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Merit Platinum Card Review 2023: Your Answer To Bad Credit?

Merit Platinum Credit Review: Can you apply with a bad credit score and is it legit?

Lauren Bedford - Finance Writer
Written by

Lauren Bedford

Lauren Bedford - Finance Writer
Written by
Lauren Bedford
Finance Writer

Lauren is a published content writer and journalist. In the last five years, she has written about a range of subjects, including business, technology, and finance.

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Derek Sall - Founder/Personal Finance Expert
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Derek Sall

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Derek Sall - Founder/Personal Finance Expert
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Derek Sall
Founder/Personal Finance Expert

Derek has a Bachelor's degree in Finance and a Master's in Business. As a finance manager in the corporate world, he regularly identified and solved problems at the C-suite level. Today, Derek isn't interested in helping big companies. Instead, he's helping individuals win financially—one email, one article, one person at a time.

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Kacper Kozicki - Editor-in-Chief
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Deepti Nickam - Finance Writer

Deepti Nickam

Deepti Nickam - Finance Writer
Deepti Nickam
Finance Writer

Content writing and marketing professional with 5+ years of experience in the B2B and B2C sectors. Deepti has written about several subjects, including finance, project management, human resources, and more.

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16 min
July, 10 2023
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Your credit score is low or non-existent—and those card issuers aren’t making it easy for you to get back on your feet when you’re hit with one rejection after another. 

Why trust us
Advertiser Disclosure

With the Merit Platinum Card, the odds for approval just swung in your favor. They don’t run any employment or credit checks—and they even throw in a 0% APR for good measure. 

But is it too good to be true? The card also comes with spending restrictions and eyebrow-raising membership fees.

Let’s find out if the Merit Platinum is the answer to your bad credit battles or if you should look elsewhere— 

This article will show you: 

  • How the Merit Platinum Card works. 
  • An overview of the Merit Platinum fees and offers. 
  • How it compares to other cards.

Read more: 

How Does the Merit Platinum Card Work?

First, let’s make it clear: The Merit Platinum Card isn’t a Visa, Mastercard, or debit card

It’s a store card that can be used at the Horizon Outlet. 

Horizon Card Services issued the Merit Platinum Card in 2006 and it’s since been used by thousands of cardholders. 

The card is used exclusively for purchases on the Horizon Outlet Website. It won’t work anywhere else, so don’t get any wild ideas about using it to buy that unicorn lamp on Amazon.

It’s easy to apply, and you even get a seven-day free trial if you fancy testing the waters before committing. 

Plus, it comes with a $750 credit line, which is fairly high in comparison to similar cards. 

The best part? 

The Merit Platinum Card is designed for people with less-than-perfect credit. There’s no credit or employment check, so you’re likely to get approved even if your score is in the gutter. 

But don’t miss the $177.24 a year (or $14.77 a month) membership fee —which is much higher than the average credit card annual fee of $110i.

Overall, the Merit Platinum Card is a great option for those who want to get their hands on a card but don’t have a shiny credit score to impress issuers. 

Time to put it under the microscope—

Merit Platinum Card: Quick Summary Review





Annual fee

$177.24 annual membership fee 

Intro offer 


Rewards (standard)


Rewards (maximum)


Overall rating 


Merit Platinum Card: Fees

As this is a store card, it doesn’t have all the fees that come with credit cards. 

But as you probably noticed in the table above—it’s not totally fee-free. 

Here are the fees to watch out for, as well as the charges that you won’t be seeing:



Annual membership fee

$177.24 annually (or $14.77 per month)



APR for cash advances


Balance transfer fee 


Cash advance fee 


Foreign transaction fee


Late fee 


Minimum interest charge fee 


Returned payment fee 


Overlimit fee 


Additional card fee 


Merit Platinum Card: Pros & Cons 

So there’s a 0% APR (great), but also a high membership fee (not so great). If you’re still on the fence—let’s weigh up some more pros and cons


  • 0% APR. 
  • 7-day free trial.
  • Unsecured $750 credit limit. 
  • No credit or employment check. 
  • Horizon membership benefits. 


  • No rewards or sign-up bonus. 
  • Only for purchases at Horizon Outlet. 
  • Membership fees. 
  • Doesn’t report to all the credit bureaus.

Pros: What We Like

Why are Merit Platinum cardholders willing to fork out membership fees?

Let’s get into the pros to find out—

0% APR

The Merit Platinum Card offers a 0% APR—which you’ll know is pretty impressive if you’ve been shopping around. 

