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NerdUp by NerdWallet Credit Card: Earn 1% Cash Back

NerdUp by NerdWallet Credit Card

NerdUp by NerdWallet Credit Card
No Credit Required-Poor
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: No Credit Required / Poor
Mastercard Processing Network
None Annual Fee

NerdUp by NerdWallet Credit Card

  • 0% Cash Advance APR

At a Glance

The NerdUp by NerdWallet is a secured charge card designed to help build credit. The card earns 1% cash back on purchases, features a fairly low security deposit requirement, but doesn't provide any route for graduation to unsecured credit.

  • Best Benefits
  • Rates & Fees
  • Why Should You Apply?
  • Build your credit with no credit check or interest charges
  • Earn 1% cash back on purchases
  • Use rewards to increase your deposit or offset your card bill
  • $0 annual fee
  • Cash Advance APR: 0%
  • Cash Advance Transaction Fee: $3 per ATM withdrawal
  • Late Payment Penalty Fee: $5
  • Return Payment Penalty Fee: $5
  • Minimum Deposit Required: $100
  • You are new to credit and want an easy way to begin building credit
  • You want automatic repayments to help avoid missed payments
  • You want basic cash back rewards without an annual fee

In-Depth Review: NerdUp by NerdWallet Credit Card

The NerdUp by NerdWallet is a credit card designed to help build credit. NerdWallet is a financial comparison site that offers advice on credit card rewards, personal loans, and other financial topics. The site typically rotates around Prime and Super-Prime credit cards, so the abrupt shift towards subprime is odd – but keeping with a growing trend of websites and financial services companies offering white-label credit cards – with the NerdUp issued through Evolve Bank & Trust.

Hundreds of secured credit cards are on the market today, so should you “Turn to the Nerds” for your credit-building journey? Let’s find out:

NerdWallet Account Required

Applying for the NerdUp Card requires an active NerdWallet account. A NerdWallet account is free to sign up for and provides many features on other websites and resources, including the chance to check your credit score and the ability to link your credit cards to see your full financial picture – including cash flow and credit utilization.

No Credit Check Needed

The NerdUp credit card is like many secured credit cards in that no credit check is needed to apply. Instead, the application requires what is known as a “know your customer” check to comply with government regulations. The application process is simple, requiring:

  • Full name
  • Full U.S. address
  • Phone number
  • Social Security Number (SSN)
  • Employment status
  • Income

Once this information is provided, applicants can submit their application. Remember that just because you have provided all the required information doesn’t mean you will get approved for the NerdUp by NerdWallet. No credit card is guaranteed approval; things like your income can lead to rejection.

Once approved, you’ll need to submit a security deposit. This deposit acts as a line of credit, with initial deposits starting at only $100. You can add money at any time to increase your credit line to a maximum of $10,000. You will receive your full deposit back (minus any outstanding charges) once you close your NerdUp Card account.

Earn 1% Cash Back While Building Your Credit

The NerdUp by NerdWallet Secured Cards is the latest in subprime credit cards that offer basic cash back rewards on all eligible purchases. NerdUp cardholders will earn 1% back on all eligible purchases made with the card – with cash back rewards applicable towards statement credit on your account. What purchases are ineligible for rewards? Here is a list of transactions that won’t earn you 1% back:

Balance transfers Card account checks Unauthorized or fraudulent transactions
Cash advances Returns for credit Traveler’s cheques or foreign currency purchases
Lottery tickets Money orders or wire transfers Reloading of a prepaid debit or gift cards
Card fees, late fees, or finance charges

However, the main focus of the card is building credit. Building credit takes time, persistence, and the right advice. Here are some of the basics of building credit and establishing a positive credit history with on-time payments:

