Surge Mastercard® Credit Card review

Surge Mastercard® Credit Card review

Updated: September 29, 2021

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When you click “See my approval odds” we’ll run a soft credit check to determine if you have Excellent, Good, Low, or Poor odds of being approved for cards on our site. Approval Odds serves as a guide to help you find the right credit card and will never affect your credit score.
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Updated: September 29, 2021

Partner Offer

When you click “See my approval odds” we’ll run a soft credit check to determine if you have Excellent, Good, Low, or Poor odds of being approved for cards on our site. Approval Odds serves as a guide to help you find the right credit card and will never affect your credit score.
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Ratings Policy
Credit Building Rating:
1.5 rating
1.5 rating
1.5 / 5
Cost of Membership0.4
Ease of Building Credit3.9
APR0.4
Features2.3

In a Nutshell:

The Surge Mastercard could get you a high credit limit and a chance at a credit limit increase in as little as six months, but the card’s inflated fees and APR make it a poor choice for most credit-builders.

Learn more about this card

Average Cost of Membership Per Year

$99

Poor

Security Deposit Required

$0

Excellent

Initial Credit Limit

$300-$1,000

Average

Access To Higher Credit Line?

You can request a credit limit increase after 6 months of on-time payments

Excellent

APR

See rates and fees

Poor

Annual fee

See rates and fees

Poor

Other Rates and Fees

  • Cash advance APR: 24.99%-29.99% variable
  • Cash advance fee: $5 or 5% of the amount of each cash advance (whichever is greater)
  • Minimum interest charge: None
  • Foreign transaction fee: 3% in U.S. dollars
  • Late or returned payment: up to $40
  • Authorized user card fee: $30
Fair

The Surge Mastercard® Credit Card offers a few key advantages for credit-builders, including a relatively high starting credit limit and an automatic credit limit increase after you make your first six monthly payments on time.

However, the card carries high fees and a high APR, making it tough to recommend for most credit-builders. This card can be both a costly and risky option for cardholders short on cash.

Unless you can’t afford to tie up money in a deposit, you’ll almost certainly be better off opting for a no- or low-annual-fee secured credit card.

High fees and APR

If you’ve been comparing credit cards for people with bad credit or a limited credit history, it may come as no surprise to learn that the Surge Mastercard carries its share of fees. High annual or monthly maintenance fees are common among unsecured credit-building cards, and the Surge Mastercard is no exception.

While the exact cost of carrying the Surge Mastercard will vary based on your credit history and length of membership, it is likely to far exceed that of the typical secured card. The Discover it® Secured Credit Card and Capital One Platinum Secured Credit Card, for example, both charge no annual fee at all.

The Surge Mastercard also carries a high ongoing APR, regardless of your credit history. While the card’s rate is on par with that of many unsecured credit-building cards, it’s much higher than the average credit card interest rate and could spell trouble if you wind up needing to carry a balance.

Decent credit limit and chance at automatic credit limit increase

The card offers a starting credit limit of $300 to $1,000, depending on your credit history and financial profile.

While a starting limit of $200 to $300 is common among unsecured cards for people with damaged credit, a $1,000 limit is on the high side. You can also boost your credit limit automatically by making your first six monthly card payments on time. This is a big plus since most cards in this category give no concrete guidelines on how you can get a credit limit increase, and very few offer automatic credit line increases.

This could be a major plus if you’re looking to build credit, as a higher credit limit will make it much easier to keep your credit utilization – the amount of money you’ve borrowed relative to your total available credit – in check.

Despite the relatively high credit limit, you’ll likely be better off putting down a deposit on a lower-cost secured card and setting your own credit limit.

Secured cards typically base your credit limit on the size of your deposit, and a number of high-limit secured cards let you put down $2,000 or more and get a matching limit. Such a high limit could significantly boost your credit-building efforts, as your credit utilization ratio accounts for 30% of your credit score.

See related:What affects your credit score?

Limited perks

The Surge Mastercard comes with $0 fraud liability, and cardholders can enroll in e-statements to receive a free monthly credit score, but otherwise the card offers next to nothing in the way of cardholder benefits.

The Surge Mastercard does report monthly to all three national credit bureaus, however. This may not sound particularly impressive – and it should be considered the bare minimum for all credit cards – but some low-end credit-building cards only report to a single bureau.

Approval odds

The Surge Mastercard is designed for users with no credit history or a subpar credit score, so it should be within reach for most credit-builders. Like most credit cards, however, the Surge Mastercard requires applicants to have a checking account.

