5 Things to Know About the First Digital Credit Card - NerdWallet (2023)


In internet terms, the First Digital credit card is less like free Wi-Fi and more akin to pay-per-use web access at Staples: It does the job it's intended to do, but it's gonna cost you.

Sure, the card has a couple of compelling features if you're looking to rebuild your credit. You can qualify for it with less-than-perfect credit scores and without having to put down a security deposit, and you'll be able to use it anywhere that accepts Mastercard. Plus, it reports payments to the three major credit bureaus — Experian, Equifax and TransUnion — so it can be a helpful tool if you use it responsibly, including making payments in full and on time. It even earns nominal rewards.

But in nearly every other area, the First Digital Card falls short. Because of its confusing terms and exorbitant fees for relatively normal requests, you'd be better off choosing a different credit card — even if you have severely damaged credit.

Here's what to know about the First Digital credit card.

» MORE: NerdWallet's best credit cards for bad credit

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The First Digital Card, issued by Synovus, is different from the similarly named Digital First Card, issued by Celtic Bank and serviced by Deserve.

1. There are fees, fees and … more fees

The First Digital Card doesn't require you to put down a security deposit. But in exchange, you'll be hit with a long list of ludicrous fees:

  • Program fee: A one-time charge of $95.

  • Annual fee: $75 for the first year; $48 after that.

  • Monthly servicing fee: $8.25 a month ($99 per year), waived for the first year.

  • Additional card fee: $29 per year if you request an extra card.

  • Premium plastic card design fee: A $10 charge if you pick a higher-end look for the card.

  • Credit limit increase fee: If you should happen to get a credit limit increase, you'll be subject to a fee equal to 25% of that increase.

  • Express delivery fee: A $35 fee to deliver your card. (Note: It’s not clear in the terms and conditions whether this is an automatic fee or an optional fee for faster delivery. First Digital and its issuing partner, Synovus, didn’t respond to requests for comment.)

  • Copying fee: A $3 charge may apply if you request an additional monthly billing statement or other document.

  • Expedited telephone payment fee: A $10 fee if you pay your bill over the phone.

If you never incur any of the optional fees, that still leaves the program fee, annual fee and monthly servicing fee (assuming that the $35 express delivery fee is actually optional). These fees alone add up to $170 in the first year and $147 after that.

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Even for those with bad credit (credit scores of 629 or lower), there are plenty of less-expensive options in the long term, including secured credit cards, which require that you put down an upfront deposit that becomes your credit limit. Yes, a security deposit can be inconvenient and/or cost prohibitive; a typical minimum deposit is $200. But you're not going to fare much better with the First Digital credit card, which will cost you nearly that much in fees alone in Year One. And of course, unlike those fees, security deposits are refundable.

With the Capital One Platinum Secured Credit Card, you might even be able to qualify for a lower-than-average deposit. Depending on your credit, you could get a $200 credit limit with a $49, $99 or $200 deposit. Plus, the card has a $0 annual fee.

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If you apply for the First Digital credit card, expect dial-up-like speed. It could take three weeks to find out whether you're approved.

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2. You'll earn 1% cash back, but there are restrictions

The First Digital credit card earns 1% cash back, but it doesn't work the way most rewards cards do. First, you'll only earn those rewards when you pay your bill, not when you make purchases. Plus, you'll have to wait until your account has been active for six months before you can redeem them.

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Earning rewards is a perk on a credit-building card, but only if those rewards outweigh the card's fees. And for a lot of people, that might not be the case here. Factoring in all of the mandatory fees on the First Digital Card, you'd need to spend over $1,400 a month in your first year (and pay off that bill and wait six months to access your rewards) to break even.

Instead, you might consider a product like the Capital One Quicksilver Secured Cash Rewards Credit Card. You'll need to provide a $200 refundable security deposit, but the annual fee is $0, and you'll earn 1.5% back on every purchase. Plus, unlike the First Digital Card, there's a potential upgrade path to an unsecured card with the same issuer once you're ready.

3. Don't use the card outside the U.S.

The First Digital credit card is a Mastercard, which is widely accepted internationally. But you'd still be better off leaving the card at home. According to the card's terms and conditions, you can't use this card to make purchases outside the U.S. or in any foreign currency.

It's unclear how this works in practice because the terms then state that if you do make a purchase in a foreign currency, you're subject to an exchange rate that isn't stated upfront. It seems like First Digital won't outright ban you from using your card to make purchases outside the U.S. — but if you do, you could be hit with fees and might have no way of knowing what those will be ahead of time. NerdWallet asked First Digital and its issuing partner, Synovus, for clarification on this multiple times and didn't receive an answer.

