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Upromise® Mastercard®

BestCards Team

| Last updated on November 23rd, 2023

Upromise® Mastercard®

Upromise® 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: Excellent / Good
Mastercard Processing Network
None Annual Fee

Upromise® Mastercard®

  • 20.24%, 25.24% or 30.24% variable based on creditworthiness and the Prime Rate Regular Purchase APR
  • 20.24%, 25.24% or 30.24% variable based on creditworthiness and the Prime Rate Balance Transfer APR
  • 30.49% variable based on the Prime Rate Cash Advance APR

At a Glance

The Upromise® Mastercard® turns everyday purchases into college savings by providing 1.25% cash back into 529 College Savings Plans and delivers a bonus 15% bonus cash back on your monthly total.

  • Best Benefits
  • Rates & Fees
  • Why Should You Apply?
  • Earn 1.25% cash back on every purchase
  • Purchases are rounded to the nearest dollar to earn extra cash back
  • Earn 1.529% Cash Back Rewards on purchases when your Upromise Program account is linked to an eligible College Savings Plan
  • No annual fee
  • Regular Purchase APR: 20.24%, 25.24% or 30.24% variable based on creditworthiness and the Prime Rate
  • Intro Balance Transfer APR: 0% for 15 months on transfers made within 45 days from account opening date
  • Balance Transfer APR: 20.24%, 25.24% or 30.24% variable based on creditworthiness and the Prime Rate
  • Balance Transfer Transaction Fee: Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater
  • Cash Advance APR: 30.49% variable based on the Prime Rate
  • Cash Advance Transaction Fee: Either $10 or 5% of the amount of each cash advance, whichever is greater
  • Late Payment Penalty Fee: Up to $40
  • Return Payment Penalty Fee: Up to $40
  • You're a parent/guardian that wants to begin a college savings fund for a child
  • You have graduated from college but need assistance saving money for graduate school
  • You want cash back rewards that are automatically applied towards a saving account
  • You want a cash back card that rounds up purchase totals

Upromise® Mastercard® Review

The Upromise® Mastercard® is a cash back credit card that can help you save for college expenses. The card from Barclays offers an enhanced rewards rate when depositing funds into eligible college savings plans. There is no annual fee.

0% Intro APR on Balance Transfers

The nice features of the Upromise Mastercard start with a lengthy introductory APR offer. New accounts enjoy a 0% introductory APR for 15 months on balance transfers made within 45 days of account opening, followed by a variable rate based on creditworthiness after that.

Earn Additional Rewards When Linked to an Eligible 529 Plan

The Upromise Mastercard offers a flat-rate, unlimited 1.25% cash back on all eligible purchases. That earning rate is slightly better than a basic cash back card. Still, it won’t stand up to the rewards potential of other leading “unlimited” credit cards – like the Citi® Double Cash Card (unlimited 2%, 1% cash back when you buy, plus an additional 1% as you pay for those purchases), the Chase Freedom Unlimited (1.5% back on all purchases, plus enhanced cash back on other key categories), and others.

But the baseline 1.25% back with the Upromise is only for those who don’t plan to use this card’s party trick – that of being a versatile, lucrative college savings credit card. Those doing so earn an odd – but very fitting – amount of cash back when depositing funds into an eligible college savings plan, like a 529 plan: 1.529% back on all purchases.

Earn More with UPromise Round-Up

You can save even more with Upromise Round-Up. This perk lets you round up your purchases to the nearest dollar based on a limit you set (from $1 to $500). The total Round-Up amount is considered a purchase and converted to cash back rewards. This, in turn, can quickly supercharge college savings through a 529 plan.

What College Savings Plans are Eligible?

A 529 college savings plan is a state-sponsored investment plan that allows you to save money for a beneficiary and pay for education expenses. What makes 529 plans so great is that you can withdraw funds tax-free to cover many college expenses, including tuition, fees, room and board costs, school supplies, student loan payments, and apprenticeship programs.

What’s great about the Upromise credit card from Barclays is that far more than just 529 plans are eligible. Nearly 200 programs are eligible for the 1.529% cash back, including NEST, ABLE, STABLE Learning Quest, Merrill Lynch, John Hancock, and more. A complete listing of eligible programs is available here.

College Savings Comparison

This unique cash back structure makes the Upromise one of only two cards that help parents and families save for their kid’s college expenses. The Fischer-Price College Savings Mastercard® also earns enhanced rewards when funneling them into an eligible college savings account.

Here’s how the two college savings cards compare:

Fisher-Price College Savings Mastercard

Upromise® Mastercard®
Annual fee None None
Rewards when redeeming to 529 plans 2% 1.529%
Base rewards 1% 1.25

Earn up to $250 in Cash Back Rewards per Year

There are more opportunities to pad a college education savings plan with UPromise, including the ability to earn up to an additional $250 per calendar year. However, the process (buying gift cards through MyGiftCardsPlus) is a little strange. Still, it’s an additional value for those really looking to save.

Other Card Features

Other notable features of the Upromise Mastercard credit card include no foreign transaction fees, complimentary online access to your FICO®, and EMV chip technology for enhanced security. The card is powered by the Mastercard payment network. Cardholders also enjoy Mastercard protections, including:

Zero Liability Protection Mastercard Global Services ID Theft Protection

Barclays Ratings

How is Barclays as a bank? Here is a selection of expert and consumer ratings of Barclays and Barclaycard credit cards:

Should You Apply for the Upromise® Mastercard®?

If your primary goal is to save for college, the Upromise® Mastercard® could be your main credit card. It is a low-maintenance cash back card with no annual fee or foreign transaction fee (if you don’t already have a go-to credit card for international shopping, this card could fit the bill). Earnings are automatically deposited into savings, so there is no need to worry about redemption options or expiring rewards for added ease of use.

If your approach to savings is that slow and steady wins the race, then you should consider applying for the Upromise® Mastercard®. Upromise a great way for parents to create long-term college savings through everyday spending. The structure is ideal for those who have difficulty saving money. The card is most valuable when paired with a 529 College Savings Plan – but you can still achieve significant savings by shopping through the UPromise portal and taking advantage of increased cash back rates. 

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