How Does LendingTree Get Paid?
LendingTree is compensated by companies on this site and this compensation may impact how and where offers appear on this site (such as the order). LendingTree does not include all lenders, savings products, or loan options available in the marketplace.

How Does LendingTree Get Paid?

LendingTree is compensated by companies on this site and this compensation may impact how and where offers appear on this site (such as the order). LendingTree does not include all lenders, savings products, or loan options available in the marketplace.
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Advertising Disclosure
LendingTree is an advertising-supported comparison service. The site features products from our partners as well as institutions which are not advertising partners. While we make an effort to include the best deals available to the general public, we make no warranty that such information represents all available products. We are compensated by companies on this site and this compensation may impact how and where offers appear on this site (such as the order).

Advertising Disclosure

LendingTree is an advertising-supported comparison service. The site features products from our partners as well as institutions which are not advertising partners. While we make an effort to include the best deals available to the general public, we make no warranty that such information represents all available products. We are compensated by companies on this site and this compensation may impact how and where offers appear on this site (such as the order).
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American Express Disclosure
Terms apply to American Express benefits and offers. Visit americanexpress.com to learn more.

American Express Disclosure

Terms apply to American Express benefits and offers. Visit americanexpress.com to learn more.

Upgrade Cash Rewards Visa®: Is It Worth It?

LendingTree's Review

How LendingTree Rates Credit Cards?

Our experts rate credit cards based on several factors including card benefits, bonus offers and independent research. Credit card issuers do not influence or have a say in our card ratings. Read our credit card methodology here.
4.5
Upgrade Cash Rewards Visa<sup>®</sup>
Credit Line
Up to $20,000*
Rewards Rate
1.5% unlimited cash back on card purchases every time you make a payment
Annual Fee
$0
Editorial Note: The content of this article is based on the author’s opinions and recommendations alone. It was not reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuer. This site may be compensated through a credit card issuer partnership.

Our take: The Upgrade Cash Rewards Visa® is a cost-effective credit card option if you have fair credit and want to build credit. It has a $0 annual fee, 1.5% cash back rewards and you pay your balance as an installment plan.

Pros and cons

  • Earns cash back at a high rate
  • Generous sign-up bonus
  • $0 annual fee
  • Fixed monthly payment plan
  • Potentially low APR
  • No late fees
  • Cash back rewards
  • Available to those with fair credit
  • No grace period for interest
  • Less payment flexibility than a typical credit card
  • Lower APR requires autopay

Is the Upgrade Cash Rewards Visa® a good card?

The Upgrade Cash Rewards Visa® is a good card if you’re trying to build your credit score and need a low-cost way to finance purchases. At the end of the month, your purchases are put into a fixed monthly payment plan with a set end date.

This type of repayment plan helps keep your finances organized and may help you avoid getting stuck in debt, which happens when cardholders only make minimum payments. One drawback to note is that there’s no grace period on new purchases. However, if you qualify for a lower APR, this card may allow you to finance large purchases.

It has some notable features to look for in a card for building credit: It accepts applicants with fair credit, has a $0 annual fee and a potentially low APR and earns cash back rewards.

With regular use of the card and on-time payments, this card helps build your credit so you can access other financial products that require good to excellent credit.

How much can you save?
We estimate that the average cardholder will earn around $254 in cash back and will pay around $67 in interest in the first year, for a total savings of $187, versus -$3 for the average credit building card.

Quick facts

    • $200 bonus after opening a Rewards Checking Plus 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 credit card with the predictability of a personal loan
    • No annual fee
    • No touch payments with contactless technology built in
    • See if you qualify in minutes without hurting your credit score
    • 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 welcome bonus, you must open and fund a new Rewards Checking Plus account through Upgrade and make 3 qualifying debit card transactions from your Rewards Checking Plus account within 60 days of the date the Rewards Checking Plus account is opened. If you have previously opened a checking account through Upgrade or do not open a Rewards Checking Plus account as part of this application process, you are not eligible for this welcome bonus offer. Your Upgrade Card and Rewards Checking Plus account must be open and in good standing to receive a bonus. To qualify, debit card transactions must have settled and exclude ATM transactions. Please refer to the applicable Upgrade VISA® Debit Card Agreement and Disclosures for more information. Welcome bonus offers cannot be combined, substituted, or applied retroactively. The bonus will be applied to your Rewards Checking Plus account as a one-time payout credit within 60 days after meeting the conditions.
  • Recommended Credit
    Credit scores ranges may vary. Your individual chance at approval may vary due to factors such as creditors using a particular variation at their discretion
  • 600 660
    Fair
  • Reports to the three major credit bureaus
  • No late fees
  • Access to virtual card number before card arrives in the mail

