About Petal Card

By J.R. Duren
HighYa Staff
Published on: Nov 19, 2017

The Petal Card is a soon-to-be-released Visa credit card that doesn’t take credit scores into account and doesn’t charge fees, making it a good fit for consumers who have low or no credit scores.

The company was launched in 2016 by four entrepreneurs who, according to Petal’s website, wanted to create a credit card that solved the problems they were facing as consumers with credit cards.

Here’s an excerpt from Petals’ website: “Despite working and paying bills responsibly, members of our team had trouble qualifying for a decent credit card and establishing credit history. Others on our team struggled with credit card debt and fees...”

The card claims that its customers don’t have to pay any fees and that it’s a better choice over traditional credit cards and even cards designed for people with bad credit.

We wanted to make sure those claims were legit, so we did some pretty thorough research on the card and found pertinent information in the following areas:

  • Fees and rates
  • Benefits
  • Comparison to other cards
  • Public opinion

Before we jump into these topics, keep in mind that the card has yet to launch. While we believe that all the information we’re going to analyze is accurate and will match what the card offers when it launches, some of the card’s features, benefits or rates could change.

The Petal Visa’s Fees and Rates

As we mentioned earlier, the Petal Visa has no fees. This is an anomaly in the credit card world, as nearly every credit card we’ve reviewed has fees associated with it: late fees, returned payment fees, cash advance fees, and balance transfer fees.

The motivation behind these fees, Petal claims, is to earn revenue. Their website says that credit card companies make money one of three ways: consumer fees, interest and merchant fees.

All three of these fees affect the consumer. Merchant fees are what companies pay every time someone uses a credit card, and those fees are incorporated into the company’s prices.

According to Petal, they make their money through merchant fees and interest payments. Merchant fees are a pretty lucrative business. In 2016, the four biggest credit card networks (Visa/MasterCard, AmEx, Discover) made more than $55 billion from them.

As far as interest goes, the Petal Visa will have interest rates, at the time of publishing, of between 13.99% and 24.99%.

The card’s credit limit will be between $500 and $10,000.

The low-end APR on this card is actually pretty great compared to some of the other options out there. Here’s a quick chart of the low APRs on some of the bad-credit cards we’ve reviewed:

Card Name Lowest APR
Discover it Secured 23.74%
Total Visa Unsecured 29.99%
USAA Secured AmEx 10.65%
Credit One Platinum 16.15%
First Progress Platinum 9.99%
Build Card 29.99%

As you can see, the Petal’s low APR of 13.99% is among the lowest, but here’s the catch: Petal offers a range of APR’s unlike some of the cards on this list. So, if you have a poor or non-existent financial history, you’ll probably get the highest APR of 24.99%.

Pro tip: The Petal has no annual fee.

The Petal Visa’s Benefits

Based on our research, we’d say the main benefit of the Petal Visa is that they go beyond your credit scores to determine if you can get the card.

That’s great news if you don’t have a credit score or your scores are really low because you only have one or two borrowing accounts or you’ve made some financial mistakes that have dropped your scores.

How do they do it? According to Petal’s website, they tap into alternative credit data: income and bill payment. This data is popular with alternative credit companies – eCredable is one of them – who work to get you credit based on bill payments and other factors rather than your credit scores.

So, if you have a consistent history of on-time payments and you have enough income to cover your monthly expenses, we’d say that you have a good chance of getting the Petal card. It’s not a guarantee, though, so keep that in mind when you apply.

In addition to not taking your credit score into account, you also don’t have to put down a deposit in order to get this card. Some credit cards require that you put down a certain amount of money – usually less than $500 – to open an account and your credit limit is equal to what you put down. These cards are known as “secured” cards because the bank issuing the card gets a security deposit from you.

Based on what we’ve learned about the Petal Visa, we think it has a strong set of benefits if you’re struggling with low or no credit scores and you need a credit card without fees that can help you get back on your feet.

Comparing the Petal Visa to Other Credit Cards for People With Bad Credit Scores

While there’s a lot of good things going on with the Petal Visa, there are some drawbacks when you compare the card to other cards in the bad-credit genre.

For example, the card doesn’t offer rewards. Their explanation is that rewards can be confusing and that Petal will introduce some perks down the road. There are other bad-credit cards out there that have simple rewards programs. The Discover it Secured is a good example.

While you have to put a refundable deposit down, you do get 1% cash back on all your purchases. That cash back is automatically added to your rewards balance. You can redeem that balance as a statement credit. The Discover card charges late fees, but the first one is waived.

As far as APR goes, the USAA Secured Card from American Express has an interest rate a full 3% lower on the low end and around 4% lower on the high end. While the APR is lower, the card has a flaw: a $35 annual fee.

