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Last updated on July 21st, 2022
Upgrade Cash Rewards Visa®
- Regular Purchase APR 8.99%-29.99% variable based on creditworthiness and the Prime Rate
- Annual Fee None
Credit NeededBestCards.com uses a variation of FICO Score 8, 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.Excellent , Good , Fair
- Processing Network Visa
- Earn a $200 bonus on your Upgrade Card after opening a Rewards Checking account and making 3 debit card transactions*
- Earn 1.5% unlimited cash back on card purchases every time you make a payment
- Combine the flexibility of a card with the low cost and predictability of a loan
- $0 fees – $0 annual fee, $0 activation fees, $0 maintenance fees
- No touch payments with contactless technology built in
- See if you qualify in minutes without hurting your credit score
- Access to a virtual card while you wait for your card to arrive in the mail
- Great for large purchases with predictable payments you can budget for
- Mobile app to access your account anytime, anywhere
- Enjoy peace of mind with $0 Fraud liability
- *To qualify for the $200 welcome bonus, you must open and fund a new Rewards Checking account and make 3 debit card transactions within 60 days of your Upgrade Card account opening. The bonus will be applied as a one-time credit to your account and will not otherwise reduce the amount of your regular monthly payments. The bonus credit will be posted to your Upgrade Card as a rewards credit within 1-2 billing periods following the third debit card transaction on your Rewards Checking account. Your Upgrade Card must be in good standing to receive a bonus.
- Regular Purchase APR: 8.99%-29.99% variable based on creditworthiness and the Prime Rate
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At a Glance
The Upgrade Cash Rewards Visa® offers no fees, low rates, cash back, and credit lines up to $20,000 in one unique package. The card provides the flexibility and predictability consumers need to quickly pay down balances and get debt-free. The Upgrade credit card is one of the lowest regular APR credit cards on the market for those with excellent credit scores, putting it firmly on any list of the best balance transfer credit card deals – or any list of the best credit cards in the U.S.
Ideal for Those Who:
- Struggle to pay off their credit card balances
- Want a structured repayment plan
- Can reliably pay off their statement balances to earn cash back for their purchases
- Have a desire to get debt-free quickly
- Hate penalty or other hidden fees
Upgrade Cash Rewards Visa® Review
The Upgrade Card offers a unique take on what a credit card can be. The card, issued by Sutton Bank, blurs the lines between a personal credit card and a personal loan. This provides cardholders the predictability and low rate of a personal loan and the flexibility of a credit card – all in one package.
A Fresh Take on the Credit Card
Many credit cards come with the offer of 0% intro APR. These introductory bonuses are designed to help cardholders pay down existing balances.
The Upgrade Card takes this concept and turns it on its head. Gone is the introductory offer. Instead, cardholders get a lower rate and an installment plan based on their creditworthiness.
The Upgrade Card isn’t exactly a credit card. Nor is it exactly a traditional loan. Instead, the Upgrade credit card is an easy-to-use credit line with installment plans of 12, 24, 36, or 60 months. These periods vary depending on the creditworthiness of the applicant.
The APR with the Upgrade Visa Card also varies depending on the creditworthiness.
How the Upgrade Card Works
The Upgrade Card works in two ways. Cardholders can use their line of credit to make purchases anywhere Visa is accepted worldwide. They can also choose to have some of the funds from their credit line transferred to their bank account, to help tackle existing debt. This latter method makes the card a useful alternative for a balance transfer credit card.
Once the statement period ends, Upgrade lumps all bank transfers and purchases into one balance, which the account holder then pays down based on their installment terms. As noted, these terms range from 12 months to 60 months. During subsequent statement periods, cardholders can continue making purchases or transferring funds to existing bank accounts up to their credit limit, with the processes repeating itself.
Pay Off Balances Faster
Thanks to the excellent APR (in comparison with other low APR credit cards), the card makes paying off existing debts almost effortless. While interest rates with the card vary depending on creditworthiness, those with excellent credit scores can expect an APR almost eight percentage-points lower than found with the best credit cards.
This exceptional rate makes accelerates debt repayments, with many Upgrade Cardholders eliminating balances years before those with traditional credit cards. Not only does Upgrade make paying off debt more manageable, but it also dramatically reduces the amount of interest paid at the same time.
