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Guide to the Upgrade Triple Cash Rewards Visa: The flexibility of a credit card with the predictability of a personal loan

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The following post has been sponsored by our partner, Upgrade. The analysis and opinions in the story are our own and may not reflect the views of Upgrade.

Planning to borrow money for a large purchase? Undoubtedly, you’ll start thinking about the best way to pay for it.

You might wonder if using a credit card has any benefits over using a personal loan or credit line and vice versa. On one hand, a credit card might come with some rewards like cash back or statement credits, along with the option to make minimum payments over time.

On the other hand, a personal loan could have a much lower interest rate and more predictable monthly payments. If you’d like a financial option that combines both, the Upgrade Triple Cash Rewards Visa could fit the bill.

What is the Upgrade Triple Cash Rewards Visa?

The Upgrade Triple Cash Rewards Visa combines the flexibility and rewards structure of a credit card with the predictable payments of a personal loan. The issuer of this card set out to make lower-cost, responsible borrowing more accessible to credit card users—and it looks like it’s an option worth exploring for a few reasons.

Like its counterpart, the Upgrade Visa® Card with Cash Rewards, this card encourages responsible borrowing by doling out rewards when payments are made on the card balance, instead of when money is spent on the card, like with most issuers. These rewards can be applied to monthly payments.

Upgrade Triple Cash Rewards Visa® features

  • Rewards rate: Earn 3 percent cash back on payments for qualifying categories for home, auto and health; 1 percent on everything else*
  • Welcome offer: None
  • Annual fee: $0
  • Purchase intro APR: None
  • Balance transfer intro APR: None
  • Regular APR: 8.99 percent to 29.99 percent*

How does the Triple Cash card work?

The Triple Cash card offers credit lines of $500 to $50,000, although the majority of people will be approved for $25,000 or under. If you are approved for the card, you’ll know your available credit line and APR right away. The amount of credit and the rate you’re approved for will depend on factors including your credit score and whether or not you agree to an autopay arrangement for monthly payments.

Once you’re approved, you can start using your virtual card immediately. A physical, contactless card will come later in the mail.

Upgrade Triple Cash rewards

With the Upgrade Triple Cash Rewards Visa, you can earn 3 percent cash back on qualifying purchases for home, auto and health when you pay them back and 1 percent on everything else with no maximum.*

Here’s an example of spending that qualifies for the 3 percent cash back rewards:

  • Home: Hardware, home supplies, landscaping services, heating, plumbing, A/C
  • Auto: Automotive parts, car dealers, car washes, tires, towing services
  • Health: Health and beauty spas, gym memberships, exercise equipment

The entire list of eligible purchases is pretty long and can be found on the Upgrade website, along with an example of retailers for each category.

Upgrade Triple Cash installment plan

Though you can earn cash back with the Triple Cash card like you would with a traditional credit card, it’s important to know that when it comes to paying down your balance, the card operates more like a personal loan or credit line.

If you maintain a balance on the card, it will be split up into an installment payment plan payable over a fixed term at the applicable interest rate. You may also pay off your balance in full at any time with no prepayment penalties.

The goal of this arrangement is to encourage cardholders to pay down their balances as quickly and predictably as possible. This means you could pay less in interest charges over time and train yourself to pay off your debt at a faster rate than when simply making smaller, minimum payments each month, like with a traditional credit card.

With no fees, more aggressive payment plans through installments, rewards earned on payments and potentially lower interest rates than traditional credit cards, you’ll have ample opportunity to knock those balances out quickly.

You should know that your credit score, other credit-related risk factors and your payment history may affect the amount of your credit limit or your interest rate for future transactions.

You’ll be asked to consent to any new terms on installment plans you request for additional draws on your Triple Cash account. The terms on existing payment plans won’t change.

Other Upgrade Triple Cash card benefits

One thing that really sticks out about this card is the lack of fees. The Triple Cash card hardly charges any of the fees that many card issuers charge. This card has no:

  • Annual fee
  • Late fee
  • Returned payment fee
  • Balance transfer fee
  • Cash advance fee
  • Foreign transaction fee

You should know that the Upgrade Triple Cash Rewards card doesn’t offer a direct balance transfer, cash advance option or the ability to withdraw cash from the ATM. However, cardholders can take a draw from their Upgrade account online and have funds sent directly to their bank account. From here, these funds can be used to pay down another account or withdraw cash.

Finally, another benefit is predictability and transparency with monthly payments. Once you make purchases on the card, you’ll know, every month, what your fixed monthly payment will be. This can be extremely helpful if you’d like your monthly credit card payments to be consistent for budgeting purposes.

Upgrade Triple Cash Rewards card vs. Upgrade Cash Rewards card

The main difference between the Upgrade Cash Rewards and the Triple Cash Rewards card is the rewards rate. The Upgrade Cash Rewards card offers 1.5 percent unlimited cash back on all payments, while the Triple Cash card offers 3 percent cash back on payments for certain categories of spending and 1 percent on everything else.

Should you apply for an Upgrade Triple Cash card now?

This card could be a good option for those who have a fair credit rating or above. The better your credit profile is, the better your terms will be for the Triple Cash card and the more benefits you’ll get from using the card. If you can get the maximum credit line and the minimum interest rate, this card could be a win for your financial goals.

For those who want to be more responsible with credit, this card can also help, thanks to the many incentives and features that can fast-track the repayment process.

If you foresee large purchases in your future that have to do with qualifying home, auto or health spending, you’ll get 3 percent cash back—plus the benefits of installment payments—at a potentially lower interest rate.  For example, a home improvement project, expensive orthodontia or a nice snowmobile could be more affordable with the Triple Cash card than paying with a traditional credit card.

The bottom line

If you’d like more favorable borrowing terms for larger purchases (or larger balances), it could be well worth your time to look into the Upgrade Triple Cash Rewards Visa. A card that combines credit card rewards with payment terms like a personal credit line could be useful for many reasons, including for saving money on fees and interest while cultivating healthy credit habits.

*Please see Upgrade’s website for more details including rates and terms.
Written by
Aja McClanahan
Personal Finance Writer
Aja McClanahan is an author, blogger and speaker on personal finance and entrepreneurship. Aja is the author of "How a Mother Should Talk About Money with Her Daughter."
Edited by
Senior Editor, Credit Card Product News