Best Cards for Bad Credit: Surge or Reflex Platinum Mastercard?

Advertiser Disclosure

Last updated on August 23rd, 2023

Credit repair is a long, difficult process. Continental Finance – a leader in subprime credit servicers – understands this and offers a variety of credit cards for “less-than-perfect” credit scores. Two of its more popular options are the Surge Platinum Mastercard and Reflex Platinum Mastercard – both issued by Celtic Bank. But which credit card is right for your credit repair journey?

What is the Surge Platinum Mastercard?

The Surge Platinum Mastercard ranks highly on many experts’ lists of the best unsecured credit cards for bad credit. The card offers those with poor credit the chance at a new lease on (credit) life with an easy pre-approval process, free credit score access, and monthly reporting to the credit bureaus.

What is the Reflex Platinum Mastercard?

The Reflex Platinum Mastercard has a lot in common with its credit-building sibling, the Surge Mastercard. Both cards, for example, come with reasonable credit limits and no required security deposit.

Reflex® Platinum Mastercard®

Reflex® Platinum Mastercard®
BestCards refers to a variation of FICO Score 9, which is one of many different types of credit scores. A financial institution may use a different score when deciding whether to approve you for a credit card. Please note that the range shown here is our own estimation and not a guarantee of credit needed to be approved for any given card. Recommended Credit: Good / Fair / Poor
Mastercard Processing Network
See Terms Annual Fee

Reflex® Platinum Mastercard®

  • 29.99% (Variable) Regular Purchase APR
  • See Terms Cash Advance APR

At a Glance

The Reflex Mastercard® is one of many credit cards for bad credit or no credit score at all. The card charges a variable interest rate and has a lower-than-average line of credit, though this credit line can double in six months with financial responsibility. Despite its included fees and APR, this can be an ideal card for those looking to build up their credit.

  • Best Benefits
  • Rates & Fees
  • Why Should You Apply?
  • Up to $1,000 credit limit doubles up to $2,000! (Simply make your first 6 monthly minimum payments on time)
  • All credit types welcome to apply!
  • Monthly Credit Score – Sign up for electronic statements, and get your Vantage 3.0 Score Credit Score From Experian
  • Initial Credit Limit of $300 – $1,000 (subject to available credit)
  • Monthly reporting to the three major credit bureaus
  • See if you’re Pre-Qualified without impacting your credit score
  • Fast and easy application process; results in seconds
  • Online account access 24/7
  • Checking Account Required
  • Regular Purchase APR: 29.99% (Variable)
  • Cash Advance APR: See Terms
  • Cash Advance Transaction Fee: See Terms
  • Annual Fee: See Terms
  • Foreign Transaction Fee: See Terms
  • Late Payment Penalty Fee: Up to $41
  • Return Payment Penalty Fee: Up to $41
  • You have poor credit or no credit and want to build up a positive credit history
  • You want to double your credit line by up to $1,000 by making your first six monthly minimum payments on time
  • You don’t want a secured card or to pay an initial security deposit
  • You would like the option of joining a credit protection program
Reflex® Platinum Mastercard®

Reflex® Platinum Mastercard®

Terms & Conditions

Features of the Reflex Mastercard and Surge Mastercard:

  • No deposit required*
  • Variable APR
  • Wide credit limit range
  • The potential for a credit limit increase after six months
  • Zero fraud liability
  • Regular reporting to the major credit bureaus (Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion)

Why Choose an Unsecured Credit Card for Bad Credit?

Rebuilding bad credit takes hard work – and often a secured credit card. Secured cards require a cash deposit, making credit repair unrealistic for those without excess funds to spare.

Unsecured credit cards for bad credit, however, make raising your credit score a reality – and the Surge Card and Reflex Card are two of the most popular options on the market today. Continental Finance and its credit card products have an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau (BBB), and thousands of Americans use its products to boost their credit scores.

The main reasons to consider getting the Surge or Reflex Card include:

  • Access to regular credit score updates (free of charge)
  • Monthly reporting to the three major credit bureaus
  • A chance for a credit line increase after six months of on-time payments
  • 90% approval rate for applicants that pre-qualify

For those who have bad credit and want a powerful purchasing tool that offers credit repair and the Mastercard name, the Surge Mastercard and Reflex Mastercard are excellent options to consider.

Other Options to Consider for Bad Credit

The main reasons to consider a card other than the Surge of Reflex include:

  • Potentially high annual fees
  • Higher-than-average variable APR

Both the Surge and Reflex Cards charge an annual fee. Annual fees are standard with unsecured cards for bad credit, but those with no credit or very poor credit might pay a costly yearly fee. Other cards, like the Total Visa from The Bank of Missouri, charge slightly lower annual fees.