Intro Purchase APR

N/A

Regular Purchase APR

14.99% - 29.99% APR

Intro BT APR

N/A

Regular BT APR

14.99% - 29.99% APR

Annual Fee

$0

Cash Advance Fee

N/A

Foreign Transaction Fee

Up to 3%

Balance Transfer Fee

Up to 5%

What we like about the Upgrade Cash Rewards Visa®

  • Earns cash back rewards at a high rate

    With the Upgrade Cash Rewards Visa® you earn 1.5% unlimited cash back on card purchases every time you make a payment . This is a good rate among flat-rate cash back credit cards, but even better when compared to other credit-building cards that don’t offer rewards.

    You’ll also qualify to earn a sign-up bonus for opening a checking account with Upgrade. You’ll get a $200 bonus after opening a Rewards Checking Plus account and making 3 debit card transactions*.

    It’s rare for a card targeted to people with low credit scores to offer any kind of sign-up bonus, so this is an outstanding offer that can help compensate for the cost of using the card in the first year.

  • Few fees

    The Upgrade Cash Rewards Visa® has a $0 annual fee and does not charge late fees. This is a significant amount of savings if you frequently make late payments. Late payment fees typically cost $30 for the first late payment and $41 thereafter. This offers savings of up to $492 per year, depending on how often you make late payments.

    Annual fees are more easily avoided if the card you want doesn’t have one. However, a number of credit cards for building credit have annual fees which range from $35 to $100.

    Even though the Upgrade Cash Rewards Visa® doesn’t charge late fees, you should strive to pay your monthly payment on time because late payments affect your credit score. Your payment history makes up 35% of your credit score, so a single late payment can negatively impact your FICO score.

  • Fixed monthly payments

    Although it’s a credit card, your payments resemble those of an installment loan. At the end of the billing cycle, your purchases are put into a monthly payment plan with a fixed payment amount. Because of this, you know exactly how much is due every month and can budget accordingly.

    This can help keep you from going into credit card debt because you are forced to make larger payments than you would if you were paying the minimum payment on a traditional credit card.

    Take note: As you continue to use the Upgrade Cash Rewards Visa®, you will obtain a new closed-end loan. As loans are paid down additional credit may become available to you.

  • Potentially low APR

    If your credit score enables you to qualify for the lowest interest rate, your interest charges will be roughly 50% lower than if you have to pay the higher rate. The Upgrade Cash Rewards Visa® has a 14.99% - 29.99% APR and the rate you receive depends on your creditworthiness. Currently the average APR in the United States is 24.71%, which makes the Upgrade Cash Rewards Visa®’s lower tier rate attractive.

    Remember that with a traditional credit card, you only pay interest on balances still owed after your payment due date. If you don’t carry a balance, the APR is less important in your choice of a credit card.

  • Builds credit in several ways

    The Upgrade Cash Rewards Visa® helps you build credit in a few ways:

    • Unlike a typical credit card, your monthly balance on the card is reported as an installment loan. For every month that you use it, a new installment loan is generated. This helps diversify your credit mix, which accounts for 10% of your credit score.
    • If you use the card every month for the first six months, you’ll have six loans reported to the credit bureaus. If you make your payments on time, more positive data will be reported, helping build your credit history. This helps your payment history, which accounts for 35% of your FICO score.
    • Over time, you may be allowed a larger line of credit. This can improve your credit utilization ratio, which makes up 30% of your credit score.

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

  • No grace period for interest

    Traditional credit cards have a grace period, meaning interest isn’t charged if you pay your balance in full by the payment due date. But with the Upgrade Cash Rewards Visa® there is no grace period and interest is calculated from the day of purchase. This means you cannot avoid paying interest with this card, which is a serious drawback if you tend to pay your balance in full each month.