It's not uncommon for a credit card to charge foreign transaction fees, but these fees are typically listed clearly in a card's terms and conditions, so you know exactly what you're paying upfront. Some cards even waive this fee. Capital One, for instance, doesn't charge foreign transaction fees on any card.

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4. You don't need a bank account to pay your bill

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With the First Digital credit card, you can pay your bill with a money order, which is a big plus if you don't have a bank account. But even then, there are still better options.

The OpenSky® Secured Visa® Credit Card also allows you to pay your bill with a money order, and the card costs a lot less. You'll need to provide at least $200 for a security deposit, but the card charges only a $35 annual fee. Better yet, applying doesn't affect your credit because the card's issuer doesn't perform a credit check as part of the application process.

🤓Nerdy Tip

If you're having trouble getting approved for a bank account, a second chance bank account could be an option.

5. The interest rate is astronomical

As of May 2023, the interest rate on the First Digital Card is 35.99%, which is extremely high, even among cards for bad credit. Almost all of First Digital's competitors are cheaper options if you don't pay your bill in full every month.

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But if you already have some credit card debt, you can get a slight reprieve by transferring the balance to the Discover it® Secured Credit Card. You'll get a 10.99% intro APR on Balance Transfers for 6 months, and then the ongoing APR of 27.74% Variable APR. The Discover it® Secured Credit Card also has a $0 annual fee and earns rewards: 2% back at gas stations and restaurants and 1% back on everything else.


What are 5 things credit card companies don t want you to know? ›

7 Things Your Credit Card Company Doesn't Want You to Know
  • #1: You're the boss. ...
  • #2: You can lower your current interest rate. ...
  • #3: You can play hard to get before you apply for a new card. ...
  • #4: You don't actually get 45 days' notice when your bank decides to raise your interest rate. ...
  • #5: You can get a late fee removed.

Does the X1 card do a hard pull? ›

Since the X1 credit card doesn't use credit scores in its approval determination, it will not affect the credit scores of those who are declined. Those who are approved for the card and accept will experience a hard pull on their credit, which may slightly affect their credit score.

What are some facts about the first credit card? ›

Invented in 1950, the Diners Club card is known as the first modern-day credit card. The idea came from Frank McNamara, a businessman who'd forgotten his wallet while out to dinner in New York. He and his business partner Ralph Schneider would soon invent the Diners Club card as a way to pay without carrying cash.

How does X1 card verify income? ›

X1 Card Income Requirements

During the prequalification process, you will mention your annual income and then link your personal banking accounts using Plaid to verify your claim. The income verification process is easiest when you receive direct deposits as they automatically categorize as earned income.

What are 6 things a credit card companies must disclose? ›

Total of payments, Payment schedule, Prepayment/late payment penalties, If applicable to the transaction: (1) Total sales cost, (2) Demand feature, (3) Security interest, (4) Insurance, (5) Required deposit, and (6) Reference to contract.

What are 3 credit card mistakes to avoid? ›

These 5 credit card mistakes can negatively impact your credit score and lead to debt
  • Carrying a balance.
  • Using most or all of your credit limit.
  • Taking cash advances.
  • Making late payments.
  • Chasing rewards.
  • 5 best practices when using credit cards.
Sep 28, 2022

Is the X1 Card for bad credit? ›

The $0-annual-fee X1 Card is a rewards-earning credit card that lowers many of the traditional barriers to credit access. It's possible to find out whether you're approved with no impact on your credit scores, and those with less-than-ideal credit histories may still qualify.

How many people have the X1 credit card? ›

X1's waitlist has 500,000 people on it, according to Rao. Chan said hearing users rave about the card's interface helped sway him in its favor.

How long is X1 credit card waitlist? ›

Marketed as a “smart card,” the X1+ Card features all that the original X1 Card offers, plus additional perks, protections and rewards. The waitlist opens Jan. 26, 2023, and the card will be available to consumers this spring.

What is the #1 rule of credit cards? ›

Rule #1: Always pay your bill on time (and in full) The most important principle for using credit cards is to always pay your bill on time and in full. Following this simple rule can help you avoid interest charges, late fees and poor credit scores.

