Upgrade Visa® Card Review: Is It a Good Value?

Apply Now
on Upgrade's secure site
The Upgrade Visa Card operates as both a credit card and a personal loan, helping you form strong financial habits and build credit responsibly.
  • Annual Fee:
    $0
  • Regular APR:
    8.99% - 29.99% APR
  • Recommended Credit Score:
    630 - 850

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.

The Upgrade Visa® Card is a unique hybrid of a credit card and personal loan. Consumers with a lower credit score and challenges with discipline related to paying off debts may find this card extremely useful because of the predictable monthly payment and an aggressive debt repayment strategy.

Instead of a flexible minimum monthly payment which can turn into an enormous balance with a high-interest rate, the Upgrade Visa® Card offers cardholders a line of credit ranging from $500 to $50,000 and unlimited 1.5% cash back when they pay their balance.

Since this card is unique, it may help specific customers develop strong financial habits, but for others, they might find better terms and rewards elsewhere if they typically pay their balance off every month.

Without further ado, let’s dive into the Upgrade Visa® Card, discuss its benefits, and ultimately decide if it may be a good fit for you.

Upgrade Visa® Card Pros and Cons

Pros:

  • Predictable payment schedule designed to eliminate debt quickly.
  • Unlimited 1.5% cash back, which is unique for cards in this category.
  • No annual fee, late fee, or foreign transaction fees.

Cons:

  • Inflexible rewards redemptions.
  • Potentially high APR.
  • Interest is unavoidable.

What Is the Upgrade Visa® Card?

The Upgrade Visa® Card is a hybrid personal loan/credit card tool offered by Sutton Bank.

Cardholders trying to pay off debt quickly, finance a big purchase with a lower interest rate, or access a credit line with a lower credit score can utilize the $0 annual fee Upgrade Visa® Card to accomplish these goals.

Although the Upgrade Visa® Card is designed for consumers with fair credit, it offers unlimited 1.5% cash back on purchases.

How Does the Upgrade Visa® Card Work?

Consumers can apply for the Upgrade Visa® Card online and get pre-approved for a credit line between $500 and $50,000 depending on creditworthiness, income, debt, and needs. However, most cardholders have a credit line of $25,000 or less.

Hard credit inquiries can negatively affect credit scores for a few billing periods, and for consumers with low credit scores, to begin with, this can be seriously detrimental.

Thankfully, the Upgrade Visa® Card offers a unique pre-approval process that does not conduct a hard credit inquiry until the applicant accepts the card’s terms.

Terms range from 24 months, 36 months, and 60 months Depending on how much you need to borrow and what you are approved for.

You are allowed to prepay your balance without any penalties if you want, and since the Upgrade Visa® Card reports your activity to all three major credit bureaus, it can help you boost your credit score.

Upgrade Visa® Card Review

  • Annual fee: $0
  • Regular APR 8.99%-29.99% APR
  • Rewards: Unlimited 1.5% cash back on all purchases (applied as credits on the next month’s balance)
  • Credit Limit: $500-$50,000

Upgrade Visa® Card Rewards

The Upgrade Visa® Card is unique in its category because it offers unlimited 1.5% cash back on all purchases.

However, the rewards system differs from most other cashback systems because you can only earn 1.5% after paying your monthly payment.

Earning Rewards

Earning rewards with the Upgrade Visa® Card is simple and straightforward. Simply use your Upgrade Visa® Card to make purchases, and you will generate unlimited 1.5% cash back.

There is no minimum spending requirement, and you can start earning rewards as soon as you receive your card.

Redeeming Rewards

Redeeming rewards with the Upgrade Visa® Card can be a catch-22, depending on how you want to use your cash back.

The Upgrade Visa® Card will only apply your accumulated cash back as a statement credit on your following month’s balance after paying your monthly payment.

For example, if your monthly payment is $400.11, and you accumulated $12 worth of cash back, you must pay your monthly payment before the Upgrade Visa® Card applies your cash back.

This may be a great incentive for some consumers, but others who want more flexible rewards may want to look at other rewards for credit cards.

Upgrade Visa® Card Features and Benefits

The Upgrade Visa® Card comes with a unique host of benefits that are not commonly associated with credit building cards:

Earn Unlimited Cash Back

Although Cash Back Rewards are only applied to the following month’s balance, unlimited 1.5% cash back can help you pay your principal down faster regardless of where you use the card.

No Hidden Fees

The Upgrade Visa® Card has no hidden fees, including late fees, annual fees, or foreign transaction fees.

The Upgrade Visa® Card allows you to borrow against your credit line and turn it into a personal loan. Most other credit cards charge for cash advances, but the Upgrade Visa® Card does not.

