The Indigo Platinum Mastercard is for people with a credit score that leaves something to be desired. It isn’t your average, everyday card for the basic consumer, but instead, a card geared toward people who have made some credit mistakes and need to re-establish creditworthiness.

It reports to all three credit bureaus, which makes it a good choice for increasing your credit score. Beyond that, it has few perks. Each will be considered here as we examine the Indigo Platinum card for building credit and establishing good credit card shopping habits.

Indigo Platinum Card Details

The Indigo Platinum Mastercard is issued by Celtic Bank, which promotes its mission to approach financial challenges “with a creative and problem-solving mindset.” With that in mind, this card is best for people who need to get their credit score to match their financial goals. Why is it, then, that most review sites only give it a two-and-a-half out of five stars?

Well, if you think of a five star card as the gold standard, one that springs to mind is the Chase Sapphire Reserve, which has competitive APR offers as well as rewards geared toward people with "Excellent" credit. Access to five star cards like that one could be among the reasons you are trying to build your credit to begin with.

However, if you have a "Fair" or "Poor" credit score, or have yet to establish credit, you can run into a slew of problems. For instance, you might have trouble getting qualified for a loan you need to buy a house or a car, or pay bills. You might lose job opportunities that require a credit check. Getting your house in order when it comes to credit is essential to your personal life and the well-being of your family.

That’s where the Indigo Platinum shines, almost literally, if you take into account the card issuer offers six colorful designs to choose from. Its higher than average APR, annual fee and low credit limit contribute to its negative reviews. That said, for someone who doesn’t have a lot of options, this could be the right card to square up your credit once and for all, if used properly.

In addition to reporting to three credit bureaus, which ensures your timely payments help to increase your score, this card has a few other important perks:

  • MasterRental Insurance: qualified rental vehicles are covered when you rent one with your Mastercard.
  • Extended Warranty Coverage: doubles the manufacturer’s warranty on qualified Mastercard purchases.
  • Master RoadAssist Service: call Mastercard’s toll free roadside assistance number if your car breaks down.
  • Travel Assistance Services: a guide and help desk when planning your next trip away from home.

Where this card falls short

Consumer complaints usually stem from the above average APR, and the annual fee eating into an already small credit limit of just a few hundred dollars. Some customers believed their spending habits and payment history entitled them to credit line increases that they hadn’t received at the time of reviewing. The nature of these complaints is no different than most cards geared at people with bad credit.

Unfortunately, your credit history does follow you around, and a few mistakes in your portfolio can limit your options when it comes to credit building initiatives. Sometimes a credit card like the Indigo Platinum Mastercard is the only way to re-establish your worth in the eyes of creditors and gain access to more benefits and rewards. Other times, to expedite the process of regaining creditworthiness, people can use a credit card in conjunction with other credit-building techniques, including:

  • Build good credit habits. If you get the Indigo Platinum or any other card, it’s critical you establish good credit habits. This means keeping credit utilization at 30% or less, which can be tricky on a card with a low limit. Also, spend only what you can pay off each month.
  • Pay your recurring loan payments on time. Existing loans like a mortgage or car payment are typically reported to the credit bureaus, so paying them on time is essential to achieving a higher credit score.
  • Look into a secured credit card or credit-builder loan. These require a deposit and are subject to lender terms and conditions.
  • Become an authorized user on someone else’s card. This could be an option for some people. However, the primary card user is on the hook for your spending. If you opt to be an authorized user, you must be responsible.
  • Only apply when you’re ready to build good spending habits.

Final Verdict: Indigo Platinum Mastercard

If you have "Fair" to "Poor" credit or no established credit history, the Indigo Platinum could be the right card for you. It’s an accessible, no-frills card with a low limit, intended to help consumers start the long journey to better credit. In order for that to work, however, it has to be used responsibly.

Accordingly, consumers should set limits on how they use the card, keeping their utilization at less than 30% of the credit limit. People who use this card should also plan to pay their balance in full each month. These are commitments to consider if you’re thinking about the Indigo Mastercard.

For average consumers with at least "Good" credit and a solid credit history, there are more rewarding cards out there. Also, for people who are looking to make a one-time large purchase, this is not likely the card for you, regardless of where your credit score stands. Most people who apply for this card only have access to a few hundred dollars initially.

Ultimately, the Indigo Mastercard by Celtic Bank could be a good choice for building credit, especially if you don’t want to put down a deposit to get access to revolving credit. With the right expectations and attitude about spending, there’s little in the way of improving your overall credit health with this card.