Horizon Gold Card Review
Horizon Gold Card
CardRatings Editor's Analysis: Pros & Cons
- New cardholders receive a $500 credit limit which can be used exclusively on purchases at the online Horizon Outlet Store (www.thehorizonoutlet.com). Aside from the $500 unsecured card, membership benefits include access to My Privacy Protection, My Universal RX, My Roadside Protect and My Legal Assistance benefits.
- No credit check is necessary to open an account, and the online application does not take very long to complete.
- The Annual Percentage Rate (APR) for all purchases is always 0%.
- While a $500 unsecured card and membership benefits are nice perks, they come with a monthly membership fee of $24.95 which is auto-debited from your account.
Horizon Gold Card EssentialsThe Horizon Gold Card is a specific type of financial product that requires a deposit of cash up front from the cardholder which can then be used for purchases only at the Horizon Outlet, an online shopping mall. Since it is a secured store card, the Horizon Gold Card doesn't require excellent credit to apply. In fact, there is no credit check when applying for this card, so even those with bad credit will have no trouble opening an account.
If you apply and join, you'll receive various benefits, including:
- A $500 credit limit -- which is, of course, the $500 you deposited -- that can be used exclusively on purchases at the online Horizon Outlet Store
- The annual percentage rate (APR) for all purchases is always 0 percent
- Access to My Privacy Protection, which means you'll receive an annual credit report
- Access to My Universal RX
- 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 are allowed one call every four months.)
- Access to My Legal Assistance, which allows you one 30-minute phone or internet consultation with a legal professional in your area who specializes in your area of law interest
What our editors like most about the Horizon Gold CardMany secured store cards charge a high annual percentage rate on purchases, but that is not the case with the Horizon Gold Card. The annual percentage rate for all purchases made at the Horizon Outlet Store with the Horizon Gold Card will always be zero -- as in no interest is ever charged for the purchases you make.
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.)
Potential downsides of the Horizon Gold CardAside from the fact that you can only use the Horizon Gold Card at the Horizon Outlet online shopping mall, there are some other downsides to consider.
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.
How the Horizon Gold Card Compares to Other Credit Cards
Horizon Gold Card vs. Merrick Bank Double Your Line™ Visa® Credit Card (This card is not currently available on CardRatings)If you have bad credit and want a credit card that can build your credit, arguably you can do better than the Horizon Gold Card.
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.
Horizon Gold Card vs. Milestone® Unsecured Mastercard®If you can't swing the $500 deposit to open the Horizon Gold Card, you might consider the Milestone® Unsecured Mastercard®. It is an unsecured credit card, so there's no security deposit. The Milestone® card also has a quick pre-qualification process that doesn't affect your credit score. In addition, Milestone® reports your account history to the three major credit bureaus in the U.S., which may help you improve your credit standing if you use the credit card responsibly and pay your balance off each month.
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.
Who should get the Horizon Gold CardIdeally, the Horizon Gold Card is for people with bad credit who enjoy shopping at the Horizon Outlet online store.
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.