I have had about a dozen people ask me if Orchard Bank credit cards are a scam. If you aren’t familiar with Orchard Bank credit cards, they are designed specifically for people with bad or no credit. Orchard Bank (HSBC) offers several types of these cards, such as Gold, Platinum, and Classic, but basically there are two types: a line of credit (like any traditional credit card), and a secured credit card. Both cards are available to people with really bad credit, but the secured credit card requires you to deposit the full amount you want secured before they will send you the card. This may sound more like a debit card, but it actually works like a credit card in almost every other way. A secured credit card is preferred by people that are still working towards financial self-control. I suggest a secured credit card from Credit.com. This is a reliable source to check out cards that will suite you.
Are you worried about the bad reviews over at Ripoff Report?
I have had two Orchard Bank credit cards over the past 3 years. I have never been late on a payment –this is the key to having a positive relationship with Orchard Bank. It’s important to remember that the vast majority of Orchard Bank card holders have bad credit. This is a liability for Orchard Bank. In order to protect their business they must have certain policies that are different from a normal credit card provider. This policy is their past due policy. Indeed, it is strict. If you pay your bill one day late, your account will be automatically charged $35.
This is why I am extremely skeptical about the bad reviews at Ripoff Report. For one, Ripoff Report allows anyone to post anything as many times as they want. I read about 300 posts about Orchard Bank credit cards, and most of them appear to be posted by the same person. Also, 90% of the complaints address one reoccurring theme: past due fees. Complaints usually say something such as, “I was 1 day late on my bill and I got charged an extra fee!!!! OMG!!!”. Sorry, but that’s not Orchard Bank’s fault, it’s yours –you signed the agreement, you are a risk, and if you want to truly rebuild your credit and gain the trust of creditors, you ought to pay your bill on time.
Orchard Bank is one of only a handful of credit card companies that will offer a card to people with bad credit. Don’t get me wrong, they aren’t doing it out of altruism, they are doing it to make money. Nonetheless, as a customer, I have been extremely happy with my Orchard Bank card. Here are some things that Orchard Bank offers that others do not:
- Awesome customer support via email. I haven’t ever called so I don’t know about their phone support.
- Online services such as account activity, bill pay, and credit limit increase requests.
- You can setup automatic bill pay (this is the only credit card for people with bad credit that offers this as far as I know)
- Report to ALL 3 credit agencies on a monthly basis (this is absolutely required if you want to improve your credit).
With all of my praise it may sound like I work for Orchard Bank, but I don’t. I have however always had a good experience with them. I hope this article has cleared up some uncertainties. Remember that simply negotiating debts will not alone fix your credit. In order to build a good credit score (725+), you need to have open lines of credit (2 or 3) with excellent payment histories.
Orchard Bank will not offer you the best rates (far from it). But it’s a good place to start when you can’t get one anywhere else. Remember, however, don’t be late on your payments.