Make Fixed Payments

The Upgrade Visa® Card’s hybrid functionality is prominently displayed in the payment schedule.

Instead of a low minimum monthly payment with a revolving credit line, the Upgrade Visa® Card views draw on the credit line as installment loans added to your monthly payment.

It is essential to determine a monthly payment budget before applying for this card. If you can afford up to $500, make sure your draws on the credit line do not exceed your budget. Otherwise, your balances can accumulate into an unaffordable monthly payment if you’re not careful.

Compatible with Apple Pay™ and Google Pay™

The Upgrade Visa® Card is compatible with both Apple Pay™ and Google Pay™. Additionally, applicants who are approved for the card will receive a digital card number immediately to begin using it before the physical card is delivered.

How Does the Upgrade Visa® Card Compare?

Since the Upgrade Visa® Card is a unique product that offers elements from both rewards cards and secured credit cards combined with the predictable payment schedule of a personal loan, it’s important to see how it compares to a few alternatives:

#1. Upgrade Visa® Card vs. Chase Freedom Flex℠℠

The Chase Freedom Flex℠ is a robust $0 annual fee cashback and rewards credit card. Cardholders are eligible for an introductory bonus, 5% cash back on rotating quarterly categories and travel booked through Chase, 3% on dining, and 1% back on all other purchases.

The Upgrade Visa® Card offers 1.5% cash back on all purchases, and it applies accumulated rewards to the following month’s balance.

This is an important distinction because although both cards generate rewards, the Chase Freedom Flex℠ is a better alternative for a consumer looking for flexible redemption options.

At the same time, the Upgrade Visa® Card is a better fit for somebody trying to build credit and pay down debt quickly.

#2. OpenSky® Secured Visa® Credit Card vs. Upgrade Visa® Card

The OpenSky® Secured Visa® is a beginner credit card aimed at consumers seeking to establish a credit score.

There is no credit check required to apply for this card, and it is associated with an online Facebook community that encourages members in their credit building journey. It is a secured credit card with a $35 annual fee and a minimum security deposit of $200.

The Upgrade Visa® Card is designed for consumers who already have a credit score of 600 or higher.

It does not charge an annual fee or require a security deposit; instead, cardholders pay a fixed monthly payment against their credit line to help pay down that quickly.

The primary difference between these two cards is the intended audience. While the OpenSky® Secured Visa® can be a fantastic option for somebody with no credit score seeking to establish positive borrowing habits, the Upgrade Visa® Card does require an established credit score of 600 or higher to qualify.

#3. Discover it® Secured Credit Card vs. Upgrade Visa® Card

The Discover it® Secured Credit Card is a $0 annual fee secured credit card that offers cash back rewards, introductory cash back match bonus, and free credit monitoring services.

Most secured credit cards charge annual fees without the potential to earn rewards. Still, the Discover it® Secured Credit Card does the opposite – it provides 2% cash back at gas stations and restaurants, unlimited 1% back on all other purchases, and does not charge an annual fee.

There is a minimum security deposit of $200 for applicants approved for this card, and Discover will double the cash back you earn over the first year as a bonus.

The Upgrade Visa® Card is designed for consumers who already have established credit histories but may need help paying down a balance or financing a large purchase for a reasonable interest rate.

Since cardholders of the Upgrade Visa® Card know their payoff date and monthly payment, they can budget when the entire balance is paid off.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is the Upgrade Visa® Card Good?

The Upgrade Visa® Card is unique because it operates as both a credit card and personal loan. If you’ve had difficulty paying down balances and want to get rid of debt quickly, the Upgrade Visa® Card can be a powerful tool because of the set terms and monthly payments.

However, it’s essential to understand that credit activity is reported to all three major credit bureaus, so missed and late payments can hurt your score just as much as timely payments will help it.

What Credit Score Is Needed for the Upgrade Visa® Card?

Applicants for the Upgrade Visa® Card generally should have a credit score of 600 or higher to be considered for the Upgrade Visa Card’s best rates.

Bottom Line: Upgrade Visa® Card Review

Overall, the Upgrade Visa® Card is a unique product that offers credit, rewards, and fixed payments to its cardholders.

If you want to build your credit score and pay down debt simultaneously, this card can be a great option if you can afford the monthly payments.

On the other hand, if you are looking for more rewards and a flexible payment plan, there are probably better loans and credit cards on the market.

Other Similar Cards:

Justin Estes
Justin Estes
Justin is an experienced personal finance writer, blogger, and author. His background in accounting and finance led to a passion for helping people make the most of their money and matching them with financial products that enhance their lifestyle. When he's not working, he enjoys hiking, playing guitar, and drinking coffee.