But what does a 0% APR mean exactly? 

It can help you avoid paying the dreaded interest on your balance that usually comes as part of the package of owning the card. You can also save on large purchases or pay off an existing balance.

Find out more about what counts as a good APR

7-day free trial

The term “try before you buy” doesn’t usually apply to cards—but the Merit Platinum Card makes an exception and offers a seven-day free trial

This means that you can try out the card for a week before you’re charged any fees. 

But use this time wisely—check to see if the card is the right fit for your needs before you decide the seal the deal. 

And make it your top priority to check out the Horizon Outlet, as this is where you’ll be doing all your spending. After all, there’s no point exclusively shopping in one place if they don’t stock your go-to socks. 

Unsecured 750 credit line

If you’re the type who enjoys a good splurge, you’ll be happy to know that the Merit Platinum Card comes with a $750 credit line

Sure, you can only spend it at the Horizon Outlet—but you’ll have no shortage of choices, including clothes, fragrances, recreational items, and plenty of pet products for your pampered pooch. 

No credit or employment check

For those with low or bad credit, you might be familiar with the sinking feeling after getting rejected from a credit card or loan

You can rest easy with Merit Platinum, as they don’t check your credit scores. So wave goodbye to hard inquiries and rejections for having a sub-par credit score. 

There’s also no employment check, so you can get approved for the card even if you’re out of work. 

Just go easy on the spending if you’ve got no paycheck coming through—you don’t want to have any debt on your hands.

Looking for employment? Check out the best jobs with no college degree

Horizon membership benefits 

With a high annual membership fee, you’d expect some nice perks to come with it—and you’d be right.

Your membership comes with these handy benefits: 

  • Roadside Protection
  • Legal Assistance
  • Prescription Discount Plan
  • Credit Report Monitoring
  • Identity Theft Insurance

But are these benefits worth the drawbacks? 

Cons: What to Consider 

While it’s nice to focus on the positives, it’s best to look at the whole picture if you really want to know what you’re signing up for. 

So, here are the drawbacks of the Merit Platinum Card—

No rewards or sign-up bonus

Sign-up bonuses or rewards are usually there to draw in customers and keep them happy—but Merit Platinum seems to have dropped the ball on that. 

Unlike other cards, you won’t find any cash back, points, or miles when you start using your Merit Platinum card. If you’re looking for a card that rewards you for your spending, you may want to look elsewhere.

Only for purchases at Horizon Outlet

Got your eye on a pair of Nike trainers or the latest Apple product? Unless you’re looking for an apple peeler, you’re out of luck. 

That’s right, you can only use your card at the Horizon Outlet store. While there are lots of choices with good prices, you won’t be able to use your card at any other merchants or online retailers.

So if you don’t like your spending to be restricted, the Merit Platinum Card probably isn’t the one for you. 

Membership fees

No card is completely free from fees—and while this one comes with a 0% APR, it also charges a $177.24 annual membership fee ($14.77 per month). 

This is a steep annual fee compared to other cards. Combined with all the other downsides, it may not be worth the high charges. 

Doesn’t report to the credit bureaus 

Sure, the Merit Platinum will accept those with low credit but don’t rely on the card to help increase your score

Typically, you can build credit when the issuer reports on-time payments and good credit behavior to all three major credit bureaus (Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion) that determine your score. 

But as Merit Platinum doesn’t report to the bureaus, you won’t be able to boost your score with this card. 

If you’re keen to boost your credit, here are some ways you can improve your score without a card

Merit Platinum Card: Your Questions Answered

Where can I use the Merit Platinum Card?

The Merit Platinum Card is exclusively accepted at the Horizon Outlet store, an online retailer that offers a variety of discounted merchandise. We’re talking about everything from dog treats to Batman socks. 

And to help you purchase those conversation-starting feet warmers, Merit Platinum comes with a $750 credit line, so you’re free to splurge on all the socks you want. Many of the prices are in line with other popular retailers, or in some cases, even cheaper. 

Sure, the limited acceptance of the Merit Platinum Card may not be ideal for some shoppers—but it’s still a great option for those with low credit scores who still want to get their hands on a card. 

Is Merit Platinum legit?

The Merit Platinum Card is 100% legit and has been offered by Horizon Card Services since 2006. 

They’ve also got an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau (BBB), which determines their scores based on: 

  • Business complaint history with BBB.
  • Type and time of business.
  • Transparent Business Practices.
  • Failure to honor commitments to BBB.
  • Licensing and government actions known to BBB.
  • Advertising issues known to BBB.