Another card that has a solid APR is the First Progress Platinum Prestige MasterCard, whose 9.99% interest rate is the best we’ve found among cards for people with bad credit. However, like the USAA card, this one’s got an annual fee. Both cards also charge late fees.

Public Opinion of the Petal Visa

This credit card is part of a new movement of financial institutions who are trying to break the mold of previous products and taking a customer-first approach to the way they do business.

While Citi’s Simplicity card has no annual fee or late fees, it doesn’t focus on a bad-credit or no-credit customer based like the Petal. Based on that, we think the card does break the mold, and so do other websites and publications.

The New York Times wrote an article in 2017 titled “New Credit Card Option for Those With Scant Credit Histories,” in which they elaborated on why the card’s focus on consumers with low or no credit scores is unique.

Other sites who focus on credit cards noted that the Petal is a good choice for consumers with little or no credit history.

Our Final Thoughts on the Petal Visa

This credit card, as we noted, is part of a new generation of financial products. As with every new generation, there are a lot of claims about certain products being better than “the way things were done.”

While it’s easy to get caught up in trends and what’s new, credit cards are the kind of thing that you have to analyze number by number because, as the old saying goes, the numbers never lie.

The Petal is, in our researched-based opinion, a one-of-a-kind card. Credit card companies usually give consumers with low or no scores really bad terms. There are annual fees, maintenance fees, and startup fees involved, all so that you can get a card with a low credit limit and high APR.

There is none of that with this card. Whether it’s consumer-friendly or not, Petal says they’ll make their money on merchant fees and interest payments so other fees aren’t necessary.

If you’ve got no credit history or you’ve got low credit scores that keep you from getting credit cards with good terms, we believe that the Petal Visa could be a good fit for you. You don’t have to make a deposit, there are no fees and the card functions just like a normal credit card.

But let’s say you’re still unconvinced about this card; maybe you like to wait out new products until they’ve been battle-tested with real consumers. Should you fall into this category, read through our guide to five of the best credit cards for people with low or no credit scores.

We list five credit cards – some of which we’ve mentioned in this article – and provide pros and cons for each one.

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Read 13 Petal Card Customer Reviews and Complaints

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Average Consumer Rating: 1.8
Rating Snapshot:
5 star: 1 4 star: 2 3 star: 0 2 star: 1 1 star:  9
Bottom Line: 23% would recommend it to a friend
Showing 1-11 of 13
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  • Petal Card is a scam

    • Florida,
    • Jun 21, 2019
    • Verified Reviewer

    I received a text message before even receiving the card saying there was suspicious activity, a day later my card account was closed. Wasted inquiry, and to top it off, they called to verify if it was me before even approving the card.

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

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  • 5 out 5 people found this review helpful

    Serious payment issues!

    • Oregon,
    • Apr 24, 2019
    • Verified Reviewer

    My husband applied and was accepted for this card with a $4500 limit. After a couple of purchases, we have been trying to make a full payment of $130.00. They have our banking information but can't seem to process a payment online. He finally called them, gave them the EXACT information they already have and still the payment won't process even though the guy on the phone said it did. I finally did it through the bank's bill pay so we will see if that goes through. This has been going on for quite awhile and there will be hell to pay if we get a late fee! I've never had a company have so much trouble taking my money!

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

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  • 3 out 4 people found this review helpful

    New customer

    • Illinois,
    • Apr 24, 2019
    • Verified Reviewer

    I was shocked that I received an approval with a high credit limit of $5000, especially since I have other cards and my credit limits are fairly low. I pay all my cards off in full each month. So now I just received this card I'm trying to see what it's about. Thank you for giving me a chance.

    Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this to a friend

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  • 4 out 4 people found this review helpful

    I would not do it!

    • Indianapolis, IN,
    • Apr 12, 2019
    • Verified Reviewer

    I was approved and the customer service department will drive you crazy with their idiot ways, and I do mean their "backwards" ways of dealing with simple questions.

    I have for the last 30 days made calls inquiring about the payment and link accounts and they say they cannot help me at this time and I will have to wait for the "proper" department to call me back...why have a customer service dept?

    My head tells me that I have a probably made a BAD mistake and I am trying my best to get out of it as soon as possible!

    Like the other reviews, go with the others who we are familiar with and wait a year or two to see if they will still be in business - my guess is, they will not!

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

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  • 9 out 10 people found this review helpful

    Perplexing

    • Zephyrhills, FL,
    • Mar 18, 2019
    • Verified Reviewer

    When the Petal Card showed up as a recommendation for me from Credit Karma, I loved their mission statement and their desire to help people who perhaps have experienced difficulties and the offer sounded almost too good to be true! No fees? No annual fee? Could have been a real game changer but alas, it was not.

