Credit Cards Credit Card Reviews

AvantCard Review

overall rating
1.9

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The AvantCard offers an alternative for those who have bad credit or no credit at all and want a card that will allow them to gain credit, and to build or rebuild credit history. Unlike a secured credit card, the AvantCard requires no security deposit. Instead, the card offers access to a revolving line of credit of up to $1,000, in exchange for an annual fee (which can range from $0–$49, but typically $29). As with a secured card, payments are reported to the major credit bureaus, allowing card activity to contribute to your credit history.

AvantCard

overall rating
1.9
AvantCard
On WebBank's Secured Site.
Recommended Credit Score Our recommended ranges are based off of the FICO® Score 8 credit-scoring model. Credit score is one of the many factors lenders review in considering your application.
350 579
580 669
670 739
740 799
800 850
Fair - Excellent
Regular APR (%) 24.49% - 25.49% variable
Annual Fee $0 - $49
Rewards Earning Rate This card does not offer a rewards program.
Balance Transfer Fee Balance transfers are not available on this product.
Foreign transaction fee (%) 0%
how this card stacks up
When compared among all low cost cards in our database:
Low Fees
Security/Customer Experience
Low Interest
Rewards
Benefits
worst best

The AvantCard is not one of our top-rated credit cards for bad credit. You can review our list of the best credit cards for bad credit for what we think are better options.

Full Review of AvantCard

Pros
  • No security deposit required

  • No foreign transaction fees

  • Prequalification available

Cons
  • Relatively low credit limit

  • Annual fee is likely

  • No rewards or other benefits

  • Issues with customer service

Pros Explained

  • No Security Deposit Required: A secured card, the customary solution when you’re rebuilding your credit or establishing your credit from scratch, requires its cardholder to put up an amount equal to their desired credit line, at least initially. The AvantCard, by contrast, grants you a limit without such a security deposit. As with most other credit cards, the company reviews your application and awards a credit limit of between $300 and $1,000. 
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees: Many credit cards require you to pay a percentage charge whenever you use your card outside the United States or when buying from merchants abroad in their local currency. The fee can be 3% (or higher) of every transaction. The AvantCard has no such charges, which is highly unusual for a credit-building card, and so can be a smart choice when traveling internationally or doing business with foreign vendors. 
  • Pre-qualification Available: When you’re considering a new credit card, you have to submit a full application and undergo a hard credit inquiry before you find out if you’re eligible to receive it. If your application is denied, you’ve then suffered a further dent, albeit a small one, to your credit score and received no card in return. According to myFICO, a single hard credit inquiry may reduce your credit score by five points. The AvantCard allows you to apply without an initial hard credit inquiry, and get at least an indication as to the terms under which you might get the card, including your likely credit limit and annual fee. However, assuming that information is favorable and you decide to accept those terms, you still must undergo a hard inquiry in order to be formally approved for the card. 

Cons Explained

  • Relatively Low Credit Limits: The AvantCard’s maximum initial credit line of $1,000 is below the relative norm of at least $2,500 offered by many secured cards—provided, of course, you are willing with the latter to secure that higher limit with a deposit of an equal amount. Avant says it will review your credit line from time to time, and may raise it, and that you can also request an increase, which may or may not be granted. Still, if you have more than $1,000 for a security deposit, a secured card will provide the ability to charge more to a card, at least initially, than will the AvantCard.
  • Annual Fee Is Likely: In theory, you might get the AvantCard without paying an annual fee, since the company says the fees range upwards from “$0.” But if you qualify to be annual-fee-free, it’s possible that your qualification factors are good enough that you might qualify for a conventional basic credit card. The company says a $29 annual fee is typical, and the charge can range as high as $49 for applicants whose credit and financial particulars are less desirable. 
  • No Card Benefits: The AvantCard doesn’t offer any benefits for cardmembers, such as travel extras. While that isn’t atypical for a card designed for people with poor credit, there are cards available that offer more robust benefits. For example, the Deserve PRO Mastercard has no annual fee, but it offers benefits like secondary auto rental insurance and cell-phone protection. 
  • No Rewards or One-Time Offer: The AvantCard has no rewards, so you can’t earn points, miles or cash back on your purchases. Neither does it offer a one-time offer as an inducement to get the card. That’s a significant drawback compared to some of this card’s alternatives. For example, the Discover it Secured card, which does require a security deposit, allows you to earn 2% cash back on up to $1,000 of spending each quarter on gas and restaurants. And you’ll earn unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases. If you spent $5,000 per year with the Discover it Secured card—$1,000 in combined spend per quarter at gas stations and restaurants to earn 2% cash back, and $250 at 1% each quarter on all other purchases—you’d earn $90 in rewards. Plus, after your first year, Discover will match all of the cash back you earn, giving you $180 in cash back. That reward is a nice bonus for a beginner credit card. 
  • Issues with Customer Service: Avant’s customer service is not up to the norm for the credit-card industry in several respects. Its staff are only available during select hours. That’s in contrast to most major card issuers, which offer customer support around the clock. Also, there’s reason for concern about Avant’s customer satisfaction. The company hasn’t been surveyed for the quality of its credit-card service. But it was included in J.D. Power’s first ranking of alternative lenders for personal-loan satisfaction. Avant ranked last out of 14 lenders.  

