About Regions Bank Explore Visa Card
If you’re a Regions Bank customer and you’re struggling with low credit scores, then the Regions Bank Explore Visa Card could be a great option for you for several reasons, all of which we’ll address in this review.
Now, you might not be totally familiar with secured credit cards and we get it. Here’s how they work. You sign up for the card and, if you’re accepted, you have to make a deposit in a Regions Bank account. That deposit amount – let’s say $200 – becomes your Explore Visa’s credit limit.
Should you be late on your monthly payments, Regions Bank will use some of the funds from that $200 to make the payment.
This isn’t a unique system, though. All secured credit cards work this way and we’ll explain why in a few minutes.
For now, though, we want you to know that we wrote this review in a way that will help you understand if the Regions Bank Explore Visa is the right fit for you. After all, there are plenty of secured credit cards out there.
The areas we’re going to cover in this review will help you sift through all the cards out there and determine which card is the best fit for your particular financial situation:
- TRates and Fees
- Public opinion
These three sections will give you the bulk of what you need to know about the Regions Bank Explore Visa. Once you’re done with them, we’ll finish up our review with some bite-sized conclusions about the cards pros and cons, and who we think would enjoy it the most.
The Regions Bank Explore Visa’s Rates and Fees
We put the Explore Visa’s rates and fees as the first section in this review because we believe it’s the most important.
Secured credit cards don’t function like most credit cards, so it’s crucial to know exactly how they work, what they’ll cost you and if there’s a chance you can get your Explore Visa deposit back.
Your Security Deposit
Regions Bank requires you to make a security deposit before you’re approved for the Explore Visa. To do this, you’ll have to open a Regions Explore Card Savings account, which Regions specifically designed for the card.
Your initial deposit amount can be between $250 and $5,000. According to the fine print, you won’t be allowed to withdraw that money if you’re approved for the card. The money stays in your account the entire time your Explore Visa account is open.
If Regions denies your application, then they’ll return your deposit and close the savings account. The other way you can get your money back is by closing your Explore Visa account.
Otherwise, your money is on lockdown. Also, you won’t be able to add additional funds to the account unless Regions Bank approves you for a credit limit increase.
Your Annual Percentage Rate
Every credit card on the face of the planet has an APR. Sometimes that APR is 0% because of an ongoing promotion, but, eventually, even 0% cards will succumb to higher interest rates.
“APR” is your annual percentage rate. This interest rate only actually affects you if you don’t pay off your balance in full every month. If that happens, then Regions does a quick calculation.
They divide your APR by 365 (days in a year) to find out your daily interest rate. Then, they multiply that rate by the balance you had on your account at the end of each day during your billing cycle. The resulting number is what you pay in interest.
But remember, you can completely avoid APRs by paying your bill off every month.
The APR for the Regions Bank Explore Visa is 23.74% for purchases and balance transfers. If you make a cash advance (using your card to withdraw cash from an ATM), your APR is 25.99%.
These interest rates are really high and there’s a reason for that. The bank is worried that you, a consumer with bad credit scores, are more of a risk to them. So, they jack up their interest rates a bit to earn more money from you if you don’t pay off your balance every month.
Your Annual Fee
The annual fee for this card is $29, which is pretty high considering there are no real perks or rewards programs to speak.
Again, banks consider you a risk and they want to get as much money from you as they can to offset the risk you present.
Ironically, you’re putting up a security deposit precisely for that reason. If you close your account and don’t pay your remaining balance, the bank will return your deposit minus your outstanding payments.
Fair or not, you’ll pay $29 a year to use this card. Consider this a small price to pay for how much your credit score will increase if you practice good credit habits while owning the Explore Visa.
Late Fees and Balance Transfer Fees
The late fees on the Explore Visa are up to $38, which is pretty standard for most credit cards.
If you do a balance transfer or a cash advance, you’ll pay a 4% fee on the transferred balance or the advance. In cases where 4% of the total is less than $10, Regions will charge you a flat rate of $10. Again, this is standard across most credit cards.
The Regions Bank Explore Visa’s Benefits
We hate to say it again, but banks believe you’re a much higher risk if you’ve got low credit scores. Not only will they charge you higher interest rates and annual fees, but they also tend to cut back on a secured credit card’s benefits to the point that there isn’t much left for you to enjoy.
Unfortunately, that’s the case with the Regions Bank Explore Visa. You see, there are no rewards programs that provide cash back bonuses, hotel/airline points or super luxurious perks.
What you do get with the Explore Visa is extremely valuable though: payments reported to the credit bureaus.
Each month you make a payment, whether it’s late or on time, Regions Bank will pass that information along to TransUnion, Equifax and Experian. Those companies take your Regions Bank info and combine it with all the other information out there about your borrowing habits. Then, they run it through a scoring model to generate a credit score.
If you’re suffering from bad credit scores, then simply making a string of 12 consecutive on-time payments can raise your scores pretty quickly.
While there’s no exact science about how to raise your scores overnight, we do know that credit bureaus’ scoring models (FICO is one of them) really favor consumers who don’t carry balances and always pay on time.
So, if you can pay your entire balance off by the due date every month, you should see your credit scores start to climb.
One of the best ways to track your scores is to use a free credit score website like Credit Karma, who provides weekly updates of your TransUnion and Equifax credit scores.
Aside from the benefit of having your credit scores go up if you handle your Explore Visa payments the right way, you’ll also get a few other perks that come standard with purchases made by your Visa card:
- Rental car insurance
- Extended warranties on items with manufacturer’s warranties of 3 years or less
- Reimbursement for items stolen or damaged w/in 90 days of purchase.
To learn more about this trio of benefits, check out the Explore Visa’s benefits guide.
Pro tip: The Explore Visa does not have a foreign transaction fee.
Public Opinion About the Regions Bank Explore Visa
We did some research on which sites have written reviews of the Explore Visa and how many consumers have left comments about it and our search came up empty.
A lot of this has to do with the fact that Regions Bank is a regional bank whose branches are concentrated in the Midwest and the South.
But it also points to the fact that there isn’t a lot of research out there about unique secured credit card opportunities.
Here’s our suggestion. Read through the rest of this review and then check out our reviews of the Discover it Secured card and the First Progress Platinum Prestige Mastercard. This will help you understand how the Explore Visa compares to the competition.
Pros of the Regions Bank Explore Visa
The best feature of this card is the fact that its annual fee of $29 is lower compared to competing cards like the First Progress Prestige.
Cons of the Regions Bank Explore Visa
The card’s lack of a rewards program is a negative, especially considering that the Discover it Secured card will give you 1% cash back rewards.
Who This Card Is Good For
Based on our research, we believe that the Regions Bank Explore Visa is a good fit for someone who is already a Regions Bank customer, has low credit scores and wants to keep their credit cards within the Regions family.