Cash Rewards Card Review

Main advantages

The Upgrade Cash Rewards Card offers a mix of popular credit card benefits and more unique benefits.

1.5% cash back

The Upgrade Cash Rewards Card provides unlimited 1.5% cash back rewards when you make payments.

You may have noticed that rewards are “on payouts”, and that’s because Upgrade rewards them a bit differently. The Upgrade Cash Rewards card does not earn rewards when you make a purchase like most rewards credit cards. Instead, it earns rewards when you pay off those purchases. Keep in mind that there are no rewards on deposits to your bank account from your card.

The fact that it takes longer to get your rewards is a downside, but these cards still offer competitive reward rates overall.

No charges

There is absolutely no charge to use the Upgrade Cash Rewards card. This means there is:

  • No annual fee
  • No fees for withdrawing money, whether for purchases or bank account deposits
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • No prepayment penalty

Fixed APR

When you are approved for the Upgrade Cash Rewards card, you receive a fixed APR. While the variable APRs offered by credit cards can vary with interest rate trends, a fixed APR will not. Although your card’s APR depends on your creditworthiness, Upgrade offers lower rates than most credit cards.

Learn more: What is APR and what does it mean for your credit cards?

Lenient Approval Requirements

If you’re trying to accumulate credit, the Upgrade Cash Rewards card can work well, as it tends to be easier to obtain than comparable card products.

Its three rewards cards are available to consumers with average credit. Many credit cards with similar rewards rates are aimed at consumers with good credit. An Upgrade Cash Rewards card is a more accessible option that allows you to improve your credit while earning rewards. If you do not qualify for one of these rewards cards, you may qualify for the standard non-rewards upgrade card.

Send money to your bank account

It is usually expensive to withdraw money from a credit card. This type of transaction is a cash advance, which carries additional fees and a higher interest rate.

With the Upgrade Cash Rewards card, you can get a personal loan from your line of credit directly into your bank account without paying extra. If you ever need a loan for bills you can’t pay by credit card, the Upgrade Cash Rewards card is a convenient option.

Fixed payments

After the end of a billing period, Upgrade combines your transactions into one amount due with a fixed monthly payment. The monthly payment is the amount required to repay your loan by the end of your card draw term. You’re also free to pay more, including the full amount, if you want to settle your balance faster.

For some consumers, this type of payment structure can be useful. Credit cards only require you to make a small minimum payment, but it can take several years to get out of credit card debt when you only pay the minimum. With an upgrade card, you have predictable payments and a set end date for them.

What could be improved

Before completing an Upgrade Cash Rewards card application, you should learn about a few notable drawbacks.

Immediate interest charges

Interest begins to accrue immediately when you borrow against your Upgrade Cash Rewards card line of credit. Credit cards, on the other hand, give you an interest-free grace period on every purchase.

If you’re the type to pay the full balance on your credit card statement every month, you can avoid interest charges on your purchases. In this case, the upgrade card would cost you more than a traditional credit card because you are immediately charged interest with no way to avoid it.

Learn more: What is a credit card grace period?

No sign-up bonus

There is no introductory welcome bonus for opening the Upgrade Cash Rewards card. Many popular credit cards offer lucrative sign-up bonus offers that can be worth $200 or more. If you want to earn rewards, it’s worth revisiting these bonuses, as they can be quite valuable.

No 0% APR introductory offer

Another introductory offer that you don’t get with the Upgrade Cash Rewards card is an introductory 0% APR. The best 0% APR intro credit cards have a 0% intro rate on purchases you make, balance transfers from other credit cards, or both.

To its credit, the upgrade card offers low fixed rate APRs. But before choosing it to save on interest, consider how long you need to pay off purchases you make or a balance transfer. If you could do that within two years, you’d probably save a lot more money with a 0% APR introductory offer.

Does not excel compared to other financial products

As unique as the Upgrade Cash Rewards card is, it’s also stuck in a middle ground where it falls short of the competition.

It offers rewards like a credit card, but there are better credit cards that offer higher rewards rates and sign-up bonuses. It offers low borrowing costs compared to the typical credit card, but you could potentially pay a lot less with a 0% APR introductory card or one of the best personal loans.

If one of this card’s features caught your eye, see if there’s another option that might work even better. For example, if you’re looking for a quality credit card, be sure to read our other credit card reviews to check out what else is out there.

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