This Card is Best For

  • Avatar for Credit Builder Persona
    Motivated to create positive credit history
    Credit Builder

The AvantCard offers an alternative to a secured card for the estimated 26 million Americans—11% of adults—who have no credit history, according to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Millions more have poor credit, making it difficult for them to qualify for a loan or credit card.

Since it doesn’t require a security deposit, instead giving you access to a revolving line of credit, the AvantCard better suits those who may have limited funds than does a secured card. Yet as with the issuers of secured cards, Avant will share your account and payment information with the three major credit bureaus—Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion. Provided you make all of your payments on time, your positive payment history will help build or repair your credit score.

It’s also a smart option if you lack a credit card and plan to travel abroad. It doesn’t charge foreign transaction fees, so you can use it outside of the United States without incurring extra fees. 

Standard Benefits

The AvantCard doesn’t offer any benefits other than a mobile app you can use to manage your account and make payments 24/7. 

Cardholder Experience

Customer support and service is especially important if you’re new to credit cards. As a new entrant to the market, Avant was not included among the 11 national card issuers ranked in the most recent J.D. Power Credit Card Satisfaction Study. The company was, however, included in the J.D. Power ranking of alternative lenders, which covers personal loan satisfaction, based on interaction; billing and payment; loan offerings and terms; and application and approval process. 

Avant ranked last out of 14 alternative lenders. Its score of 807 out of a possible 1,000 was well below the average of 853. Avant was among only two issuers that were ranked below the average group.

Avant offers phone support through phoning 1-855-752-7012. You can also email CreditCards@Avant.com, and they pledge to respond within three business hours, a promise they kept with Investopedia's inquiry to them. 

However, where most issuers have 24/7 customer service, Avant’s is only available during select hours: 

  • Monday through Friday: 7:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. Central
  • Saturday–Sunday: 7:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Central 

If you’re dealing with a problem outside of Avant’s service hours, then, such as a lost or stolen credit card, this limited availability might be a major problem. 

Security Features

The AvantCard offers zero liability for unauthorized charges, a standard feature of all credit cards. 

Fees to Watch Out For

If you’re thinking of applying for the AvantCard, there are two fees (in addition to a likely annual charge) that you should be aware of first. Neither is unusual for the industry, but a first-time card owner might be unaware of them:

  • Late-payment fee: If you miss one of your monthly payments, Avant will charge you a late fee of up to $35. 
  • Cash-advance fee: While this card offers the same APR for cash advances as it does on purchases, make sure you pay attention to cash advance fees. You’ll pay $5 or 3% of the amount of each cash advance, whichever is greater. If you took out a cash advance of $250, that means you’d pay $7.50 in cash advance fees. 

Our Verdict

If you have no credit, or a problematic credit record, and want to build a strong credit history, the AvantCard is an alternative to a secured credit card. You can get access to a revolving line of credit without having to put down a security deposit. 

However, the card offers no rewards or benefits, has a limited credit line (at least initially), and Avant’s customer service could be a significant drawback. If you’re looking for a card with more features and accessibility, you may be better off with a secured card. 

For example, the Discover it Secured, from J.D. Powers’ top-ranked company for credit-card satisfaction, provides rewards, a low-interest APR offer, and a first-year match of the cash back you earn. And if you use the card responsibly, you can get your security deposit back and be automatically approved for an unsecured card in less than a year. 

