Petal Credit Cards Review - Two Cards to Help You Build Credit

The Petal card offers two different types of rewards credit cards, Petal 1 and Petal 2. Unlike typical credit card lenders, which decide whether or not to approve applicants based on your credit score, Petal uses your banking history to calculate a measure of your creditworthiness based on income, spending, and savings. This can help you be approved for a card even if you have a thin credit history or are still raising your score.

What are petal credit cards?

There are two unsecured credit cards currently available from Petal. Petal 1 is a good fit for new borrowers, while Petal 2 has a higher credit limit, lower annual percentage rate (APR), and more extensive rewards options. Neither card charges an annual fee, and both come with helpful money management tools to help borrowers stay on track to meet their financial goals.

How do Petal credit cards work?

To apply for a Petal credit card, you’ll need to fill out a simple application on their website.
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You’ll need to provide some basic information about yourself, including your name, email, birthday, phone number, and social security number. You’ll also need to provide information about your employment, income type, and annual income. Petal will also ask about where you live and how much you pay for rent or mortgage payments each month.
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After you provide Petal with the relevant information, you may be asked to link a bank account so that Petal can verify your income, saving, and spending patterns.

How much do Petal credit cards cost?

Both Petal credit cards are free to use and charge no annual fees or international fees. Petal 1 charges late fees and returned payment fees if you fail to make monthly payments on time, but Petal 2 does not. Petal 1 has variable APR interest rates ranging from 19.99% to 29.49%, while Petal 2 has variable rates between 12.99% to 26.99%. Keep in mind that Petal doesn’t support balance transfers, so it’s not a good fit if you’re looking to transfer a balance from another card.

Petal credit card features

Some Petal credit card features include higher approval rates, the opportunity to earn cash back, and money management tools to help you save.

Cash score instead of credit score

Applicants for Petal credit cards aren’t judged based on their credit score. Instead, a formula known as a Cash Score considers factors like income, savings, and spending patterns. That means that even if you have a thin credit history or are still working on raising your score, a Petal card could still be within your reach.

No annual or international fees

Unlike many credit cards, Petal cards don’t charge annual or international fees, making them an excellent option for cost-conscious borrowers looking for cards with few fees.

Cash back on purchases

Both Petal 1 and Petal 2 provide 2% to 10% in cash back rewards from select merchants. Petal 2 offers 1% to 1.5% cash back on all purchases, regardless of where you shop.

Potential for a credit limit increase

Petal 1 is designed for beginner borrowers and has an initial credit limit of $500 to $5,000. However, after 6 months of qualifying on-time payments, you may be eligible for a credit limit increase.

Budgeting tools

Cardholders can access tools in the Petal mobile app to help you monitor your spending, set a budget, and even track your credit score. This can help borrowers to build good financial habits and ensure that they don’t overspend.

Who are Petal credit cards best for?

People with thin credit. If you don’t have a limited credit history or are still building credit, Petal could be a good option. Petal understands that credit scores don’t always tell the whole story. Instead of basing approval on your score, they consider factors like your income, savings, spending patterns, and payment history. Petal features pre-approval that allows borrowers to see if they qualify without affecting their score. Overall, Petal is a sound starter card for consumers looking to build their score responsibly.
People looking for a cash back rewards card. If you’re looking for a card that earns cash back but do not qualify for more lucrative cards with stricter requirements, Petal is worth considering. Petal 1 provides anywhere from 2% to 10% cash back at select merchants, while Petal 2 offers a flat 1% to 1.5% cash back on all purchases.

Who shouldn’t use Petal credit cards?

People with great credit. If you already have excellent credit, the chances are that you can qualify for cards with better rewards than the Petal cards can offer. For example, many lenders feature cards with up to 2% cash back, rotating bonus cash back categories, generous welcome bonuses, and additional travel and shopping perks.
People looking for travel rewards. Petal credit cards do earn cash back, but they don’t offer anything in travel rewards or discounts. If you’re looking to maximize points, miles, and other travel benefits, there are other credit card offers worth pursuing.

Pros & cons

Pros
  • Uses banking history to evaluate applicants: Rather than basing the approval process on your credit score, Petal evaluates your banking history to determine whether you qualify for a card.
  • Earns cash back: Unlike many cards targeting borrowers with thin credit, Petal cards earn cash back.
  • No annual fee: With no annual fee, these cards are affordable even for borrowers on a budget.
Cons
  • Low cash back rate: While these cards earn cash back, their rates aren’t as generous as some other cards.
  • Petal 1 charges some fees: Petal 1 charges late fees and returned payments fees. They have no intro APR for the first year, so unpaid balances will start accumulating interest at the regular APR rate right away.
  • Limited perks: Unlike many of the best credit cards, Petal doesn’t come with a slew of additional perks.

Petal vs. competitors

CreditorAnnual feeCash backDeposit required
Petal$02% to 10% at select merchants, up to 1.5% cash back on all purchases with Petal 2No
Discover It Secured$02% on restaurant and gas, 1% on everything elseYes
Capital One Platinum Mastercard$0NoneNo
Chase Freedom Unlimited$05% on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards, 3% on dining and drugstore purchases, 1.5% cash back on everything elseNo

Discover It Secured

If you’re looking to build credit but don’t qualify for an unsecured card, the Discover It Secured credit card is a great option. The card has no annual fee and earns 2% cash back on restaurant and gas purchases and 1% cash back on everything else. This card does require a refundable security deposit starting at $200.

Capital One Platinum

For borrowers with fair credit looking for a card to help them build their score, the Capital One Platinum credit card is worth considering. This card has no annual fee, automatic credit line reviews, and no foreign transaction fees.

Chase Freedom Unlimited

If you have good credit and are looking for a lucrative cash back credit card, the Chase Freedom Unlimited Card could be a good fit. This card earns 5% cash back on travel purchased through Chase ultimate rewards, 3% cash back on dining and drugstores, and 1.5% cash back on all other purchases.

FAQs

What’s the difference between Petal 1 and Petal 2?
Petal 1 and Petal 2 share many similar features, but there are a few essential differences. Petal 1 has a lower credit limit, a higher APR, and fewer opportunities to earn cash back. Petal 1 also charges late payment fees and returned payment fees. Petal 2 is fee-free, and earns 1.5% cash back on all purchases. It also features higher credit limits and lower APRs.
Will I qualify for a Petal credit card with bad credit?
It depends. Instead of evaluating your application based on your credit report, Petal evaluates your banking history, paying particular attention to factors like your income, savings, and spending patterns. If your credit isn’t where you want it to be, but you earn a decent income and spend responsibly, you could still qualify for a Petal card.
Do Petal credit cards charge fees?
Both cards charge no annual fees and no foreign transaction fees. Petal 1 does charge late fees and returned payment fees.

The bottom line

If you have a thin credit history or are still working to rebuild your credit, it can be challenging to qualify for a rewards credit card. Petal cards are more accessible to borrowers because they focus on your banking habits rather than your credit. With no annual fees and an attractive rewards program, these cards are a good fit for borrowers looking for a beginner credit card.
Learn more about Petal 1 and Petal 2.
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