However, they’ve also received some negative reviews, with some customers saying they were charged before the free trial ended or without their consent. 

To avoid getting caught up in any unwanted charges, always make sure you read the terms and conditions carefully before applying. 

Where can I find Merit Platinum Credit Card reviews? 

If you want to track down reviews of the Merit Platinum Card, there are several resources available online. 

The Better Business Bureau (BBB) is a nonprofit organization that provides reviews and ratings of businesses, including credit card companies. They’ve given Horizon Card Services an A* with access to customer reviews.

You can also find resolved and unresolved issues on the Complaints Board, a platform for customers to voice their concerns. Their website says, “The Horizon Card Services is a recommended company with a good reputation for trustworthiness and reliability, but their 23% Resolve Complaints rating is a cause for concern. We recommend approaching their services with caution and reading complaints and reviews before making a decision.

Is the Merit Card customer service good?

Got a complaint or fancy a good chat? The Merit Platinum Card doesn’t have its own customer service number, but you can get in touch with their team via Horizon Card Services. 

Here are their contact details




Cancellations and refunds


Monday–Friday: 8:30 AM to 8:00 PM ET

Saturday: 9 AM–6 PM ET

Sunday: 10 AM–6 PM ET

Customer advocacy


Monday–Friday: 8:30 AM to 8:00 PM ET

So, what are the customers saying? 

On the BBB site for Horizon Card Services, customers have complained that they’ve been charged incorrectly and that they had trouble getting in touch with customer service to help them. 

But in their defense, almost every complaint made has a detailed response from Horizon Card Services, which outlines the customer’s specific problem and attempts to resolve the issue. 

Remember—everyone’s experience can vary, and some have reported positive experiences with Merit Platinum Card’s reps. We’re talking helpful, knowledgeable, and quick to resolve any issues.

Overall, if you’ve got questions or concerns about your Merit Platinum Card, don’t hesitate to give customer service a shout. 

The Merit Platinum Card vs. Credit One Platinum Card: Which is better? 

Both the Merit Platinum Card and Credit One Platinum Card have their own unique features and benefits, so the best option will depend on what you want from a card.

Let’s break down the differences so you can make the smartest choice:


Merit Platinum

Credit One Platinum

Minimum credit score 

No credit check


Annual fees

$177.24 membership fee

$39 annual fee






Up to 5% cashback

Credit limit


Depends on creditworthiness 

To sum it up, the best card for you depends on your specific needs and financial mojo. If your credit score is below average or non-existent, the Merit Platinum Card may be the one for you. 

But, if you’re looking to earn rewards and have some fair credit or better, the Credit One Platinum Card could be more up your alley.

We’ve given you a good summary, but it never hurts to read the terms and conditions carefully before signing up. You don’t want any surprise fees or limitations sneaking up on you. 

How can I get a credit card with bad credit?

Getting a credit card with bad credit is tricky, but not impossible. 

Here are some steps you can take to boost your chances of getting approved:

  1. Check your credit score: Before applying for a credit card, make sure you know your credit score inside out. You can check your credit score for free on websites like Credit Karma
  2. Look for bad credit credit cards: Some credit cards, like the Merit Platinum Card or the Group One Freedom Platinum, are designed specifically for people with bad credit or no credit history.
  3. Consider a secured credit card: A secured credit card lets you put down a security deposit as collateral, instead of checking your score. This reduces the risk to the lender and is a good option for those with poor credit.
  4. Apply for a credit card with a co-signer: If you can’t get approved for a credit card on your own, you could apply with a co-signer who has good credit. Just stay out of debt, as the co-signer will be landed with it if you can’t pay up. 
  5. Improve your credit score: In the long run, the best way to get approved for a credit card with better terms and benefits is to improve your credit score. You can do this by making payments on time, paying off debt, and keeping your credit utilization low.

Bottom line? You’ve got options. So don’t let bad credit bring you down—explore different tactics, keep searching, and you’ll find that perfect card in no time.

Check out more cards for bad credit:

How Does the Merit Platinum Card Compare? 

Commitment is great—but don’t you want to see what else is out there first? 

Here are a few other options that might tickle your fancy: 


Merit Platinum

Self Visa

Sable One Credit 





Annual fee 




Starting limit 




Merit Platinum Card: Useful Links

Sharing is caring—here are a few handy links to make your life easier: 

Is the Merit Platinum Card Good For Me? 

