

The following chart contrasts the two products:

Feature: Reflex® Platinum Mastercard® Typical Secured Credit Card
Type of Card Unsecured credit card Secured credit card
Annual Fee $75 - $125 Usually low or no annual fee
Monthly Maintenance Fees Optional. The card waives the fee for the first 12 months. None
Interest Rate (APR) for Purchases 35.90% Fixed Generally lower
Credit Limit The initial limit is $300 to $1,000, with potential increases up to $4,000, depending on your creditworthiness. The initial amount doubles after six months of timely payments.​​ The initial credit limit is equal to your security deposit. Some cards accept deposits as high as $5,000 to $10,000. The issuer may refund the deposit after six to 12 months of timely payments.
Security Deposit Not required Required (usually $200 to $500)
Credit Building Reports to major credit bureaus
Rewards None Several secured cards offer rewards
Eligibility Requirements Less stringent, designed for poor or no credit history Requires cash deposit, generally easier approval
Foreign Transaction Fees The card charges this fee for each international transaction. Some secured cards waive this fee.
Additional Benefits The card provides free credit scores and a mobile app. Varies, mainly focused on credit building

We recommend you seriously consider a secured credit card with no annual fee instead of the Reflex® Platinum Mastercard®, which charges up to $125 upfront and possibly more than $200 annually after that.

A secured card also requires an upfront payment, but the issuer refunds your deposit when you close the account or upgrade to an unsecured card. In contrast, you can’t get a refund on the annual and monthly maintenance fees of an unsecured credit card.

Both products are easy to get, but some secured cards do not check credit and have no effect on your credit score. We believe secured credit cards clearly offer several advantages over high-cost, unsecured cards.

This Card May Be For You If…

You may want to apply for this card for several reasons, including the following:

    • Easy access: The card accepts applicants with less-than-perfect (i.e., fair or poor) credit. You may want to obtain this card if other issuers have rejected your applications.

    • Credit limit increase opportunity: It offers the potential for credit limit increases and may double your initial credit after you make at least six monthly payments by the due date. Further increases are possible, up to $4,000​​.

    • Building or Rebuilding Credit: The bank reports to all three major credit bureaus (Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion). Triple reporting is the most efficient method for building credit, but you must pay your bill on time each month.

Before applying, please check out the three alternative cards included in this review. Some cost less and deliver more perks.

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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