Plastk vs. Refresh Financial Secured Credit Cards

Plastk vs. Refresh Financial Secured Credit Cards

Written by Mark Gregorski
Fact-checked by Caitlin Wood
Last Updated October 6, 2021

A solid credit score can be important if you need a mortgage, auto loan, personal loan, or credit card. If your credit is in poor shape, you may struggle to obtain affordable financing of any kind. But what if you have bad credit or lack a credit history entirely? Is there a viable path available for you to improve or establish your credit standing? 

The answer is yes.

One way to establish or rebuild your credit is to use a secured credit card. This unique credit card functions much like the traditional version we all know, but with one exception: you must deposit a sum of money upfront as collateral to secure it. By making consistent purchases using a secured credit card and diligently paying off the balance on time, you can slowly improve your credit score.  

There are a variety of secured credit cards available on the market. Two great options are Plastk and Refresh Financial.

Learn how to switch from a secured credit card  to a regular credit card

Who Is Plastk?

Plastk is a financial services company that was founded in 2018 by Motola Omobamiduro. The firm offers the Plastk Secured Credit Card, Canada’s only secured credit card with a premium rewards program. It also offers Plastk Sentinel, a regular credit card that comes with a variety of extra features to help users build their credit. The firm’s mission is to help Canadians build their credit while accessing premium rewards usually reserved for those with superior credit scores. 

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Who Is Refresh Financial?

Refresh Financial is a financial services firm whose goal is to help Canadians improve their financial situation by taking charge of their credit. The company offers three products: a credit builder program, the Refresh Financial Secured Visa Credit Card, and Black Tier, a comprehensive credit-building assistance program. In early 2021, Refresh Financial was acquired by Borrowell, a Canadian digital lending firm.

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Plastk vs. Refresh Financial Secured Credit Cards

Plastk and Refresh Financial Credit Card both contain many valuable features, which you should carefully evaluate before settling on one.

Plastk Secured Credit Card Features

  • Rewards Program. The Plastk card comes with a premium rewards program, the only secured credit card in Canada that offers such a feature. You can earn points to redeem for statement credits, exclusive member events, gift cards, merchandise, etc.
  • Grace Period. You get a 25-day interest-free grace period before you must make a payment.
  • Monthly Credit Score. You can view details about your credit score every month and track your credit-building progress, courtesy of Equifax.
  • Referral Program: You can amass additional points by referring family and friends to the Plastk card. The program earns you 2,500 points ($10) for your first referral, 10,000 points ($40) for your first five referrals, and 50,000 points ($200) for your first ten referrals.
  • Zero Fraud Liability: If your Plastk card gets stolen, you can rest easy knowing you won’t be responsible for paying any fraudulent charges.
  • Instant Balance Payment: Make quick and convenient payments using Interac e-transfer.
  • Sign up Bonus: You get 5,000 points immediately after signing up for the card, which translates to about $20. The points are redeemable after three months.
  • Payments Help Build Credit: The Plastk secured credit card can help improve your credit score over time when payments are reported to the credit bureau.

Refresh Financial Credit Card Features

  • Low annual fee. The yearly fee is only $12.95.
  • Low interest rate. Your APR is 17.99%, which is slightly lower than the average credit card rate of 19.99%.
  • Financial Education. As a cardholder, you have exclusive access to Refresh F.I.T. (Financial Intelligence Training), a free financial education program offered by Refresh Financial. The program helps you learn basic money management skills, such as building your wealth and becoming debt-free.
  • Build Credit. Each timely payment you make gets reported to Equifax and TransUnion, which helps cement your reputation as a responsible borrower.
  • Low Deposit. The upfront deposit is only $200, making the card affordable for virtually every borrower.
  • Walk Pack. The Walk Pack is a Refresh Financial product package. It provides you with a secured credit card, plus access to Black Tier, a set of tools to help you build your credit experience. Black Tier allows you to:
  • Track your credit-building progress. 
  • Receive daily credit score updates and alerts about suspicious items that appear on your credit report.
  • Run simulations to forecast your credit under different scenarios.
  • Get special perks that offer discounts at hundreds of retailers.
  • Refine your financial skills through video courses and quizzes.
  • Consult with a Relationship Manager and receive priority status during calls.

