Review of USA Gold Card
The USA Gold Card was last reviewed on 10th December 2005
Summary - The USA Gold Card is a catalog credit card that is specifically designed for those who are looking to establish or re-establish their credit. We always recommend those with bad credit to get a secured credit card as it is probably the most cost effective among the alternative sub-prime credit cards. However, those who have been consistently turned down for any credit card application may want to consider the USA Gold Card. However, you have to be aware of what this card will and will not do for you. Read on...
Fees - There is a one-time application fee of $149.95, consisting of an enrollment fee of $114.95 and an application fee of $35.00. The application fee of $35.00 is non-refundable once you apply for the card. Otherwise, there is no annual fee, maintanence fee, interest charges or transaction charges. Hence, aside from the one-time application fee, the ongoing maintanence cost is lower than most credit cards in this category. If you carry a balance, you have to pay either the greater of 5% of the balance or $10.00 for your monthly payment.
usashoppingclub.com - This catalog card can only be used at usashoppingclub.com. There ctalog store claims to have over 21,000 items, including household branded items.
Figure 1. usashoppingclub.com
You can get an unsecured credit line of up to $5,000. The amount will be lower initially and your credit limit will be increased periodically if you have made timely payments. Your monthly payments will also be reported to one major credit bureau.
$300 Grocery Gift Card - USA Gold offers a $300 grocery gift card consisting on 30 $10.00 coupon certificates.
Fine Prints - There are a few fine prints that you have to be aware of before you apply for this card.
Firstly, when you are approved, USA Gold will give you a 30-day free trial whereby you can access your credit report. (On their website, they are not specific as to which credit bureau you do you get your report from). However, after 30 days, they will start charging you $9.95 per month to access your credit report unless you inform them that you are cancelling this service. This is rather annoying as many people will not even be aware that they have been signed up for this service. You can actually get a free report from the three major credit bureaus once a year. Even if you wanted to get instant access to your reports and credit scores, you will be better off buying this service from the credit bureaus themselves.
Secondly, under the terms and conditions, you will be automatically given a 30 trial of USA Gold elite membership program (as a cardholder, you are a "member" of the usa shopping club. As an Elite Status Member, you will receive privileges in USA Credit Care, Medco Health Prescription Discount Plan and USA Emergency Roadside Assistance Plan. If you choose to be an "elite member", you will be charged $19.95 monthly fee (more like your bank account will be debited with a monthly $19.95 monthly payment to USA Gold) until you call them up to cancel it.
Thirdly, on the USA Gold Card website, there is a section that says that you stand a chance to win a free DVD. To get a chance to win that free dvd, you have to once again enroll in a membership of an external website call freecooloffers.com. Unlike the previous two cases, you are not "automatically enrolled or given a free trial". My take on this to forget about this offer as your one-time payment to get this card will probably get you a very good Sony DVD palyer!
Lastly, when you submit an application for the card, you would have authorized USA Gold Card to debit your bank account of $114.95 as an enrollment fee and $35.00 for the application fee. The $35.00 application fee is non-refundable (which means if you change your mind about getting this card, you will lose $35.00). Hence, you have to be sure this is the card you want before you apply.
Verdict - For those with bad credit, the most cost effective card to get (in our opinion) is a secured credit card or even a prepaid credit card. The main disadvantages of a catalog credit card is that it can only be used in an issuers catalog store. However, if you have been constantly denied a credit card because of your credit history, then you might want to consider a catalog credit card like the USA Gold Card
. Just be aware of the fine prints, do not over-extend your credit, pay your bills fully on time. Despite its limitations of where you can use them, your monthly payments are reported to one credit bureau and you can use it to rebuild your credit .
- Reports to one credit bureau
- Can only use card at usashoppingclub.com
|USA Gold Card
|Cost and Fees
|One-time Application Fee
|Fees for late payment
|Fees for Returned checks
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