Tip Explanation
Check your credit file Checking your credit report is a great way to better understand your financial well-being. Checking your credit report helps you maintain an accurate credit history, protect against identity theft, and make informed financial decisions. You can ask for a free credit report from a credit-reporting agency every 12 months.
Keep credit utilization low Aim to keep your credit card balances well below your credit limit. High credit card utilization, or the amount of your credit limit you actually use, can negatively impact your credit score. A general rule is to keep credit utilization below 30% of your credit limit.
Pay on time Always pay your bills on time. Your payment history is a significant factor in your FICO Score and VantageScore credit scores. Always pay your bills, including credit cards, loans, and utilities, on time. Late payments can hurt your credit and may result in reduced credit limits or closed accounts.
Become an authorized user Becoming an authorized user on someone else’s credit card account can help supercharge your credit growth. When you’re added as an authorized user, the card’s payment history and credit utilization are often reported on your credit report, potentially boosting your credit score if the primary cardholder manages their credit responsibly.
Limit new applications Always try to avoid applying for too many credit cards in a short timeframe. Each time you apply for credit, it results in a hard inquiry on your credit report, which can temporarily lower your score. Be selective about applying for new credit and you will rpotect your credit score.

The NerdUp Card is a charge card, meaning there are no interest charges to worry about. This means the card automatically syncs to an associated debit or checking account, repaying itself as you make purchases. The upside to this is that you never have to worry about missing a payment. 

Credit-Builder Credit Card Comparison

The NerdUp Card is similar to another credit-building option, the Zolve Azpire Credit Builder Card from Community Federal Savings Bank. That card requires a dedicated checking account as the security deposit funding line. Still, it operates like NerdUp, earning the same 1% cash back on all eligible purchases. While the card is, in essence, a debit card – and not a secured card –Zolve does provide the ability to upgrade to an unsecured Zolve Credit Card in as little as four months.

Here’s how NerdUp compares with other secured rewards cards:

NerdUp by NerdWallet

Current Build Card

Zolve Azpire Credit Builder
Credit check? No No No
Annual fee $0 $0 $0
Reports to credit bureaus? Yes Yes Yes
Rewards Unlimited 1% cash back on all eligible purchases Up to 7X points on purchases with over 14,000 merchants Unlimited 1% cash back on all eligible purchases

No Credit Check Comparisons

Another close competitor for the NerdUp Mastercard secured card is the OpenSky® Plus Secured Visa®. This secured card also features a $0 annual fee and no credit check. OpenSky offers a few credit cards (including the original OpenSky® Secured Visa®) – with Plus Visa cardholders having the chance to graduate to an unsecured OpenSky Gold Visa in as little as six months (with on-time payments. Unlike the NerdUp, however, OpenSky does not provide cash back rewards.

NerdUp by NerdWallet

OpenSky® Plus Secured Visa®

Self Visa®
Annual Fee $0 $0 $25
Min. Deposit $100 $200 $100
Network Mastercard Visa Visa

No Hidden Fees

The NerdUp Card positions itself as a “no hidden fees” credit card, meaning there is no annual fee and no application or account management fees. Despite this, there are costs associated with the card. For example, there are fees for ATM withdrawals, cash advances, returned payments, or late payments.

World Mastercard Features

The NerdUp by NerdWallet Secured Card offers enhanced Mastercard protections through the World Mastercard network.

Zero liability protection Airport concierge ID theft protection Mastercard Travel Services
Mastercard Global Services Priceless Experiences Priceless golf Lyft credits
Shoprunner membership Fandango savings Mastercard Hotel Stay Guarantee

Evolve Bank & Trust Ratings

How does the Evolve Bank & Trust, the NerdUp Card issuer, stack up? Here is a selection of expert reviews for the bank and its cards:

Should You Apply for the NerdUp by NerdWallet Card?

The subprime credit card market is chock-full of new offers, including co-branded efforts by Current, Zolve, OneMain, Experian, and more. Now, NerdWallet is getting into the act with its NerdUp World Mastercard.  But is the card worth considering?

Any secured credit card with no hidden fees is a decent option. That’s because of no hidden fees – charges for things like late payments, returned payments, and annual fees – can save you significant money over time. Adding 1% cash back to the bargain makes things even sweeter, letting you build credit and pay off your balance simultaneously.

That’s not to say it is clear sailing with the NerdUp Mastercard. There is no graduation path, for instance – something that cards from Merrick Bank, Mission Lane, and even OpenSky all offer a path to credit growth – whether it be doubling your credit line or graduating to unsecured credit. This lack of forward momentum is frustrating and may turn many off from applying. Ultimately, however, their NerdUp Card is a robust, secured card that can help those who are dedicated to NerdWallet – and credit improvement.

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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.