What are 5 facts about credit cards? ›

7 Fun Facts About Credit Cards
  • Your credit card numbers are generated by using an algorithm. ...
  • First digit denotes the segment it falls under. ...
  • All the world's credit cards together could circle the earth 3.5 times. ...
  • There are 10,000 worldwide credit card transactions every second. ...
  • Cards expire not your account.
Jan 27, 2023

How many credit cards should beginners have? ›

However, it's generally a good idea to have two or three active credit card accounts, in addition to other types of credit such as student loans, an auto loan or a mortgage. Just remember: The number of credit cards you own is less important than how you use them.

How much are X1 card points worth? ›

The points you earn with the X1 or X1+ Card are worth 0.7 cents each for cash back and one cent each as a statement credit for purchases with over 50 brands, including Airbnb, Apple, Best Buy, Amazon, Etsy and many more. X1+ cardholders have additional redemption options that include: Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts.

Who are the competitors of the X1 card? ›

The best alternatives to X1 Card are Apple, Uber, and Petal. If these 3 options don't work for you, we've listed over 10 alternatives below.

What bureau does X1 card pull from? ›

What credit bureau does X1 card use? Users report a hard pull from Experian upon approval and reporting to Experian and Transunion. The card should start to report to all three bureaus once they have enough cardholders to do so.

What is the 10 rule for credit cards? ›

The rule dictates that total consumer debt shouldn't exceed 20% of your annual take-home pay and monthly debt payments shouldn't exceed 10% of your monthly take-home pay. This rule of thumb can help consumers cap the amount of debt they hold, which is important for their financial health and their credit score.

What are red flags for credit card companies? ›

Common signs of credit card fraud
  • Large orders. ...
  • Same product, multiple skews. ...
  • Big-ticket items. ...
  • Large orders, multiple payment cards. ...
  • Same address, different cards. ...
  • One card, multiple shipping addresses. ...
  • Same IP address, different cards. ...
  • Multiple orders, similar card numbers.

What are examples of red flags on a credit report? ›

Red Flag Alert examples include address discrepancies, Social Security number discrepancies, or information provided by the applicant is inconsistent with information on the consumer in the credit file.

What is the 91 3 rule credit card? ›

line of credit. so what this means. is that you are going to wait 91 days and. three full statement cycles before you decide. to ask either for a credit limit increase. or for a new line of credit all together. to maximize the amount of funding that you get.

What is the 2 3 4 rule for credit cards? ›

2/3/4 Rule

Here's how the rule works: You can be approved for up to two new credit cards every rolling two-month period. You can be approved for up to three new credit cards every rolling 12-month period. You can be approved for up to four new credit cards every rolling 24-month period.

What are the three C's of credit cards? ›

Examining the C's of Credit

For example, when it comes to actually applying for credit, the “three C's” of credit – capital, capacity, and character – are crucial. 1 Specifically: Capital is savings and assets that can be used as collateral for loans.

What is a Tier 1 credit card? ›

Tier 1 credit is generally defined as a credit score of 750 or higher. The term is most commonly used among auto lenders, but other lenders use it as well. People with tier 1 credit have the highest level of creditworthiness and will usually receive the most favorable terms on loans and lines of credit.

What is the highest credit score tier? ›

A perfect credit score of 850 is hard to get, but an excellent credit score is more achievable. If you want to get the best credit cards, mortgages and competitive loan rates — which can save you money over time — excellent credit can help you qualify. “Excellent” is the highest tier of credit scores you can have.

What is an infinity credit card? ›

Visa Infinite is the highest level of Visa-branded credit cards, above Visa Signature and Visa Traditional. There are only a few Visa Infinite cards in the U.S., as they're typically only the most high-end credit cards offering the best benefits of any card on the Visa network.

What is the single biggest credit card trap for most people? ›

The minimum payment mindset

Here's how most people get trapped in credit card debt: You use your card for a purchase you can't afford or want to defer payment, and then you make only the minimum payment that month.

How many credit cards does a millionaire have? ›

Millionaires lug around more credit cards
Number of credit cards% of ownership (millionaires)% of ownership (non-millionaires)
4 or more12%7%
1 more row
Apr 14, 2023

Is the X1 credit card metal? ›

The X1 card is made with 17 grams of sleek stainless steel. AFAR partners with CreditCards.com and may receive a commission from card issuers.

What is the annual fee for X1+? ›

The X1+ Card is a travel credit card version of the previously released X1 Card. This $75 annual fee card comes with benefits like airport lounge access for flight delays of at least one hour.

