Extra cash back in categories that typically include large purchases, combined with the ability to convert debt into a fixed-rate loan, can make this a helpful card. But there may be lower-interest ways to borrow.
Qualify with average credit
No prepayment penalty, late fees or penalty APR
No annual fee
Pay down balances at a fixed interest rate with equal monthly payments
Potentially high APR
Compare to Other Cards
18.24%-28.99% Variable APR
0% Intro APR for 21 months on Balance Transfers and 12 months on Purchases
Recommended Credit Score
Recommended Credit Score
Detailed review: Upgrade Triple Cash Rewards Visa®
The Upgrade Triple Cash Rewards Visa® is the newest credit card offering from financial startup Upgrade. Much like the Upgrade Cash Rewards Visa®, it’s a credit card/personal loan hybrid product that earns cash-back rewards.
The $0-annual-fee Upgrade Triple Cash Rewards Visa® earns 3% cash back on home, auto and health purchases, and 1% on everything else. To compare, the Upgrade Cash Rewards Visa® earns 1.5% cash back on all purchases.
You can use the Upgrade Triple Cash Rewards Visa® in two ways:
As a credit card: Make purchases wherever Visa cards are accepted. You can also add the card to Apple Pay or Google Pay. If you don’t pay your credit card bill in full, the remaining balance will become a fixed-rate loan you pay back in equal monthly installments.
As a personal loan: You can request funds be sent to your bank account, up to your credit limit. Once your request is approved, you pay back the loan over a set period of time at a fixed interest rate, plus a 5% cash advance fee. Note that you can’t get a cash advance at ATMs with the Upgrade Triple Cash Rewards Visa®.
The ability to pay down your balance through equal monthly payments for a specific period of time makes it far simpler to set a budget for debt repayment. However, if you have good or excellent credit, you may be able to qualify for personal loans with lower interest rates. A balance transfer credit card offering 0% APR for a year or more might also be an option.
» MORE: Is the Upgrade Card legit?
Upgrade Triple Cash Rewards Visa®: The Basics
Annual fee: $0.
Credit limit: Typically $500 to $25,000.
Sign-up bonus: None.
Earn 3% cash back on home, auto and health purchases.
Earn 1% cash back on everything else.
Cash back will be applied to the next month’s balance on your card.
APR: The ongoing APR is 14.99%-29.99%.
Foreign transaction fee: Up to 3%. Current cardholders can check their PCL agreement for more information.
Balance transfer fee: Up to 5%
Other facts and benefits:
No security deposit required.
Get preapproved without hurting your credit scores.
Pay down balances at a fixed interest rate with equal monthly payments.
No prepayment penalty, late fees or penalty APR.
There are multiple versions of the Upgrade card, which are mostly identical except for their rewards programs. Learn more about the options and find out which Upgrade is best for you here.
Which Upgrade card is right for you?
Upgrade has a portfolio of several cards, all of which feature the same "credit card/personal loan" hybrid functionality. But there are differences in terms of their rewards structures. Here's a closer look:
1.5% cash back on all purchases. Cash back will be applied to the next month’s balance on your card.
Earn 3% cash back on home, auto and health purchases. Earn 1% cash back on everything else. Cash back will be applied to the next month’s balance on your card.
$500 to $25,000.
$500 to $25,000.
The ongoing APR is 14.99%-29.99%.
The ongoing APR is 14.99%-29.99%.
Benefits and perks
Make fixed monthly payments on a remaining balance
If you don’t pay your credit card bill in full and carry a balance, the Upgrade Triple Cash Rewards Visa® converts it into a fixed-rate loan with a set repayment time frame, much like a personal loan. You can pay down your loan faster with no prepayment penalty. Your APR and repayment time frame depend on what you qualify for when you apply for the card.
This is different from more common revolving credit cards, where debt can grow quickly, the amount you owe can change and you could theoretically be in debt forever.
More cash back on unique, useful spending categories
The Upgrade Triple Cash Rewards Visa® earns a respectable 3% cash back in spending categories that commonly include large (and sometimes unexpected) expenses, like home repairs and medical bills. All other purchases earn 1% cash back. Here are some examples of purchases that can earn 3% back:
Home: Includes hardware and home improvement stores, furniture, appliances, landscaping services, and home repairs.
