The Surge Mastercard is not one of our top-rated credit cards for bad credit. You can review our list of the best credit cards for bad credit for what we think are better options.
Full Review of Surge Mastercard
Potential unsecured card access
Monthly reporting to three major credit bureaus
Security deposit may be required
Higher-than-average APR on purchases
- Unsecured Card Access: If you have bad credit or no credit, you may have to build your credit with a secured card, which requires a security deposit. But with the Surge Mastercard, you can potentially qualify for an unsecured credit card with a credit line $500.
- Reports to the Three Major Credit Bureaus: Payments on your Surge Mastercard account are reported to the three major credit bureaus—Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion—each month. If you continually make all of your payments on time, using the Surge Mastercard can help you gradually improve your credit score. Most, but not all, credit card issuers report to the major credit bureaus. Before applying for a card designed for consumers with bad credit, make sure they’ll report your payment activity.
- High Fees: While the Surge Mastercard is available to people with less-than-perfect credit, it charges very high fees, including:
- Annual Fee: For the first year, your fee is $125. After that, it’s $96. The fee is deducted from your available credit line.
- Monthly Maintenance Fee: The fee is $120, billed at $10 per month and assessed at the start of your billing cycle.
- Additional Card Fee: If you add a user to your account, you’ll be charged $30.
- Foreign Transaction Fee: You’ll pay 3% of each transaction made outside of the United States.
- Late Payment Fee: Miss a payment and you’ll be charged up to $40.
- Returned Payment Fee: If a payment is returned, you’ll pay up to $40.
While cards for people with bad credit tend to charge fees, the Surge Mastercard’s fees are higher than you’d usually expect. If you’re looking for a credit card that is less expensive, consider the Petal credit card. It charges no annual fees, foreign transaction fees, monthly maintenance fees, or additional card fees, and it doesn’t require a credit check for applicants without an established credit history.
- Security Deposit may Apply: Applicants who fail to qualify for the Surge Mastercard without a security deposit are required to put down a refundable security deposit. The amount—$50, $100, $150, or $500—depends on your creditworthiness. The main benefit of the Surge Mastercard is that it’s an unsecured option for people with poor credit. If you don’t qualify for this card without a security deposit, that drawback negates its value. In this case, consider checking out the Milestone Gold card instead. While it also has high fees, it’s unsecured for all approved users.
- Higher-than-Average APR: At 29.9%, the Surge Mastercard’s APR on purchases is significantly higher than the national average for all credit cards that are assessed interest. While many cards for applicants with bad credit have high rates, carrying a balance while having such a high APR can cause your balance to grow over time. To avoid costly interest charges, aim to pay off your statement balance in full each month. If you anticipate carrying a balance, look for a credit card with a lower APR. The Green Dot Primor Visa Gold Secured credit card has a $49 annual fee and an annual fee of 9.9%
- No Rewards Structure: The Surge Mastercard doesn’t offer any rewards, so you won’t earn cash back or points on purchases. That’s not atypical for a card for consumers with poor credit, but there are exceptions that offer valuable rewards. One option is the Discover it Secured card. It has no annual fee, and you’ll earn 2% cash back at gas stations and restaurants on up to $1,000 spent each quarter. Plus, you’ll get unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases. To put that in perspective, if you spent $5,000 in a year—$1,000 at gas stations and restaurants each quarter and $1,000 on other purchases—you’d earn $90 in rewards.
This Card is Best For
Motivated to create positive credit history
According to Experian, one of the three major credit bureaus, 33% of Americans have a FICO score in the “very poor” to “fair” range, meaning their scores are between 300 and 669. If your credit score falls into those categories, you may struggle to get approved for a credit card, and you may be limited to a secured card.
Secured cards often require security deposits of hundreds of dollars. If you don’t want to put down a security deposit, the Surge Mastercard may be an alternative. Depending on your credit, you could qualify for this card without a security deposit, giving you access to an unsecured line of credit.
However, this card does charge a lot of fees. And, unlike a secured card’s security deposit, these fees aren’t refundable. Because of those drawbacks, the Surge Mastercard is only a good option for people who intend to use it as a short-term credit-building tool. Once you can qualify for a credit card with fewer fees, you can close your account.
The card offers a few standard benefits, including:
- Limited liability on unauthorized charges
- Monthly reporting to the three major credit bureaus
- Online account access
Surge Mastercard is issued by Celtic Bank, which is owned by Continental Finance. This company specializes in issuing credit cards to consumers who have less-than-perfect credit. Continental Finance was founded in 2005 and, according to its own reporting, manages over 2.6 million credit cards.
As a niche card issuer, Continental Finance was not ranked in J.D. Power’s Credit Card Satisfaction Study.
You can get help with your account by calling 866-449-4514. However, you should be aware that customer service access is limited. Live customer support is only available:
- Monday through Friday: 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. ET
- Saturday: 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. ET
This card offers standard security features, such as limited liability on unauthorized transactions, lost or stolen card replacement, and encryption technology.
While some consumers may qualify for the Surge Mastercard without having to put down a security deposit, they’ll still pay hundreds of dollars in fees just by being a cardholder. Unlike a secured card’s security deposit, those fees aren’t refundable.
If possible, look for other cards—including secured credit cards—that don’t charge annual and monthly fees. You’ll get all of the credit-building benefits of the Surge Mastercard without wasting money on extra fees.
If you’re looking for another option and you have bad credit, consider the Secured Mastercard from Capital One. It has no annual fee, and you can get an initial credit limit of $200 when you make a refundable deposit of $49, $99, or $200, depending on your creditworthiness. After making your first five monthly payments on time, you may qualify for an increased credit limit without making an additional security deposit.