Mission Lane Credit Card Review: Everything You Need to Know

The best rewards credit cards offer generous purchase rewards and other benefits. However, you usually need a good or excellent credit score in the high 600s or above to qualify.

If you’re still working on getting your credit score above 670, you may need a credit-building credit card instead. The Mission Lane Visa™ Credit Card is an option that can help you establish credit and gradually improve your credit score.

In this Mission Lane Credit Card review, I cover everything from key features to fees to pros and cons and share a few Mission Lane alternatives, too.

Table of Contents
  1. Introducing the Mission Lane Credit Card
    1. Who Should Apply for the Mission Lane Credit Card?
    2. Who Can Apply for the Mission Lane Credit Card?
  2. Mission Lane Credit Card Fees
  3. Card Features
    1. No Security Deposit Requirements
    2. Builds Credit
    3. Automatic Credit Line Increases
    4. Prequalify without a Credit Check
    5. Credit Score Monitoring
    6. Cash Back Rewards
  4. Mission Lane Credit Card Pros and Cons
    1. Pros
    2. Cons
  5. Alternatives to the Mission Lane Credit Card
    1. Chime Credit Builder Card
    2. Self Credit Builder
    3. Petal 2 Visa Card
    4. Tomo Credit Card
  6. FAQs
  7. Is the Mission Lane Credit Card Worth It?

Introducing the Mission Lane Credit Card

The Mission Lane Visa™ Credit Card is an unsecured card that doesn’t require an upfront security deposit and aims to help cardholders get a higher credit score. Transportation Alliance Bank, Inc. (FDIC Cert# 34781) issues this credit card.

The credit card is one of several Mission Lane products designed to help people improve their finances, like credit builder loans and an app to find side hustles. There is also a Mission Money Visa® Debit Card that is fee-free and provides online banking access.

It’s important to note that enrolling in these other products won’t improve your qualification odds for the Mission Lane Credit Card. But they can help you improve your finances and become a more competitive candidate.

Who Should Apply for the Mission Lane Credit Card?

You should consider the Mission Lane Visa if you have fair credit, bad credit, or no credit history. Generally, you’re in one of these groups if your credit score falls between 300 and 670.

You’ll get the most benefit from this product if your credit score is below 620. This is usually the minimum threshold to qualify for conventional home loans and unsecured credit cards.

Avoid this card if you’re looking for a no-annual-fee credit card, as you will most likely pay an annual fee as high as $59. In addition, consider applying for other cards when your credit score is above 670, or you want a credit card signup bonus (which this card doesn’t offer).

Who Can Apply for the Mission Lane Credit Card?

The basic eligibility requirements include the following:

  • At least 18 years old
  • Have a Social Security Number (SSN) or ITIN
  • Earn income
  • Have an active email address and phone number
  • Offer code

While anyone can try to prequalify, Mission Lane’s website prominently displays a “Respond to Mail Offer” button on its homepage. Well-qualified applicants will receive a targeted offer in the mail with a unique Mission Lane offer code they can enter to streamline the application process.

Mission Lane Credit Card Fees

Unfortunately, most people will pay an annual fee to use this product. While Mission Lane claims to have transparent pricing with no hidden fees, e.g., maintenance or over-the-limit fees, you must prequalify to view the applicable annual fee and APR for your credit profile.

Here is a summary of the card fees:

  • Annual Fee: $0 to $59
  • Foreign Transaction Fee: 3%
  • Regular APR: 26.99% to 29.99% variable APR

While many credit cards let you preview the card agreement and fees before you prequalify or apply, you must perform one of these actions to see your potential fees. Not so transparent.

In addition, the interest rate is high as it’s a starter credit card. It’s a good reminder that it’s never a good idea to carry a credit card balance due to the high interest.

Card Features

Let’s take a closer look at some of the key features of the Mission Lane Credit Card.

No Security Deposit Requirements

Unlike a secured credit card, you won’t have to provide cash as a security deposit when you open your account. While you will pay an upfront annual fee of up to $59, it can be more affordable than tying up several hundred dollars that you may need for other expenses.

