It can be challenging to qualify for a rewards credit card without a security deposit when you have bad credit.
In most instances, your best option is applying for a secured credit card where your credit limit is the same amount as your refundable security deposit. Depending on which card you apply for, it may or may not earn rewards and potentially charge an annual fee.
Now, you have another option with Tomo. The Tomo card doesn’t charge an annual fee or require a security deposit, and it also earns 1% back on purchases. This Tomo Credit Card review looks at the various card benefits and how they can help you build credit.
Table of Contents
- What Is the Tomo Credit Card?
- How does the Tomo Credit Card work?
- No Annual Fee or Interest
- Earn 1% Cash Back
- Reports to Credit Bureaus
- Weekly Payments
- No Security Deposit
- Tomo Credit Card Fees
- Tomo Credit Card Pros and Cons
- Tomo Credit Card Alternatives
- Tomo Credit Card FAQs
- The Bottom Line on Tomo
What Is the Tomo Credit Card?
Besides having a really modern looking website and vertical card design (very popular these days), the Tomo card is a no-annual-fee credit card that’s the main product of fintech company TomoCredit. Community Federal Savings Bank issues this Mastercard product that works at nearly every merchant worldwide.
Some of the best benefits of this card include:
- No credit check
- No security deposit
- Reports card payments to the three credit bureaus
- Zero fees or interest charges
- Earn 1% cash back
- Credit limits up to $10,000
The Tomo card is different than your typical rewards credit card which requires a good credit score. Specifically, you don’t need to undergo a hard credit check when you apply or post a refundable security deposit before you can start making purchases.
Instead, this card analyzes your cash reserves and spending habits to determine your credit limit between $100 and $10,000. Next, it pays off your balance weekly to keep your account in good standing as the service doesn’t charge a purchase APR.
Who Can Apply?
You can apply for the Tomo Credit Card if you’re 18 years old and have a Social Security Number (SSN) or an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN).
Non-U.S. citizens can apply as long as they have one of the above numbers and a government-issued ID. In addition, your travel passport can be a qualifying document. There are no credit history requirements, but you must link at least one bank account to determine your credit limit.
I found the Tomo card application process to be pretty straightforward (and what you expect):
- Enter your email address to create an account
- Provide your personal information to verify your eligibility
- Connect a bank account(s) using Plaid to calculate your credit limit
- Submit the formal application
The application process is similar to a typical rewards card but there’s no hard credit check because TomoCredit doesn’t use your credit report or credit score as a decision factor. Instead, you prequalify for the card and there’s just a soft credit check. This means it won’t impact your credit score.
After approval, you will receive your card within 7-10 business days. Your credit limit will be between $100 and $10,000.
How does the Tomo Credit Card work?
This card works just like any other debit card or credit card. You can use it to pay for purchases online and in-store. Here are some of the other benefits this card provides.
No Annual Fee or Interest
You won’t pay an annual fee to build credit. While more starter credit cards no longer require a yearly fee, several competing products still charge account fees.
In addition, you won’t pay interest on your unpaid balance. Instead, TomoCredit freezes your card account until you repay the balance.
Earn 1% Cash Back
Each card purchase earns 1% cash back. You can redeem your rewards 28 days after you pay the balance on your monthly statement in full. Cash rewards are the only redemption option, but Tomo plans to have more in the future.
Reports to Credit Bureaus
While earning cash back is fantastic, one of your primary objectives for getting this card can be the opportunity to garner a good credit score.
Tomo reports your payments to the three major credit bureaus (Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion). A series of on-time payments can establish a positive payment history and help improve your score.
Applying also won’t ding your credit score like a traditional unsecured credit card.
You will make automatic weekly payments on Mondays from your purchases for the previous week. However, your billing period follows the same monthly statement cycle as secured and unsecured credit cards. These automated payments ensure you won’t have an unpaid balance.
This weekly payment frequency offers several benefits:
- Won’t pay late fees or interest
- Keep a low credit utilization history
- Make monthly on-time payments
What happens if you don’t have enough money to pay your weekly balance? Tomo freezes your card, and you cannot make new purchases until you repay it. This credit card payment hack can make it easier for your score to rise faster since your outstanding balance remains low.
