Upgrade cards have received unmatched fame over the past few years.
Upgrade inc. is a US-based financial tech company founded in 2016. In 2017, the company launched an array of credit cards and banking products. The cards that the company provides are issued by Sutton Bank.
In this article, we will discuss in detail the famous cards that Upgrade Credit Card offers, address their pros and cons, differences, and everything that matters!
Are Upgrade Cards Like Regular Credit Cards?
The Upgrade cards are quite unique on their own, and no, they are not like normal credit cards. They are different from conventional, regular credit cards because they are a hybrid between a credit card and personal loans.
It means that you can use them as your regular Visa cards to make purchases, and you can use them to take loans that you can pay off in monthly installments with a fixed interest rate.
It means that you can use this card to borrow money against your credit limit, then request the company to fund you in your personal account against your credit limit. In turn, the company will allow you to pay off this loan on a monthly basis against a fixed interest rate.
Types of Upgrade Cards:
Upgrade is known for its personal loans and a constellation of credit cards!
There are three main cards:
|Details||Upgrade Visa® Card with Cash Rewards||Upgrade Triple Cash Rewards Visa®||Upgrade Bitcoin Rewards Visa® Credit Card|
|Cashback||1.5% cashback on all purchases||3% cashback in Home, Auto, and Health Categories and 1% cashback on everything else||1.5% cashback on all purchases in bitcoin|
|Credit Limit||$500 to $25,000(Some up to $50,000)||$500 to $25,000(Some up to $50,000)||$500 to $25,000(Some up to $50,000)|
There is another card, that Upgrade offers. It is called the Upgrade Card, simply.
Like the other cards in the family, this one also does not have any annual fees, and it is especially good for people who have a bad credit score or a fair score but low income.
For instance, if someone makes less than $25 000 a year. They may opt for this card as opposed to the upgrade cash rewards or the upgrade triple cash rewards card.
Benefits of the Upgrade Cards with Cash Rewards
These cards are pretty awesome, and the fact that they come without any annual fee or security deposit adds more charm.
Some of the other benefits that these cards offer include the following:
- FICO Scores:
These cards are available for people with FICO scores from 590 and above. This means that it is available for people with “fair” credit scores too.
- Chance to improve the credit scores: Like any other credit card, the consumer is required to make regular monthly payments. All these payments are reported to the three major credit bureaus. So, this gives a chance for the consumer to demonstrate their good credit “habits.” And this in turn helps them build a good credit history and score themselves.
- Cashback Rewards: As mentioned above, these cards offer a chance for the consumer to earn cashback rewards. Up to 1.5% cashback is applied on all purchases, and the consumer’s earnings are added to their next month’s balance on their card.
To understand it better, it can be assumed as a “pre-payment” on the consumer’s bills.
This is something quite unique, especially if we compare the Upgrade Card with other conventional unsecured cards that come with an annual fee, plus do not offer any rewards. In the case of secured credit cards, the consumer may earn rewards and cashback but at the cost of a hefty security deposit that they would need to pay in order to obtain their credit card.
So, all these points considered, the Upgrade Card sounds more useful for the masses.
- Easy budgeting options: The Upgrade Cards come with fixed monthly payment schedules with a fixed interest rate.
This helps the consumers to plan their budget easily, and accordingly.
In comparison, regular credit cards come without any particular deadline, but the amount that the consumer owes the creditor varies over time because of the variable interest rate.
Whereas, in the case of Upgrade Cards, the payment is like a personal loan. There is a fixed deadline, say 36 to 60 months (more or less depending on the terms that each consumer gets approved for). And it comes with a fixed monthly installment.
While most people find the “no-deadline” policy of regular credit cards more feasible. But the fact that you end up paying a lot more than you actually owe because of the varying interests makes them a nightmare for most people.
If seen in this regard, the Upgrade Cards sound more beneficially, especially because of their fixed interest rates and zero penalties on late payments.
- Easy preapproval process: This is another unique feature of the Upgrade Card. You can easily apply for it and the prequalification process usually does not initiate a hard pull. It allows you to see which credit line you qualify for, without affecting your credit scores. This is particularly beneficial for people who are beginning with a low or fair credit score in the first place. However, once you are prequalified or agree to Upgrade’s terms and conditions, then you will face the hard inquiry.
Only Apple and some other lending companies offer this kind of feature. Most regular credit cards need a hard inquiry and that can affect the applicant’s credit scores to some extent.
- Instant use through a virtual card: Unlike other regular credit cards, you do not have to wait for your Upgrade card to come in the mail for you to use. Once you are approved, you will instantly get a virtual card and you can start using it without any qualms. Aside from Apple and some other companies, this feature still makes the Upgrade Card quite unique, especially in comparison to other cards. And this is a major benefit too.
- Adjustable terms and conditions: When you get a card in the first place, there are certain terms and conditions that you have to agree on your existing balance. While these conditions cannot change, Upgrade offers an adjustability feature. This means that the terms can be adjusted on all future transactions if you maintain a good credit score. It also depends on the market conditions and changes in the interest rates.
- No effect on the credit utilization ratio: While Upgrade reports to all three US Credit bureaus, responsible usage and regular monthly payments help in building up the user’s credit scores. However, it does not affect the credit utilization ratio because Upgrade does not report the user’s total credit limit. This is not a benefit exactly, but rather a feature that makes this card more flexible and less “problematic” in comparison to other regular credit cards.
There are not many drawbacks actually. It’s just how some of the conditions may not be suitable for you.
For example, if you’re looking for a signup bonus or a zero percent intro APR period on balance transfers or new purchases, you might want to look elsewhere because the upgrade visa card with cash reward does not offer these things.
Another drawback is that you cannot bank your rewards. It is because the cashback you earn with the Upgrade card with cash rewards is automatically applied towards your next month’s balance. It means that you can not save up your cashback for a big purchase later.
This is different from how most secured credit cards with rewards work.
Another thing is that the card is not available in certain areas like Iowa west, Virginia, Wisconsin, etc. Hopefully, this is something that Upgrade will soon work on.
Weighing all the benefits against the few conditional and situational drawbacks, it is fair to say that this is a great card to have. Especially when you are looking for a way to carry a balance, make monthly payments on fixed interest rates as installments, and if you prequalify for the favorable interest, then this card is certainly something you should go for.
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.