    Considering that the card’s APR ranges between 14.99% - 29.99% APR, the interest that you pay for using the card is likely to wipe out most or all of the cash back that you earn. If you need a payment plan to stay on track of paying off your credit card, the Upgrade Cash Rewards Visa® may still be worth it. But, if you’re likely to pay off your card each month, you should consider a credit card with a grace period, like the Petal® 2 Cash Back, No Fees Visa® Credit Card.

  • Offers less payment flexibility

    With the Upgrade Cash Rewards Visa®, you have to pay your balance in set installments. Each month your charges are bundled together and your total payment amount is divided by a set number of months, much like an auto loan. You need to pay this amount every month to stay current. In comparison, a traditional credit card only requires a minimum payment, which could be helpful if you’re having a particularly bad month financially and can’t afford to pay more.

  • Autopay may be required

    According to the terms and conditions, those who qualify for the lowest APR rate are required to enroll in autopay. This isn’t necessarily bad — it helps ensure your payment is made on time every month. However, you must be mindful that you have sufficient funds to not accidentally overdraw your bank account.

Upgrade Cash Rewards Visa® vs. OpenSky® Secured Visa® Credit Card

| Disclosures
OpenSky® Secured Visa® Credit Card
OpenSky® Secured Visa® Credit Card
apply-now-icon Apply Now
on Capital Bank, N.A.'s secure site
N/A
25.64% (variable)
$35
Earn up to 10% cash back* on everyday purchases
  • New feature! Earn up to 10% cash back* on everyday purchases
  • No credit check to apply. Zero credit risk to apply!
  • Looking to build or rebuild your credit? 2 out of 3 OpenSky cardholders increase their credit score by an average of 41 points in just 3 months
  • Get free monthly access to your FICO score in our mobile application
  • Build your credit history across 3 major credit reporting agencies: Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion
  • Add to your mobile wallet and make purchases using Apple Pay, Samsung Pay and Google Pay
  • Fund your card with a low $200 refundable security deposit to get a $200 credit line
  • Apply in less than 5 minutes with our mobile first application
  • Choose the due date that fits your schedule with flexible payment dates
  • Fund your security deposit over 60 days with the option to make partial payments
  • Over 1.4 Million Cardholders Have Used OpenSky Secured Credit Card To Improve Their Credit
  • *See Rewards Terms and Conditions for more information
300 600
Poor

How Does LendingTree Get Paid?

LendingTree is compensated by companies on this site and this compensation may impact how and where offers appears on this site (such as the order). LendingTree does not include all lenders, savings products, or loan options available in the marketplace.


 
A highlight of the OpenSky® Secured Visa® Credit Card is that there’s no credit check so if bad credit is getting in the way of finding a credit card, this card is worthy of consideration. Financial information like your annual income and your monthly housing amount is used to determine your creditworthiness. The OpenSky® Secured Visa® Credit Card requires a minimum security deposit of $200 (and a maximum of $3,000). It does charge a $35 annual fee and has a slightly higher than average APR of OpenSky® Secured Visa® Credit Card.

The OpenSky® Secured Visa® Credit Card offers credit line increases (with accompanying deposit), the chance to graduate to an unsecured card and reports your account acidity to all three credit bureaus.

Upgrade Cash Rewards Visa® vs. Petal® 2 Cash Back, No Fees Visa® Credit Card

| Disclosures
Petal® 2 Cash Back, No Fees Visa® Credit Card*
Petal® 2 Cash Back, No Fees Visa® Credit Card
Learn More
on Petal's secure site
N/A
18.24 - 32.24% Variable
$0
Earn 1% cash back on eligible purchases right away, and 2% to
  • No fees whatsoever. No late fee, foreign transaction fee, annual fee, or any-other-kind-of-fee, fee.
  • Variable APRs range from 18.24% - 32.24%
  • Up to 1.5% cash back on eligible purchases after making 12 on-time monthly payments.
  • 1% cash back on eligible purchases right away
  • 2% - 10% cash back at select merchants
  • $300 - $10,000 credit limits
  • No credit score? No problem. If eligible, we'll create your Cash Score instead.
  • See if you're pre-approved within minutes without impacting your credit score.
  • Build credit alongside hundreds of thousands of Petal card members.
  • Petal reports to all 3 major credit bureaus.
  • No deposits required
  • Card issued by WebBank
N/A
*The information related to the Petal® 2 Cash Back, No Fees Visa® Credit Card has been collected by LendingTree and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of this card prior to publication. Terms apply

How Does LendingTree Get Paid?