No Security Deposit
Most credit cards catering to customers with poor or no credit history require a refundable deposit, with the credit limit equalling the deposit amount.
While you get your refundable deposit back after closing your card in good standing, that cash is inaccessible. You may appreciate the Tomo card because your bank account secures your card.
You only have to link at least one bank account. The platform analyzes your bank account balances, money habits, and other factors to determine your credit limit. Consider linking multiple accounts and the one with the highest balance to qualify for a higher credit limit.
Your credit limit will be between $100 and $10,000.
For example, you might qualify for a higher limit when you receive recurring direct deposits and have a nice cash surplus. It’s possible to request a higher limit down the road after making several on-time payments, increasing your bank account balances, and linking more accounts.
Tomo Credit Card Fees
Here is the current fee schedule for the Tomo card:
- Annual fee: $0
- Maintenance fee: $0
- Foreign transaction fee: None
- Purchase APR: 0%
- Application fee: $0
You won’t pay any fees, but you must pay your balance in full each month to avoid account deactivation.
Transaction and Usage Limits
Several spending limits may impact frequent spenders.
- Daily limit: Up to 20 transactions with a $5,000 combined value
- Purchases allowed over four days: Up to 40 transactions with a $40,000 combined value
- Monthly spending limit: $20,000
- Annual spending limit: $240,000
Tomo Credit Card Pros and Cons
There’s a lot to like about the Tomo Credit Card and some drawbacks to consider. For one, having to make weekly payments can be an inconvenience. Here is a look at the advantages and disadvantages of using a Tomo card.
- Earn 1% back on every purchase
- No annual fee or security deposit
- It doesn’t require a credit check
- Can help build credit
- The potentially low credit limit
- Must link multiple bank accounts to increase your credit limit
- Requires weekly payments
- No signup bonus
Tomo Credit Card Alternatives
The Tomo card is an exciting option, but you might appreciate these other platforms more.
The Chime Credit Builder VISA Card is a secured credit that reports to the credit bureaus and doesn’t charge an annual fee. Your spending limit is equivalent to your refundable deposit.
You’re eligible for this product when you have a Chime checking account and receive at least $200 in monthly direct deposits.
You might prefer this platform as you can also open an FDIC-insured spending account and savings account. In addition, your savings account balance earns a competitive interest rate. Check out our Chime Credit Builder review for more information.
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.
Petal 2 Visa Card
The Petal 2 Visa Card earns up to 1.5% back for on-time payments and up t 10% back at select merchants. There are no annual fees or security deposit requirements, and your credit limit can be between $300 and $10,000. Find out more in our Petal 2 Visa Card review.
Extra Debit Card
The Extra Debit Card has a similar approach as Tomo. You start by linking your bank accounts to get a spending limit, earn 1% back on purchases, and your monthly payments report to the credit bureaus.
However, you pay for each purchase the next business day instead of the start of the week. Therefore, you might appreciate the daily payments to avoid carrying a balance. Unfortunately, you will pay a annual fee starting at $149 or $20 a month. Our Extra Debit Card review has all of the details.
Students can enjoy more benefits from Deserve EDU. Select card benefits include:
- $0 annual fee
- 1% cash back on purchases
- Amazon Prime Student free for the first year
- Cell phone insurance
International students can apply without a Social Security number. You won’t need to make a security deposit, and your payment activity reports to the three bureaus.
Tomo Credit Card FAQs
No, the Tomo Credit Card doesn’t have a security deposit. Instead, the company analyzes your linked bank accounts to assign a credit limit between $100 and $10,000.
The Tomo Credit mobile app is available for Apple devices, but there isn’t an app for Android phones. You can also visit the Tomo dashboard from the mobile-friendly website.
Tomo Credit reports your payment activity monthly to Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion. The service collects weekly payments to avoid unpaid balances, and a high credit utilization ratio might delay your credit score growth.
The Bottom Line on Tomo
Tomo is an exciting credit builder product as you won’t pay an annual fee or make a security deposit. You also get 1% cash back on every purchase as an added incentive.
If you’re comfortable with the weekly payments and linking your bank accounts to get a higher credit limit, this rewards card should be at the top of your list.