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Best Cards for Bad Credit: Surge or Reflex Mastercard?

Last updated on May 13th, 2021

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 Mastercard and Reflex Mastercard – both issued by Celtic Bank. But which credit card is right for your credit repair journey?

What is the Surge Mastercard?

The Surge 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.

Surge Mastercard® Credit Card

All Credit Types Welcome to Apply

Surge Mastercard® Credit Card
  • Regular Purchase APR See Terms*
  • Cash Advance APR See Terms*
  • Annual Fee See Terms*
  • Credit Needed Fair , Poor
  • Processing Network Mastercard
Best Benefits
  • See if you’re Pre-Qualified with no impact to your credit score
  • Free access to your Vantage 3.0 score from TransUnion* (When you sign up for e-statements)
  • Monthly reporting to the three major credit bureaus
  • Fast and easy application process; results in seconds
  • Use your card at locations everywhere Mastercard® is accepted
Rates & Fees
  • Regular Purchase APR: See Terms*
  • Cash Advance APR: See Terms*
  • Cash Advance Transaction Fee: See Terms*
  • Annual Fee: See Terms*
  • Foreign Transaction Fee: See Terms*
  • Late Payment Penalty Fee: See Terms*
  • Return Payment Penalty Fee: See Terms*
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What is the Reflex Mastercard?

The Reflex 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 Mastercard® Credit Card

All Credit Types Welcome to Apply

Reflex Mastercard® Credit Card
  • Regular Purchase APR See Terms*
  • Cash Advance APR See Terms*
  • Annual Fee See Terms*
  • Credit Needed Good , Fair , Poor
  • Processing Network Mastercard
Best Benefits
  • See if you’re Pre-Qualified with no impact to your credit score
  • Free access to your Vantage 3.0 score from TransUnion* (When you sign up for e-statements)
  • Monthly reporting to the three major credit bureaus
  • Use your card at locations everywhere Mastercard® is accepted
Rates & Fees
  • Regular Purchase APR: See Terms*
  • Cash Advance APR: See Terms*
  • Cash Advance Transaction Fee: See Terms*
  • Annual Fee: See Terms*
  • Foreign Transaction Fee: See Terms*
  • Late Payment Penalty Fee: See Terms*
  • Return Payment Penalty Fee: See Terms*
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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® Unsecured Credit Card

Reports Monthly to All Three Major Credit Bureaus

Total Visa® Unsecured Credit Card
  • Regular Purchase APR See Terms
  • Cash Advance APR See Terms
  • Annual Fee See Terms
  • Credit Needed Fair , Poor
  • Processing Network Visa
Best Benefits
  • Fast and easy application process; response provided in seconds
  • A genuine Visa® card accepted by merchants nationwide across the USA and online
  • Manageable monthly payments
  • $300 credit limit (Subject to available credit)
  • Multiple card designs available
  • Offer not guaranteed; response provided in seconds.
  • Rebuilding credit depends on factors like making on-time payments, keeping balance below credit limit and paying at least the minimum monthly payment.
Rates & Fees
  • Regular Purchase APR: See Terms
  • Cash Advance APR: See Terms
  • Cash Advance Transaction Fee: See Terms
  • Annual Fee: See Terms
  • Late Payment Penalty Fee: See Terms
  • Return Payment Penalty Fee: See Terms
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The Total Visa 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 Mastercard or Reflex 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
About: Cory
Cory Santos

Cory is BestCards.com's "Jack of all trades" and resident credit expert, covering all facets of the credit card space. In addition to credit cards, Cory finds that jogging, cats, and memes are essential parts of a balanced day.