How long is the X1 invitation good for? ›

4. The referral bonus isn't taxable, like most others. Only some credit cards offer a referral bonus, and X1 is one of them. You can invite as many friends as you want, and if they get the card, you both can earn 4x, 5x or even 10x points on all of your purchases for up to 30 days.

Does X1 report authorized users? ›

We may report information about this Account to credit bureaus in the Authorized User's name that may appear on their credit report. This could include information about late payments, overlimit amounts, returned payments or other violations of this Agreement.

What is the credit card 7% rule? ›

Individuals with a classic FICO score above 795 use an average 7% of their available credit. As your revolving debt climbs, your credit score will begin dropping — long before it reaches the recommended utilization limit of 30% of your available credit.

What is the 15 3 rule for credit? ›

The Takeaway

The 15/3 credit card payment rule is a strategy that involves making two payments each month to your credit card company. You make one payment 15 days before your statement is due and another payment three days before the due date.

What is the 2 90 credit card rule? ›

2 in 90 Rule

You can only get approved for two credit cards every 90 days. This means that if you apply for a third card within the 90-day window, you'll automatically be rejected. These rules apply to credit cards only and not charge cards, so you can apply for as many charge cards as you like.

What are the 4 C's of credit cards? ›

Note: This is one of five blogs breaking down the Four Cs and a P of credit worthiness – character, capital, capacity, collateral, and purpose.

What are the 9 rules for using a credit card? ›

Here are my nine rules for using credit cards wisely.
  • Set Up Autopay. ...
  • Always Pay the Full Statement Balance. ...
  • Make Sure Your Credit Balance is Less Than What's in Your Checking Account. ...
  • Keep a Buffer. ...
  • Never Buy Something On Credit You Couldn't Pay Cash For. ...
  • Don't Save Your Card Info to Your Online Accounts.
Aug 26, 2021

Is 20 credit cards bad? ›

There's no such thing as a bad number of credit cards to have, but having more cards than you can successfully manage may do more harm than good. On the positive side, having different cards can prevent you from overspending on a single card—and help you save money, earn rewards, and lower your credit utilization.

Does cancelling a card hurt credit? ›

Credit experts advise against closing credit cards, even when you're not using them, for good reason. “Canceling a credit card has the potential to reduce your score, not increase it,” says Beverly Harzog, credit card expert and consumer finance analyst for U.S. News & World Report.

How much should I spend if my credit limit is $1000? ›

A good guideline is the 30% rule: Use no more than 30% of your credit limit to keep your debt-to-credit ratio strong. Staying under 10% is even better. In a real-life budget, the 30% rule works like this: If you have a card with a $1,000 credit limit, it's best not to have more than a $300 balance at any time.

Is $1,000 good for first credit card? ›

Generally, first-time credit card applicants receive small credit limits. A credit limit of $500 to $1,000 is average for a first credit card, but it may be higher if you have, say, a history of on-time car payments on your credit file.

How much is 80 000 AMEX points worth? ›

80,000 American Express points are worth about $536, depending on which American Express credit card you have and what you spend the points on. You will get the best value for your American Express points when you redeem them for Travel, but there are multiple redemption options.

How much is 2 million AMEX points? ›

AMEX points can be used for a variety of rewards including travel, merchandise, gift cards, and statement credits. Assuming an average value of 1 cent per point, 2 million AMEX points would be worth $20,000. However, if the points are redeemed for travel, they can potentially be worth more.

What card is better than black card? ›

The Centurion card beats out the Mastercard Black card in terms of rewards, benefits, and features. The major drawback of the Centurion card is its $10,000 initiation fee and $5,000 annual fee (plus $5,000 annually for each authorized user).

Who owns X1 credit card? ›

The company is cofounded by Twitter alums Deepak Rao and Siddharth Batra and backed by PayPal co-founder Max Levchin and founding COO David Sacks, Harrison Metal founder Michael Dearing, former Twitter COO Adam Bain, Libra co-creator & Instagram's former head of product Kevin Weil and more.

Is there a higher card than Amex Black? ›

No, there aren't any credit cards higher than the “Amex Black Card.” Officially called the Centurion® Card from American Express, the Amex Black Card is far and away the most exclusive, prestigious credit card on the market.

Is X1 card a hard inquiry? ›

Since the X1 credit card doesn't use credit scores in its approval determination, it will not affect the credit scores of those who are declined. Those who are approved for the card and accept will experience a hard pull on their credit, which may slightly affect their credit score.

