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Surge® Platinum MasterCard®
REVIEW

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By : Mr Credit Card

The Surge Mastercard is an unsecured credit card from Continental Finance and issued by Celtic Bank that targets those with poor credit. The Surge Mastercard will give you a starting credit limit of either $300, $500, $750 or $1,000 depending on how they assess your credit worthiness during a pre-approval process. Each of these versions have different fees. If you pay your first six bills on-time, your credit limit will double to $600, $1,000, $1,500 and $2,000 respectively. The maximum credit limit you can get with Surge is $4,000.

Based on our analysis, the $750 and $1,000 offer the best value in terms of fees and credit limit that you will get on the card.


Card Details: 4 Different Credit Limits

Card Annual Fee Monthly Fee Credit Limit
Surge $1,000 $125 $0* $1,000
$2,000 after 6 on-time payments
Surge $750 $125 $0* $750
$1,500 after 6 on-time payments
Surge $500 $125 $12.50/month $500
$1,000 after 6 on-time payments
Surge $300 $75 Y1, then $99 $12.50/month $300
$600 after 6 on-time payments


Has 4 Different Versions

The Surge credit card requires you to go through a pre-approval process and if you are pre-approved, you may be offered one of 4 versions. The 4 versions have different credit limits, $300, $500, $750 and $1,000. The $750 and $1,000 versions only have an annual fee of $125. The $300 and $500 limit versions both have an annual fee and a monthly fee from the second year onwards.

Credit Limit Double After 6 On-time Payments

If you pay your first 6 bills on-time, your credit limit will double. That means that $300, $500, $750 and $1,000 credit limits become $600, $1,000, $1,500 and $2,000 respectively.
 

Other Less Known and Unique Features

Surge has some other features that are unique and less well-known.
 

True Second Chance Credit Cards and Bankruptcy OK

The Surge Mastercard is a true second chance credit ardbecause even if you have had your card charged off (even in a bankruptcy), Surge will give you a second chance and approve you if you have cleaned up your credit report or even just emerged from a bankruptcy. Surge and Continental Finance will give you a second stab at their credit cards.
 

You Can Get Surge Even if you have another Continental Finance Card

A little fact is that Continental Finance will allow you to have more than one credit card. In fact, there are many people whose first Continental Finance card is the Fit Mastercard, were happy with it, and ended up getting the Surge Mastercard. However, one thing to bear in mind is that you will need two separate logins for your online account and mobile app.
 

You can pay with a debit card

Surge is one of the rare credit card that allow you to pay your credit card bill with a debit card. This is something many young cardholders and rebuilders look for but find lacking in most other credit cards. However, you do have to pay over the phone in order to use the debit card. You can either use a live rep or set up your debit card as a payment method over the phone. I suggest you set it up as a payment method so you can use the automated virtual assistant. Using a live representative will cost you $10 for each payment you make over the phone.
 

Maximum $4,000 Credit Limit

Another lesser known fact about the Surge Mastercard is that the maximum credit limit you can get is $4,000 over time. This is in their terms and conditions but now highlighted by them or other credit card reviewers.
 

Free Vantage 3.0 scores if you receive e-statements

The Surge credit card will also give you access to a free Vantage 3.0 credit score. But you have to sign up for e-statements to be able to access it.
 

Analysis and Competition

The key metric that we used to analyze unsecured credit cards for bad credit is the Total Fee to Credit Limit Ratio (TFCL). The measures how much fees you are paying a year relative to the credit limits that you are getting. I am first going to calculate the TFCL ratio for the Surge Mastercard. We have to do this for all 4 versions because they have different fees and credit limits. I will then calculate the TFCL ratios for Surges' competitors and then we can do some proper comparisons.

Total Fee to Credit Limit Calculation for Surge

I am going to use the Surge $1,000 credit limit as an example to do the calculations. The annual fee is $125 and there is no monthly fee from the second year onwards for this version. During the first 6 months, the credit limit is $1,000. So the TFCL ratio is $125/$1,000 = 12.5%. From the 6th month onwards, the credit limit doubles to $2,000 if you have paid the first 6 bills on time. The TFCL ratio with the new credit limit is $125/$2,000 = 6.25%.

