If you have don’t have much credit history or have poor credit, finding financing options can be a challenge. The Horizon Gold card advertises that it’s meant for individuals who don’t have a great credit history, so you might think it’s a viable option for repairing or building your credit score. While this might technically be true, the Horizon Gold card isn’t necessarily a strong choice.
What the Horizon Gold Card Is
On the surface, the Horizon Gold card might look like any other credit card aimed at individuals with no credit or a poor credit score. The company doesn’t perform credit checks or employment checks, meaning nearly anyone can qualify. However, the Horizon Gold card isn’t a credit card, in the traditional sense. Instead, it’s a store card.
While users do have access to a $500 unsecured credit limit, the Horizon Gold card isn’t a Visa, Mastercard, Discover, or American Express card. It only works on purchases through the issuer’s store, The Horizon Outlet.
If you do make a purchase, you’ll be able to spread out the cost over a series of monthly payments. First, you’ll owe 10 percent of the balance or $25 (whichever is higher) immediately after the purchase goes through. Then, you’ll keep paying that amount each month until you pay off the card. Unlike other cards, the minimum payment doesn’t go down as your balance decreases. As a result, it functions more like an installment loan when it comes to the payment, suggesting you don’t make any additional purchases that drive your balance up and lead to a higher payment.
However, unlike an installment loan, your Horizon Gold credit line is revolving. As you pay down the balance, you can make additional purchases.
The Horizon Outlet
Since you can only use a Horizon Gold card at The Horizon Outlet, understanding what is available there is critical. The store offers a range of products, such as apparel, home goods, electronics, and entertainment items. Overall, the prices are similar to what you’d see at places such as Walmart, so that is a bonus.
However, many cardholders complain that many items in the store are out of stock. Limited sizes being available is another common issue Horizon Gold card users experience. As a result, you might have trouble finding anything you would want, making the card somewhat useless.
Interest Rate and Fees
The Horizon Gold card touts a zero percent interest rate. For people with bad or no credit, this may look amazing on the surface. While you’ll have to repay the principal using monthly payments, you aren’t paying interest on your remaining balance, and that sounds like an exceptional deal.
However, while you don’t pay any interest, that doesn’t mean you don’t face some steep financial costs. On the fee side, you pay $24.95 a month ($299.40 a year) for the “Membership/Benefits Plan.” That cost pays for your access to The Horizon Outlet, along with a few other features, such as access to some roadside assistance options and privacy protection.
If you do buy something from The Horizon Outlet, there are other charges you’ll get stuck with as well. First, there is a $3.50 fee for delivery signature verification. You’ll pay another $2.00 for residential delivery. Plus, there are shipping and processing fees, and those can vary depending on the items purchased.
When you open the card, you’ll also have to contend with a $5.00 card issuance fee. If you are late on a payment, that costs $20.00. Non-Sufficient funds check fees can come into play if you don’t have enough in your account to cover your payment – and that’s $25.00. If you have an account and it isn’t considered “active,” you would have to pay a $6.00 per month maintenance fee, too.
Credit Repairing and Building
The Horizon Gold card does report to at least one major credit bureau. However, you have to take extra steps to get your identity confirmed for this to kick in, so it might not start right away.
Additionally, this means that a Horizon Gold account might not appear on all three of your major bureau credit reports. While one might see credit building or rebuilding benefits – suggesting that you keep your account in good standing, manage the balance, and otherwise practice sound habits – it’s possible the other two will not.
Considering that there are other credit cards that target people with no or poor credit histories and report to all three major credit bureaus, this is a massive drawback. If your goal is to improve your credit, the Horizon Gold card may only help with one of your three reports. Since you can’t choose which one will get pulled if you apply for other financings, you can’t guarantee that another credit issuer will select the report with your positive Horizon Gold card activity.
The Only Reasons for Getting a Horizon Gold Card
By and large, the Horizon Gold card doesn’t have much to offer. However, that doesn’t mean there might not be times when it is an okay choice. For example, if your credit history is so poor that you literally don’t qualify for anything else, the Horizon Gold card might give you a way to rebuild your credit. Similarly, if you have poor credit and can’t afford to put money down for a secured card, this one is unsecured, so it could technically be an alternative.
However, you’ll pay some massive fees for that privilege. Plus, you can only use the card at The Horizon Outlet, and you might not find anything that you would want in stock either.
In many cases, you might be better to look at other approaches to fix your credit. For example, paying down your current debt, making on-time payments, and otherwise being responsible with any existing accounts would usually be a smarter (and cheaper) move.
If You Can’t Qualify
If you can’t qualify for an unsecured line with other credit card companies and you have a few hundred dollars, getting a secured card through a major issuer might also be a better idea. Otherwise, work to build your credit up enough to get an unsecured card. Just look for options with Visa, Mastercard, Discover, or American Express logos. That way, you can use them anywhere those cards are accepted. Just make sure to look for one that reports all of the major bureaus, ensuring your good habits improve your credit across the board.
Would you consider a Horizon Gold Card? Do you think there are better options available? Share your thoughts in the comments below.
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