Petal Visa Credit Card Review

Best for: Building credit if you don’t have a credit score

The Petal® Visa® credit card is unique among unsecured credit card options. Designed by startup fintech firm Petal, this card offers a credit-building, cash back option for applicants who don’t have an established credit score. The card also does away with common credit fees including annual and late payment fees and comes with a mobile app to help you track and manage credit spending.

While the Petal® Visa® credit card is fairly new to the market, it’s attracted the attention of more than 50,000 cardholders and established itself as one of the best credit card options for first-timers looking to build credit, manage spending and boost their cash back earnings over time.

The Petal Card is designed for people on the journey to financial success who are looking to establish or build their credit in a modern way,” Petal CEO Jason Gross said. “We attract a lot of first-time credit users, as well as many others establishing credit that are seeking a better experience.”

The basics

  • APR: 14.49%-25.49% based on creditworthiness
  • Annual Fee: $0
  • Reward Rates: Earn 1% cash back on all purchases immediately, followed by 1.25% cash back after six on-time monthly payments and 1.5% cash back after 12 months of on-time payments
  • Intro Offer: None

Standout features

  • No credit score, no problem: The Petal® Visa® credit card is one of the few options that doesn’t require a credit history to issue an unsecured card. If you have an existing score, Petal will take it into account, but having a score is not necessary to become a cardholder. Worth noting? Poor or damaged credit scores can impact your chances of getting approved for a Petal card.
  • Easy pre-approval: If you’re considering the Petal® Visa® credit card, you can quickly get pre-approved online. This won’t impact your existing credit score, meaning there’s no risk of starting the approval process. 
  • Simple money management: The mobile Petal app is available for both iOS and Android and makes it easy to manage your money and track your spending. Integrated calculators let you quickly see how much interest you’ll owe based on what you can pay, set a spending plan for your budget and track your credit score with regular in-app updates.
  • $500 to $10,000 credit limits: Your credit limit is set at the time of application based on your current financial position. By keeping credit limits lower than most unsecured credit cards, the Petal card decreases your chance of overspending and getting caught in the trap of unmanageable purchase interest.
  • Grow your credit score: Petal reports credit details to multiple credit bureaus including TransUnion, Experian, Equifax and SageStream to help grow your score and build a solid credit history.
  • Enhanced card security: Petal’s fintech roots mean that card security is a top priority — all account data is encrypted, and cardholders can temporarily freeze their accounts if they detect suspicious activity.
  • Earn more cash back: Get up to 10% with select merchants when you make purchases with your Petal card. While offers and merchants vary, they don’t require activation. Instead, they’re automatically linked to your Petal account.
  • Automatic payments: Set up auto payments in the Petal app to make sure you never miss a deadline, and get access to more cash back.
  • Biometric access: The Petal mobile app includes biometric security controls to ensure your financial details are protected.
  • Link accounts: View and manage multiple linked card and bank accounts through the Petal app.
  • Balance checks: Before payments are due, Petal can check your linked bank account to ensure there’s enough money available and help prevent potential overdraft fees.

Best way to use this card

The biggest benefit of Petal comes from its no-score application process. If you’re just starting to build credit history and don’t want to deal with the deposits necessary for a secured credit option, this card offers easy access to a decent interest rate and reasonable credit limit to help manage your money over time. To get the most from your Petal® Visa® credit card, use the companion mobile application as much as possible. From budgeting and interest calculation tools to credit score access and balance checks, the Petal app can help ensure you’re not spending too much too quickly while also keeping monthly payments on track and on time.

This ties into the secondary benefit of Petal cards: Tiered cash back. When your account opens, you’ll automatically earn 1% cash back on all purchases. Once you make six monthly payments on time, you’ll get 1.25% back on every purchase, and after 12 months of paying on time, you’ll earn 1.5% cash back. It’s worth setting up automatic payments through the Petal app to make every payment on time and reach the top cash back tier as quickly as possible.

While the Petal® Visa® credit card does have some drawbacks — there’s no introductory offer and no cash advance or balance transfer options — this card occupies a unique space between unsecured and secured credit cards by giving applicants with no credit history the ability to access on-demand credit and cash back without the need for a security deposit.

In a nutshell

The Petal® Visa® credit card is a great fit if you’re looking to build your credit score, but want to avoid the pitfalls of large credit limits and the restrictions of deposit-based cards. While the card’s tiered cash back options can’t compete with the reward rates of bigger market players, Petal’s real value comes from its incredibly useful mobile app.

Using the app, cardholders can easily track and manage their spending, keep tabs on their credit score and make sure every payment is on time. Extra security features like encrypted data and biometric access help keep financial information safe, while instant account freezes and 24/7 support give cardholders total control if something doesn’t seem right.

Simply put – Even if your credit doesn’t have deep roots, Petal can help it grow. 

Doug Bonderud

An award-winning finance, technology and security writer, Doug has a knack for distilling complex concepts down into actionable, readable copy that generates interest and drives engagement