5 Things to Know About the Upgrade OneCard

It's a credit card, debit card and personal loan in one. Pair it with an Upgrade Rewards Checking Plus account for more perks.
Sara Rathner
By Sara Rathner 
Edited by Kenley Young

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The Upgrade OneCard — from financial technology company Upgrade — is one of several products within that fintech's suite of credit card/personal loan hybrid offerings. With all of Upgrade’s cards, your credit card balance is automatically converted to an installment plan where you make equal monthly payments at a fixed interest rate.

But the Upgrade OneCard takes it a step further: You can pay off a balance over time with interest, or you can opt to pay off a purchase immediately and not pay interest on that transaction.

Here are five things to know about the Upgrade OneCard.

1. It’s essentially three products in one

The Upgrade OneCard combines the immediate payment of a debit card, the rewards and fraud protection of a credit card, and the fixed monthly payments of a personal loan.

You can use the card to make purchases in stores or online, as you would with a debit or credit card. You get credit card fraud protection, which means your liability is limited if someone uses your card to make unauthorized purchases. You set preferences as to which purchases you want to pay for once the charge appears on your account, as you would with a debit card, and which purchases you want to pay back over time with interest, as you would with a personal loan.

Any purchases you choose to pay back over time will be charged a fixed interest rate for a set period of time. You can find out your assigned APR and loan term length by getting preapproved, without affecting your credit score. Currently, APRs can range from 14.99% to 29.99%. Note that if you don’t have enough money in your linked checking account to cover a purchase, you’ll be automatically enrolled into an installment plan.

2. You can earn up to 3% cash back …

Assuming you meet eligibility requirements (see No. 3 below), you can earn the following rewards with the Upgrade OneCard:

  • 3% cash back on purchases at convenience and drugstores, restaurants, bars, food delivery and gas stations. You’ll also earn 3% back on recurring payments for utilities and monthly subscriptions, which includes phone, cable and streaming services.

  • 2% cash back on all other purchases.

You can earn up to $500 in 3% cash back rewards per year, after which you’ll earn 2% back. To reach that limit, you’d need to spend around $1,388 per month in 3% categories.

3. … but an Upgrade Rewards Checking Plus account is required for that rate

You can link any checking account to make payments on your Upgrade OneCard purchases, but you’ll get more out of the card if you open a Rewards Checking Plus account with Upgrade. You must also maintain the account with either a $2,500 average daily balance, $1,000 in direct deposits per month or at least eight eligible purchases with your Rewards Checking Plus debit card per month.

If you do that, you’ll earn the previously mentioned 2% to 3% on all purchases, plus a welcome bonus. As of this writing, the bonus is $400 when you start using a new Rewards Checking Plus account and make three purchases with your Upgrade OneCard or your Rewards Checking Plus debit card within the first 60 days.

If you don’t open a Rewards Checking Plus account, or you don’t meet the requirements for maintaining your account, you’ll only earn 1.5% cash back on all purchases, and you won’t be eligible for the bonus.

4. Redeeming rewards is affected by carrying a balance

If you’ve paid for all purchases immediately and don’t have any installment plans, you can redeem your cash-back rewards as a direct deposit into the checking account you have linked to your card. If you’re making monthly payments on an installment plan, your redeemed rewards will go toward the balance owed.

5. You may be able to spend beyond your credit line

During the application process, you’ll be granted a credit line of $500 to $25,000, though most are $25,000 and less. But if you fund your card with a Rewards Checking Plus account and keep a positive balance, you may be granted up to $5,000 more on top of your assigned credit line.

Just note that spending beyond your credit line has to be paid back immediately.

Upgrade's other offerings

Upgrade also offers the following cards:

  • The Upgrade Select Visa®, which earns no rewards and has an annual fee of $39.

  • The Upgrade Secured OneCard, which has the same benefits and rewards structure as the standard OneCard, reviewed above. Your credit line is secured by the balance in an Upgrade deposit account (up to $5,000). This card is not available for direct application, but qualified applicants can apply for the card when they open an Upgrade Rewards Checking Plus account.

  • The Upgrade Life Rewards Card, which lets you earn 3% cash back in a variety of categories including gas stations, grocery stores and more. Non-bonus-category spending earns 1% back.

  • The Upgrade Cash Rewards Visa®, which earns 1.5% cash back on all purchases. Cash back will be applied to the next month’s balance on your card.

  • The Upgrade Triple Cash Rewards Visa®, which earns 3% cash back on home, auto and health purchases, and 1% back on everything else. Cash back will be applied to the next month’s balance on your card.

Card image courtesy of Upgrade

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