Refresh Financial Review 2021: Credit Builder in Canada

If you’re looking to increase your credit score, you know how painful that can be. Decent credit helps you secure mortgages and auto loans, all at great rates.

But what if your credit isn’t that good? How can you ever build it back up?

That’s where Refresh Financial comes in. They help their customers improve their credit and achieve their financial goals.

With two credit-building programs available, plus an online financial management course, Refresh sets its clients up for success.

Our Verdict
Refresh Financial Review
8/10Our Score

Refresh Financial

Credit Building Services

Refresh Financial offers credit-building account services with their secured credit card and credit builder loan programs. Both are easy to apply for and come without the hassle of a credit check. 

Pros
  • Lower fees than competitors
  • No credit checks necessary
  • Guaranteed approval as long as certain criteria are met
Cons
  • Additional fees for inactivity and ATM usage
  • Several lousy customer reviews about the company’s customer service department and credit bureau reporting process
  • Doesn’t offer reward points like some competitors

Who Is Refresh Financial?

Refresh Financial offers a Secured Visa Credit Card, a good option for those with bad credit or for customers looking to build a credit history. It’s easy enough to apply, and mostly all applicants are accepted.

Refresh Financial wants to help its customers achieve their financial goals, and that means focusing on providing programs to help consumers build credit, even if denied elsewhere.

How It Works

As a credit building lender, Refresh Financial wants to help those with poor or no credit. The company offers two products to help you build your credit while securing the cash you desperately need.

Both the Credit Builder Loan and Refresh Secured Visa Card report payments directly to credit bureaus, making it easy to help build your credit. The end goal of these programs is to help consumers build their credit enough to get approved for mortgages, car loans, or other personal financial goals.

What Is a Credit Builder Account?

Credit Builder Account

Credit builder accounts not only can help raise your credit score, but they show you how you can consistently make regular payments in a timely fashion. Most lenders let you set your payment schedule – how frequently and how much you can afford. Some even offer automatic payments directly from your checking or savings account.

Applying for these types of accounts usually comes with no credit checks, a bonus for consumers that often dread those words.

Features of the Refresh Financial Credit Card

With lots of credit cards on the market, it’s hard to stand out. But Refresh Financial is making it easy for those who have gone through bankruptcies or rejections from other companies to finally secure a credit card.

Here are some of the card’s top features and why it’s worth checking out.

Low Fees and Interest Rate

Low Fees and Interest Rate

Compared to other secured credit cards, Refresh Financial keeps things affordable. There’s a $12.95 annual fee, along with a $3 a month maintenance charge. In total, spending only $48.95 per year in fees for someone who has poor credit doesn’t seem too bad.

The interest rate, while high, is much lower than other alternatives offering the same services. If you don’t pay your balance within the 21 day grace period, you’re hit with a 17.99% interest charge. 

Low Deposits

Low Deposits

Once you’ve decided you’re ready for this credit card, you’ll need to make a deposit. Refresh requires a minimum deposit of at least $200 before you apply. Because your credit limit depends on your deposit amount, the more you pay in, the more your credit score increases.

Compared with other well-known secured credit cards, Refresh’s minimum deposit is much smaller and very affordable. The deposit amount ranges from $200 to $10,000.

Financial Guidance

Financial Guidance

Refresh Financial doesn’t just want you to improve your credit score. They want you to meet all your financial goals. That means learning about your finances and how to manage them.

Refresh customers can try free online management courses dubbed Refresh f.i.t. (financial intelligence training). These courses focus on the basics of money management, including setting goals, saving money, using credit cards, and building wealth.

Additional Loan Program

Additional Loan Program

In addition to their credit card program, Refresh Financial offers a Credit Builder Loan. It’s basically paying the loan upfront.

This program works best for customers who have poor credit and failed in the past at obtaining a loan. All funds are held in a secure account, while regular payments are reported to the credit bureau, therefore, increasing your credit rating.

Potential Drawbacks

Potential Drawbacks

Refresh Financial has a few other additional fees you need to know about. These charges aren’t often found with their competitors, so it might sway you away from the company if you think they might apply to you.

There is a $5 fee to use an ATM for cash advances in Canada or anywhere worldwide. There’s also a $2 charge for cardholders that are inactive and don’t use their card monthly.

While both of these fees are low, they still might turn away potential customers that aren’t looking for any hidden charges. However, since this is a credit building company, most users should make payments consistently, wiping out the potential account inactivity charge.

Is Refresh Financial Real?

It seems too good to be true, but Refresh Financial is indeed real. In fact, it’s so good that most applicants are almost guaranteed approval.

The requirements for approval include:

  • Having the $200 minimum security deposit.
  • Obtaining the age of majority in your province.
  • You don’t already have a Refresh account.

If you meet those three conditions, you’re in – all without a credit check!

Refresh Financial Vs Home Trust Vs Plastk

One of the biggest pros to Refresh Financial is the low minimum deposit required. At just $200, it’s the lowest deposit amount among the secured credit card alternatives. Add to that one of the lowest interest rates around, and it’s the perfect choice for those looking to establish credit.

While Home Trust doesn’t charge a yearly fee, they also don’t guarantee approval (as long as you meet certain requirements) like the other two agencies.

Plastk stands out due to its starting interest rate – 0% for the first three months. While it does go up to 17.99% after that, the initial rate draws in business and new customers.

Here’s how all three stack up.

stack up

Figuring out which card is best for you really comes down to what your goals are. Do you prefer to pay fewer fees? Home Trust might be for you. Looking for immediate approval and a low deposit threshold? Refresh Financial can help you out.

Potential customers need to weigh the pros and cons of each credit card company and decide the best fit for them based on their financial goals.

The Reviews Run the Gamut

If you want to know the truth about any kind of product, it’s best to go to the masses for their opinions. Refresh Financial got solid reviews on Google and featured positive feedback on their website.

Reviews Run the Gamut

Most of the positive ones mention that users increased their credit scores over a period of time. While there are a variety of good reviews, especially ones mentioning the customer service and positive results, Refresh Financial has its fair share of naysayers.

Negative Feedback

This user complained that the company didn’t report payments directly to credit bureaus, something Refresh Financial claims they do regularly. Others on Site Jabber took issue with the company’s customer service team and getting into contact with them.

Reviews are important in making your decisions, but because they vary so much, it’s difficult to tell if it’s a problem within the company or if the naysayers tended to have a one-and-done issue. Either way, the bottom line is to do your research, read the reviews, and make the best decision based on the facts.

How to Apply

Before applying, there are guidelines required for approval. Certain criteria were listed above, but all applicants need to meet the following conditions:

  • Be 18 or the age of majority in your province
  • Do not have an existing Refresh Financial account
  • Have not applied for a Secured Card or account in the past 30 days
  • You do not have an account that isn’t in good standing during the last year
  • Will provide the necessary security deposit of $200-$10,000 once approved.

If you meet those criteria, you can start the application process online. You’ll need to enter certain personal details like your name, contact info, social insurance number, employment information, and financial info.

Final Thoughts

If you have bad credit and are looking to dig yourself out of that hole, Refresh Financial has some solid options to get you back on your feet and get your credit score out of the gutter.

With fees and interest rates lower than their competitors, signing up with Refresh Financial can increase your score within a matter of months.

With two programs (secured credit card and credit builder loan), Refresh Financial can help you build a better financial future.

If you’re curious why you need a decent credit score, check out these reasons how it can actually improve your life.

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Author Bio - Christopher Liew is a CFA Charterholder with 11 years of finance experience and the creator of Wealthawesome.com. Read about how he quit his 6-figure salary career to travel the world here.

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