The AmEx Centurion “black card” is by invitation only. The same can be said about the First Savings MasterCard. But that’s where the similarities end!
If you have a bad credit history, there’s a chance you may receive a First Savings credit card application in the mail. So who are these guys? Should you take them up on their offer… or quickly take their invitation to the shredder?
Deciphering their identity?
The website listed for this card is firstsavingscc.com. If you go there, the first thing you will notice is how antiquated the website is! This one makes Craigslist look modern.
When I looked, the date in the homepage’s footer said 2010. Worse yet, one of the internal pages listed 2006! Considering how long ago that was that’s highly suspicious, to say the least.
Determining their identity wasn’t an easy exercise and required a fair amount of online sleuthing, to be sure. Yes, they do clearly identity themselves as “First Savings Bank” but there are a number of financial institutions with similar names. In fact, when I used the FDIC bank finder it said there were 373 institutions containing those words in their name:
But I finally solved the mystery with one of the First Savings Bank credit card agreements:
It’s a division of FSB in Beresford, SD. You will find their website at firstsavingsbanks.com but I combed it over and saw no mention of credit cards, so it appears as though they operate the card division completely separate. Here’s the information that the FDIC lists about them:
So their credit cards are not a scam/ripoff. This is a 100% real and legitimate FDIC-insured bank. But just because they are a legally registered banking entity doesn’t necessarily mean their MasterCard is a good deal.
What does $75 get you?
Their credit card offer that I hear most about comes with the following terms:
- $75 annual fee
- $20 authorized user fee (if applicable)
- Up to $25 or up to $29 late payment fee (one or the other depending on card offer)
- $300 minimum credit limit.
Their application says “If you are assigned the minimum credit limit of $300, your initial available credit will be only about $225.” If you scroll further down in the fine print you will see this: “Initially, you will be issued a MasterCard® with at least a $300 credit limit, up to a maximum of $1,500.”
- 29.9% interest rate for both purchases and cash advances. This might not be as bad as what First Premier Bank charges for their uber-expensive cards for bad credit, but paying 29.9% is still quite outrageous and far above average!
If you have horrible credit, is it worth paying that much to get a card? Not in my opinion.
I imagine most people people apply for a First Savings credit card because they feel it’s the best they can qualify for or simply don’t know. However, even with bad credit, you can apply for a secured credit card with an annual fee of less than half that amount. Simply put, I don’t know why someone would pay $75 per year for an unsecured card with a limit as low as $300.
An alternate offer?
First Savings Bank does have another credit card offer and its terms are actually good! Unfortunately I haven’t heard from anyone who has been invited to apply for it. The only reason I know it even exists is because the credit card agreement for it can be found on their website:
- No annual fee
- 15.6% interest rate for purchases and cash advances. This is not an “as low as” rate, but rather the only rate they list for the card. This is a fairly good APR considering that it’s the same for everyone.
- $10 late payment fee. This is one of the lowest late payment fees I’ve ever seen.
In summary, these would be excellent credit terms for someone with bad credit. Unfortunately, the evidence would indicate that few if any people with bad credit ever get this offer.
My best guess (I’m totally speculating here) is that maybe they give this to their local South Dakota banking customers or as an upgrade down the road. It is the only First Savings Bank MasterCard credit card worth getting.
First Savings Bank is a legitimate banking organization. Their credit card is on the up and up. However, the $75 price tag is hard to swallow since there are many, many less expensive alternatives available in the marketplace, even for those with less than stellar credit. You should see if you can qualify for a better deal elsewhere before accepting their “invitation to apply”.
Written or last edited on August 2015