Surge Mastercard® Credit Card Review

The Surge Mastercard® is a credit card designed for those with bad credit. It reports to all three credit bureaus and is a great tool to help you build credit.
  • Annual Fees:
    $75 to $99
  • Regular APR:
    24.99% - 29.99% (Variable)
  • Recommended Credit Score:
    No Credit History, Bad Credit

Disclaimer: This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation (at no cost to you) when you click on links to those products. Read our Disclaimer Policy for more information.

If you have bad credit, you may feel like you can’t get a credit card no matter how hard you try.

The Surge Mastercard® may be an option, though. It’s a credit card for bad credit consumers and even those with no credit.

It’s advertised as an unsecured credit card, but many people end up with a secured card once they apply. Here’s how the card stacks up and what you should consider before taking it.

What is the Surge Mastercard® Credit Card?

The Surge Mastercard® is another credit card in the lineup promising to help consumers with bad credit get a credit card.

The unsecured card doesn’t require a down payment, or so they say, but sometimes an applicant thinks they are getting an unsecured card but end up with a secured card.

The credit card is meant to be a credit builder, and it does as it says – it reports to all three credit bureaus.

In all other respects, it operates like a standard credit card, but you should know the fees and fine print before you decide it’s right for you.

Surge Mastercard® Pros and Cons


  • Helps you build credit by reporting to all three credit bureaus
  • Easy online application
  • Flexible underwriting guidelines
  • You may get a credit line up to $1,000


  • High APR
  • High annual fee plus a $10 monthly maintenance fee after the first 12 months
  • You may only get a secured card, not unsecured

Surge Mastercard® Credit Card Review

  • Annual Fee: $75 to $99
  • Annual APR: 25.9% – 29.99%
  • Rewards: none
  • Annual maintenance fee: $120

Surge Mastercard® Credit Card Features and Benefits

Certainly, any unsecured credit card for bad credit consumers has to have benefits, right? While the fees on the Surge Mastercard® are steep, there are other benefits you may enjoy.

Easy Online Application

You can apply online in seconds and get an answer instantly in most cases. If you don’t get approved right away, you may hear back from Continental Bank (the bank issuing the credit card) via mail.

Sometimes they have to do a manual underwrite on the application to ensure you’re a good fit.

Great Card to Build or Improve Credit

If you don’t have any credit, or you have bad credit, the underwriting guidelines for the Surge Mastercard® are flexible, allowing even consumers with a bad credit score to get approved.

You’ll likely only get the minimum credit line of $300, but everyone has to start somewhere, and if you use it right, you’ll improve your credit score using it.

$0 Fraud Liability

The Surge Mastercard® comes with peace of mind. If you lose your credit card or it’s stolen, you aren’t responsible for any of the charges you didn’t authorize. Just make sure you report the lost or stolen card right away.

Reports Monthly to All Three Credit Bureaus

Not all credit cards report to all THREE credit bureaus. That’s the main feature of this card. If you have no credit or bad credit, you need a tradeline to report to all the bureaus.

Keep in mind, this only works if you use the card like you should – paying the bill on time and not carrying a balance higher than 30% of the credit limit.

That’s the best way to ensure you get the best credit rating from using the card.

Free Monthly Credit Score

If you’re trying to build credit, this is a great feature. You get a free monthly credit score from one of the credit bureaus.

This gives you the chance to track your steps and see if it’s helping you improve your credit score or if you should use other tactics.

High Starting Credit Limit

Most people start with a $300 credit limit, but there is the potential to go up to $1,000. It depends on your credit score and debt ratio.

If you get a $300 credit line and want a higher limit, you can apply for it after making six months of on-time payments.

How to Apply for the Surge Mastercard® (Step-by-Step)

To apply for the Surge Mastercard®, follow these steps.

  1. Clickhere to get the application
  2. Enter your first and last name
  3. Provide your address
  4. Provide your email address
  5. Enter your Social Security number
  6. Calculate and enter your total monthly income (you can also click on ‘calculate your monthly income’ and it will ask for your annual income and do the math for you)
  7. Choose how you receive your income (full-time employment, part-time employment, etc.)
  8. Enter your phone number
  9. Provide your date of birth
  10. Disclose if you have a checking account (you need one to apply)
  11. Answer if you’d like a second card for another user
  12. Submit your application

How Does the Surge Mastercard® Compare to Other Cards?

