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Upgrade Cash Rewards Elite Visa® Review

Upgrade Cash Rewards Elite Visa®

Upgrade Cash Rewards Elite Visa® Review

Rewards Rate
Earn 2.2% unlimited cash back on card purchases every time you make a payment
Sign-Up Bonus
$200 bonus on your Upgrade Card after opening a Rewards Checking account and making 3 debit card transactions within 60 days.*
New Feature
Pay your balance in full early each month and avoid interest with EarlyPay.
Editorial Note: The content of this article is based on the author’s opinions and recommendations alone. It may not have been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuer. This site may be compensated through a credit card issuer partnership.

Who is the Upgrade Cash Rewards Elite Visa® best for?

The Upgrade Cash Rewards Elite Visa® credit card is for borrowers who want a flexible credit line that earns an unlimited 2.2% cash back without credit card fees. While Upgrade Cash Rewards Elite Visa® is a credit card, it has several personal loan features that make it stand out from other cards.

First, you can send cash from the credit line to your bank account without having to worry about a draw or cash advance fee. The card also offers fixed rates and fixed payment plans for card transactions. Credit lines typically range from $500 to $25,000, but some borrowers may get approved for as much as $50,000.*

One drawback is that the unlimited 2.2% cash back is earned when you pay off purchases and not when you make them. If you want to earn cash back rewards upfront with each swipe, a card like the Wells Fargo Active Cash® Card (unlimited 2% cash back on purchases) may be a better option. Also, beware that interest on the Upgrade Cash Rewards Elite Visa® may be high depending on your credit.

*Learn more about Upgrade’s personal credit lines

Upgrade Cash Rewards Elite Visa® overview

    • $200 bonus on your Upgrade Card after opening a Rewards Checking account and making 3 debit card transactions within 60 days.*
    • New Feature: Pay your balance in full early each month and avoid interest with EarlyPay.
    • Earn 2.2% unlimited cash back on card purchases every time you make a payment
    • See if you qualify in seconds with no impact to your credit score
    • No Fees - $0 annual fees, $0 activation fees, $0 maintenance fees
    • Combine the flexibility of a card with the low cost and predictability of a loan
    • Access to a virtual card, so you can start earning while you wait for your card to arrive in the mail.
    • Contactless payments with Apple Pay® and Google Pay™
    • 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. 
  • A prequalification form to check rates without a hard credit inquiry
  • Pay your balance in full early each month and avoid interest with EarlyPay
  • A virtual card available to use immediately after approval
  • Chip-enabled credit cards with contactless payment capabilities
  • Access to an Upgrade app to manage your credit card

Intro Purchase APR

N/A

Regular Purchase APR

8.99% - 29.99%

Intro BT APR

N/A

Regular BT APR

N/A

Annual Fee

$0

Cash Advance Fee

N/A

Foreign Transaction Fee

$0

Balance Transfer Fee

N/A

Pros and cons

Pros

  • Unlimited cash back
  • Fixed rates and equal payments
  • Sign-up bonus
  • No credit card fees

Cons

  • Average to excellent credit needed
  • High interest rates possible
  • Delayed rewards

What we like about the Upgrade Cash Rewards Elite Visa®

  • Earn a high rate of cash back as you pay off your balance

    The Upgrade Cash Rewards Elite Visa® lets you earn 2.2% unlimited cash back on card purchases every time you make a payment. This is an exceptional rate of cash back that beats some of the best contenders in the cash back rewards space, like the Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer. And, since the cash back is awarded when you pay down your balance rather than when you make purchases, it incentivizes paying down your balance.

    Furthermore, cash back earned is automatically credited to your account within a few billing cycles.

  • Fixed rates and equal monthly installment payments

    Interest rates on the amount you borrow are fixed, which is an unusual feature for a credit card. Typically, credit card interest rates are variable and your minimum payment can vary from one month to the next.

    The Upgrade Cash Rewards Elite Visa® card works more like an installment loan where you pay down debt over a set term with predictable payments. This feature can help you avoid a debt cycle of paying only a small percentage of your card balance each month.

  • An easy to qualify for sign-up bonus

    Upgrade is currently offering a $200 bonus on your Upgrade Card after opening a Rewards Checking account and making 3 debit card transactions within 60 days.* If you meet the terms of the offer, a bonus credit will be posted to your credit card account within one to two billing cycles.

  • No credit card fees

    The Upgrade Cash Rewards Elite Visa® card has no annual fee, prepayment penalty fee or cash advance fee, which could lead to significant savings if you plan to transfer cash from the credit line to your bank account.