If you’re looking for a secured card that offers a lower ongoing APR, there’s the Green Dot Primor Visa Gold Secured credit card that charges a fixed APR of only 9.99% with an annual fee of $49.

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For AvantCard
on WebBank's Secured Site.
Compare This Card
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CURRENT CARD
AvantCard
overall rating
1.9
Recommended Credit Score Our recommended ranges are based off of the FICO® Score 8 credit-scoring model. Credit score is one of the many factors lenders review in considering your application.
350 579
580 669
670 739
740 799
800 850
Fair - Excellent
Regular APR (%) 24.49% - 25.49% variable
Annual Fee $0 - $49
Investopedia Credit Card Rating Methodology
Investopedia is committed to delivering the best credit card recommendations in the industry. We’ll tell you when a card is good, we’ll tell you when a card is bad, and we’ll only call a card the best if we would recommend it to our friends or family members.
Overall Star Rating Explained
To rate credit cards we objectively assess, score and weight nearly 100 individual card features which roll up into five major feature sets: fees, interest, rewards, benefits and security/customer service. Here’s how we weighted those feature sets for the overall star rating of a card:
We have applied our proprietary rating methodology to every generally-accepted credit card in the U.S. domestic market to allow consumers to make fully informed choices. It’s important to note that for our overall score that we make a number of assumptions about how you would be using your credit card:
  1. While we make no assumption as to whether balances are carried on a given card we do assign varying weights to all credit cards’ introductory APR (if present) in addition to the regular, long term purchase and balance transfer interest rates.
  2. We utilize BLS (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics) income and average category spending data to calculate annual earnings rates for rewards cards that offer cash back, points or miles rewards at a set rate on all spending or in consideration of bonus rewards for certain spending categories, like gasoline, groceries, restaurants or travel.
  3. We determine the maximum points value of rewards cards by dividing the points, cash back or miles required to exchange for the retail price of the most valuable redemption option (for example, in the case of a card that offers a domestic roundtrip airline ticket as a redemption option vs. another redemption option of lesser value that requires the same amount of points or miles to acquire, we would base the rewards value on the airline ticket).
  • Cards that are selected best overall in their respective categories generally feature most if not all of the following attributes:
  • Low or Reasonable Fees Credit card fees come in many forms but the primary ones involve those for annual card membership and balance transfer. There are a myriad of reward and non-reward card options that charge no annual fee but for the many that do assess an annual fee the cost is often justified by their lucrative ongoing rewards and initial signup bonuses. Balance transfer fees are occasionally waived during introductory periods with certain cards, a factor which is heavily and positively weighted in our scoring model for cards offering this benefit. When charged, balance transfer fees range between 3% - 5%, which we grade accordingly. Other standard fees can generally be avoided, such as those for paying late or taking cash advances but we rate those relative to other cards in the market for reference, though with less weight assigned
  • Competitive Interest Many cards offer 0% introductory APR on purchases and balance transfers for varying lengths and then revert to a permanent or regular APR (based on a variable rate tied to the prime rate) that applies to any balances not paid in full. We rate both introductory APR percentage and length (in months) along with the midpoint of the variable regular APR interest rate range.
  • Valuable Rewards Credit card reward programs can be based on cash back, points or travel rewards (which can be generic or travel partner-specific, as with airline and hotel co-brand card programs). For cards that offer rewards we determine the value per dollar spent along with average redemption values and assign more favorable ratings to cards that offer superior consumer value. We also assign value to sign-up bonus offers and their initial spending requirements, when present.
  • Excellent Benefits Credit card benefits cover a range of offerings like concierge service, TSA Pre-check, auto rental coverage, travel accident insurance, lost luggage assistance and free credit scores. We rate cards on the number and level of over a dozen standard and upscale benefits and provide extra weighting emphasis for those travel-related perks that apply to premium travel cards when present.
  • Solid Security/Customer Service Security and customer service features like lost or stolen card replacement, being able to lock one’s card from an issuer app and 24 hour customer support are becoming more standard across the card market and we provide a significant amount of weighting to features in this area.
  • You can also read the full version of our methodology for a more in-depth look at how we assess cards and award them the best in various categories.