Builds Credit

Unlike a rewards debit card, the Mission Lane credit card can help you build credit. Mission Lane reports your payment history to the Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion credit bureaus.

Note that paying your balance in full each month is the best way to establish a good credit score and avoid paying interest charges.

Automatic Credit Line Increases

All users start with a $300 spending limit and become eligible for credit limit increases when they make consecutive on-time payments and demonstrate good credit behaviors.

The frequency of these potential credit limit increases isn’t made public, but in their website FAQs, Mission Lane states that “we’ll evaluate your account for a credit line increase at least once within your first 12 months as a Mission Lane member.”

This policy is similar to other credit-building cards, which usually begin reviewing your account after six consecutive on-time payments.

If you’re wondering, these automatic increases won’t hurt your credit score as you’re not asking for a credit limit increase.

Each credit line increase boosts your spending power so you can make larger purchases. In addition, from a credit-building standpoint, a higher limit makes it easier to maintain a low utilization ratio.

Prequalify without a Credit Check

Even if you don’t have an offer code, you can try to prequalify for the Mission Lane card without it impacting your credit score.

This inquiry only takes a few minutes after you provide the following details:

  • Name
  • Street address
  • Social Security Number (to access your credit report)
  • Annual income
  • Monthly housing expenses (and whether you rent or own)
  • Email address
  • Phone number

If you’re eligible, you will see your annual fee, purchase APR, and other relevant card benefits.

Prequalifying only requires a soft credit check and won’t hurt your score. However, a hard credit check is necessary if you proceed to apply for the card, and it will temporarily reduce your score.

In most situaNothtions, you will receive an instant credit decision when applying and will receive your card within 7-14 business days after the application approval.

Credit Score Monitoring

All accounts are eligible for free credit score updates and other educational tools to learn more about managing credit. These tools are available 24/7 online or through the Mission Lane mobile app. There are other ways to check your credit score for free, but this is a nice feature to have.

Cash Back Rewards

The most-qualified members can be eligible for the Mission Lane Cash Back Visa card. If you’re one of them, you will earn 1% or 1.5% back on qualifying purchases. Your rewards balance is credited monthly as a statement credit to reduce your card balance but doesn’t count toward your minimum monthly payment.

As this product will most likely charge an annual fee, you may want to consider exchanging it for a regular cash-back credit card elsewhere when you are able to qualify, as many don’t charge an annual fee.

Mission Lane Credit Card Pros and Cons

Based on my research, here are the positives and negatives of using the Mission Lane credit card to build credit and make purchases.

Pros

  • Reports payment history to the major credit bureaus
  • No security deposit
  • Qualify for automatic credit limit increases
  • Prequalify without hurting your credit score
  • Credit score tracker and credit education tools available

Cons

  • Lack of transparency with fees
  • Low initial $300 credit limit
  • 3% foreign transaction fee
  • No signup bonus offer
  • 26.99% – 29.99% APR is high, even for a credit card

Learn More About Mission Lane

Alternatives to the Mission Lane Credit Card

The following products may be easier to qualify for, have lower fees, or offer more useful features to help you build credit quickly. Before signing up with Mission Lane, I recommend that you check out these alternatives.

Chime Credit Builder Card

The Chime Credit Builder VISA card is a secured credit card that doesn’t charge an annual fee and reports to the credit bureaus. Your spending limit equals your refundable security deposit, and you can decide how much to contribute.

In addition to the credit card, you can open a free checking account and a high-yield savings account with Chime to pay bills and earn interest on your cash. These accounts are free, and you can be eligible for up to $200 in fee-free debit card overdraft protection.

Unless you’re opposed to having a secured credit card, Chime is a better option than Mission Lane. Get all the details in our Chime Credit Builder review.

