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Surge Mastercard® Review: Light on Perks, Heavy on Fees

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The Surge Mastercard® is one of the easiest credit cards to get if you have bad credit, but the card's annual and monthly fees may reduce its appeal. If you're considering the Surge Mastercard® to build credit, here's what you need to know before you submit your application.

Surge Mastercard®

Apply

on Celtic Bank's website

Recommended FICO® Score*
Poor - Good, Rebuilding

Surge Mastercard®

APR

25.90% - 29.99% Variable

Intro APR

N/A

Rewards

None

Annual Fee

$75 - $99

Card Details
  • See if you Pre-Qualify
  • It won't affect your credit score
  • It takes less than a minute
  • Review your offer and apply
  • Card offers are for an authentic Mastercard with a Credit Limit between $300 and $750
  • $0 Fraud Liability
  • Potential credit limit increase after 6 months
  • Monthly reporting to the three major credit bureaus
  • APR (variable) ranges from 25.90% to 29.99%
  • $75 - $99 annual fee

Rates and Fees

ProsCons
Easy to qualify for, even with bad creditCharges high annual and monthly fees
Reports to all three credit bureausHigh APR
Offers prequalification without a hard credit check
Continental Finance Customer Service

866-449-4514

P.O. Box 3220

Buffalo, NY 14240

Experian Review

The Surge Mastercard® is designed to help people build credit. So if you're new to credit or you've made some missteps in the past and are looking to rebuild, this card may be on your shortlist.

However, it's important to understand the card's costs, especially compared with other available options.

Use It to Build or Improve Your Credit

The primary purpose of the Surge Mastercard® is to help you establish a positive credit history. The card's servicer, Continental Finance, reports your account activity to all three credit bureaus (Experian, TransUnion and Equifax), ensuring that your on-time payments get noticed.

This feature is relatively basic, and most major credit cards report to all three credit bureaus. There are, however, some credit cards for bad credit that don't. If you're looking for a card to help build your credit, it's an essential feature.

Multiple Fees May Add Up

The Surge Mastercard® can help you achieve your goal of building or rebuilding your credit history, but the cost of having the card may not be worth it versus other cards that can do the same.

For starters, the card charges an annual fee of $75 - $99, depending on your creditworthiness. While an annual fee on a credit card for bad credit isn't unusual, this one is a bit steep, and there are plenty of other options that charge no annual fee at all.

In addition to an annual fee, the card also charges a monthly maintenance fee, which can range from $0 to $10, depending on your creditworthiness. While the fee isn't assessed during your first year with the account, it can cost you as much as $120 a year after that, increasing your yearly cost to as much as $219. Most credit cards, including bad-credit options, don't charge a monthly fee.

You'll also pay a one-time $30 fee for each additional card you want on the account, so keep that in mind if you want to add an authorized user.

The card also charges a cash advance fee and a foreign transaction fee, but these are fairly standard.

An Unsecured Card With the Potential for Credit Limit Increase

The Surge Mastercard® offers an initial credit limit that ranges from $300 to $750, but you may be able to get a credit limit increase if you make your first six monthly payments on time.

To improve your chances for a credit line increase, the lender suggests the following:

  • Try to pay in full every month
  • Avoid maxing out your card
  • Update your income with the lender
  • Pay down other debt you owe

If this card is one you're considering, it's important to look at other options before you make a decision to apply or accept an offer. You may want to focus on finding a similar card that doesn't charge annual or monthly fees like this one does.

If you're approved for the Surge Mastercard®, you'll be on the hook for fees as high as $99 the first year and up to $219 every year after that.

Online and Mobile App Account Capabilities

You can manage your Surge Mastercard® account online or via the Continental Finance mobile app, which is available for Apple and Android devices.

The card servicer's mobile app allows you to view your current and past transactions, make payments, edit your contact information and report a lost or stolen card.

The card also comes with complimentary access to your VantageScore® credit score. You'll receive your updated score monthly when you enroll to receive online statements.

Additional Info

Purchase APR: 25.90% - 29.99% VariableGrace period: 25 days
Transfer APR: N/AAnnual fee: $75 - $99
Cash Advance APR: 25.90% - 29.99% VariableMonthly maintenance fee: $0 to $10
Minimum interest charge: NoneCash advance fee: 5% of the advance amount ($5 minimum)
Foreign transaction fee: 3%
Late payment fee: Up to $40
Returned payment fee: Up to $40

Authorized-User Policy

You can add an authorized user to your account for a one-time fee of $30. Authorized users can use their card to make purchases on the account, but only the primary cardholder is legally responsible for making payments.

Shop Around Before You Apply

While the Surge Mastercard® may be easy to qualify for, it can be an expensive way to build credit even if you qualify for the lowest annual fee and no monthly fee. For people who are new to credit, the Petal® Visa® Credit Card charges no fees whatsoever and also offers rewards.

If you have bad credit due to negative items on your credit report, Indigo® Platinum Mastercard® has a similar annual fee but no monthly fee.

You might also consider a secured credit card, which may require a security deposit of at least $200. The fees charged on most secured cards will be cheaper than those charged on the Surge Mastercard®, and with some cards, such as the Discover it® Secured, you can get your deposit back when you close your account or possibly even sooner if you use them responsibly. Secured cards can help you improve your credit the same way the Surge Mastercard® would.

Whatever you do, take some time to research several options, comparing the fees and features other cards offer to find the best fit for you. Experian CreditMatch™ can help you do this by matching you with credit cards that fit your unique credit profile.