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Fingerhut Credit Account Review: An Option for Financing Retail Purchases

Do you prefer the convenience of online shopping? Are you looking for a way to build your credit history? If so, you might be considering a Fingerhut credit account.

Fingerhut is an online/catalog merchant that offers a variety of products ranging from electronics to household goods.

Although anyone can shop with the retailer, it actually caters to people with no credit score or a low credit score.

So, if other creditors have rejected your credit applications, the odds are in your favor with Fingerhut. 

Here’s a look at how the company differs from other retailers, and what you need to qualify for a credit account.

How is a Fingerhut Credit Account Different?

Many retailers offer store credit cards.

This includes department stores like Macy’s and JCPenney, and retailers like Old Navy or Express.

Once you’re approved, you can use your credit account to shop online or in-store.

Fingerhut credit accounts work similar to other retail credit cards, but there are key differences.

For starters, Fingerhut doesn’t have actual stores.

The company functions solely as a catalog/online retailer. So if you’re interested in making a purchase, you must do so online or over the phone.

Also, Fingerhut offers two types of credit accounts.

Credit line

When submitting an online application, you are first evaluated for the Fingerhut revolving credit account issued by WebBank.

If approved, you’ll receive a credit limit similar to other credit accounts. 

Installment loan

In the event that you aren’t approved for a revolving credit line, Fingerhut reviews your application again.

This time, the retailer checks to see if you qualify for the Fingerhut FreshStart installment loan. 

Rather than receive a credit limit, this is a one-time loan for a purchase of $50 or more, which you’ll pay back in installments.

After paying off the installment loan, Fingerhut may offer you a credit account.

Helps to build good credit

Yes:

Fingerhut is an option to help establish good credit.

Yet, buying from this retailer is more expensive than buying elsewhere.

The merchandise on Fingerhut tends to be pricier than other retailers. Unfortunately, this is the price you pay for the privilege of easy credit.

On top of the higher prices, these accounts have higher interest rates, and you’ll pay shipping fees.

The downside:

You’ll pay considerably more for an item. The upside is that Fingerhut provides an opportunity to build a better credit score.

What You Need to Know About Fingerhut?

Do you think a Fingerhut credit account is right for you? Here’s what you need to know before applying.

1. What is the minimum credit score for approval?

Fingerhut’s credit application doesn’t provide information about minimum credit score requirements.

But since this is a credit builder account, you can get approved with a low credit score or no credit history. 

Depending on your situation, you’ll either receive a Fingerhut credit account or a Fingerhut FreshStart installment loan.

You might not qualify for a Fingerhut credit account (at this time) if negative items have appeared on your credit report within the past 12 months.

2. What is the minimum credit limit/loan amount?

Fingerhut also doesn’t provide information about minimum credit/loan limits for its accounts.

Yet:

Users have reported receiving an initial credit account limit of $200. Their credit limits gradually increased with demonstrated creditworthiness. 

The Fingerhut credit application does ask for personal information such as your name, address, Social Security, and annual income. The company uses your annual income as a basis for determining your credit limit.

If you don’t qualify for a Fingerhut credit account, but you’re eligible for the company’s installment loan, you can use this loan on purchases of $50 or more. 

Remember:

This loan is for a one-time purchase.

You’re also required to make a minimum $30 down payment before Fingerhut ships this order. You cannot use a credit card for your down payment. You can, however, use a debit card, a check, a money order or an ACH payment.

3. What are the loan terms?

Loan terms with Fingerhut vary depending on whether you have the retailer’s credit account or installment loan.

The credit account is a revolving credit line, so there isn’t a loan term. 

You can borrow up to the amount of your credit limit. You’ll get a monthly bill with a minimum monthly payment amount, which is based on your interest rate and your credit balance.

If you use the retailer’s FreshStart program, you’ll pay off this balance over a period of six or eight months, although you’re free to pay it off sooner.

4. How can Fingerhut improve my credit?

Getting a Fingerhut credit account can build or rebuild your credit history because the merchant reports credit activity to all three major credit bureaus. This includes Experian, TransUnion, and Equifax. 

Each timely payment results in positive activity being reported to the bureaus.

The more positive activity on your credit report, the better your credit score.

So it’s important to make your payments on time every month. 

If you have a credit account, it’s smart to also pay off your balance in full every month. This way, you avoid debt and high interest charges.

Plus, too much revolving debt can lower your credit score.

As a general rule of thumb, your credit balance should never exceed 30% of your credit limit.

How to Compare Credit Accounts?

Of course, Fingerhut isn’t the only credit account available to you.

So it’s important to shop around and know your options. Only then can you decide which account is right for you. 

The first thing to consider is whether a credit account has an annual fee.

This is common with reward-based credit cards. The annual fee helps cover the cost of the rewards program.

Fortunately, Fingerhut credit accounts don’t include an annual fee.

It’s also noteworthy to consider the interest rate on a credit account.

This is especially important if you’ll carry a balance from month-to-month.

The longer you carry a balance, the more you’ll pay for purchases. For this reason, it’s cheaper to use a low-rate credit card if you don’t pay off your balances every month. This will save money in the long run.

Are There Alternatives to a Fingerhut Credit Account?

If you haven’t had much success applying for a major credit card due to poor credit, you might feel that Fingerhut is your only option.

But while this credit account can get your foot in the door, make sure you consider other alternatives to build your credit history.

1. Get a secured credit card

A secured credit card is another option for establishing or improving a credit score.

These cards are easier to get with poor credit or no credit because you’re required to pay a security deposit before you’re approved. 

Banks that issue secured credit cards also report your activity to the credit bureaus. If you demonstrate a history of timely payments, your credit score gradually improves and you’ll eventually qualify for an unsecured credit card. 

If you demonstrate a history of timely payments, your credit score gradually improves and you’ll eventually qualify for an unsecured credit card. 

Another benefit of a secured credit card is that many cards have a Visa or MasterCard logo.

You can use these credit cards wherever Visa and MasterCard are accepted.

A Fingerhut credit account can only be used with Fingerhut and its partners.

2. Apply for a credit builder personal loan

Your personal bank may also offer credit builder personal loans to help build or rebuild your credit history. These are short-term loans with amounts up to a few thousand dollars. 

The idea is to get a loan, make your monthly payments, and gradually improve your credit score.

These are easier to get with bad credit, but credit builder personal loans do involve higher interest rates and you might have to pledge collateral.

3. Become an authorized credit card user

Another trick to build a credit history is to become an authorized user on someone’s credit card.

For this to work, the primary account holder must manage this credit account responsibly, since they’re ultimately responsible for making the payment. 

As an authorized user, this credit account will appear on your credit report, too. Thus, you’re able to benefit from the primary account holder’s good payment record.

Final Verdict: Is a Fingerhut Credit Account Right for You?

A Fingerhut credit account is worth consideration if you’re trying to build credit, but you’ve been turned down by other banks.

The merchant’s credit account and FreshStart installment loan are easier to get with no credit score or a low credit score.

Just know that you’ll pay more for merchandise in the catalog and on the website. And you’ll also have a higher interest rate compared to other credit cards. 

But if you’re able to manage this account responsibly, a Fingerhut credit account can be a stepping stone to a better credit score and better credit offers.