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Upgrade Card Review 2023: Cash Rewards Visa®

The Upgrade credit card is one of the easier cards to get, and you’ll earn cash back.

Derek Sall - Founder/Personal Finance Expert
Written by

Derek Sall

Derek Sall - Founder/Personal Finance Expert
Written by
Derek Sall
Founder/Personal Finance Expert

Derek has a Bachelor's degree in Finance and a Master's in Business. As a finance manager in the corporate world, he regularly identified and solved problems at the C-suite level. Today, Derek isn't interested in helping big companies. Instead, he's helping individuals win financially—one email, one article, one person at a time.

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Kacper Kozicki - Editor-in-Chief
Edited by

Kacper Kozicki

Kacper Kozicki - Editor-in-Chief
Edited by
Kacper Kozicki

Kacper is an editor, writer, and multilingual translator with expertise in producing tailored content for global online brands.

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Deepti Nickam - Finance Writer

Deepti Nickam

Deepti Nickam - Finance Writer
Deepti Nickam
Finance Writer

Content writing and marketing professional with 5+ years of experience in the B2B and B2C sectors. Deepti has written about several subjects, including finance, project management, human resources, and more.

Learn more about our editorial process

7 min
June, 29 2023
Rebuilding credit with a credit card
Annual Fee
Rewards rate
Earn 1.5% unlimited cash back on card purchases every time you make a payment.
Intro offer
Earn a $200 bonus after you open a Rewards Checking account and make 3 debit card transactions within the first 60 days.
Credit needed: Fair–Excellent (600 or more)

82 people chose this

$200 bonus when you set up a checking account and make 3 debit card transactions within 60 days.

Why we like it

The Upgrade Visa Card allows you to earn cashback on your spending. For every dollar you spend using the card, you'll earn 1.5% cashback. 

But what sets Upgrade apart is that you can transform your purchases into installment loans. You'll agree to a fixed interest rate and a predetermined repayment schedule that suits your budget. Alternatively, you can also use the card like a personal loan by accessing your credit limit, which can go up to a $50,000. 


  • High $50,000 maximum credit line.
  • Unlimited 1.5% cashback. 
  • Ability to pay in installments. 


  • No bonus reward categories. 
  • No cash advance option.
Table of contents:
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The Upgrade Cash Rewards Visa® card works as a line of credit for personal use, and is different from traditional credit cards. 

Why Trust Us
Advertiser Disclosure

Our Upgrade card review will cover the cards pros and cons to help you decide if it’s the right card for you. 

The card can be used for purchases and money transfers into your bank account, which are then totaled together at the end of each payment period—and handled as an installment loan. 

This method of debt repayment can be less expensive in the long run, because it lets you make progress in paying off the principal (instead of just the interest). 

So, is the Upgrade card for you? Let’s find out—

What Is the Upgrade Card? 

The choice between a personal loan and a credit card for big purchases is hotly contested amongst finance professionals. 

Personal loans have fixed repayment plans and competitive interest rates, making them a popular choice for those who don’t enjoy variable rates with credit cards. 

Credit cards provide you more freedom to make several purchases and pay them off over time. 

With the Upgrade Cash Rewards Visa® you can have these two options combined with the best aspects of both payment options—fixed payments and interest savings with the freedom of using a credit card and getting rewards for your spending.

Check out more credit card reviews: 

How Does the Upgrade Cash Rewards Visa® Work?

Here’s how the payments from a credit card with a revolving balance are different (so that you can see what sets apart the Upgrade card from a regular credit card). 

Let’s look at an example—a cardholder with a $5,000 balance who qualifies for an 18% APR and has the Upgrade card will pay off the card's balance in 24 months by making payments of $252.25. (Over the course of the loan, they’d pay $1,575.71 in interest fees.)

The same person would need 22 years to pay off the bill on a regular credit card with the same balance and interest rate (if they only paid $125 each month). And, over that time, they’ll have paid $6,923.09 in interest.

While the Upgrade card won't let you pay a smaller minimum in a month because of the installment plan feature—it does help you prevent escalating interest costs from revolving credit and balances. 

Upgrade Cash Rewards Card Review: Overall Card Rating


Upgrade Card Credit Score Needed

The Upgrade card's recommended minimum credit score is 580, so you’ll need fair credit or better to boost your chances of being accepted.