Plastk vs. Refresh Financial Credit Cards Overview

PlastkRefresh Financial
Minimum Deposit$300$200
Credit Limit$10,000 maximum$10,000 maximum
Fees– $48 annual fee
– $6 monthly maintenance fee
– 4.5% foreign currency conversion fee
– $12.95 annual fee
– $3 monthly maintenance fee
– 3.5% currency conversion fee
– $0.10 declined transaction fee
– $5 cash advance fee- $5 ATM transaction fee
– $2 monthly inactivity fee- $5 over limit fee
Interest Rate– 17.99%
– 29.99% if you miss two consecutive payments
Extra Features– Premium rewards program
– Referral program
– Access to monthly credit score details
– Zero fraud liability protection.
– Financial education program
– Access to a diverse set of credit-building tools through the Walk Pack product tier
– Credit score updates
– Credit simulator
– Discounts on many retail products and services

Cost: Plastk vs. Refresh Financial Credit Cards

You should always take into consideration the costs associated with using a secured credit card. The fees and interest charges should be reasonable; otherwise, they will interfere with your credit management goals and make owning a secured card financially unfeasible.

Cost Of Plastk Secured Credit Card

The annual interest rate is 17.99%, which is slightly lower than most credit cards. You also benefit from a 0% APR on purchases you make during the first three months. However, if you miss two payments in a row, the rate increases to 29.99%, which is quite steep. For a cash advance, expect to pay a 21.99% rate.

There’s a $48 annual fee, as well as a $6 monthly maintenance fee. International transactions come with a 4.50% fee.

Is your annual credit card fee worth it?

Cost Of Refresh Financial Secured Credit Card

The annual interest rate is 17.99%, which is low compared with most credit cards. There’s no penalty APR for missed payments.

The annual fee is $12.95, and the monthly maintenance fee is $3, which is very reasonable. A 3.50% fee accompanies international transactions. 

Other fees include:

  • Cash advance fee: $5.00
  • Declined transaction fee: $0.10
  • Over limit fee: $5.00 
  • Point of sale international fee: $3.50
  • ATM transaction fee: $5.00
  • Monthly inactivity fee: $2.00
  • Bill payment fee: $0.50
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Plastk vs. Refresh Financial Credit Card Eligibility Requirements

To be eligible for the Plastk secured credit card, you must:

  • Be a Canadian citizen or permanent resident
  • Be at least 18 years of age (19 in certain provinces)
  • Have enough money in your bank account to fund the security deposit

To be eligible for the Refresh Financial secured credit card, you must:

  • Be a Canadian citizen or permanent resident
  • Be at least 18 years of age (19 in certain provinces)
  • Not have an existing Refresh credit card or account
  • Have not applied for a Refresh card more than once during the last 30 days or have defaulted on payments associated with a Refresh credit card or account.
  • Have enough money in your bank account to fund the security deposit 

Who Are Secured Credit Cards For?

Secured credit credits, like the ones offered by Plastk and Refresh Financial, are well-suited for individuals who:

  • Have bad credit and few financing options available
  • Have damaged their credit score and are looking to improve it
  • Are young or new to Canada and are looking to establish their credit profile
  • Want to benefit from the credit-building experience secured credit cards provide while having access to rewards programs simultaneously.

Secured Credit Card FAQs

What happens if I miss a payment on my secured credit card?

In general, you can lose your security deposit – your card issuer will use it to cover the outstanding balance on your account. You may also have your interest rate increased. 

What’s the credit limit for the Plastk secured credit card?

The credit limit for the Plastk Secured Credit Card is $10,000.

What’s the credit limit for the Refresh Financialsecured credit card?

The credit limit for the Refresh Financial secured credit card is $10,000.

What’s the difference between a credit card and a secured credit card?

A regular or unsecured credit card doesn’t require you to make an upfront deposit as collateral. Once your application is approved, you can use it right away to make purchases. A secured credit card requires you to contribute a security deposit before the issuer permits you to use it. 

Bottom Line

If you’re currently stuck with bad credit, consider applying for a secured credit card. Plastk and Refresh Financial offer secured credit cards at competitive interest rates, along with generous rewards programs and valuable features. If you commit to a strict spending budget and pay off your balance on time, the numerous fees shouldn’t be an issue. And you can slowly work toward repairing your credit.

Rating of 5/5 based on 1 vote.

Mark is a writer who specializes in writing content for companies in the financial services industry. He has written articles about personal finance, mortgages, and real estate and is passionate about educating people on how to make smart financial decisions. Mark graduated from the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology with a degree in finance and has more than ten years' experience as an accountant. Outside of writing, he enjoys playing poker, going to the gym, composing music, and learning about digital marketing.

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