LendingTree is compensated by companies on this site and this compensation may impact how and where offers appears on this site (such as the order). LendingTree does not include all lenders, savings products, or loan options available in the marketplace.


 
The Petal® 2 Cash Back, No Fees Visa® Credit Card is a $0 annual fee unsecured credit card that doesn’t require a credit history to apply. After you allow read-only access to your bank account, it calculates your “Cash Score” to determine whether or not you’re qualified.

Every purchase earns cash back and while the 18.24 - 32.24% Variable APR skews higher on the spectrum for some customers, you won’t pay any interest if you pay your balance in full on or before the payment due date. This makes it a better option for someone likely to pay their balance in full each month.

With qualifying on-time payments, you can earn credit line increases in as little as six months. Also notable with the Petal 2 Credit Card is that you earn cash back on every purchase with additional cash back at select merchants.

Upgrade Cash Rewards Visa® vs. Capital One Platinum Credit Card

| Disclosures
Capital One Platinum Credit Card
Capital One Platinum Credit Card
apply-now-icon Apply Now
on Capital One's secure site
Rates & Fees
N/A
29.99% (Variable)
$0
Non-rewards Card
  • No annual or hidden fees. See if you're approved in seconds
  • Be automatically considered for a higher credit line in as little as 6 months
  • Help build your credit through responsible use of a card like this
  • Enjoy peace of mind with $0 Fraud Liability so that you won't be responsible for unauthorized charges
  • Monitor your credit score with CreditWise from Capital One. It's free for everyone
  • Get access to your account 24 hours a day, 7 days a week with online banking from your desktop or smartphone, with Capital One's mobile app
  • Check out quickly and securely with a contactless card, without touching a terminal or handing your card to a cashier. Just hover your card over a contactless reader, wait for the confirmation, and you're all set
  • Pay by check, online or at a local branch, all with no fee - and pick the monthly due date that works best for you
  • For Capital One products listed on this page, some of the benefits are provided by Visa® or Mastercard® and may vary by product. See the respective Guide to Benefits for details, as terms and exclusions apply
600 660
Limited / Fair

How Does LendingTree Get Paid?

LendingTree is compensated by companies on this site and this compensation may impact how and where offers appears on this site (such as the order). LendingTree does not include all lenders, savings products, or loan options available in the marketplace.


 
The Capital One Platinum Credit Card is another card worth considering. It’s an unsecured card with a $0 annual fee and is open to applicants with limited / fair credit. As a cardholder, you receive access to a variety of credit-building tools, including automatic account reviews six months after you open your card to see if you’re eligible for a credit limit increase. Capital One reports your account activity to all three credit bureaus and offers free credit score access.

The Capital One Platinum Credit Card does have a high 29.99% (Variable) APR. But, it also has a grace period for interest, so you won’t have to worry about interest charges as long as you pay your balance by the due date. Additionally, the card doesn’t include a rewards program. While you won’t get cash back from your purchases, you won’t be tempted to overspend because of it.

Is the Upgrade Cash Rewards Visa® right for you?

With potentially high credit lines and lower-than-average interest rates, the Upgrade Cash Rewards Visa® offers a solid way to avoid getting deep into credit card debt and diversify your credit mix while building credit. The rewards help offset the interest, and if you’re able to pay more than your monthly payment, you can do so without penalty.

It’s not a card for everyone, especially those who pay their balance in full each month. The OpenSky® Secured Visa® Credit Card or Petal 2 Credit Card are alternative cards to consider if you want to build credit without paying interest.

Alternatively, if you’re interested in a balance transfer credit card but have bad credit, a personal loan is an option to look into.

apply-now-icon Apply Now
on Upgrade's secure site
Rates & Fees
For Capital One products listed on this page, some of the above benefits are provided by Visa® or Mastercard® and may vary by product. See the respective Guide to Benefits for details, as terms and exclusions apply.