How to Build Credit with Fingerhut
If you’ve been wanting to make a big purchase, but your credit is less than spectacular, you might have looked into Fingerhut as an option.
Fingerhut is an online catalog and retailer that showcases a multitude of products. On this website, customers can shop for anything from electronics to home décor to auto parts. Fingerhut offers financing through their own line of credit, making it appealing to shoppers with poor credit or a nonexistent credit history. Many consumers have a better chance of getting approved by Fingerhut, than they might have of getting approved through most other credit card companies. It’s an option worth looking into if you want to improve your credit score through credit utilization.
The major difference between Fingerhut and credit cards that cater to low credit scores is that Fingerhut credit is exclusively available for use with its own company’s products and authorized partners. You’ll also find that the company’s products are pricier than they would be through most other retailers, while also bearing the weight of higher interest rates. While it might seem like a good idea if you don’t have good credit, it’s best to familiarize yourself with the ins and outs of the company beforehand so that you know what you’re signing up for.
How Fingerhut credit works
When you apply for a Fingerhut credit account, you can get approved by one of two accounts:
- WebBank/Fingerhut Advantage Credit Account.
- Fingerhut FreshStart Installment Loan issued by WebBank.
As it happens, by submitting your application, you are applying for both credit accounts. Applicants will be considered for the Fingerhut FreshStart Installment Loan issued by WebBank as a direct result of being denied for the WebBank/Fingerhut Advantage Credit Account. In other words, you won’t have a way of knowing which one you will be approved for prior to applying. Both credit accounts are issued by WebBank and are set up so that customers can purchase merchandise by paying for them on an installment plan with a 29.99% Annual Percentage Rate (APR). These are the only things that the different Fingerhut credit accounts have in common.
The WebBank/Fingerhut Advantage Credit Account
The WebBank/Fingerhut Advantage Credit Account works very much like an unsecured credit card, except that it’s an account that you can only use it to shop on Fingerhut or through its authorized partners.
This credit account features:
- No annual fee.
- A 29.99% interest rate.
- A $38 fee on late or returned payments.
- A possible down payment; it may or may not be required. You won’t know prior to applying.
If you get denied for this line of credit, your application will automatically be reviewed for the Fingerhut FreshStart Credit Account issued by WebBank, which is both structured and conditioned differently.
Fingerhut FreshStart Installment Loan issued by WebBank
If you get approved for the Fingerhut FreshStart Installment Loan, you must follow these three steps to activate it:
- Make a one-time purchase of no less than $50.
- Put a minimum payment of $30 down on your purchase, and your order will be shipped to you upon receipt of your payment. You may not use a credit card to make down payments, but you can use a debit card, check, or a money order.
- Make monthly payments on your balance within a span of six to eight months.
You can become eligible to upgrade to the Fingerhut Advantage Credit Account so long as you are able to pay off your balance during that time frame or sooner without having made any late payments. Keep in mind that paying for the entire balance in full at the time you make your down payment will result in you not qualifying for the loan as well as being ineligible for upgrade.
How a Fingerhut credit account helps raise your credit score
The fact that it can help you improve your credit is one of the biggest advantages of using a Fingerhut credit account.
When you make your payments to Fingerhut in full and on-time, the company will report that activity to the three major credit bureaus. This means that your good credit utilization won’t go unnoticed nor unrewarded. If you use Fingerhut to improve your credit score, you will eventually be able to apply for a credit card through a traditional credit card company—one where you can make purchases anywhere, not just at Fingerhut.
Additional benefits of a Fingerhut credit account
Besides using it as a tool to repair your bad credit, there are a few other benefits to using a WebBank Fingerhut Advantage Credit Account such as:
- No annual fee.
- Fingerhut has partnerships with a handful of other retailers, which means you can use your Fingerhut credit line to make purchases through a variety of companies. Fingerhut is partnered with companies that specialize in everything from floral arrangements to insurance plans.
- There are no penalties on the WebBank Fingerhut Advantage Credit Account when you pay off your balance early.
How to build credit with Fingerhut
Fingerhut credit works the same way as the loans from credit card companies work: in the form of a revolving loan.
A revolving loan is when you are designated a maximum credit limit by your lender, in which you are allowed to spend. Whatever you spend, you are expected to pay back in full and on-time through a series of monthly payments. This act of borrowing money and paying off bills using your Fingerhut account causes your balances to revolve and fluctuate, hence, its name.
Your credit activity, good or bad, gets reported to the three major credit bureaus and in turn, will have an effect on your credit report. Revolving loans play a large role in your credit score, affecting approximately 30% of your score through your credit utilization ratio. If your credit utilization ratio, the amount of available revolving credit divided by your amount owed, is too high then your credit score will plummet.
When using a Fingerhut account, the goal is to try to keep your amounts owed as low as you possibly can so that you can maintain a low utilization ratio, and as a result, have a higher credit score.
Alternatives to Fingerhut
If you’ve done all your research and decided that Fingerhut isn’t the right choice for you, there are other options that might serve you better, even if you have bad credit. There are a variety of secured credit cards that you can apply for such as:
- The OpenSky Secured Visa Credit Card: You will need a $200 security deposit to qualify for this secured credit card, but you can most likely get approved without a credit check or even a bank account. It can also be used to improve your credit, as this card does report to the three major credit bureaus. While this card does come with an annual $35 fee, you can use it to shop anywhere that will accept a Visa.
- Discover it Secured: For all those opposed to paying an annual fee of any sort, this card might just be the one for you. With a $0 annual fee and the ability to earn rewards through purchases, there’s not much to frown about with this secured credit card. One of the best perks, is that it allows you the chance to upgrade to an unsecured card after only eight months.
- Deserve Pro Mastercard: This card is a desirable option for those with a short credit history. There is no annual fee and no security deposit required and, if your credit history isn’t very long-winded, that’s okay. The issuers for this card may use their own process to decide whether or not you qualify for credit, by evaluating other factors such as income and employment. This card is especially nifty because you can get cash-back rewards such as 3% back on every dollar that you spend on travel and entertainment, 2% back on every dollar spent at restaurants, and 1% cash back on every dollar spent on anything else.
Fingerhut is an option worth looking into for those with bad credit or a short credit history. If you want to use a Fingerhunt credit account to improve your credit score, be sure to use it wisely and make all of your payments on time, just as you would with any other credit card.
Even though it might be easy to get approved, the prices and interest rates on items sold through Fingerhut are set higher than they would be at most other retailers, so it’s important to consider this before applying.
There are a ton of options available, regardless of what your credit report looks like, if you are trying to improve your credit. If the prices of Fingerhut’s merchandise are enough to scare you away, you might want to consider applying for a secured credit card.