Can you use the X1 card anywhere? ›

Fees. The X1 Card has no annual fee, no late fees and no foreign transaction fees, so international travelers can use it anywhere in the world that accepts Visa without additional costs. Variable interest rates from 15.50% -27.75%.

What is a good credit score? ›

Although ranges vary depending on the credit scoring model, generally credit scores from 580 to 669 are considered fair; 670 to 739 are considered good; 740 to 799 are considered very good; and 800 and up are considered excellent.

What are some red flags associated with credit cards? ›

Red Flags for Credit Cards: 7 Things to Watch for When You Have Bad Credit
  • Sky-High Interest Rates. ...
  • High Annual Fees. ...
  • Tacked-On Fees. ...
  • Incomplete Credit Reporting. ...
  • High Credit Limits. ...
  • A Lack of Monitoring. ...
  • No Room for Improvement.
Mar 30, 2020

What are two things that you should never buy with a credit card? ›

Purchases you should avoid putting on your credit card
  • Mortgage or rent. ...
  • Household Bills/household Items. ...
  • Small indulgences or vacation. ...
  • Down payment, cash advances or balance transfers. ...
  • Medical bills. ...
  • Wedding. ...
  • Taxes. ...
  • Student Loans or tuition.

What are at least 6 things your credit card company must clearly disclose to consumers under the Truth in Lending Act? ›

Lenders must provide a Truth in Lending (TIL) disclosure statement that includes information about the amount of your loan, the annual percentage rate (APR), finance charges (including application fees, late charges, prepayment penalties), a payment schedule and the total repayment amount over the lifetime of the loan.

What are the five red flag categories? ›

In addition, we considered Red Flags from the following five categories (and the 26 numbered examples under them) from Supplement A to Appendix A of the FTC's Red Flags Rule, as they fit our situation: 1) alerts, notifications or warnings from a credit reporting agency; 2) suspicious documents; 3) suspicious personal ...

What is red flag list in banking? ›

Unusual transactions

Customers trying to launder funds may carry out unusual transactions. Firms should look out for activity that is inconsistent with their expected behavior, such as large cash payments, unexplained payments from a third party, or use of multiple or foreign accounts. These are all AML red flags.

How do I know if my company is in red flag? ›

To make this process a little easier, keep your eyes out for these 6 company red flags:
  1. Lack of or outdated online presence. ...
  2. The company culture isn't a fit. ...
  3. Lack of professional development opportunities. ...
  4. A bad reputation + high staff turnover. ...
  5. You aren't sure about the hiring manager. ...
  6. A poor candidate experience.

What is a predatory credit card? ›

By definition, predatory lending benefits the lender and ignores or hinders the borrower's ability to repay the debt. These lending tactics often try to take advantage of a borrower's lack of understanding about loans, terms or finances.

What are three warning signs of credit card debt? ›

These warning signs can include: Difficulty paying bills on time. Receiving collection calls or past due notices. Living in your overdraft or line of credit.

What does red mean blood in flags? ›

The color red represents hardiness and valor, as well as courage and readiness to sacrifice. It is also sometimes said to represent the blood shed by those who have fought to protect our freedom and our country.

Do credit card companies hate when you pay in full? ›

Yes, credit card companies do like it when you pay in full each month. In fact, they consider it a sign of creditworthiness and active use of your credit card. Carrying a balance month-to-month increases your debt through interest charges and can hurt your credit score if your balance is over 30% of your credit limit.

What are the golden rules of using a credit card? ›

Only have a credit card if you pay in full each month.

This is the single most important rule of credit cards. Your best financial move is to repay your credit card balance in full each month. Otherwise, you will be subject to high interest charges.

What are the 5 Cs of credit used to determine an individual's? ›

The five Cs of credit are important because lenders use these factors to determine whether to approve you for a financial product. Lenders also use these five Cs—character, capacity, capital, collateral, and conditions—to set your loan rates and loan terms.

Which answer lists the 5 Cs that determine credit worthiness? ›

What are the 5 Cs of credit? Lenders score your loan application by these 5 Cs—Capacity, Capital, Collateral, Conditions and Character.

What are 3 things consumers need to be aware of when applying for a credit card? ›

Here's a checklist of some things to look at when you choose a credit card:
  • Annual Percentage Rate (APR). This is the cost of borrowing on the card, if you don't pay the whole balance off each month. ...
  • minimum repayment. ...
  • annual fee. ...
  • charges. ...
  • introductory interest rates. ...
  • loyalty points or rewards. ...
  • cash back.


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