I received my pre-approved offer for Total Visa Card by Plains Commerce Bank late last year. Having previously discarded all of my credit cards, I decided to fill out the form online. Why not? I could use some help re-building my credit.
The interest rate was high, although I have seen higher on credit cards that were not even market toward low credit score ratings. The set up fee was charged to your account in the amount of $200. This included an annual fee, a set-up fee, program participation fees, and things of that nature. It is not an amount that would be charged every year. Leaving you with $50 credit to start.
This does seem steep, but when you have had a hard time building or re-building your credit, it is not all that bad.
They charge a monthly participation fee of $6 billed to your card. Again, seems steep, but for those with less than perfect credit the option to help re-build your credit worthiness is priceless.
I proceeded to max my card out immediately, to test the worthiness of the card and the bank. I paid my payments on time, more than the minimum most months and had zero problems.
Until one day I decided there was something I just had to have and I charged it. I forgot about the monthly participation fee and was over my limit. Therefore, I expected an over the limit fee, as stated in their terms.
To my surprise there was no fee. Since my payment after the fee was added was received before its due date I incurred no extra charges.
Last month I sent my payment a little late. They say you have to send it in within 10 days of the due date or you may incur late fees. With the holidays and such I totally forgot. The payment was due January 2 and I mailed it on December 30. Not giving it much time to get there.
January 4 the calls started coming in asking where my payment was. On January 6 I decided to actually answer the phone for one of these calls. The lady on the other end was rude, insinuating I did not send my payment. I informed her of the check number and the amount as well as the date sent.
She proceeded to try to convince me to make a payment over the phone, with a fee of $4.95 for convenience. I told her I am not paying the bill twice and the money is on the way. She informed me that if the payment were not received that day I would incur the late fee.
I was nice, but insured her that it was post dated before the due date and if I incurred the late fee I would close my account immediately. She advised me they do not honor postmarks as the official date when deciding to render a late fee.
I decided it was not worth arguing and told her to have a wonderful day and ended the call.
An hour later I looked at my balance online and wouldn't you know it, there was the credit for my payment received that day.
I give them a higher rating that some would because they do have a grace period before incurring a late fee. Most credit cards do not. Their customer service is lacking but in a busy way of life and busy times that extra phone call to see if you sent your payment and offer a payment over the phone may prove a useful experience.
Overall I like my Total Visa Card, although I will not be keeping it very long with all the fees.