#1. Surge Mastercard® vs. OpenSky® Secured Visa® Credit Card

OpenSky® Secured Visa® Credit Card is another option, especially if you don’t think you’ll get approved for an unsecured credit card.

You get a credit line that’s equal to the money you put down on it. OpenSky keeps the deposit if you fail to make your payments.

The OpenSky® Secured Visa® Credit Card has a $35 annual fee (others don’t), and you can’t upgrade to an unsecured card after 6 to 12 months like other cards.

#2. Secured Mastercard® from Capital One vs. Surge Mastercard® Credit Card

The Secured Mastercard® from Capital Oneworks a little differently. It’s a secured card too, but you may get a higher credit line than your deposit.

It depends on your qualifying factors, but most users get a $200 credit line with just a $49, $99, or $200 deposit.

You may also deposit more money to get a higher credit limit up to $1,000 but need approval first.

This can be a great way to build credit, especially if you don’t carry a balance or if you do, you keep it low.

#3. Surge Mastercard® vs. Reflex Mastercard

The Reflex Mastercard has a lot of fees too. It also has a high APR, so it’s not the most attractive option.

It’s a bad-credit consumer credit card, and it too reports to all three credit bureaus, but that comes at a price.

You’ll pay $75 or $99 per year for the card plus the annual maintenance fee of $120 a year after the first 12 months.

#4. Indigo® Platinum Mastercard® vs. Surge Mastercard®

The Indigo® Platinum Mastercard® has flexible annual fees that vary based on your qualifying factors.

Some consumers will pay nothing, and others will pay as much as $99 per year. Like the Surge credit card, the limit starts at $300, and the card doesn’t offer any rewards.

Who Is the Surge Mastercard® Best For?

While we wouldn’t normally recommend a credit card with such high fees to anyone, it would be best suited for those with terrible credit and who don’t qualify for any other card.

If you use it to build credit and know you’ll use it responsibly, it may help you. If you can’t control yourself with a credit card or you just don’t want to pay the fees, there are other options, but they’ll likely be secured, meaning you must put the deposit down to get the credit line.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is the Surge Mastercard® Worth It?

It can be worth it for some people, but not most. If you have bad or no credit, you may consider it as an option, but only if you can afford the crazy high fees, including the maintenance fee of $10 per month.

Does Surge Credit Card Give Credit Increases?

Continental Bank isn’t transparent about reviewing your account to see if you qualify for a credit line increase.

They randomly say after six months of having the account, but they don’t give a definitive answer to it. If you want to increase your credit limit, it’s best to call and ask.

What Bank Is the Surge Credit Card?

The Surge credit card is issued by Celtic Bank and serviced by Continental Bank. This isn’t the only credit card Continental Bank services for bad credit consumers either.

Who Issues the Surge Mastercard®?

Celtic Bank issues Surge Mastercard®. Celtic Bank reports your use of the card to all three credit bureaus, and they offer flexible underwriting guidelines.

Does the Surge Mastercard® Credit Card Offer Rewards?

This is one downside of most credit cards for consumers with bad credit – there are no rewards. Unless you consider the fact that they report your account to all three credit bureaus. If you have bad credit, that can be a reward in itself.

Can the Surge Mastercard® Help Me Build and Improve My Credit Score?

The point of the Surge Mastercard® is to help you build or improve your credit. If you have a bad credit score, it’s hard to find a credit card that will accept you.

Celtic Bank makes it easy for even people with no credit to get a credit card to prove they can build good credit.

It takes time, but you can improve or build your credit with this credit card with good use.

Bottom Line: Surge Mastercard® Credit Card Review

If you can’t get a standard credit card and can’t afford a secured card, you may consider the Surge Mastercard®.

While it’s not a card with the best terms, it can help you establish yourself as a responsible consumer.

Once you build your credit, it’s best to transition to a standard unsecured credit card to continue building your credit and proving yourself.

Kim Pinnelli
Kim Pinnelli

Kim Pinnelli is a Senior Writer, Editor, & Product Analyst with a Bachelor’s Degree in Finance from the University of Illinois at Chicago. She has been a professional financial writer for over 15 years, and has appeared in a myriad of industry leading financial media outlets. Leveraging her personal experience, Kim is committed to helping people take charge of their personal finances and make simple financial decisions.