You can also prequalify for the card with only a soft pull of your credit report. This won’t affect your credit score and is not a guarantee of approval, but it should give you some extra peace of mind before you submit a formal application.

See related:What is a ‘soft pull’ credit card?

How does the Surge Mastercard compare to other credit-building cards?

Though it offers a chance at a relatively high credit limit and the ability to increase your limit with responsible card use, the Surge Mastercard is less-than-ideal for credit-builders on a budget due to its high fees.

Depending on your credit history, you may qualify for a handful of more affordable unsecured cards, some of which give you a chance to make up their cost with rewards and other benefits. Here are a few of our favorite alternatives:

Capital One QuicksilverOne

Capital One QuicksilverOne Cash Rewards Credit Card

Wells Fargo Propel American Express card

Credit One Bank® Platinum Visa® for Rebuilding Credit

Petal Visa Credit Card

Petal® 2 "Cash Back, No Fees" Visa® Credit Card

Rewards rate

1.5% cash back on all purchases

Rewards rate

1% cash back on eligible purchases including gas, groceries and phone services. Terms apply.

Rewards rate

1% cash back on eligible purchases right away. Up to 1.5% cash back on every purchase after making 12 on-time monthly payments.

Credit limit

See terms

Credit limit

Starting at $300

Credit limit

$500-$10,000

Annual fee

$39

Annual fee

$75 for the first year, After that, $99 annually ($8.25 per month)

Annual fee

$0

Other things to know

  • Account reviewed for possible credit limit increase after 6 months of on-time payments
  • Automatic cash back redemption available
  • No foreign transaction fees
Other things to know

  • Free Experian credit score and $0 fraud liability
  • Pre-qualify and see your offer before you apply
  • $19 annual fee for authorized users
Other things to know

  • No fees of any kind
  • Issuer considers alternative credit data (like income and bill payment history) when evaluating applications, not just credit score
  • Includes money-management tools and free credit reporting

Capital One® QuicksilverOne® Credit Card

Geared more toward cardholders with an average credit score, the Capital One QuicksilverOne card offers unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase. While this is not the most impressive cash back rate, it should help to offset the card’s $39 annual fee. You’ll also have a chance at a credit limit increase if you make six consecutive on-time payments.

Credit One Bank® Platinum Visa® for Rebuilding Credit

While the Credit One Bank Platinum Visa for Rebuilding is still not the cheapest option, the card offers good approval odds even with poor credit and comes with a cash back rewards program that can help reduce your total cost of ownership. It’s also an unsecured card, so you won’t have to tie up hundreds in a deposit just to get started.

See related:Credit One vs. Capital One

Petal® 2 “Cash Back, No Fees” Visa® Credit Card

A unique credit-building offering for those with a limited credit history, the Petal 2 card earns cash back with no deposit required and no fees of any kind. You’ll earn 1% back on eligible purchases to start, with this rate increasing to 1.25% after you make six on-time monthly payments and to 1.5% after 12 on-time monthly payments. Additionally, since the issuer considers alternative credit data in its approval decisions, it’s a great option for someone with limited credit but a good income and bill payment history.

Who should get the Surge Mastercard?

  • Cardholders with a limited credit history or lackluster credit score looking to build credit.
  • Cardholders who want a chance at a higher-than-average credit limit on an unsecured credit-building card.
  • Cardholders who want to avoid putting down a deposit.

How to use the Surge Mastercard:

  • Pay on time and keep your credit utilization low to give yourself the best chance of improving your credit score.
  • Pay the card off in full each month to avoid the card’s potentially high APR.
  • Make your first six monthly card payments on time to get an automatic credit limit increase.

Is the Surge Mastercard worth it?

Unless you have no other options, the Surge Mastercard is unlikely to be your best credit-building option. Due to the high fees and a high APR there could be a better card for people with no credit history or bad credit.

All reviews are prepared by CreditCards.com staff. Opinions expressed therein are solely those of the reviewer and have not been reviewed or approved by any advertiser. The information, including card rates and fees, presented in the review is accurate as of the date of the review. Check the data at the top of this page and the bank’s website for the most current information.

Responses to comments in the discussion section below are not provided, reviewed, approved, endorsed or commissioned by our financial partners. It is not our partner’s responsibility to ensure all posts or questions are answered.

Partner Offer

When you click “See my approval odds” we’ll run a soft credit check to determine if you have Excellent, Good, Low, or Poor odds of being approved for cards on our site. Approval Odds serves as a guide to help you find the right credit card and will never affect your credit score.
Apply now