So you’ve got the complete low-down—but do you fit the bill? 

Here’s who would be the best match for the Merit Platinum Card:

  • People with bad credit or no credit history.
  • Those who enjoy online shopping. 
  • Individuals with limited credit card needs. 

Overall, the Merit Platinum Card is a great choice for online shoppers whose poor credit score has seen the door slammed in your face too many times. 

But it isn’t all sunshine and rainbows. 

The Merit Platinum Card comes with a steep $177.24 annual membership fee and can only be used at the Horizon Outlet store. 

So, if you’re looking for a card with more perks or broader acceptance, it may be time to explore other options.


What are some easy credit cards to get with fair credit?

If you have fair credit, some easy credit cards to get approved for include the Capital One Platinum Credit Card, the Upgrade Cash Rewards Visa, and the OpenSky Secured Visa Credit Card. 

These cards offer benefits like low fees, cashback rewards, and the ability to build or rebuild your credit score over time. 

As you build up your credit score, you can get access to better credit cards, which come with plenty of benefits to reward your hard work. 

What are the best credit cards for bad credit?

Some of the best credit cards for bad credit are the Chime Credit Builder, Discover it Secured Card and Indigo Platinum Mastercard

These cards are designed to help you build or rebuild your credit, and they offer features like low fees, no annual fees, and cashback rewards. Plus, all three cards report to the major credit bureaus, which can help improve your credit score over time. 

Just remember to do your research into each card carefully and choose one that fits your specific needs and financial situation.

How can I get credit card approval for bad credit?

To increase your chances of getting approved for a credit card with bad credit, try the following:

  • Look for cards that accept bad credit: There are plenty of credit cards out there that are designed for those with bad or no credit history. They might come with higher fees or lower limits, but they can be a smart tool for building your credit.
  • Find a secured card: Many cards require a fair credit score to get approved, but secured credit cards only ask for a deposit as collateral—so it can be an easier way to get approved with bad credit.
  • Apply for a credit card with a co-signer: A co-signer with good credit can increase your chances of getting approved for a credit card.
  • Boost your credit score: While this doesn’t guarantee immediate credit card approval, improving your credit score over time can increase your chances of getting approved for better credit cards in the future.
What are the best unsecured cards for bad credit? 

If you’re looking for unsecured credit cards for bad credit, some options to consider include the FIT Mastercard, the Credit One Bank® Platinum Visa, and Indigo Mastercard

These cards don’t require a security deposit, but they do tend to have higher interest rates and fees. So don’t skimp on research and take your time to compare fees, APRs, and credit limits before applying. 

Keep in mind that getting approved for an unsecured credit card with bad credit can be challenging, so try to work on improving your credit score over time to increase your chances of getting approved for better credit cards in the future.

What are the best credit cards for building credit?

If you’re looking to build credit, some of the best credit cards to consider include:

  • Capital One Platinum Credit Card: This card has no annual fee and offers access to a higher credit line after you make your first six monthly payments on time.
  • Chime Credit Builder: This card comes with no annual fees and an impressive 0% APR—they won’t check your credit score for approval either. 
  • Discover it Secured Card: The Discover card requires a security deposit but offers cashback rewards and free access to your FICO credit score.

All three of these cards offer benefits like credit monitoring and the ability to help build your credit score over time. However, it’s important to choose a credit card that fits your individual financial situation and goals.

Where can I find credit cards for poor credit?

One place to start is with your bank or credit union. They might offer credit cards designed for people with poor credit, which can be a good option if you’ve already got a relationship with them. 

On top of that, you should always try to do some online research. You can search for credit cards for poor credit on financial websites or use credit card comparison websites to find options that might work for you. 

To save you some time, here’s our complete run-down of the best credit cards for bad credit

What is the Merit Platinum store?

Merit Platinum doesn’t have its own store—but you can use it to spend in the Horizon Outlet Store. 

The Horizon Outlet store is an online retailer that offers a variety of merchandise, including clothing, electronics, home goods, beauty products, and more. They offer discounted prices on many of their products, making it a popular shopping destination for bargain hunters. 

However, it’s worth noting that the Horizon Outlet store is the exclusive merchant for the Merit Platinum Card, meaning that the card can only be used to make purchases on their website.


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2019 Credit Card Fee Study: What’s Normal and What’s Not? (n.d.). US News & World Report. Retrieved May 29, 2023, from https://money.usnews.com/credit-cards/articles/fee-survey