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If you apply and join, you'll receive various benefits, including:
The online application process is quick and easy to do, and no credit check is necessary to apply for the card.
We also like the access to My Roadside Protect which allows you to call for a tow truck, provided it doesn't cost over $50 and you don't need to be towed more than 15 miles. (You're allowed one call every four months.)
The card comes with some hefty fees. There is a monthly fee of $24.95 which is auto-debited each month from your bank account (and amounts to $299.40 a year). The website mentions some additional fees, including a one-time card issuance and account validation fee of $5, an outlet store delivery signature verification fee of $3.50, and an outlet store residential delivery fee of $2. You'll also have to pay for shipping costs when you make your purchases at the Horizon Outlet Store. These shipping and processing fees, according to the website, are non-refundable.
Some of the membership benefits that are associated with the card sound promising but may not offer strong value. For example, access to My Privacy Protection essentially means you'll receive an annual credit report; but before you get too jazzed, keep in mind that you can always get a free credit report once a year from each of the three major credit bureaus through the federally authorized site, AnnualCreditReport.com.
Another perk that sounds promising but may not be especially fruitful is access to the prescription benefit My Universal RX. The Horizon website indicates that you could save up to 40 percent of the cost of "covered prescription medications." That said, you can only see the list of qualified medications if you sign up for the card (which means spending $500 to see that list). And another concern is that the words "up to 40 percent" essentially means the best you'll save on some medications is 40 percent. Theoretically, you might only save 4 percent.
For instance, the Merrick Bank Double Your Line™ Visa® Credit Card will charge you to use their card; but the annual fee is only $36 and, in the years after that, it is only $3. So doing the math, there is a sizable difference in fees -- $299.40 a year for Horizon and $36 for Merrick.
A potential downside, however, is that Merrick doesn't share on its website any information about its APR, which would lead one to suspect that it is frighteningly high. On the other hand, if you have bad credit, the goal is never to carry a balance, and paying off your card every month is the best way to improve your credit score. If you often carry a balance, you'll want to think a while before applying for this card.
Another plus of the Merrick Bank Double Your Line™ Visa® Credit Card is that your rate -- whatever it is -- won't go up if you are late with a payment. The Merrick Bank Double Your Line™ Visa® Credit Card, true to its name, will double whatever credit limit it gives you -- if you make your minimum payment on time for seven consecutive months. That could help your credit, if you do pay off your card every month or at least keep a very low balance. It means you have a strong credit-utilization ratio, which is a big deal for lenders. (They like to see that you could borrow a lot but are borrowing less than you need to, especially if it's under 30 percent.) If they double your credit, however, and you max out the card, lenders will not be impressed, and your credit score is not likely to improve. This card also promises to report your account history to the three major credit bureaus in the U.S., instead of "at least one," like Horizon's website states.
The Milestone® Unsecured Mastercard® has an annual fee as well, between $35 and $99. It varies depending on your credit score. Even if you pay $99, though, that is far less than Horizon's $299.40.
Credit lines start at $300 for the Milestone® Unsecured Mastercard®; but unlike other unsecured credit cards, your credit limit will never increase from that initial starting point.
Whether you've been shopping the Horizon Outlet online store for years, or you just have really bad credit and are looking for a way to improve it, that still doesn't necessarily mean you should apply for this card. You're going to want to read all of the fine print first, or at least seriously consider the potential downsides listed above. Even if we've just described you to a T, the Horizon Gold Card, as noted, is, well, interesting, but you may find other cards out there that offer 0 percent APR and are better for improving bad credit.