Comparison of Surge $750 and $1,000 Limit Version with Competitors

Card Annual Fee Monthly Fee Credit Limit Fees/Credit Limit Ratio
Surge $1,000 $125 $0 $1,000
$2000 after paying on-time for 6 months
$125/$1,000 = 12.5%
$125/$2,000 = 6.25%
Surge $750 $125 $0 $750
$1,500 after paying on-time for 6 months
$125/$750 = 16.67%
$125/$1,500 = 8.33%
Upgrade Select Card $39 $0 $500 - $2,000 - most get $1,500 or below $39/$1,500 = 2.6%
Arro Mastercard $0 $3/month $50 - $2,500 $36/$1,500 = 2.4%
Indigo, Milestone
Destiny Mastercard
Year 1 = $175
Year 2 Onwards = $49
Year 1 = $0
Year 2 Onwards = $12.50/month = $150 annually
$700 Year 1 = $175/$700 = 25%
Year 2 Onwards = $(49 + 150)/$700 = 28.4%


I have decided to compare the Surge Mastercard $750 and $1,000 version with Upgrade Select Visa, Arro Mastercard, and the credit cards from Concora Credit Inc, which includes the Indigo Mastercard, Milestone Mastercard and Destiny Mastercard.

Though the credit limit for the Upgrade Select Visa ranges from $500 to $2,500, most will get a limit of $1,500 or less. For the purpose of comparing it with the Surge $750 and $1,000 limit version, I have decided to use $1,500 as the credit limit. I will also do the same for the Arro Card since the credit limit ranges from $50 - $2,500.

As you can see from the comparison table above, the Surge Mastercard compares very well the the credit cards from Concora very well with regards to the Total Fee to Credit Limit Ratio. The reason is because after 6 months, Surge has a much higher credit limit and lower fees as well. Our rule of thumb should be that TFCL ratios should be 15% or less meaning that you should not pay more than 15% of your credit limit in fees. So the Surge Mastercard has decent TFCL ratios for their $750 and $1,000 limit versions.

Despite having good TFCL ratios, the annual fee of the Surge Mastercard is is high. The $750 and $1,000 limit versions have a $125 annual fee. Competitors like Upgrade Select and Arro Mastercard have much lower fees. Upgrade Select has a $39 annual fee, which is $86 lower than Surge. Arro Mastercard charges a $3/monthly fee which works out to $36 annually. This is $89 lower than Surge. As a result of much lower fees, the Upgrade Select and Arro Mastercard has lower TFCL ratio than Surge.

To get approved for Upgrade Select, you would require a FICO score of at least 580 and above. To get approved for the Surge Mastercard $750 and $1,000 limit version, you need a Vantage score of above 600. Arro Mastercard does not check your credit score but requires a minimum monthly income of $1,800 instead.

Comparison of the Surge $300 and $500 Credit Limit Versions with Competitors

Card Annual Fee Monthly Fee Program Fee Credit Limit Fees/Credit Limit Ratio
Surge $500 $125 $10/month $0 $5,000
$1000 after paying on-time for 6 months
Y1 = $125/$500 = 25%
Y2 = ($125 + $120 = $245)/$1000 = 24.5%
Surge $300 $125 $10/month $0 $750
$1,500 after paying on-time for 6 months
Y1 = $75/$300 = 25%
Y2 = ($99 + $120)/$600 = 36.5%
Total Visa Y1 = $75, then $48 Y1=$0, then $8.25.25/month = $99/Year $95 $300 Y1 = $(75 + 89)/$300 = 54.67%
Y2 = ($48 + $99)/$300 = 49.33%
First Access Visa Y1 = $75, then $48 Y1=$0, then $8.25/month $95 $300 Y1 = $(75 + 89)/$300 = 54.67%
Y2 = ($48 + $99)/$300 = 49.33%
First Digital Y1 = $75, then $48 Y1=$0, then $8.25/month $89 $300 Y1 = $(75 + 89)/$300 = 54.67%
Y2 = ($48 + $99)/$300 = 49.33%
Fit Mastercard Y1 = $99, then $125 Y1=$0, then $12.50/month ($150 annually) $95 $400
$800 after paying on-time for 6 month
Y1 = $(99 + 95)/$400 = 48.5%
Y2 = ($125 + $150)/$800 = 34.4%
Upgrade Select Visa $39 $0 $0 $500 - $2,000 $39/$500 = 7.8%
Arro Mastercard $0 $3/month $0 $50 - $2,500 $36/$500 = 7.2%


Both the Surge $300 and $500 limit versions have much higher fees than the $750 and $1,000 limit versions because in addition to an annual fee, they also charge a $12.50/month monthly fee from the second year onwards. If we use the $500 limit version as an example, from the second year onwards, you will be paying a total of $275 in fees. For the $300 limit version, you will be paying a total of $249 in fees from the second year onwards. Regardless of the credit limits, that is a lot of fees to pay for a credit card.