    When you draw cash from a traditional credit card, there’s usually a cash advance fee and it can range from 3% to 6%. With the Upgrade Cash Rewards Elite Visa®, drawing cash from the credit line won’t trigger a fee. Plus, it offers a $0 foreign transaction fee, so you can use it freely while abroad.

What to look out for with the Upgrade Cash Rewards Elite Visa®

  • Average credit to excellent credit is needed to qualify

    Borrowers with low credit scores may not qualify for the Upgrade Cash Rewards Elite Visa®. If you have no credit or poor credit, building credit with a secured card first could help you qualify for this card and other rewards cards in the future. Secured cards require an upfront deposit, but that deposit is usually refunded after you make on-time payments and prove you’re creditworthy.

  • High interest rates possible

    APRs at Upgrade range from 8.99% - 29.99% APR. While 8.99% APR is a lower-than-average rate for a credit card, the upper end of that range is high. If you choose to borrow a large sum and pay it off over a long period of time with a high rate, interest charges could get expensive.

    It’s ideal to pay your balance entirely each month to avoid interest. But if that’s not possible, making advance payments can help you keep interest charges down. Upgrade has no prepayment fees, so you won’t be penalized for getting rid of debt early. In fact, you may be able to avoid interest entirely if you pay your balance in full at the end of the month, with Upgrade’s new EarlyPay feature.

  • Cash back may not be earned right away

    If you use the card to make a large purchase, such as bedroom furniture or appliances, you won’t see the full rewards benefit until the amount is paid off. With other cash back cards, you usually get cash back for the actual purchase, which would offer a more immediate reward. However, the silver lining to this is that it incentivizes you to make payments, and that could motivate you to pay down the card faster.

Compare the Upgrade Cash Rewards Elite Visa® to similar cards

Comparison of four different credit cards
Upgrade Cash Rewards Elite Visa® Capital One Platinum Credit Card Discover it<sup>®</sup> Secured Credit Card Capital One QuicksilverOne Cash Rewards Credit Card
Upgrade Cash Rewards Elite Visa® Capital One Platinum Credit Card Discover it® Secured Credit Card Capital One QuicksilverOne Cash Rewards Credit Card
Apply Now
on Upgrade's secure site
Apply Now
on Capital One's secure site
Apply Now
on Discover's secure site
Apply Now
on Capital One's secure site
Annual Fee
$0 $0 $0 $39
Welcome Offer
$200 bonus on your Upgrade Card after opening a Rewards Checking account and making 3 debit card transactions within 60 days.* No bonus Discover will match all the cash back you’ve earned at the end of your first year. No bonus
Rewards Rate
Earn 2.2% unlimited cash back on card purchases every time you make a payment Non-rewards Card 2% cash back at Gas Stations and Restaurants on up to $1,000 in combined purchases each quarter. 1% unlimited cash back on all other purchases - automatically 1.5% Cash Back on every purchase, every day; 5% Cash Back on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel (terms apply)
Intro Purchase APR
N/A N/A N/A N/A
Regular APR
8.99% - 29.99% 26.99% (Variable) 24.49% Variable APR 26.99% (Variable)
Intro Balance Transfer APR
N/A N/A 10.99% Intro APR for 6 months N/A
Regular Balance Transfer APR
N/A 26.99% (Variable) 24.49% Variable APR 26.99% (Variable)
Balance Transfer Fee
N/A $0 at this Transfer APR 3% intro balance transfer fee, up to 5% fee on future balance transfers (see terms)* $0 at this Transfer APR
Recommended Credit
N/A Fair/Limited Poor/Limited Fair/Limited
Card Details
Upgrade Cash Rewards Elite Visa® Capital One Platinum Credit Card Discover it® Secured Credit Card Capital One QuicksilverOne Cash Rewards Credit Card

Is the Upgrade Cash Rewards Elite Visa® right for you?

If you have fair credit or better and you want to finance a purchase, using the

Upgrade Cash Rewards Elite Visa® card could be a good way to buy now and tackle the balance in equal installments. If you’re working on a project with ongoing costs, using a credit line instead of a loan gives you the flexibility to borrow what you need. Plus, 2.2% cash back earned as you pay off the balance is just icing on the cake.

However, if you prefer the flexibility to carry a balance and want to earn cash back right away, there are other great flat-rate card options, including the popular Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer and the Wells Fargo Active Cash® Card.

* 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.

Apply Now
on Upgrade's secure site