According to research from Upgrade, paying of a $10,000 balance takes just a few years with the Upgrade Visa, compared with other traditional credit cards that can take up to 20 years – or more.
Earn Cash Back with the Upgrade Card
Another unique aspect of the Upgrade Cash Rewards Visa® lies in its name: it earns cash back. A credit card designed to help consumers pay down their debt faster typically does not focus on rewards – or even have a rewards scheme. But the Upgrade Card is designed to be different. Card members will be able to earn unlimited 1.5% cash back on anything they purchase (except for non-purchase transactions, like sending electronic funds).
There is, however, a catch to earning cash back. Members will only get rewarded after they pay off their purchases via their billing statement. This condition ensures that cardholders remain responsible in paying off their debt, which can go a long way towards developing healthy money habits. Upgrade’s approach to cash back is similar to the Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer. That card earns 1% cash back on purchases immediately and an additional 1% after those purchases are paid off.
No Hidden Fees
The Upgrade Card positions itself as a different kind of credit card, so eliminating fees of any kind is keeping true to its mission statement. The card has no annual fee, no foreign transaction fees, no late fees, and no penalty fees or APR. There’s also no balance transfer fees, making paying down balances even easier. Normally, cards charge a fee of around 5% of the transfer, so no fee is a big win.
Who Can Benefit Most from the Upgrade Cash Rewards Visa®?
The hybrid nature of the Upgrade Card makes it an excellent option for those who struggle with making payments with their regular credit cards. The structure of the installment plan makes it ideal for those who need help paying down their debts. This is especially true for those who prefer to carry a balance on their cards.
While the Upgrade Card doesn’t allow balance transfers per se, the ability to transfer some (or all) of the available credit line to an existing bank account makes it perfect for immediately eliminating an individual’s card balances. Once they do this, a person can then pay down one balance instead of several. This, in turn, can boost their credit score and reduce their monthly outlay. And, like other credit cards, Upgrade provides free access to credit monitoring tools, making it easy to track potential credit score growth.
Upgrade Card FAQs
- Yes! The Upgrade Card is a regular Visa credit card that also acts as an installment loan.
- Unlike other cards, Upgrade is reported as an installment loan on your credit report.
- Yes. Upgrade reports to Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion.
- Upgrade Loans are different from the Upgrade Visa® Card with Cash Rewards. Upgrade Loans may contact your employer to verify employment and income details. The Upgrade Card, however, acts like any other credit card application, meaning you won’t have to worry about your employer being contacted.
- The Upgrade Card is available in all 50 U.S. states plus the District of Columbia (DC).
Upgrade Card Ratings
How does the Upgrade Card stack up? Here are a selection of expert reviews for the card:
Should You Apply for the Upgrade Cash Rewards Visa®?
The Upgrade Card is a refreshing approach to the traditional credit card. Balance transfer cards are great because they allow cardholders to reduce balances by combining them and paying them down over time. Typically, this involves a 0% intro APR period.
Upgrade Card, on the other hand, offers a credit line which the cardholder can use to pay off their balances. Once they accomplish this, they can pay off the card balance over a set installment period. Even better, most cardholders get interest rates, which are dramatically lower than those found with the most economical, low APR credit cards.
In addition, the cash back rewards component adds a huge dose of appeal. The fact that customers can earn 1.5% back on all purchases without caps gives the Upgrade Card an incentive not typically seen in cards designed to help people chop down their debt. Other popular no annual fee options include the Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer (unlimited 2% back), WF Active Cash (also 2% back) and the Citi Custom Cash℠ Card.
Ultimately, the Upgrade Card is an excellent – and unique – alternative to the balance transfer card for those with great or good credit scores. The lack of an annual fee, excellent interest-rates, and generous repayment terms make it ideal for those who struggle to pay off their debts – and need a helping hand in the process.
The information related to Citi Custom Cash Card and Citi Double Cash has been collected by BestCards.com and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer or provider of this product or service.
*To qualify for the $200 welcome bonus, you must open and fund a new Upgrade Rewards Checking account and make 3 debit card transactions within 60 days of your Upgrade Card account opening. The bonus will be applied as a one-time credit to your account and will not otherwise reduce the amount of your regular monthly payments. The bonus credit will be posted to your Upgrade Card as a rewards credit within 1-2 billing periods following the third debit card transaction on your Rewards Checking account. Your Upgrade Card must be in good standing to receive a bonus.