Upgrade Cards are not like regular credit cards. An Upgrade Card provides the user ability to make purchases in retail shops or online, just like any regular Visa credit card, but it also works on the principle of personal loans with fixed monthly installments at a fixed interest rate. You can send funds to your bank account as well.
So, this hybrid functionality provides this card a uniqueness that is rare to find in the world of financial technology. There are some other notable features that make an Upgrade Card quite awesome. Let’s delve into the details.
Notable Features of an Upgrade Card:
- No Upfront Charges: The cards offered by Upgrade come without any one-time account setup charges, or any other upfront charges so as to say. There is no late fee too.
- Low APR: This is one of the most notable features of an Upgrade Card. The regular APR is from 8.99%-29.99%. This is especially good for people with excellent credit scores. However, even if you are in the fair category of credit score, do not fret. Just keep an eye on maintaining or improving your scores to attain the benefits of a low, regular APR.
- Automatic Installment Plans: When you sign up for an Upgrade card, they offer you a credit line with an installment plan. This plan can be for 12 months or more. The duration or longevity of this plan depends on your credit score. Once they approve you for the card, you are good to go with online or retail shopping just like you would do with a regular credit card. At the month’s end, your balance will be automatically added to your installment plan. All you need to do is to pay a fixed amount at a fixed interest rate.
This is an innovative feature that can help you refrain from the temptation of paying the minimum dues only as with regular credit cards. This, in turn, will prevent you from what seems like a “never-ending balance”. You will be able to pay off your balance faster, and with more regularity than with other typical credit cards.
To make this more understandable, Upgrade has used an example to explain how you can save more money with an Upgrade card instead of a regular credit card for the following details:
|Upgrade Card||Regular Credit Card (minimum dues)|
|APR (for example)||18%||18%|
|Time to pay off the balance||2 years||28 years|
|Total estimated interest paid||$2,102.71||$14,423.16|
- Predictability: Because of their fixed payment installments setup, this card works more on the principle of personal loans. It gives predictability to the user. They know that at the end of the month, they have to pay a fixed amount, so it not only keeps them mentally prepared, but it also allows them to plan their monthly expenditure accordingly. This kind of predictability is not offered by regular credit cards, and this is one reason why an Upgrade card is more convenient than others.
- EarnCashback rewards on all your purchases: You can earn up to 1.5 % cashback on your purchases when you make your monthly payments. This cashback is applied to your next month’s payment schedule, and you get paid once you make your payments. However, a point to remember is that this cashback can not be used to pay off your monthly fixed installment. Also, another important thing is that all your transactions that come under the “no purchase” category, will not be eligible for cashback rewards.
- 2% Bonus on Opening a Rewards Checking Account: This is a new feature that Upgrade is offering now on Upgrade credit and debit cards and accounts. As per their website, upgrade.com, in order to obtain this $200 welcome bonus, you will have to open rewards checking account and make 3 debit card transactions within the first two months of your Upgrade Card account opening. As per the website, “The bonus credit will be posted to your Upgrade Card as a rewards credit within 1-2 billing periods following the third debit transaction on your Rewards Checking account. Your Upgrade Card must be in good standing to receive a bonus.” A Rewards Checking Account basically helps you to check your standing amount in your account without any ATM fees, account fees, or even transfer fees. This is especially relevant for Upgrade Visa Debit Cards. If you have opened a Rewards Checking account, you will be able to earn 2% cashback on all your common, daily expenditures, and 1% cashback on everything else.
Also, opening this Rewards Checking account can help you receive discount offers on new loans and cards that you get through Upgrade.
The Upgrade Card features are quite innovative and interesting. There are some downsides, of course, but they are mostly subjective to an individual’s circumstances. For example, a person with a fair credit score may get qualified for a card that comes with an almost 30% APR. But another user with an excellent credit score may get an almost 9% regular APR.
So, our verdict is that these cards by Upgrade are definitely worth trying, especially with their predictable and flexible nature of payments.
Rest, the decision lies in your hands. We suggest you thoroughly research before making a final decision.
Lindsay VanSomeren is a freelance personal finance, credit card, banking, and credit expert whose articles provide readers with in-depth research and actionable takeaways that can help consumers make sound decisions about financial products. Her work has appeared on prominent financial sites such as Forbes Advisor, Northwestern Mutual, MassMutual, LendingTree, Credit Karma, Credit Sesame, and The Balance.