The cards I have chosen to compare with both the $300 and $500 version share a similar trait. And that is they also charge both annual fee and monthly fee from the second year onwards. In some cases, they also charge a one-time processing fee before you can activate your card. I am not going to go through each comparison but as you can see from the table above, most of Surge's competitors require you to pay a lot of fees and their TFCL ratio is also really high.

There are a couple of exceptions though that I want to highlight. And that is the Upgrade Select Card and the Arro Card (which are both mentioned in the comparison with the $750 and $1,500 limit verions). These cards do not charge any monthly fee at all and their annual fee is significantly lower than Surge. Hence, from a fee and TFCL perspective, both these cards are better than the Surge $300 and $500 limit versions because they have much lower fees.

Read our comparison of Surge Mastercard vs Upgrade Select Visa


Read our comparison of Surge Mastercard vs Arro Mastercard


Our Take: $750 and $1,000 Limit Versions Are Good

Among the four versions of the Surge Mastercard, both the $750 and $1,000 credit limit versions stand out as having the best value in terms of fees relative to their credit limit. These versions only charge an annual fee and double your credit limit to very decent limits after just 6 months. If you are pre-approved for either of these versions, I would recommend that you go for it.

The Surge $300 and $500 credit limit versions have lower credit limit and much higher fees than the $750 and $1,000 versions. This is reflected in a much higher TFCL ratio. If you are pre-approved for either the $300 or $500 limit version, I would not go ahead with the application. Instead I would try to get other lower fee credit cards like the Upgrade Select Card or the Arro Mastercard. You would require a FICO score of at least 580 for the Upgrade while the Arro Mastercard does not perform any hard inquiry but instead requires a minimum monthly income of $1,800. These two alternatives have much lower fees than Surge.

To sum up, based on our evaluation and review of the Surge Mastercard, we give it a 3.7 stars out of 5 for it's rather generous credit limit which doubles after 6 months, the presence of modern features like mobile app, free Vantage scores and the ability to pay via debit card. The higher fees present in the $300 and $500 credit limit versions prevents us from giving it a higher rating.

Surge Mastercard accepts applicants with Vantage 3.0 scores between 500 to 680 though the average approved applicant has a Vantage 3.0 score of around 600. If your Vantage 3.0 score is around 600, then you should definitely go through the pre-approval process to see if you get the $750 or $1,000 version. I would not get the $300 or $500 limit version and consider other lower fee unsecured credit cards instead.


Alternative to Surge Mastercard

Here is the list of alternatives to Surge Mastercard in greater detail.

Upgrade Select Visa - The Upgrade Select Card has an annual fee of $39. This is in contrast to the $125 annual fee of the Surge $500, $750 and $1,000 limit version. In addition, Upgrade does not charge any monthly fee from the second year onwards (unlike the Surge $300 and $500 limit version). Credit limits range from $500 to $2,000. You need a FICO score of at least 580 and above to get approved for Upgrade. This requirement is not much different from Surge's 600 and above Vantage score requirements.

Arro Mastercard - The Arro Mastercard is an unsecured credit card that does not do any hard inquiry. Instead, you would require to have a monimum monthly income of $1,800. Arro would require you to link your bank account which your paycheck is direct deposited to Arro to verify the income and you will be approved based on that, your bank balance and cash flow. Arro charges a monthly fee of $3/month ($1/month during the first year) which works out to $36 a year. This is significantly lower than the fees that Surge charges. If your credit scores is in the 500s and you meet Arro's income requirement, then this would be a much better alternative to Surge.


expand text FAQS


Customer Service Information

Phone

Automated Account Information

1-866-449-4514
(Available 24 hours a day/7 days a week)

Customer Service

1-866-449-4514
(Customer Care Specialists are available 7 a.m.–10 p.m. Mon–Fri, 9 a.m.–4 p.m. Sat/EASTERN TIMES)

Payments

1-800-518-6142
(7 a.m.–10 p.m. Mon–Fri, 8 a.m.–4 p.m. Sat/EASTERN TIMES)

Lost/Stolen Card

1-800-556-5678

Mail

Inquiries Reflex Card
P.O. Box 3220
Buffalo, NY 14240-3220

Payments on Account

Reflex Card
P.O. Box 6812
Carol Stream, IL 60197-6812


How to apply?

Below is a screenshot of the Surge Mastercard pre-qualification page. You will have to fill in the usual information about yourself, name, address, email, phone number, SSN and income etc. It will also ask you if you intend to use this card for cash advance. I suggest you say no for this. The basic terms are also listed on the page and you should just go through them. After you press "see my offers", you will know if you have been pre-approved and if so what terms you will be offered. If you are happy with the terms, you should proceed to apply.
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