    Filling out the application on their site wasn't easy. They're were glitches upon glitches, and I had to put my information in numerous times, deal with screens that were cut off, missing borders, certain ones where numbers couldn't be put in, etc.

    I fought the good battle though and made it through.

    Now here's where it gets not only strange but highly disconcerting. It said I needed to link my bank account as the final step so I did and after saying it linked but was having trouble getting the appropriate data? Then it said "IF" I was approved, I'd receive a secure link. Needless to say, no link ever came. I then started to panic a bit with the realization that they were now linked to my bank account but apparently weren't going to issue me a card. Why link my bank account? That should not have been done until you were approved for the card! Now I'm all stressed out and panicking...especially after reading all their 1-star reviews. Not a good sign for a brand new company.

    I guess all I can do now is vigilantly check my bank account for any suspicious activity and hope I wasn't just a victim of identity theft.

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

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  • 8 out 9 people found this review helpful

    Beware of Petal Card

    • Lenoir, NC,
    • Mar 13, 2019
    • Verified Reviewer

    After finishing my TurboTax return, their site directed me to some potential credit cards I could apply for. I decided to apply for the Petal Card (no others). During the application process, the site said they needed to access my bank account to make a determination. I was leery of this, but decided to go ahead and give access. Based on this info, my application was denied. I immediately went to my bank site and changed my password just in case. (I use a PW manager to make sure I don't forget new information). The next day, my bank sent me an email stating my account was temporarily suspended due to someone entering the incorrect password too many times. Coincidence?

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

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  • 2 out 3 people found this review helpful

    Good overall card

    • California,
    • Mar 12, 2019
    • Verified Reviewer

    Applied and was approved for $3k with a 735 average score, $5k takeaway monthly, and with a bankruptcy still on file. Customer service was friendly and helpful when I had an issue activating with the app. The only downside was even though I was "pre-approved" they still ran a hard report (likely due to my bankruptcy). But so far no major issues.

    Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this to a friend

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  • 14 out 15 people found this review helpful

    False advertising all around

    • Chicago, IL,
    • Feb 10, 2019
    • Verified Reviewer

    I have decent credit, I tried this card because I'm interested in Fintech and have some roommates whose credit isn't so stellar and I wanted to test the waters at less risk to me before recommending this card to them.

    I was started at a $750 credit limit - yes, already pretty laughably low if your score is nice, but a great start for someone who needs credit repair! My score increased during this time, I kept my Petal Card paid in full before the payments were due, and I was in the process of paying down my other cards to the extent that my credit score rose about 71 points and my other card companies offered me increases.

    This is where it took a turn for the weird. Petal dropped my limit to $500 - while I had nothing but around $60 unpaid on the card, which I was saving for when the payment was due to show a <10% usage on my TU. No explanation as to why this happened. I called their customer service and the guy on the other end of the line didn't even know what a credit limit increase/decrease was...then he told me to email Petal customer service.

    So yeah, a card that penalizes you for your credit score increasing? A card that penalizes you for paying in full and paying down your other cards (which it has access to?). A card that gets your full financial picture and zigs when you zag...which, if you're a vulnerable person repairing your credit, might be the difference between a poor and fair credit score and close the door to opportunities like renting an apartment or financing a car repair?

    You're better off getting a secured card with Capital One or Discover. At least they won't tank your credit limit for your responsible credit usage.

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

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  • 10 out 14 people found this review helpful

    False advertising

    • Dallas, TX,
    • Feb 5, 2019
    • Verified Reviewer

    They applied, they pre-approved me, and then they ran a hard inquiry on my account after claiming they would not affect my credit score, and rejected me. Like others, I have average credit and $5000 monthly intake. The fact is they aren’t fulfilling their end of the bargain, while asking you to leave yourselves vulnerable to them. I wouldn’t risk giving them my financial information since it apparently doesn’t influence the decision much.

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

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  • 3 out 4 people found this review helpful

    I was approved for a $1500 limit

    • Michigan,
    • Feb 4, 2019
    • Verified Reviewer

    I have a credit score of only 686, I have less than a year of history. I only make about $500 a week. I'm only posting a review so at least someone looking at this site knows that they do approve some people.

    Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this to a friend

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  • 19 out 23 people found this review helpful

    False advertisement

    • Texas,
    • Nov 30, 2018
    • Verified Reviewer

    I have a 721 Rico score and make over $10k per month and was declined...I figured I would get approved. I believe Petal just wants access to your information and bank accounts. I reported them to the credit bureaus for fraud.

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

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