Surge Mastercard® Credit Card review

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The Surge Mastercard credit card is issued by Celtic Bank, designed for those who have a bad credit history or none at all and want to build or rebuild their credit.

You can check your Surge credit card application status and see if you pre-qualify in less than a minute. This unsecured credit card doesn’t require collateral — but it does come with a significant annual fee.

If your credit card options are limited, you can use a Surge Mastercard payment plan to build up your score with responsible use.

  • Rewards rate: N/A
  • Welcome offer: N/A
  • Annual fee: $75–$99
  • Purchase Intro APR: N/A
  • Balance Transfer Intro APR: N/A
  • Regular APR: 24.99% — 29.99% variable

Current sign-up bonus/welcome offer

There’s no sign-up bonus or welcome offer with this card. The main introductory benefit is the quick prequalification offer. Once you know if you’re prequalified, the application process is swift and you can start working on your credit almost immediately.

Benefits

The Surge Mastercard credit card is an accessible credit card to consumers with a wide range of credit scores. It’s an option for those who have difficulty getting approved for an unsecured credit card and don’t want to give a security deposit — as secured credit cards require.

As you use the Surge credit card, your usage will be reported to all three major credit bureaus — TransUnion, Experian and Equifax. With on-time payments, low credit card utilization and responsible use, you can build up your credit score and eventually qualify for a better credit card.

You may also be eligible for a potential credit limit increase after six months of making the required minimum monthly payments. This can help lower your credit utilization, which is another factor that can positively impact your credit score.

No security deposit

You can get a credit limit between $300 and $1,000 with the Surge credit card, with no security deposit required. If you’re approved, you have instant access to cash without having to offer up your own cash first.

Rates and fees

The Surge credit card has an annual fee of $75 to $99, which is quite steep for a credit-building credit card. There’s also a potential monthly maintenance fee of up to $10. Other credit-building cards come with no monthly maintenance fees.

There’s also an additional one-time card fee of $30, if applicable. The card has a cash advance fee of 5 percent of the cash advance amount or $5, whichever is greater.

If you’re traveling internationally, there’s a foreign transaction fee of 3 percent. Late payments and returned payments both come with penalty fees up to $40.

APRs range from 24.99 percent to 29.99 percent, based on creditworthiness. This is quite high compared to other credit card. High APRs are typical of credit-building cards.

How the Surge Mastercard compares to other credit-building cards

If you’re looking for a credit card to build up credit, you may be better off with other options.

The OpenSky Secured Visa Credit Card requires a refundable security deposit of $200 to $3,000, but the benefit is you can increase your credit line dramatically compared to the Surge Mastercard (since the deposit amount also becomes the credit limit). The annual fee of $35 is also lower, as is the variable APR of 17.39 percent.

The Secured Mastercard® from Capital One is another secured credit card, but the refundable deposit amount is only $49, $99 or $200, depending on credit history. The variable APR of 26.99 percent is high, but all cardholders can be automatically considered for a higher credit line in as little as 6 months with on-time monthly payments. The major benefit of this credit-building card is that there’s no annual fee.

Credit card APR Annual fee Security deposit Credit line
Surge Mastercard® Credit Card 24.99%-29.99% variable $75-$99 None $300-$1,000
OpenSky® Secured Visa® Credit Card 17.39% variable $35 $200-$3,000 Same as security deposit
Secured Mastercard® from Capital One 26.99% variable $0 $49, $99 or $200 Start with an initial credit line of $200.

Best cards to pair with Surge Mastercard

The Surge Mastercard’s high annual fee, high APR and lack of rewards make this a credit card you should only consider if you want an unsecured card and lack better options.

If you want to build up your credit, consider pairing the Surge Mastercard with a secured credit card to increase your credit availability, and potentially decrease your credit utilization.

Keep in mind, though, that getting too many credit cards in a short amount of time can damage your score. If you need to improve your credit score, getting multiple cards in a short time frame would be counterintuitive.

As your credit score increases, you may want to research better credit cards you might qualify for. Cash back and travel credit cards offer rewards as long as you make on-time payments. If you pay off what you owe in full each billing cycle, you can earn rewards without owing any extra interest.

Bankrate’s take – Is Surge Mastercard worth it?

If you need an unsecured credit card and don’t qualify for better cards, the Surge Mastercard can help you build up your credit with responsible usage.

If you can qualify for a card with a lower annual fee or have the funds to contribute a refundable security deposit, you may be able to qualify for a lower-cost secured credit card or a card with better perks.

Pros

  • Build up your credit with responsible usage
  • Get access to a credit limit of up to $1,000 without having to contribute a security deposit
  • You may qualify for a higher credit limit after six months of usage

Cons

  • You have to pay an annual fee
  • The variable APR is higher than some secured credit cards and higher than most unsecured credit cards
  • The card comes with no perks