But there are other factors to remember while applying for the Upgrade card—your income, most recent credit inquiries, and other debts will be taken into account. 

Your credit score is also important for the credit line you receive (which can range from $500 to $25,000). Your credit score of 640 barely makes you eligible for the card, and you'll most likely be approved for a small credit line.

Upgrade Card Activation: How To Do It

It's easy to apply for a credit card with Upgrade, and you’ll see if you qualify for the card in a matter of minutes. 

The company will ask for your basic information and your consent to allow consumer reporting organizations to pull your credit report

From there—if you qualify—they’ll tell you your credit line and APR rate. 

Then, you’ll wait 8-10 business days to get your card. You can activate it via their mobile app or by calling the customer service line on the back of your card. 

(The Upgrade Card is issued by Sutton Bank and is licensed by Visa®. You can contact their customer service team by calling 844-558-5687. They’re open Monday through Friday from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. and on weekends from 6 a.m. to 5 p.m. Pacific time.)

Upgrade Credit Card—Pros and Cons


  • No annual fee
  • Rewards program
  • No raising monthly payments
  • Potentially low APR


  • No grace period
  • Lacks traditional credit card benefits
  • Can't store up your cash back rewards

Pros—What we like

No annual fee 

The Upgrade Card has no fees at all (unlike certain credit cards that have setup, yearly, and monthly costs). There are no foreign transaction fees and prepayment penalties, either.

Rewards program 

All purchases you make with the card will earn you 1.5% cash back. The money you earn will be credited to your card's balance for the next month (similar to a prepayment). 

And not only do you get cash back, but you’ll get other Visa® card benefits too (including roadside assistance, price protection, and travel and emergency services). 

No raising monthly payments 

Regular credit cards have revolving balances, without a set due date, which can change and inflate over time because of variable interest. 

Meanwhile, your debt is handled by the Upgrade Cash Rewards Visa® like a personal loan—it carries a set interest rate, but you won’t be penalized if you pay it off early. 

You’ll have 24, 36, or 60 months (depending on what you're authorized for) to pay it off in equal monthly installments—this keeps your payments stable and help you budget easier. 

Higher chance at a low APR 

Based on your credit history, you can be eligible for an APR as low as 14.99%. It won’t change like with traditional cards. 

It doesn’t work like revolving credit, either—so you’ll keep your same monthly payments

Cons—Things to Keep in Mind 

No grace period 

You normally have a grace period with traditional credit cards, which is the period of time between the end of your billing cycle and the deadline for your minimum payment. 

However, the Upgrade Card doesn’t have a grace period—interest is charged on all of your transactions immediately. 

Lacks traditional credit card benefits 

You’ll want to look elsewhere if you're looking for sign-up bonuses, a 0% introductory APR rate, or a balance transfer. 

None of these benefits are provided by the Upgrade Cash Rewards Visa®. 

You can’t save your cash back 

Unlike with traditional credit cards, you can’t store up your cash back rewards with the Upgrade Cash Rewards card. 

The cash back is automatically applied to your balance for the next month instead.

3 Key FAQs on the Upgrade Cash Rewards Visa® Credit Card

Does the Upgrade Card help build credit?

Yes, the card can help you gradually raise your credit score with responsible use. On time payments are reported to the three main credit agencies. However, this can also lower your score if you don’t pay your bills on time. 

Does the Upgrade Card report to credit bureaus?

Yes, but the Upgrade Cash Rewards Visa® doesn’t have a maximum credit line limit—so they only report on-time payments or late payments. Unlike unsecured credit cards, there’s no revolving credit, so your balance can’t affect your score. 

What is the Upgrade Cash Rewards Visa® credit limit?

The credit limit is usually between $500 and $20,000 (though some applicants with higher credit scores and income levels may be eligible for up to $50,000).

Upgrade Credit Card Alternatives

Wondering how Upgrade stacks up vs. its competitors? Here's a quick look.

Is Upgrade a Good Credit Card?

The Upgrade Card can be a decent option for you if you're having trouble paying off your credit card amount and want a more aggressive repayment plan

Because it has a competitive interest rate, a credit limit, and cash back rewards, it’ll give you credit card benefits without the raising interest rates and payments

While it may not be for everyone, it can work well for people with fair credit who like making the same payment amount each month.