Total Visa® Card

Total Visa® Card
BestCards refers to a variation of FICO Score 9, which is one of many different types of credit scores. A financial institution may use a different score when deciding whether to approve you for a credit card. Please note that the range shown here is our own estimation and not a guarantee of credit needed to be approved for any given card. Recommended Credit: Fair / Poor
Visa Processing Network
$75 1st year, $48 after* Annual Fee

Total Visa® Card

  • 35.99%* Regular Purchase APR
  • 35.99%* Cash Advance APR

At a Glance

With the Total Visa® Card, you can begin to tackle your credit improvement goals no matter what your financial profile currently looks like. This Bank of Missouri card reports your activity to TransUnion, Equifax, and Experian for a threefold approach to credit improvement. Not only that, but you’ll also gain access to a $300 credit limit with no deposit required, and no restrictions on where you can use the card.

  • Best Benefits
  • Rates & Fees
  • Why Should You Apply?
  • Regular Purchase APR: 35.99%*
  • Cash Advance APR: 35.99%*
  • Cash Advance Transaction Fee: Either $10, or 3% of the amount of the Cash Advance, whichever is greater
  • Annual Fee: $75 1st year, $48 after*
  • Late Payment Penalty Fee: Up to $41*
  • Return Payment Penalty Fee: Up to $41*
  • You have a bad credit or no credit history
  • You want a credit card that will report to all three major credit bureaus
  • You don’t mind paying the startup and annual fees to improve your credit
  • You already have a checking account to complete the application
  • You want a choice of five unique card designs
  • You want free access to your FICO Score every month

The Total Visa® Card also provides the security and benefits of the Visa payment network – the largest such network in the world. Other features include:

  • Free access to credit score updates
  • Monthly reporting to the three major credit bureaus
  • Manageable credit limits
  • Visa Zero Fraud Liability

That’s not to say the Total Visa is perfect. It has a much higher APR than either the Reflex or the Surge.

Beyond the unsecured Total Visa, other options for those looking to rebuild their credit include secured credit cards – some of which offer exceptional value for money.

The Applied Bank Secured Visa® Gold Preferred® Card and the First Progress Platinum Prestige Mastercard® Secured Credit Card, for example, both offer a purchase APR under 10% for a very modest annual fee.

Those who prefer a signup bonus should consider the Assent Platinum 0% Intro Rate Mastercard® Secured Credit Card. It includes a 0% intro APR for six months – for just $49 in annual fees.

For more information on using secured credit cards to repair or build credit, check out our dedicated Secured Credit Card Tips and Resources.

Should You Get the Surge Platinum Mastercard or Reflex Platinum Mastercard?

Bad credit stinks. It impacts many aspects of your life and can keep you from landing a job, getting a new apartment, or achieving other significant life events.

Fortunately, cards like the Surge and Reflex Mastercard make repairing credit straightforward. While both cards offer reasonable, manageable credit limits and the chance at a credit limit increase after just six months, they also have factors that applicants should be aware of prior to applying. Both cards feature higher annual fees than some unsecured cards, like the Total Visa, for example.

Both cards remedy this drawback, however, with a purchase APR that’s significantly lower than the Total Card. They also lack the security deposit requirement that comes with secured cards.

Ultimately, all credit cards for less-than-perfect credit scores require careful consideration – and even more careful use after approval to repair credit. But with proper financial habits, on-time payments, and persistence, cards like the Surge and Reflex are the ideal springboard for a bright financial future.

Related Article: Fingerhut vs. Horizon Gold Card: Which Is Best for Bad Credit?

Photo by Javier Allegue Barros on Unsplash

Editorial Disclosure – The opinions expressed on's reviews, articles, and all other content on or relating to the website are solely those of the content’s author(s). These opinions do not reflect those of any card issuer or financial institution, and editorial content on our site has not been reviewed or approved by these entities unless noted otherwise. Further, lists credit card offers that are frequently updated with information believed to be accurate to the best of our team's knowledge. However, please review the information provided directly by the credit card issuer or related financial institution for full details.

About: Cory Santos
Cory Santos

Cory is the senior credit card editor at BestCards, specializing in everything credit card-related. He’s worked extensively with credit cards and other personal finance topics, including nearly five years at BestCards. Cory’s extensive knowledge is an essential part of the BestCards experience, helping readers to live their best financial lives with up-to-date insights and comprehensive coverage of all facets of the credit card space, including market trends, rewards guides, credit advice, and comprehensive credit card reviews.

Advertiser Disclosure

BestCards is an independent, Florida-based credit card comparison platform. Many of the card offers that appear on this site are from companies from which BestCards receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). BestCards does not include all card companies or all card offers available in the marketplace.