Founded in 2017, Upgrade is a personal loan provider as well as a credit card company. The Upgrade card offers customers an online banking experience that eliminates fees on everyday transactions. The company offers credit card services and personal loans to give its customers access to affordable and responsible credit with credit lines from $500 to $20,000. An Upgrade card functions more like a personal loan than a credit card, but it can be used wherever Visa is accepted. This card is different from other credit cards in the way that cardholders can payback debt sooner with predictable payments.
Unlike a regular credit card, there are no annual fees or additional fees to use this card. This includes no foreign transaction fees and no cash advance fee when transferring money directly to a bank account. While a loan from Upgrade has an origination fee, the Upgrade card does not. This is a truly unique card because there are no extra fees, including no fee for a late payment.
Although there are no extra fees, Upgrade cards have a fixed APR of 6.99% to 29.99%. Those with better credit will find themselves on the lower end, but those with worse credit and existing debt could have an APR on the higher end.
Credit card companies report their lines of credit to the credit bureau and this determines a card holder’s debt utilization ratio. This is a major factor in what FICO uses to determine someone’s credit score. With the Upgrade card, credit is reported more similarly to a personal loan rather than a revolving credit card account. Since using this card doesn’t factor into someone's debt utilization ratio, it can help improve their credit score.
A unique perk of this card is that it is available to people who have bankruptcy or low credit scores on their record, depending on factors in their credit history. This and the way the credit line is reported from the card make it great for improving your credit score.
The Upgrade card offers a personal credit line that is similar to an installment loan. The credit limit can be between $500 and $50,000. The lowest rates require Autopay and most line amounts will be around or under $20,000. Charges incurred during each month are calculated into monthly payments to be paid off in one to two years. Any additional charges made in following months are calculated in the same way and add to the monthly payment.
Monthly payments can be debited directly from a bank account. Cardholders can also prepay any amount with no penalty.
This system makes cardholders responsible with their credit and they end up paying a lot less in interest fees when compared to other cards. If a cardholder with an average credit card only pays the minimum payment amount each month, they’ll be stuck with debt for 20 or more years in some cases and end up paying a substantial amount in interest. The Upgrade card has a shorter loan term, usually two to three years, which helps cardholders pay off debt faster.
Upgrade allows its cardholders to monitor their credit score for free. Cardholders receive a summary of their credit report as well as customized recommendations to improve their score. They can see a weekly update of their score, track it on a trending chart, and get email alerts to stay on top of their credit and track potential fraud.
Most credit card companies offer some type of rewards program when cardholders make purchases with their credit card, but the Upgrade card doesn’t have any program like this. The company has stated that it wants to start adding rewards when cardholders pay off their debt, but there is currently no rewards program in place.
Although this card is great for people who may have negative issues impacting their credit score, this card isn’t available to someone with no credit history. If a person is looking to start a new credit card and build their credit, they will have to apply for a different card.
This card does not allow a cardholder to make a balance transfer, though you can withdraw from the account online and send those funds to your bank account. This also means there is no balance transfer fee.
Upgrade Card also cannot be used at ATMs.
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