Auto: Includes auto parts, purchases at car dealerships, car washes, auto repairs and towing services.
Health: Includes gym memberships, home gym equipment (purchased directly from the vendor, not from a retailer like Amazon or Target), sporting good store purchases, health and beauty spas, pharmacies and doctor’s visits.
You’ll earn cash back as you pay down your balance, whether that’s all at once or slowly over time. The cash back is then applied to your next month’s bill like a prepayment. (Depending on your redemption preferences, that could be a drawback; more on that below).
It's available to those with FICO scores of 580 and up
Consumers with poor or fair credit scores have fewer credit card options to choose from, and available cards may require security deposits and charge annual fees. Applicants with FICO credit scores of 580 and above can qualify for the Upgrade Triple Cash Rewards Visa®. And since on-time payments are reported to the three main credit bureaus, the card can help you build your credit scores over time with responsible use.
It offers other hard-to-find features
The Upgrade Triple Cash Rewards Visa® comes with consumer-friendly benefits that are especially helpful to applicants with fair credit and those who are applying for the card with a specific large purchase in mind.
You can see what credit line you’d qualify for without initiating a hard pull on your credit report, thus avoiding the temporary ding to your credit scores. A hard inquiry is completed only once you agree to the terms. This feature is rare among credit cards, but some newer cards, like the Apple Card, have a similar preapproval process.
Drawbacks and considerations
Can’t be combined with the Upgrade Cash Rewards Visa®
At this point, you can have only the Upgrade Triple Cash Rewards Visa® or the Upgrade Cash Rewards Visa® — not both. That means you can’t optimize by using the Upgrade Triple Cash Rewards Visa® for purchases that would earn 3% back and the Upgrade Cash Rewards Visa® everywhere else to earn 1.5% back. So if you’re going to carry only one of these cards, choose which you value the most: higher rewards and slightly more effort, or a lower rewards rate with greater simplicity.
You could instead pair the Upgrade Triple Cash Rewards Visa® with a revolving credit card that earns more than 1% back on all purchases. Use the Upgrade Triple Cash Rewards Visa® for home, auto or health purchases (or any large purchases you’d want to pay back over time), and switch to a card like the $0-annual-fee Citi Double Cash® Card for everything else. It earns 2% cash back on all purchases (1% as you buy, 1% as you pay).
Other loan options may offer better terms
The ongoing APR is 14.99%-29.99%, so the interest rate you may qualify for could be quite high. Depending on your credit history and other financial factors, you may qualify for a personal loan with more favorable terms.
Another option for a planned upcoming large expense would be a credit card offering 0% APR on new purchases. The U.S. Bank Visa® Platinum Card offers 0% intro APR for 18 billing cycles on purchases and balance transfers, and then the ongoing APR of 18.74%-29.74% Variable APR.
You can't 'save up' rewards
Cash back that you earn with this card will be automatically applied toward your next month's balance. That means that — unlike with most other rewards credit cards — you can't bank your cash back until you're ready to spend it.
The card isn't available everywhere
Residents of Iowa, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Washington, D.C., are not eligible to get the Upgrade Triple Cash Rewards Visa®.
The user interface may be lacking
Some Upgrade customers have compained that the issuer's website and app are neither user-friendly nor intuitive. The issuer has acknowledged certain "known concerns" and says it's working on improvements.
NerdWallet's list of the best rated credit cards may have other options for you to consider.
The Upgrade Cash Rewards Visa® is nearly identical, only it earns 1.5% cash back on all purchases. It's an option for anyone who'd prefer a simpler rewards program, even if that means a lower cash-back rate in some categories. The annual fee is $0.
How to decide if it's right for you
The Upgrade Triple Cash Rewards Visa® can be quite helpful when you want to earn a solid cash-back rate on specific purchases and have the ability to pay a large balance down over time. This is especially the case for those who qualify for a low APR. But the APR may be too high for applicants with poor or fair credit, which is something to keep in mind. And those with good or excellent credit may qualify for personal loans or credit cards with no-interest promotions.