Learn More About Chime

Chime is a financial technology company, not a bank. Banking services provided by The Bancorp Bank, N.A. or Stride Bank, N.A., Members FDIC. The Chime Visa® Debit Card is issued by The Bancorp Bank or Stride Bank pursuant to a license from Visa U.S.A. Inc. and may be used everywhere Visa debit cards are accepted. Please see back of your Card for its issuing bank.

Self Credit Builder

The Self Credit Builder account is a secured credit card that helps you build credit after enrolling in a Self Credit Builder loan with a 12-24 month term.

You’re eligible for this card after you make three on-time payments and your Self Credit Builder Account balance exceeds $100. As a unique twist, your balance applies toward your credit card security deposit. For more details, check out our Self review.

Learn More About Self

Petal 2 Visa Card

The Petal 2 Visa card lets you earn cash back without an annual fee or security deposit. You can earn up to 1.5% cash back on purchases.

You can also earn up to 10% back at select merchants with special shopping offers.

The purpose of the Petal 2 Visa is to help people build credit. It’s possible to qualify with a low credit score, so it’s worth trying, given the perks and no annual fee. Learn more about the Petal 2 Visa Card.

Petal Credit cards are issued by WebBank, Member FDIC

Learn More About the Petal 2 Visa

Tomo Credit Card

The Tomo Card analyzes your income and bank account balance to determine your spending power. This product is a charge card that functions as a debit card by automatically paying off your balance every seven days and reporting the payments to the credit bureaus.

There are no annual fees, and you don’t have to make a security deposit. Consider this card if you have bad credit and like the idea of weekly balance payments to avoid fees and credit score penalties. Learn more in our Tomo review.

FAQs

Is Mission Lane a real credit card?

Yes, the Mission Lane Visa is an unsecured credit card that reports your monthly activity to the three credit bureaus so you can build a credit history.

What is the minimum Mission Lane credit limit?

All Mission Lane credit cards start with a $300 spending limit. The credit card issuer automatically reviews each account and can receive at least one automatic credit limit increase in a rolling 12-month period.

Does Mission Lane hurt your credit score?

Prequalifying for the Mission Lane Credit Card won’t impact your score as it’s a soft inquiry. However, submitting an official application to receive a card requires a hard check.

Additionally, after opening your account, checking your credit score through Mission Lane won’t hurt your credit score.  

Is the Mission Lane Credit Card Worth It?

The Mission Lane Visa™ Credit Card can help you build credit when you pay your balance in full each month by reporting your payments to the three bureaus. However, this benefit comes at a price with a potentially high annual fee.

This card can be helpful if you have a credit score below 600 and don’t qualify for a traditional unsecured card. However, many of the alternatives listed above are more affordable and have better features.

If you decide to apply for a Mission Lane Credit Card, only use it until your score increases enough to qualify for a similar spending card without a fee.

Mission Lane

8

Product Rating

8.0/10

Strengths

  • Reports payment history to the major credit bureaus
  • No security deposit
  • Qualify for automatic credit limit increases
  • Prequalify without hurting your credit score
  • Credit score tracker and credit education tools available

Weaknesses

  • Lack of transparency with fees
  • Low initial $300 credit limit
  • 3% foreign transaction fee
  • No signup bonus offer
  • 26.99% - 29.99% APR is high, even for a credit card

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About Josh Patoka

After graduating in $50k with student loans in May 2008 from Virginia Military Institute with a B.A. International Studies and Political Science with a minor in Spanish (he studied abroad in Sevilla, Spain for 3 months), Josh decided to sell his soul for seven years by working in the transportation industry to get out of debt ASAP and focus on doing something else with a better work-life balance.

He is a father of three and has been writing about (almost) everything personal finance since 2015. You can also find him at his own blog Money Buffalo where he shares his personal experience of becoming debt-free (twice) and taking a 50%+ pay cut when he changed careers.

Today, Josh relishes the flexibility of being self-employed and debt-free and encourages others to pursue their dreams. Josh enjoys spending his free time reading books and spending time with his wife and three children.

Opinions expressed here are the author's alone, not those of any bank or financial institution. This content has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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